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mistyrose December 17, 2017 05:37 PM

Presently studying a Spanish text book on the topic of Present Tense, whereby the author states there can be more than one translations in English. However some of these aren't quite understandable. Can any provide explanations..

Escribo una novela- possible meanings (from text)
1. I write a novel
2. I do write a novel
3. I am writing a novel

In my view the only translation that seems valid in English would be number 3.

The author states that the present tense in Spanish can have more than one translations in English, however, I am puzzled at those meanings being correct.

Another example:

Yo camino muy poco (possible meanings from text)

1. I walk very little
2. I am walking very little
3. I do walk very little

---- No 1 and 2 has only *do* as a difference with both translations but in Spanish Hacer is the verb used for *to do*, ¿haco camino muy poco? y ¿haco escribo una novela? :thinking:-----

wrholt December 17, 2017 06:18 PM

Your questions point to an important fact: the verb systems of English and Spanish are different, and many forms in one language can have a mix of different translation equivalents in the other language depending on context and intended meaning.

The three English versions for each Spanish sentence are all valid. Which translation is better than the others depends entirely on the context in which the sentence occurs; if the sentence is spoken rather than written, then intonation can also indicate which translation is appropriate.

Regarding the comparison of *do* and hacer: these two verbs partially overlap in meaning, but each is used in ways that cannot be translated by using the other.

The verb *do* is used both as a main verb and as an auxiliary verb. As an auxiliary verb within a positive verb phrase in a statement, including *do* typically indicates emphasis or contrast, while not including "do" is neutral.

The verb hacer is often a translation equivalent for *do* as a main verb. However, hacer never functions as an auxiliary in the manner of *do*, and it is not used as one of the ways to indicate emphasis or contrast in Spanish.

Tomisimo December 22, 2017 10:54 AM


Escribo una novela- possible meanings (from text)
1. I write a novel
2. I do write a novel
3. I am writing a novel
The example with a novel is a bit strange, but consider this:

Como pan.
I eat bread.
I do eat bread.
I am eating bread.

The point they are making is that all three English sentences can be translated by the Spanish sentence "Como pan", although I would say:

I eat bread. = Como pan.
I do eat bread. = Yo sí como pan.
I am eating bread. Como pan. / Estoy comiendo pan.

A notable difference between the two languages is how the simple present and present progressive are used.

—What are you doing?
—I'm eating bread.
I eat bread. (incorrect)

—¿Qué haces? (or ¿Qué estás haciendo?)
—Como pan.
—Estoy comiendo pan. (both are correct)

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