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  #1  
Old July 06, 2022, 09:44 PM
elchocoano elchocoano is offline
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Question on echarle el ojo a ...

I'm reading "La Zorra y las uvas" by Guillermo Cabrera Infante. I'm having trouble analyzing this example of "echarle el ojo":

"le echó el ojo a unas uvas ..."

(the fox) glanced at some grapes.

My question is: is the indirect object, le, referring to "a unas uvas"? If so, why does the pronoun not agree in number with its noun? That is, wouldn't we use "les" instead of "le"?

Or am I off track completely, and "a las uvas" has nothing to do with the "le" of echarle el ojo?

Thanks for any insight.
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  #2  
Old July 07, 2022, 07:55 AM
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Technically, 'les' should have been used because the referent is plural, as you pointed out.
What you've discovered is either a typographical or grammatical error.
You'll most likely find plenty of other grammatical errors like this, especially when there is a verbal locution in play. Errors are made in all languages.
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Old July 07, 2022, 11:49 AM
elchocoano elchocoano is offline
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Thanks, Rusty. I just had an idea that might explain this apparent typo/error. Could Cabrera Infante have deliberately used the singular, le, because the grapes were in a single cluster, and the fox would therefore have glanced at a single object?

The use of "le" seems to have been in the original collection "Exorcismos de esti(l)o", Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1976.
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Old July 08, 2022, 02:19 PM
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AngelicaDeAlquezar AngelicaDeAlquezar is offline
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I agree with Rusty that this is an error. However, many native speakers make it, and it's become a part of daily language. Many people don't even realize it's an error, and avoid "les" believing "le" sounds more educated. Go figure.

- Le dije a los niños que vengan a comer. (It should be "les dije".)
- No le echaste agua a las plantas. (Correct: "no les echaste".)
- ¿Por qué se enojan conmigo, si no le hice nada a los perros? ("No les hice nada".)
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Old July 08, 2022, 04:49 PM
elchocoano elchocoano is offline
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Very good. I'm so happy that I asked these two questions about the indirect object pronoun, as my lingering concerns have been cleared up.

I am now assured that agreement in number in the third person is technically correct, but that I can expect to see this rule violated and should not be concerned when I do.
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Old July 08, 2022, 07:39 PM
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Exactly. Foreign languages are disconcerting, but we just have to "flow" with them.
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