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Reflexive Constructions in Reciprocal Actions

 

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  #1  
Old May 31, 2010, 03:52 AM
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Question Reflexive Constructions in Reciprocal Actions

In my workbook, there is a section on reflexive constructions in reciprocal actions. They make a big deal about using an additional phrase if there is going to be confusion between doing something to oneself vs. doing something reciprocally to another. The phrases they give are "el uno al otro" (and variations based on gender & number) and "mutuamente".

When I did the exercises, I asked myself each time if it might be confusing whether the action in the sentence was being done to oneself or between subjects acting reciprocally. Apparently my answers were very, very wrong.

I will type the incorrect ones here and ask my questions:

1) Given English: We love each other.
My (incorrect answer): Nos amamos el uno al otro.
The corrected answer: Nos amamos.
My question: Wouldn't that mean "we love ourselves" without the "el uno al otro"?

4) Given English: They fight with each other.
My (incorrect answer): Ellos se pelean los unos con los otros.
The corrected answer: Ellos se pelean entre ellos.
My question: They never even presented that phrase. How was I supposed to know it? What is the difference between "los unos a los otros" and "entre ellos"?

7) Given English: Do you (Uds.) know each other?
My (incorrect answer): ¿Se conocen Uds. el uno al otro?
The corrected answer: ¿Se conocen Uds.?
My question: Wouldn't that mean "Do you know yourselves?" without the "el uno al otro"?

8) Given English: We do not write each other.
My (incorrect answer): No nos escribimos el uno al otro.
The corrected answer: No nos escribimos.
My question: Wouldn't that mean "we write to ourselves" without the "el uno al otro"?

9) Given English: Do you (vosotros) see each other?
My (incorrect answer): ¿Os veis el uno al otro?
The corrected answer: ¿Os veis?
My question: Again, wouldn't that mean "Do you see yourselves?" without the "el uno al otro"?

Obviously, my questions about #1, #7, #8, and #9 are pretty much the same thing. I'm quite frustrated because in an exercise of ten sentences, I only got one correct.
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  #2  
Old May 31, 2010, 04:55 AM
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Just because your answers are different, it doesn't mean they are necessarily wrong. My dictionary gives

they hate each other
se odian

they are always criticizing each other
siempre se están criticando el uno al otro.

Here the ambiguity could be that they are all being self critical, each one criticizing himself/herself so that the el uno al otro is for clarity. Adding it when not necessary may not be wrong.

Could se odian mean that they all hate themselves?
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  #3  
Old May 31, 2010, 04:59 AM
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I guess that's what I was thinking ... in my mind, "se odian" should mean "they hate themselves", and to mean, specifically, "they hate each other" you'd need to add the "el uno al otro". Hmmmmm....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
Just because your answers are different, it doesn't mean they are necessarily wrong.
I know that, but in these rote exercises, you would expect that a thinking person would get more than one or two right out of 10....
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Last edited by AngelicaDeAlquezar; May 31, 2010 at 08:23 AM. Reason: Merged back-to-back posts
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  #4  
Old May 31, 2010, 09:19 AM
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The addition of 'el uno al otro' is only there for clarity (or emphasis).
Even though the structures in question have two possible translations into English, context makes it clear which meaning was intended. If you take the sentences out of context, the additional phrase is needed. Thinking that the structures were out of context was the only thing "you did wrong." Good job!
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Old May 31, 2010, 09:35 AM
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Thanks for your answers, y'all (and for merging my posts, Malila...)

How about my question about #4.....?
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  #6  
Old May 31, 2010, 09:43 AM
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What you wrote on number 4 is fine. Entre ellos or entre sí (which is what I would have said) is just another alternative. Caution: the 'entre' phrase isn't always interchangeable with the 'uno al otro' phrase.
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Old May 31, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Thanks, Rusty - it's a bit frustrating when the section is ON "reciprocal actions" and they give certain options, and then have an answer key with other options that they never mentioned. I'm glad I have someone to ask (here), because if I didn't, I'd be really confused.... I like this workbook and am learning a LOT ... but this little thing that they do can be confusing....... THANKS!!
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  #8  
Old May 31, 2010, 10:00 AM
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You're welcome. I'm with you. Since there is often more than one way to say something, it's expected that a textbook won't always exhaust the possibilities, but I think it's silly that they gave an answer they didn't even explain in the first place. Maybe they were hoping you would hunt for an explanation and learn something new. Maybe they didn't want to shell out the extra bucks for the ink.
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Old May 31, 2010, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
In my workbook, there is a section on reflexive constructions in reciprocal actions. They make a big deal about using an additional phrase if there is going to be confusion between doing something to oneself vs. doing something reciprocally to another. The phrases they give are "el uno al otro" (and variations based on gender & number) and "mutuamente".

When I did the exercises, I asked myself each time if it might be confusing whether the action in the sentence was being done to oneself or between subjects acting reciprocally. Apparently my answers were very, very wrong.

I will type the incorrect ones here and ask my questions:

1) Given English: We love each other.
My (incorrect answer): Nos amamos el uno al otro.
The corrected answer: Nos amamos.
My question: Wouldn't that mean "we love ourselves" without the "el uno al otro"?

4) Given English: They fight with each other.
My (incorrect answer): Ellos se pelean los unos con los otros.
The corrected answer: Ellos se pelean entre ellos.
My question: They never even presented that phrase. How was I supposed to know it? What is the difference between "los unos a los otros" and "entre ellos"?

7) Given English: Do you (Uds.) know each other?
My (incorrect answer): ¿Se conocen Uds. el uno al otro?
The corrected answer: ¿Se conocen Uds.?
My question: Wouldn't that mean "Do you know yourselves?" without the "el uno al otro"?

8) Given English: We do not write each other.
My (incorrect answer): No nos escribimos el uno al otro.
The corrected answer: No nos escribimos.
My question: Wouldn't that mean "we write to ourselves" without the "el uno al otro"?

9) Given English: Do you (vosotros) see each other?
My (incorrect answer): ¿Os veis el uno al otro?
The corrected answer: ¿Os veis?
My question: Again, wouldn't that mean "Do you see yourselves?" without the "el uno al otro"?

Obviously, my questions about #1, #7, #8, and #9 are pretty much the same thing. I'm quite frustrated because in an exercise of ten sentences, I only got one correct.
That could means Nos amamos simply.

We love ourselves.
We love each other. Nos amamos unos al otro.
We love together. Nos juntos nos amamos.
We love us forever. Nos amamos para siempre.

Those are suggestions above.
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Old May 31, 2010, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrOtALiTo View Post
That could means Nos amamos simply.

We love ourselves. ("self-love")
We love each other. ("love between people")
We love together. (Not something that is said in English.)
We love us forever. (Not something that is said in English.)

Those are suggestions above.
Thanks, Crotalito. I've included a couple of comments.
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