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Comprar + preposición

 

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  #1  
Old January 17, 2011, 05:51 AM
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Question Comprar + preposición

I have in front of me the following sentence: Él compra los vegetales a su tía.

Does this mean that he bought vegetables to be received by his aunt? Or does it mean that he bought vegetables from his aunt?

I am looking at a bilingual dictionary, and I can't tell...

Would you ever say: Él compra los vegetales por su tía. (his aunt receives them)
Or: Él compra los vegetales de su tía. (his aunt sold them)
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  #2  
Old January 17, 2011, 07:14 AM
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This will help:

comprar [A1] verbo transitivo
A ‹casa/regalo/comida› to buy, purchase (formal); comprarle algo a alguien (a quien lo vende) to buy something from somebody; (a quien lo recibe) to buy something for somebody; le compré estas flores a una gitana I bought these flowers from o (familiar) off a gypsy; ¿quieres vender el coche? ¡te lo compro! do you want to sell your car? I'll buy it from you!; les compré caramelos a los niños I bought the children some candy, I bought some candy for the children; se lo voy a comprar para su cumpleaños I'm going to buy it for his birthday; comprar algo al por menor or al detalle to buy o purchase something retail; las compran al por mayor they buy o purchase them wholesale; comprar dólares a plazo fijo to buy dollars forward

Edit: that doesn't help at all. It could mean either.

Last edited by Perikles; January 17, 2011 at 07:17 AM.
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  #3  
Old January 17, 2011, 07:18 AM
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laepelba laepelba is offline
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Thanks, Perikles. Those are the examples I saw, too. And they confuse me more. "a" is "to"? Or is it "from"? In the first two lines of your entry, it seems to be both. So is it used for both? And you have to tell from the context who is the seller or who is the recipient?
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Old January 17, 2011, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
So is it used for both? And you have to tell from the context who is the seller or who is the recipient?
That is what I'm guessing. Which is the more likely - he has an elderly aunt who can't go shopping, so he buys things for her OR the aunt has a farm and sells vegetable to him. These days, the former I guess. We need expert help.
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Old January 17, 2011, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
That is what I'm guessing. Which is the more likely - he has an elderly aunt who can't go shopping, so he buys things for her OR the aunt has a farm and sells vegetable to him. These days, the former I guess. We need expert help.
I agree (about the expert help). I could make similar arguments about other examples given ... for example, do you buy candy for children, or are there kids who are selling candy for a fundraiser, so you buy candy from them?
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Old January 17, 2011, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
I have in front of me the following sentence: Él compra los vegetales a su tía.

Does this mean that he bought vegetables to be received by his aunt? Or does it mean that he bought vegetables from his aunt?

I am looking at a bilingual dictionary, and I can't tell...

Would you ever say: Él compra los vegetales por para su tía. (his aunt receives them)
Or: Él compra los vegetales de su tía. (his aunt sold them)
I know this is a book thing, but the use of "vegetales" is wrong. In Spanish, "vegetal" doesn't refer only to edible plants and fruits, but to every plant and tree and their fruits, including poisonous and non-edible ones. In México the best word is "verduras".

As for the sentence itself, Perikles' examples actually show that the sentence is indeed amphibological ambiguous.

...and thinking it over, all of these sentences, except "compra para su tía" are ambiguous.

"Él compra las verduras por su tía" could be understood as if he's buying them because she asked him to do it in her place, but it could also mean he's buying them because of her (she might be insisting on his buying them).

"Él compra las verduras de su tía" is also ambiguous, as we cannot know if she sells them or if he buys them to give them to her.


La tía de Juan está enferma y no puede salir a comprar verduras, así que Juan se las compra.
La tía de Juan vende verduras, así que Juan se las compra.
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  #7  
Old January 17, 2011, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelicaDeAlquezar View Post
As for the sentence itself, Perikles' examples actually show that the sentence is indeed amphibological ambiguous. .
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