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Could use some help with direct objects

 

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  #1  
Old May 25, 2017, 04:31 PM
wmoran wmoran is offline
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Could use some help with direct objects

I'm pretty novice. I'm using duolingo as my primary learning tool, looking around online and in some books when duolingo can't help.

I'm mystified by sentences in the following form that duolingo asks me to translate:
Yo la quiero a ella
Yo la quiero
Apparently both of these translate to "I like her"

I've gone through the lessons more than once each, trying to infer what the difference is between those two forms. Can someone help me out by explaining why there are two forms and when I would use one over the other?
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  #2  
Old May 25, 2017, 05:52 PM
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Pronouns are fairly weak and ambiguous in Spanish requiring context or clarification to be understood correctly. The a ellareference makes sure that you are referring to a female and not any other female gendered object like box or chair.

In English there is a similar clarification used with the pronoun you (plural). Predominantly in southern USA they say you all when referring to a group of people. The use of all is similar to the a ella.
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Old May 25, 2017, 06:00 PM
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The feminine direct object pronoun 'la' can mean 'her' or some other noun that is feminine, so there is sometimes a need to clarify the reference by adding the direct object 'a ella'. When 'querer' is used with a person as its object, the translation is 'love'. When 'querer' is used with a thing, the translation is 'want'.

In your case, both sentences mean 'I love her'. The direct object wasn't stated in the second case because it was obvious to those involved in the conversation that 'la' meant 'her' and not 'it'.

You must add the direct object when the meaning would otherwise be ambiguous. This occurs in the third person only. There's no confusion in the other persons.

By the way, there's no need to specify the subject pronoun 'yo' because the verb ending conveys that information.

So, if the conversationalists have already established that they're talking about a girl, "La quiero" is all that is needed to say, "I love her."
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Old May 26, 2017, 04:31 AM
wmoran wmoran is offline
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Thank you. That clears that up for me.

I'm assuming that "Quiero a ella" is not a valid construct, grammatically? The "la" seems redundant in this case, but I'm assuming it's still required?
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Old May 26, 2017, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmoran View Post
I'm assuming that "Quiero a ella" is not a valid construct, grammatically?
Yes, it's not valid, therefore...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmoran View Post
The "la" seems redundant in this case, but I'm assuming it's still required?
... [that "la"] can't be redundant. If something is so, it's "a ella".

Quiero un lápiz (I want a pencil)
Quiero ese lápiz (I want that pencil)
Quiero ése (I want that one)
Lo quiero (I want it <the pencil we're talking about>)
Lo quiero a él [horrible! absolutely wrong! a pencil is not a person]

La quiero (I love her)
La quiero a ella ("I love her", as opposed to "I love a different woman", context dependent)
La quiero a ella ("I want her [in my team]", default meaning)
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Old May 27, 2017, 01:50 AM
wmoran wmoran is offline
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Still confused

"Quiero a ella" is clearly referring to "her"
"La quiero" could refer to anything feminine
So, why is the former incorrect and the latter not?

To make matters worse, Duolingo is now accepting both of the following as valid translations of "I eat an apple":
"Me como una manzana"
"Como una manzana"
Is Duolingo correct? If so, what is the difference?
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Old May 27, 2017, 04:36 AM
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Spanish doesn't allow 'a ella' without there first being an object pronoun in the clause.

As to your second question, there is a difference between 'como' and 'me como'.

Como una manzana. = I'm eating an apple. ('I eat', 'I do eat', and 'I will soon eat' are also possible translations)

Me como una manzana. = I'm gobbling up an apple. ('I gobble up', 'I do gobble up' and 'I will soon gobble up' are also possible translations)

A pronominal verb - like 'comerse', conjugated in your case as 'me como' - always has a different meaning than the non-pronominal form ('comer').
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Old May 27, 2017, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmoran View Post
Still confused

"Quiero a ella" is clearly referring to "her"
"La quiero" could refer to anything feminine
So, why is the former incorrect and the latter not?
"Quiero a ella" doesn't exist and it's clearly referring to nothing as it is English, not Spanish.

You're just trying to pass the mental structures associated to English into Spanish.

English is a simple language with not a lot of rules, and to communicate using it you have to pay special attention to word order. Then

"her love" means the noun love, a thing that she is feeling, while

"love her!" can be understood as a command for you to have amorous feelings for her, or an informal way to say "(I) love her!":

-I've just seen Taylor Swift shopping in the mall!
-Love her!

Such flexibility for word use yet rigidity for word order are almost unknown in Spanish, a far more articulated -in the grammatical sense- language hence quite flexible and very rich to express lot of notions by using grammatical means and not a lot of vocabulary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmoran View Post
To make matters worse, Duolingo is now accepting both of the following as valid translations of "I eat an apple":
"Me como una manzana"
"Como una manzana"
Is Duolingo correct? If so, what is the difference?
"Como una manzana" is a mechanical act of eating an apple performed in the present by me, said as if I was an observer (it sounds a bit robotic when that phrase is applied to oneself). "Me como una manzana" means the same, but it involves not only the physical aspects of such activity, but the physiological and psychological ones.

What Rusty explained on these examples is valid, though a tiny bit hyperbolic, or better said, a way to explain it to extreme beginners. It points exactly to the same: English uses vocabulary (eat/gobble) while Spanish uses grammar and less vocabulary.
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