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Ser un negado para ...

 

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Old July 28, 2017, 07:37 AM
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Ser un negado para ...

I've found dictionaries to be imprecise, when not plain wrong about the term "negado".

Ser un negado / ser un trabajador negado do mean to be skill-less or unskillful. It means to have no talent or skill.

But "ser un negado para..." just means not being gifted or even average for some specific activity. It's use is pretty colloquial. Some uneducated people would replace negado by torpe, because they are only used to skills of the physical kind. Negado covers any physical or intellectual activity.

Is there some equivalent in English for "ser un negado para..." other than those all-encompassing unforgiving highly wrong "hopeless, useless, a dead loss" I've found?

Just think negado is meant to work by subtraction, that means some lack of specific talents caught our attention just among the whole set of abilities the person has. To be clear, this example "tiene buena entonación, buena potencia, pero cuando se trata de ritmo, es un negado" (my approximate translation: "he's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he's really wanting") to depict a person who won't succeed in the music industry.

"Es un negado para todo" is an elaborated work-around to soften the blow and say someone is useless.
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  #2  
Old July 28, 2017, 08:07 AM
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to be inept at something

to suck at something
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Old August 04, 2017, 12:54 PM
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Thanks, Rusty.

I had thought of "to suck at something" as the closest match, but there's always a competitive edge and denigration floating all around this kind of English expression. Sort of calling for-eyes the sight handicapped as if it is their fault.

Expressions in Spanish lack such negative charge, or they have it toned down. Another closely related expression is "no se me da/n". It's right for me tell "los idiomas no se me dan" and I had to do a triple effort to learn some English "porque soy medio negado". Those phrases in Spanish continue to be true, but I don't think "I suck at English". In fact I'm proud of what I've achieved as dozens of other intellectual activities have been pretty easy to me, but overcoming my troubles with languages by adapting my brain to the task has been far more rewarding.
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Old August 04, 2017, 07:36 PM
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aleC, Do any of these help?

He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s lacking.
He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s unpolished.
He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s a little off.
He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s way off.
He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s unskilled.
He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s inadequate.
He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s deficient.

A little more coloquial:

He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he just hasn’t got it.
(Where I come from, we would say, he just ain’t got it!)

He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he comes up short.

He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s a little behind.

He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s not up to scratch.

He's got good pitch, a powerful voice, but when it comes to rhythm, he’s not up to par.
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Old August 06, 2017, 10:27 AM
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Thank you, Bobbert.

Certainly, they are all good to describe that from the point of view of an external observer, but I think I'm facing here another untranslatable cultural thing. Expressions in Spanish tend to describe defects as an internal process, hence you can use "ser un negado" to describe a person that may try something and come short, in spite of their powerful will. That's why you can say "soy un negado para esto" without falling into the winner-loser dialectics so popular in the USA.

Maybe my problem is I parse every instance of English indicative as if it is Spanish indicative and give too much credit and weight to what is said in English. The English verbal system is more elastic. In "ser un negado", the use of the only substantive verb means I have to take full responsibility for what I say. That is also true for English in some way, that why I often suggest the use of E-Prime in opinion forums, which existence I learnt from fellow forum user wrholt.
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Old August 07, 2017, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
to be inept at something

to suck at something
Un "negado" es uno incapaz de hacer una determinada cosa.

Han habido famosos escritores que se han declarado "negados" para la poesia.
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Old August 07, 2017, 07:26 AM
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I don't see why the suggested English phrases can't be used to describe un negado. They appear to work well in my mind.

Let's add "to not have the knack for something" to the list. This also indicates an inability to do something.
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Old August 07, 2017, 08:14 AM
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I really like that. "To not have the knack for..." works exactly the same way as "negado...", by subtraction.
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Old August 07, 2017, 02:37 PM
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Most commonly people say, I'm not good at, or I'm good at (I'm good at tennis but I'm not good at golf.)
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Old August 07, 2017, 02:42 PM
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The difference in Spanish is the degree:

No soy bueno para los idiomas. (the result is a poor performance)
Soy un negado para los idiomas. (the result is the absence of any performance -or a pee-pee-poor performance-)
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