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Prepositional Objects and Indirect Object Pronouns

 

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  #1  
Old February 19, 2009, 07:40 PM
danimalis danimalis is offline
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Prepositional Objects and Indirect Object Pronouns

I'm pretty clear on the basic use of indirect object pronouns, except for one thing: there relation to prepositional objects when using a preposition other than "a". I've studied in Bolvia, read the RAE definition of "a" and "para" (in spanish, so I could very well have missed something), looked at some other websites and asked my teacher here in California, and I still get conflicting answers.

So, to put it simply: Is it correct to use an indirect object pronoun in conjunction with, or in place of, a prepositional object?

Are the following sentences both equivalent and equally as correct?

"Juan compró el libro para Eva."
"Juan le compró el libro para Eva."
"Juan le compró el libro."

This site says it's correct to use "le" in conjunction with "para", but my professor says otherwise.

Muchas gracias!
Daniel
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  #2  
Old February 19, 2009, 09:03 PM
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The first sentence is translated: John bought the book for Eva.
(Eva is not an indirect object in this sentence. This sentence is written in the accusative case - only a direct object exists. The prepositional phrase tells us that the book was intended for Eva.) Compare with 'Juan compró el libro por Eva.' ('John bought the book because of Eva.' i.e., at her behest.)

The second sentence doesn't mean the same thing as the first. This time, Eva is an indirect object, but she is the second indirect object. Comprar is special; it can have two indirect objects a la vez. The indirect object pronoun le does not refer to Eva at all, but to another, unnamed person. The translation of the second sentence is: John bought the book from him/her for Eva.
If we add 'a David', we unmask the unknown person: Juan le compró a David el libro para Eva. (John bought the book from David to give to Eva.)

The third sentence is ambiguous. We don't know who the indirect object pronoun refers to. This sentence actually has two translations, both with an ambiguous indirect object.
First Translation: John bought the book for him/her.
Second Translation: John bought the book from him/her.

If we add 'a Eva', we clarify who the indirect object is.
So, 'Juan le compró el libro a Eva,' means either of these:
First Translation: John bought the book for Eva.
Second Translation: John bought the book from Eva.

Hope this helped.

Last edited by Rusty; February 19, 2009 at 09:37 PM. Reason: Clarification
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  #3  
Old February 19, 2009, 09:30 PM
danimalis danimalis is offline
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Hope this helped.
Yes, actually it helped quite a bit. Your explanation is the clearest I've heard yet. Thanks you very much!
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Old February 19, 2009, 09:40 PM
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Old February 20, 2009, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
The first sentence is translated: John bought the book for Eva.
(Eva is not an indirect object in this sentence. This sentence is written in the accusative case - only a direct object exists. The prepositional phrase tells us that the book was intended for Eva.) Compare with 'Juan compró el libro por Eva.' ('John bought the book because of Eva.' i.e., at her behest.)

The second sentence doesn't mean the same thing as the first. This time, Eva is an indirect object, but she is the second indirect object. Comprar is special; it can have two indirect objects a la vez. The indirect object pronoun le does not refer to Eva at all, but to another, unnamed person. The translation of the second sentence is: John bought the book from him/her for Eva.
If we add 'a David', we unmask the unknown person: Juan le compró a David el libro para Eva. (John bought the book from David to give to Eva.)

The third sentence is ambiguous. We don't know who the indirect object pronoun refers to. This sentence actually has two translations, both with an ambiguous indirect object.
First Translation: John bought the book for him/her.
Second Translation: John bought the book from him/her.

If we add 'a Eva', we clarify who the indirect object is.
So, 'Juan le compró el libro a Eva,' means either of these:
First Translation: John bought the book for Eva.
Second Translation: John bought the book from Eva.

Hope this helped.
And in the case that Juan compró el libro a Eva, meaning that Juan bought the book to Eva?

Is that correct and in the context in which it was asked?

I ask this because it confuses me this "to".


Hernan.
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Old February 20, 2009, 11:47 AM
danimalis danimalis is offline
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And in the case that Juan compró el libro a Eva, meaning that Juan bought the book to Eva?
I think in the case of "a" it must be taken in context of the verb with which it's used. Like Speedy said, for comprar, it can be slightly ambiguous because it can have one of two meanings. In many cases, it cannot be translated into a literal English "to".

However, I'm just learning like you are, so please consider the source.
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Old February 20, 2009, 11:54 AM
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The sentence Chileno wrote lacks an indirect object pronoun, which must be present. The prepositional phrase beginning with 'a' is used to emphasize or clarify who the indirect object pronoun refers to. The 'a' isn't always translated as 'to', as you said.
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Old February 20, 2009, 12:17 PM
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An interesting side note is that "Juan le compró comida a Eva" can mean he bought food for Eva or he bought it from Eva.
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Old February 20, 2009, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tomisimo View Post
An interesting side note is that "Juan le compró comida a Eva" can mean he bought food for Eva or he bought it from Eva.
Exactly. :-)

So what now?

Hernan
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Old February 20, 2009, 03:51 PM
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Dearest Hernán.... I am attempting to ignore this thread............
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