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It was so close.

 

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Old August 08, 2015, 01:13 AM
jfalner jfalner is offline
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It was so close.

English/French bilingual here, but very little knowledge of Spanish. Having trouble determining the correct translation of a rather simple sentence, and was hoping for a little help.

The sentence is, "It was so close." Translation engines have provided me with, "Que estaba tan cerca", "Estaba tan cerca", and similar possibilities. But examining the conjugation of the verb ser, it would appear the proper translation would be "Fue tan cerca."

The dialect would be Mexican Spanish, if that makes a difference, and the thing being referenced is of indeterminate sex (neutral, instead of masculine or feminine). Can anyone help here (and if possible, explain why there is such variance in the possible translations)?

Much thanks!
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  #2  
Old August 08, 2015, 05:58 AM
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It would be helpful to have more context.

Is the sentence about the location of a tangible object near the speaker, or is it a reference to a situation where something almost happened?
Is the sentence describing the location or event, whichever it is, in a narrative, among other things that were transpiring, or is it describing something that happened and is over?
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Old August 08, 2015, 07:09 AM
jfalner jfalner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
It would be helpful to have more context.
I was hoping I had anticipated that.

The full context is of a Mexican female, who is describing being startled by something she saw. She can't identify exactly what she saw, despite being separated from it by only a few feet.

So it was a tangible object in near proximity, to answer your first question. She is describing the incident to another person after the fact, and makes this observation about how close the unknown object was during their discussion. So for your second question, I believe you would consider the incident as already having happened and now over.

Gotta love the intricacies of language.
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Old August 08, 2015, 09:02 AM
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aleCcowaN aleCcowaN is offline
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"...so close" marks position or location, so "to be/être" has to come from "estar" and not from "ser". "Estuvo tan cerca" or "estaba tan cerca" depends on the meaning of the phrase in the context of the paragraph.

"Estaba tan cerca" sounds like it's part of the telling of a story and this bit is describing its physical context. "Estuvo tan cerca" sounds as a conclusion, to wrap the story up or express the relief it's over and the potential unknown risk is gone.
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Old August 08, 2015, 07:56 PM
jfalner jfalner is offline
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Thank you!

Odd—the forums are suddenly not allowing me to quote the previous message. So we'll do it the hard way:

Quote:
"Estaba tan cerca" sounds like it's part of the telling of a story and this bit is describing its physical context.
I believe that's what I'm looking for, then. I'm still not sure I quite understand the difference between estaba and estuvo, and that's something I'll definitely have to read up on. But this should allow me to proceed with an accurate translation, and the help is ever so appreciated!
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Old August 08, 2015, 08:16 PM
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For this case, it seems to me that the tense difference is the same between "c'était" and "ça a été", so I think you can choose easily what is better for your story.
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Old August 09, 2015, 02:08 PM
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C'est vrai, AngelicaDeAlquezar. I'm beginning to think I should have listened to my college French teacher, who encouraged me to take Spanish as a third language. I declined, saying I'd never have any need for it.

Again, thanks for the help, all!
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