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Old June 25, 2020, 05:28 AM
fglorca fglorca is offline
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Personal 'a'

Are my explanation and examples below correct?
We don’t use the personal ‘a’ in these four below, as the person is unknown, and has become ‘depersonalised’:
• Necesito una novia que siempre diga la verdad.
• Esperábamos que ella consiguiera un nuevo novio.
• El candidato esperaba hallar más personas quienes pudieran ser convencidas a estar de acuerdo con él.
• Él espera encontrar un candidato que sea honesto.

These four, are thererfore incorrect:
• Necesito ‘a’ una novia que siempre diga la verdad.
• Esperábamos que ella consiguiera ‘a’ un nuevo novio.
• El candidato esperaba hallar ‘a’ más personas quienes pudieran ser convencidas a estar de acuerdo con él.
• Él espera encontrar ‘a’ un candidato que sea honesto.

However, I noticed the following in an episode of Casa de Papel:
Nairobi says:
“Les presento al Señor Bogotá, que va a elegir ‘a’ cuatro voluntarios”.
Is this incorrect, or is it correct, and compulsory, because there is a definite number of people in front of the speaker from which to choose?

Many thanks.
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  #2  
Old July 08, 2020, 05:34 PM
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Tomisimo Tomisimo is offline
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Here's my understanding of how it works. You use the personal "a" for people (or things that you want to personify, especially pets) when you are referring to a specific person, even if you don't know that person, or even know who they are.

Necesito al médico. -- This uses the personal "a" because it refers to a specific doctor. For example, you're at a campground and you know there is supposed to be a doctor or two present, and you're referring to one of those two.

Necesito un mécido. -- No personal "a" here because any doctor will do and you're not referring to any one in particular.

So, in your examples (Busco un novio./Busco un candidato./Busco un voluntario.), you usually don't use the personal "a" because you're not referring to a specific person. But you could conceivably say "Busco a un voluntario" jokingly while looking at the person who you want to be the volunteer, and that works because you're actually thinking of a specific person.
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Old July 15, 2020, 02:34 AM
fglorca fglorca is offline
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Thanks so much.
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Old July 17, 2020, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomisimo View Post
But you could conceivably say "Busco a un voluntario" jokingly while looking at the person who you want to be the volunteer, and that works because you're actually thinking of a specific person.

After re-reading this, I'm not 100% sure on this. Are there any native speakers that agree?
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Old July 27, 2020, 07:54 PM
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This is hard, so I'll try to explain what I understand from the Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas:

With verbs that imply a preference or need like "buscar", "necesitar", "preferir", "querer", "desear", etc., if you don't use a preposition, it means you are talking about just any person.

"Necesito una novia que siempre diga la verdad" -> You don't need "a", because this is not a specific person, and since there is an implied uncertainty about whom this person may be, you must use the subjunctive. Yet, you must say: "Necesito a una novia que siempre dice la verdad", because you already know who this person is.

When you have transitive verbs like "conseguir", "hallar", "encontrar", "llevar", "traer", "contratar", as well as verbs that imply a perception like "ver" or "conocer" and verbs, the preposition may or may not be used, but you may use it as a hint showing whether or not you are talking about a specific person. Same with verbs like "elegir", "escoger", etc.
Therefore, in the TV example, the preposition may or may not be used. If I should justify the use of the preposition, this should be, as you said, because there is a specific group of people from where these volunteers will be chosen.


Side note:

• El candidato esperaba hallar más personas que pudieran ser convencidas de estar de acuerdo con él.
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