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Cuando una pregunta utiliza la palabra "usted"

 

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  #1  
Old January 26, 2009, 08:15 PM
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Cuando una pregunta utiliza la palabra "usted"

I am using a purchased software package to learn Spanish. I feel like I am learning a LOT! One thing that I have not been able to follow is the use of the word "usted" in a question. For example, sometimes they will state the question like this: "¿Cuándo escribe usted?" or "¿Dónde lee usted?" And other times they will state the question like this: "¿Usted cuándo escribe?" or "¿Usted dónde escribe?"

Is there a difference? Because I have been getting questions wrong (which is very upsetting for a perfectionist like me!) and I am frustrated because it seems like the two constructions have been used interchangeably.

If there is a difference, what is that difference? How do I know when to put the "usted" at the beginning of the sentence, and how do I know when to put it elsewhere?

¡Muchas gracias por su respuesta en inglés!
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  #2  
Old January 26, 2009, 09:36 PM
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The subject of a question can go either at the end or the beginning of a question, before or after the verb. That being said, most people teach that the subject follows the verb in a question, but I've heard that rule broken hundreds of times.

If the subject is a pronoun, like usted, it can be omitted entirely once established.
In the constructions you posted that contain dónde or cuándo, the up-front placement of the subject pronoun seems to be an attention grabber, but is grammatically the same as placing the subject pronoun after the verb. This seems to be a more popular placement, however.

I believe these sentences are all equivalent:
¿Dónde nació? (if the subject is understood)
¿Dónde nació usted?
¿Usted dónde nació?
(y) usted, ¿dónde nació?
¿Dónde usted nació?
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Old January 27, 2009, 01:12 AM
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All the sentences of Rusty are equivalent, except "¿Dónde usted nació?" . I have never heard it so.
I usually say the "usted" first when I try to catch the attention of the person
-"Disculpe, ¿Usted quien es?"
I usually say it after or don't say anything (but using "usted" forms).
"¿Le están atendiendo?" "¿De donde viene?" "¿Lleva usted mucho tiempo esperando?"
"¿Le gusta la ciudad?""¿Le gusta a usted la ciudad?"

Saludos
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Old January 27, 2009, 02:59 AM
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Thanks, Rusty & Sosia.

As usual, Sosia, my Spanish can't keep up with your examples. Please translate for me: ¿Lleva usted mucho tiempo esperando?

Thank you!
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Old January 27, 2009, 09:45 AM
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¿Lleva usted mucho tiempo esperando?

Have you along time waiting it?

My attempt.
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Old January 27, 2009, 09:49 AM
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Crotalito, Sosia's sentence is translated Have you been waiting long? -or- Have you been waiting a long time?
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Old January 27, 2009, 09:57 AM
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Okis, I made it up, I'm sorry, Have you been waiting a long time?

Yes, it make sence for me.

Thank again.
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Old January 27, 2009, 01:53 PM
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I LOVE that we all learn from asking AND answering questions. Luis - you inspire me to be LESS self conscious about attempting to use my Spanish because you are ALWAYS out there with your English and are happy to be corrected. THANK YOU!
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Old January 27, 2009, 02:22 PM
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You're welcome.

You know, I try to do the best of myself.
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