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En la casa estaban mis padres y mis primos

 

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  #1  
Old April 04, 2013, 12:26 AM
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En la casa estaban mis padres y mis primos

How do we traslate estaban in this sentence

In thehouse there were my parents and my cousins.
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  #2  
Old April 04, 2013, 12:59 AM
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My parents and my cousins were in the house.
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Old April 04, 2013, 02:29 AM
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I was wondering why @Robin asked such an obvious question, until I realized that to be is irregular in the imperfect tense. The English imperfect has the form of 'was/were + present participle', so

cantaban = they were singing.

You would thus expect estaban = were being , but the being is omitted. I'll stick my neck out and say to be is the only verb that does that.

(This refers to to be as the main verb, not an auxiliary in the passive voice as in 'the guests were being asked to leave')

Crystal clear?
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Old April 04, 2013, 08:22 AM
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But "were being" = estaban siendo

See the diff?
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Old April 05, 2013, 08:36 AM
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Robin, your translation is not wrong, just a little unsual, but you may hear it in common speech.

If being questioned (perhaps by a suspicious wife)
question: Who was at the house?

answer: Let me see. At the house there were (often you will hear was instead) my brother and his two kids.

My question is : en lugar de decir en mi casa habian mis padres.
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Last edited by poli; April 05, 2013 at 08:40 AM.
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Old April 05, 2013, 11:45 AM
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@Poli: In Spanish we wouldn't say "habían mis padres".
We use this "haber" only for objects (or a group of people that can be considered so anonymous that it can become an object).

Había una casa.
Hay unos muebles.
Habrá una guerra.
Hubo cientos de muertos.
Habría más gente en la calle, pero hace mucho calor.
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Old April 05, 2013, 01:26 PM
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También lo usamos cuando contamos un cuento:

«Había una vez, hace mucho, mucho tiempo, una princesa que vivía feliz en el próspero reino de su padre... y digo princesa, por no decir "infanta", y porque esto no es más que el ejemplo del inicio de un cuento recuento, que nunca se acaba...» (Todo parecido que hubiera con la realidad política de España sería mera coincidencia...)
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Old April 05, 2013, 03:29 PM
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Old April 06, 2013, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
I was wondering why @Robin asked such an obvious question, until I realized that to be is irregular in the imperfect tense. The English imperfect has the form of 'was/were + present participle', so

cantaban = they were singing.

You would thus expect estaban = were being , but the being is omitted. I'll stick my neck out and say to be is the only verb that does that.

(This refers to to be as the main verb, not an auxiliary in the passive voice as in 'the guests were being asked to leave')

Crystal clear?
I really asked that question because of the word order, in Spanish we say en la casa estaban también mis primos y mis abuelos, and a long long time ago I read something about it in English, if you want to highlight the complement, en la casa you place it at the beginning of the sentence.
My question was is it possible to say:
In the house there were my cousins and grandparents too.
If my memory says me right, I read sth about inversion too, but in this sentence I don´t see the way to invert it, because if I say
In the house were ( there) my cousins and grandparents too, it doesnt sount right too me.
Thanks Perikles !
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Old April 06, 2013, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBINDESBOIS View Post
I really asked that question because of the word order, in Spanish we say en la casa estaban también mis primos y mis abuelos, and a long long time ago I read something about it in English, if you want to highlight the complement, en la casa you place it at the beginning of the sentence.
My question was is it possible to say:
In the house there were my cousins and grandparents too.
If my memory says me right serves me correctly, I read sth about inversion too, but in this sentence I don´t see the way to invert it, because if I say
In the house were ( there) my cousins and grandparents too, it doesnt sount right too me.
Thanks Perikles !
Not wrong, but unusual, probably literary or poetic. The inversion is possible in this case, but I'm having difficulty thinking of an instance when you would use it.

We had surrounded the house where the murderers were hiding. Somebody said we should set light to it, but I managed to dissuade them because in the house were my cousins and grandparents too.
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