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de que se trata...


An idiom is an expression whose meaning is not readily apparent based on the individual words in the expression. This forum is dedicated to discussing idioms and other sayings.

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Old April 30, 2008, 09:17 AM
Marcos Marcos is offline
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de que se trata...

Buenos dias a todos,

Estaba platicando con un amigo de Guadalajara por MSN y el escribio "de que se trata."

I did not understand this phrase at all, even in the context of our conversation. I am a novice Spanish speaker so my apologies if this is something very basic.

I only came across this site 2 weeks ago but I have found it to be a tremendous resource. Thanks to all who contribute and make this such a wonderful place to learn.
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Old April 30, 2008, 09:44 AM
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Rusty Rusty is online now
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De qué se trata can mean what's it about. It would be nice if you could provide us with a little more context.

¿De qué se trata la vida? = What's life about? -or- What's the meaning of life?

Last edited by Rusty; April 30, 2008 at 10:44 AM.
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Old April 30, 2008, 10:45 AM
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Tomisimo Tomisimo is offline
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Hi Marcos, and welcome to the forums!

Rusty's right on with the translation. The verb tratarse de algo means to be about something.
This book is about politics.
Este libro se trata de la política.
As a side note, I *think* that in other places, namely Spain, you can use tratar (non-reflexive) with the same meaning:
Este libro trata de la política.
Sosia, Alfonso, María etc correct me on this if I'm wrong.
If you find something wrong with my Spanish, please correct it!
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Old April 30, 2008, 11:11 AM
Alfonso Alfonso is offline
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You are right David. In Spain you wouldn't say el libro se trata de política but el libro trata de política.

However, it's very common the expression ¿De qué se trata? Meaning what do you want to tell me? But this is a very specific use of this verb, only with this expression:
  • Tengo algo que decirte.
  • Dime, ¿de qué se trata?
Better than a reflexive verb, I would say that tratarse is a pronominal one, since it doesn't convey any meaning of reflexiveness.
I welcome all corrections to my English.
Salu2 desde Madrid,
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Old April 30, 2008, 12:55 PM
Marcos Marcos is offline
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Wow, thank you all for such informative and quick responses! I was chatting with a friend that I have not talked to in awhile and going through the normal questions, how's life, what are you up to, dating anyone, etc. when he wrote the phrase in question.

Based on what I remember, it seems that Alfonso's response probably works the best in this context. Sometimes when I'm writing in Spanish I'm a little slow getting all of my thoughts out because I have to use my limited Spanish vocabulary and grammar to get out the more complex thoughts and ideas that I have in English. Thus, I could have started to say something, taken a long pause and been hit by my friend with 'de que se trata...'

Sin embargo, aprendi mucho hoy, y gracias a todos! Es un placer estar aqui
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