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Quick por vs. para question for a native ENGLISH speaker, please

 

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  #1  
Old February 06, 2012, 01:35 PM
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Question Quick por vs. para question for a native ENGLISH speaker, please

Rusty or Perikles or Elaina - this would be a perfect question for one of you guys... A native Spanish-speaking friend has been asking me about the following.

The sentence is: El cajero pregunta por ti. Necesita tu firma.

Why is it POR and not PARA?

The list of reasons for por vs. para that my friend gave me is:

Por:
Action (reason or motive)
Transportation
Exchange
Movement (by, along, near, through)
Proximity of location or time
Time (general por la mañana)
Errand (purpose of errand)
Duration

Para:
Purpose
Work
Recipient
Career (being studied)
Opinion
Relationship/Comparison
Deadline/due date
Destination
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  #2  
Old February 06, 2012, 03:21 PM
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This usage means 'ask for/after someone', and is correct.
I would classify it as an 'action' with a motive/purpose.

FYI, if someone calls (at the door or by telephone), looking for you, and someone else has answered, they could also say 'te busca'.
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  #3  
Old February 06, 2012, 03:25 PM
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You're wonderful, Rusty! Thanks!!
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Old February 06, 2012, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
I would classify it as an 'action' with a motive/purpose.
The Oxford dictionary has a similar example and also classifies it as purpose. I think the conclusion is that the list needs slight amendment.
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  #5  
Old February 07, 2012, 01:43 AM
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Another way of looking at it is possibly collocations. Certain verbs are used in combination with certain prepositions, without any clear logical explanation. In this respect English may be worse than Spanish. So preguntar + por, or + sobre or + acerca, depending on shade of meaning.

This doesn't explain anything though, if you need a logical rule.
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Old February 07, 2012, 04:42 AM
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Thanks everyone - Perikles, that is actually quite freeing - that there may not be any "logical" reason why it's "por" other than it's a collocation. I enjoy learning collocations and which verbs are typically used with which prepositions. I have whole lists of them.....
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Old February 07, 2012, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
Thanks everyone - Perikles, that is actually quite freeing - that there may not be any "logical" reason why it's "por" other than it's a collocation. I enjoy learning collocations and which verbs are typically used with which prepositions. I have whole lists of them.....
Being a mathematician myself, I know the curse of needing a logical explanation for everything. Then you are doomed when learning a natural language, because often there is no explanation.

I actually can't remember anything unless I feel I understand it. So sometimes I resort to etymology, and can remember words because of their roots. This of course is nonsense, because you still have no explanation for the root itself, but I kid myself that this is a logical explanation so I remember (sometimes ). I have found that being aware of collocations, word combinations which are correct simply because they are, I can fool myself that this is a sort of explanation.
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Old February 07, 2012, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
I actually can't remember anything unless I feel I understand it. So sometimes I resort to etymology, and can remember words because of their roots. This of course is nonsense, because you still have no explanation for the root itself, but I kid myself that this is a logical explanation so I remember (sometimes ). I have found that being aware of collocations, word combinations which are correct simply because they are, I can fool myself that this is a sort of explanation.
You are describing ME!! That is exactly how I think. And the collocations truly help me!
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  #9  
Old February 07, 2012, 01:46 PM
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I'm sorry for being meddlesome in an English-native-speakers thread, but if it helps, "preguntar por" is catalogued as a phrasal verb in Spanish courses for English speakers.
And if you want to know a little more on the uses of "preguntar", you can find an explanation in the Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas.
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Old February 16, 2012, 05:13 AM
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You're never meddlesome! And your input is always welcome. It's just that sometimes it helps me to hear how an English speaker wraps their mind around a concept that is difficult for me. I love the link - definitely going to keep that one bookmarked.
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