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Antonio V.
Tutor/teacher for 6 years
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Spanish
TutorMe
Question:

When you introduce yourself to someone for the first time many times you tell them what your profession is. For example if you are a student you might say "I am a student" and if you are a teacher you would say "I am a teacher". Look at sentences 1 and 2 below and pick the correct way to say these 2 sentences in Spanish. Also explain why the sentences you picked are correct. 1a. Soy un estudiante. 1b. Soy un maestro. 2a. Soy estudiante. 2b. Soy maestro.

Antonio V.
Answer:

Sentence 2a and 2b are correct. This is because in Spanish when we say our profession we do not use the indefinite article "un/una". This is different from English where we have to use the indefinite article "a/an" in sentences like this. It is actually incorrect to use "un/una" in sentences like this. All you have to do is change "ser" to "soy" when you talk about yourself. You also do this when you talk in the second or third person. For example "Eres doctor." or "El es ingeniero." It's a little confusing at first but just keep practicing and you'll get used to it.

Japanese
TutorMe
Question:

Passive sentences like sentence 1 below are used in both English and Japanese. 1a. お母さんに起こされた。 1b. I was woken up by my mother. However, passive sentences like the one below are common in Japanese but not really possible in English 2. 雨に降られた Can you explain what sentence 2 means and when this type of passive sentence is used?

Antonio V.
Answer:

If you compare sentence 1 and sentence 2 you see that there is nobody doing the action (rain) in sentence 2 but in sentence 1 the mother is doing the action. In sentence 1 the mother is the one waking up the speaker. However, rain, as opposed to waking someone up, is something that just happens naturally (intransitive verb) so we cannot translate this in the same way. The literal translation of "I was rained by the rain" would not be acceptable in English and also a layer of meaning that is present in the Japanese is missing from this translation. A more accurate translation would be "I got caught in the rain (and that affected be negatively)" The portion in the parentheses is the nuance that this type of sentence carries. Also notice that the English translation does not use a passive construction. This type of passive sentence is used to describe something negative happening to the subject of the sentence. This type of passive is called an adversative passive. In English it is difficult to convey the same negative nuance using only a passive construction. Another example is sentence 3 below. 3a. 犯人に逃げられた。 3b. The criminals ran away from me (and I was negatively affected by this). As we can see the verb is again intransitive (as opposed to transitive) and the person saying the sentence is negatively affected by the action (criminals running away). Using the formula below try to make your own adversative passive sentence. (subject) + noun + ni + intransitive verb

English as a Second Language
TutorMe
Question:

Do sentence 1 and sentence 2 mean the same thing? If not please explain how they are different. 1. Let's watch a movie. 2. Let's watch the movie.

Antonio V.
Answer:

No. These two sentences do not mean the same thing. When you use "a" like in sentence 1, it means you want to watch ANY movie. You might say this to your friend if you are bored and want to do something. However, when you use "the" like in sentence 2 it means you want to watch a SPECIFIC movie. For example you just went to the store with your brother and bought a DVD of a movie. When you get home you want to watch it so you tell your brother "Let's watch THE movie." These two words (a/an and the) are called articles and can change the meaning of a sentence. "A/an" is called an indefinite article and "the" is called a definite article. They are used before nouns.

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