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Un texto tiene la siguiente frase:

Muchos cuestionarios preguntan por una respuesta de “Si” o “No”.

Esta oración siginifica que muchos cuestionarios tiene preguntas que se puede responder con un "Sí" o un "No." Necesito una segunda opinión sobre el uso de "preguntan." Me parecer la palabra "pedir" es mejor en este contexto.


I need a second opinion on the use of "preguntan" in the above sentence. The sentence is saying that most questionnaires are asking for a "Yes" or "No" response. I think "pedir" seems more appropriate.

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"ask" -> "preguntar" is one the most frequent mistranslations. Here it should be "piden" or, better, "requieren" –  leonbloy Sep 23 '13 at 15:23

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Your comment to Spreadsheet's answer shows that there is more to your question than you have told us. Initially I was thinking that your sentence just sounded slightly incorrect; the kind of thing a native speaker may mistakenly use if not paying attention. Now that I know you issue is with translation, the sentence looks different. In fact, it looks very much like what one would get with a blind word-by-word translation from English:

Many questionnaires ask for a "Yes" or "No" answer.

Muchos cuestionarios preguntan por una respuesta de “Si” o “No”.

Seen in this light I think now of your Spanish sentence as an instance of something I really dislike. The problem is that the verb "to ask" is being used differently in English and Spanish. The English sentence above uses the construction to ask for which has no word-by-word equivalent in Spanish. People: when you translate from English to Spanish pay attention to this detail so you are on the lookout for a correct substitute expression.

Having located the real issue, I would go for

Muchos cuestionarios piden una respuesta de “Si” o “No”.

which replaces ask for with the closest verb in meaning.

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You could say:

muchos cuestionarios se contestan con opción de "sí" o "no"

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But this is from a text I am translating into English. I have to flag phrases that are wrong. I am asking because I am a little suspicious of "preguntan." –  Dombey Sep 22 '13 at 0:52

Preguntar por is not correct in that context. As you said, pedir is more appropiate, as its sense is that of requiring.

The sense of preguntar por is more that of manifesting interest in something/someone.

I agree with Rodrigo: it looks like a word-by-word translation.

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Si bien pedir es una buena opción, yo pondría "se contestan", de tal forma que la frase quedaría así:

Muchos cuestionarios se contestan con un "sí" o con un "no".

Please, note the "i with acute". In spanish, you use "si" (without acute) like "if". The "yes" in English is translated as "sí" (with acute) to Spanish.

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