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In the song "Por fin Te Encontré", they sing:

Si tu supieras lo que te he esperado
(If you knew that I've been waiting for you)

Why do they say "lo que" instead of "que" there?

Doesn't it translate to:

"If you knew what I've waited for you" with "lo que"?

Later in the song, they sing:

Si tu a mi lado vas a tener al que más te adora
(If you are by my side you'll have the one that most adores you)

Why "al" instead of "el"?

Wouldn't "tener al" translate to:

"have to the one" or something like that?

Towards the end, they sing:

Y yo lo puedo ver, dime qué vas a hacer
(And I can see it, tell me what you gonna do)

Why "qué" (or "que") instead of "lo que"?

"Qué" is a question word, and "que" means "that". Neither of which make sense here.

  • 1
    The first sentece I would translate as "If you knew how much I've been waiting for you". – fedorqui Jan 17 '16 at 18:04
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Si tú supieras lo que te he esperado

I'm afraid "If you knew that I've been waiting for you" isn't a good translation. "Lo" in "lo que" is the article used when the following noun is omitted:

  • El aspecto más interesante = lo más interesante

I omitted "aspecto" there because it didn't really add any meaning, and I did so by changing "el" to "lo". Generally, the word omitted isn't really anything, but just a meaningless pronoun:

  • Lo que me gusta de ella es que es divertida = aquello que me gusta de ella es que es divertida

However, sometimes the word elided is a meaningful word, but one than can be perfectly understandable without making it explicit. The example at hand would be one of those cases:

Si tú supieras lo que te he esperado = si tú supieras el tiempo que te he esperado
(If you knew how much I've been waiting for you)

Note: In English, "wait" is intransitive (i.e., it can't take a DO), but in Spanish it can. You can say "estuve esperando dos horas", which would translate to "I've been waiting (for) two hours".


Si tú a mi lado vas a tener al que más te adora

Once again, the translation provided is not on point. A better translation would be "If you'll have by my side the one that adores you the most". The sentence is incomplete, I guess because it's lacking a context. "A" from "al" is necessary because in Spanish, both direct and indirect objects require "a" when the object is a person:

  • "Vi una película." but "Vi a tu hermano."

The preposition is necessary when introducing a person, even though "al que más te adora" is a DO, which generally wouldn't be introduced by "a".


Y yo lo puedo ver, dime qué vas a hacer

You are right "qué" is a question word, just like "what" is. And here you have a question, but it's an indirect one:

  • ¿A dónde vas? = Quiero saber a dónde vas // Dime a dónde vas
  • ¿Qué vas a hacer? = Quiero saber qué vas a hacer // Dime qué vas a hacer

Btw, "Dime lo que vas a hacer" is just as fine as "Dime qué vas a hacer". Only in the former, "lo" would be standing for "aquello" (Dime aquello que vas a hacer), and "que" would be a mere linker without any semantic meaning, whereas "qué" in the latter would be a pronoun with full meaning.

  • Yo pondría simplemente if you knew what I've waited you, pero esta construcción en Inglés es rara, y usaría la forma continua if you knew what I've been waiting you = si supieras/supieses lo que he estado esperándote. – Alejandro Jan 21 '16 at 17:46
  • @Ustanak Nunca he oído "if you knew what I've been waiting you", ni sabía que "what" pudiera intercambiarse por "how much". Si algún nativo lo confirma, actualizo la respuesta. – Yay Jan 21 '16 at 18:02

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