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A lyric from the wonderful song titled Pasos de gigantes by Bacilos:

No puedo reir,

no puedo llorar,

no puedo dejarte de recordar,

no puedo decirte nada que tu no sepas.

My question pertains to the line in bolded font.

I've found that this translates to

I can't stop remembering you

I'm not understanding the Spanish construction of this. The logic in my brain tells me that this should translate to "I can't stop you from remembering." Furthermore, my brain tells me that "I can't stop from remembering you" would be "No puedo dejar de recordarte."

Well, of course my logic doesn't matter because my logic is that of a beginner in learning Spanish.

May someone help me to understand this construction?

Thanks.

UPDATE:

I work with a native Spanish speaker from Venezuela, via the language learning service Verbling.com. Here's what she had to say about this question:

-no puedo dejarte de recordar

-no puedo dejar de recordarte

Both of the above have the exact same meaning: "I can't stop remembering you."

However, in the first case, emphasis is placed on "stop".

In the second case, emphasis is placed on "remembering you".

In summary, this is just a matter of where the speaker wants to place emphasis.

Any thoughts?

  • As I stated in my answer, and in some comments below with other examples. Semantically they are the same but the application of the suffix 'te' to the 'dejar' verb is not entirely correct. I'm the one who can't stop and you are the one I remember. It is "remember you" not "stopping you" what the sentence wants to say. I'm Venezuelan too btw :) – antorqs Aug 3 '16 at 11:52
  • The short answer, you are right and your friend from Venezuela is wrong. As the answer from @aquiros states we would understand but that does not make it right. – DGaleano Aug 3 '16 at 13:03
  • Thanks @aquiros and DGaleano for the additional input. I like, understand, and appreciate the accepted answer. – Rock Anthony Johnson Aug 3 '16 at 15:18
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The problem is that the sentence is not well formed in Spanish as you stated in your question. The correct way would be "No puedo dejar de recordarte" which translates to "I can't stop remembering you".

But, this is a common way to phrase this sentence. Sometimes (a lot of times actually) people tend to append the 'te' suffix to the wrong word. For example, to say "He's getting ready to go to see you", people sometimes would say "El se está alistando para -irte- a ver" where the correct way is "El se está alistando para ir a -verte-".

But is so common that we (as Spanish speakers) have no problem to understand it.

So, in short, the translation is "I can't stop remembering you" and the lyrics are not entirely correct, I assume, to make it rhyme.

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    Could you clarify where is this a common way to phrase it? I've never heard it in my life; and even had some trouble understanding it at first. – Diego Sánchez Jul 30 '16 at 22:39
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    In Venezuela and some other Latin American countries. It is commonly applied to verbs like ir, venir, dejar, empezar. For example "Voy a empezarte a llamar" for "I'm gonna start calling you". That's a wrong (but common) form where the subject is applied to the wrong verb. – antorqs Jul 30 '16 at 22:54
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    I'm glad this answer has been marked as the accepted one, as mine is quite similar but it arrived late. I'm on holidays and using my mobile phone, and the app doesn't notify you when another answer arrives while you write yours. – Charlie Jul 31 '16 at 7:41
  • @Carlos +1 on the mobile app being more slow than the website to notify of new answers that come in. – Rock Anthony Johnson Jul 31 '16 at 14:23
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    @RockAnthony Also, in I can't stop you from remembering there's a change of subject between stop and remembering, which would trigger the subjunctive (hence que recuerdes in aquiros's sentence). – Yay Jul 31 '16 at 21:57
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Something in my Spanish brain tells me that the sentence is not completely valid. I would write it as

No puedo dejar de recordarte.

At first I couldn't tell why, but then I applied a small trick: I changed the auxiliary verb for a similar one:

No puedo pararte de recordar.

Now this sentence is clearly wrong to me, as (once again) I would write it as

No puedo parar de recordarte.

The -te suffix is a complement that affects one verb, in this case recordar. This kind of suffixes can be extracted and placed in other positions:

No te puedo dejar de recordar.

In this case, te could affect both verbs (dejar and recordar), but only one option makes sense. If it were to affect dejar, it would be something like

No te puedo dejar que recuerdes

No puedo dejarte que recuerdes.

Note that the second part of the sentence now has changed. This sentence would translate as I cannot allow you to remember.

But then, why the sentence in the lyrics? It could be that that sentence doesn't sound completely wrong, and the author used what I call a poetic license, specially when the author tried to rhyme that verse with the previous one.

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    I'd say that I cannot let you remember is more accurate than using allow. – Alejandro Jul 31 '16 at 1:19
  • So, "dejar que + [verb]" means to allow (permit), and "dejar de + [verb] means to stop? – Rock Anthony Johnson Jul 31 '16 at 16:09
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    @RockAnthonyJohnson indeed. An example: dejar que coma: to let (somebody) eat, dejar de comer: to stop eating. – Charlie Jul 31 '16 at 16:21

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