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I am writing some kind of motivational letter for my volunteer service in Colombia. Though my Spanish skills are only on a beginner's level, I try my best to explain my motivation in Spanish. Therefore I want to include in the letter my thought of:

I want to be part of something bigger than myself

My attempt would be a "word by word" translation. Something like:

Yo quiero formar parte de algo mayor que me

Not sure about using "que" or "como".

How can I say this in Spanish? Please keep in mind that I am a newbie and can't phrase "complex" sentences. Thanks for your help in advance! :)

  • Hey Henning welcome to Spanish Language! I am sure you will have a great time in Colombia. And to have good success there, as well as in here, it is important to start trying yourself! Note asking for translations in this site without any proper attempt is discouraged, so what would be your first idea on translating this into Spanish? – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Aug 5 '16 at 6:37
  • Thank you for your warm welcoming words! My attempt would be a "word by word" translation. Something like: "Yo quiero formar parte de algo mayor que me". Not sure about using "que" or "como" – Henning Aug 5 '16 at 6:49
  • @fedorqui There's actually an attempt to translate the sentence. – Vladimir Nul Aug 5 '16 at 20:56
  • @VladimirNu check the revisions' history on the question to see how it looked in the beginning. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Aug 8 '16 at 6:41
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To say:

I want to be part of something bigger than myself

Your attempt is almost correct. Since myself translates to yo mismo, you would write:

Yo quiero formar parte de algo mayor que me yo mismo

However, the yo quiero form doesn't sound like the best approach for a motivation letter. Instead, as you are applying in Colombia where manners are very important, use a softer approach like:

Me gustaría formar parte de algo mayor que yo mismo

Still, algo mayor que yo sounds a bit strange because it somehow seems to relate to size or age. I would then go for some:

Me gustaría formar parte de algo importante

or even better using ser parte, which is the way they use this expression in Colombia (source: DGaleano in comments):

Me gustaría ser parte de algo importante/grande

Which itself doesn't have much substantial meaning, but neither did the original sentence in English had :)

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  • On @fedorqui's last one you can change 'importante' by 'grande'. Me gustaría ser parte de algo grande – DGaleano Aug 5 '16 at 14:18
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    @fedorqui: yo mismo en este caso me parece redundante. – Mauricio Arias Olave Aug 5 '16 at 15:38
  • I agree with Mauricio. The "mismo" here is completely superfluous. – aparente001 Apr 27 '18 at 1:16
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I would suggest three corrections, in order of descending importance:

  1. Me is wrong here. In Spanish, the second term of the comparison uses the nominative case, not the dative (oh, yes, cases still exist in personal pronouns). So the right form here is yo.
  2. In Spanish, we tend to forgo the subject when it is already known or easily deductable, unless we want to be emphatic. This is not the case, so a Spanish speaker would do without the initial yo.
  3. While the comparative for grande is usually mayor, in this case I would go for the alternative más grande (the DPD has an article on it, though I think it is not too clear).

All in all, my suggestion is:

Quiero formar parte de algo más grande que yo.

Additionally, DGaleano's comment in this answer (and the upvotes suggest he is not the only one thinking so) suggests that ser parte is preferred to formar parte in Colombia, so you may want to write:

Quiero ser parte de algo más grande que yo.

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    I like this answer but I think in Colombia we tend to use more 'ser' than 'formar' so I'd say Quiero ser parte de algo más grande que yo – DGaleano Aug 5 '16 at 14:21
  • @DGaleano A perfectly valid option, but I had no reason to change OP's word. – Gorpik Aug 16 '16 at 7:05
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    Obviously there is a reason. He is a non native beginner and we are not. I consider it our duty to provide him all the options. Just my two cents.Notice that mine is just a comment (not an answer ) and I mention the region where it would be used. – DGaleano Aug 16 '16 at 12:04
  • @DGaleano Sorry, I overlooked the fact that he was writing for service in Colombia. Then this is a good addition. I see fedorqui already took it for his selected answer, but I'll update mine anyway. – Gorpik Aug 16 '16 at 12:57
  • I like this answer a lot. // There's another verb that is maybe more natural: *Quiero formar parte de algo más grande que yo." – aparente001 Apr 27 '18 at 3:30
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I would dive in and use the subjunctive. For Spanish speakers the natural tense for wishes desires dreams or aspirations is the subjunctive.

Quisiera ser parte de algo más grande que yo mismo.

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