2

I was listening to "Un día normal" by Juanes and the chorus is:

Porque nunca sabes lo que tienes;

Hasta que lo pierdes;

Lamentablemente;

Nunca vuelve.

In English (my native language), using "one" is generally followed by a different verb ending than using "you." (Compare "you cook well" and "one cooks well.")

Here Juanes uses "no one" followed by the tú ending of the verb, when he could have easily used the third-person singular form.

Was his choice grammatically correct, or was it a bend of the rules to make the song feel more personal?

12

I think you may be confusing nunca (Eng = never) with nadie (Eng = nobody).Juanes sings that "You never know what you have until you lose it".

4

What you say is correct. He is using a third person singular but the subject is omitted.

The full sentence would be

"Porque tu nunca sabes lo que tienes hasta que lo pierdes"

meaning "Don't know what you got till it's gone" like in the CINDERELLA's song (BTW I love this part)

The sentence is also very common in these two forms.

Uno nunca sabe lo que tiene hasta que lo pierde.

meaning "One doesn't know..."

Nunca se sabe lo que se tiene hasta que se pierde

also meaning the same.

2

In this case the sentence has an implicit subject: "tú" (Second persond, singular). In some countries "tú" is the most used form, but in others it is more used "vos", "usted" (and all are correct).

In Colombia "tú" is the most used form, but, for example, in Costa Rica we use more "vos" or "usted". "usted" is usually reserved for more formal instances.

And that changes a lot the way in which the verbs are conjugated. For example:

Porque [tú] nunca sabes lo que tienes; Hasta que [tú] lo pierdes;

or,

Porque [vos] nunca sabés lo que tenés; Hasta que [vos] lo perdés

or,

Porque [usted] nunca sabe lo que tiene; Hasta que [usted] lo pierde.

  • 1
    Muy buena respuesta +1. Bienvenido @estebarb al Spanish Language SE – DGaleano Aug 20 '16 at 15:36

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