I'm creating a language lesson and I'd like to include an example sentence for 'acabar de', in the infinitive.

I came up with the following sentence, but my native Spanish speaking friend says it's incorrect:

Era rudo acabar de llegar, siendo que el evento comenzó hace una hora.
It was rude to have just arrived, being that the event started an hour ago.

My friend had to leave before she could explain why the sentence is incorrect, so now I turn to this community. What is wrong with the sentence?

  • 3
    "rudo" is a false cognate. We generally don't translate "rude" as "rudo" but as "descortés" or "de mala educación". Apart from that, your example sounds strange. "acabar de llegar" does not mean "llegar recién entonces" (to have arrived only then = so late).
    – Gustavson
    Aug 21, 2017 at 23:48
  • Voting to close. You might be able to rescue this question by limiting it to asking about usage of "acabar" -- but please don't ask us to proofread your brute force translation of an English sentence, or fish for the translation of a particular word such as "rude" in this way. // Note that you seem to be hoping for too much from Google Translate. Aug 22, 2017 at 1:12
  • 1
    Thanks @aparente001 for the feedback. I'll update the question (hopefully to something that is appropriate). Aug 22, 2017 at 2:06
  • Relevant discussion in Meta about this question: Let's not answer questions that are not well posed
    – fedorqui
    Aug 22, 2017 at 10:25
  • @walen "rudo" would not sound right in that sentence.
    – Gustavson
    Aug 22, 2017 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


Your example is not ungrammatical but semantically dubious. If we change "rudo" to "descortés" or "de mala educación" as I suggested in my comment on your question and "comenzó" to "había comenzado" (perhaps even in English "being that the event had started an hour before" would be more appropriate), the result would be somewhat better:

Era de mala educación acabar de llegar, siendo que el evento había comenzado hacía una hora.

I'd say that the sentence above is unlikely to occur in Spanish, because -- as I also said in my comment above -- the verb phrase "acabar de llegar" is generally neutral, and your sentence seems to attribute a negative meaning to it, as if it meant: "llegar tan tarde".

If you need to use the infinitive "acabar" rather than a tensed form of that verb, a more reasonable example could be:

Era raro acabar de llegar y ya sentirse como en casa. (It was odd to have arrived so recently and already feel at home.)

Notice that "arriving recently" does not have the negative connotation of "arriving late".

  • "Era raro acabar de llegar y ya sentirse como en casa" would be more likely to be expresses as "Era raro llegar y en seguida etc." Aug 22, 2017 at 19:33
  • I see nothing wrong with that. Compare with: Era penoso acabar de casarse y ya estar discutiendo.
    – Gustavson
    Aug 22, 2017 at 20:48
  • That sentence sounds a bit more convincing but for me it seems much more likely that that idea would be expressed something like this: Es penoso, acaban de casarse y ya están discutiendo, or Era penoso, acababan de casarse y ya estaban discutiendo. Aug 22, 2017 at 23:43
  • Interesting: I came across the desired construction, but it has a different meaning: "[En] la época de los siglos XVIII, XIX y XX[,] España tiene que acabar de luchar contra la revolución religiosa, con la que ya luchó en la época anterior." hispanoteca.eu/Landeskunde-Spanien/Historia/… Here it means, "Spain must finish fighting etc." Aug 22, 2017 at 23:54
  • @aparente001 "acabar de" can mean both things, "just did" or "finish doing". An infinitival clause is very often equivalent to a noun clause: Era penoso acabar de casarse y ya estar discutiendo = Era penoso que acabaran de casarse y ya estuvieran discutiendo. Notice that in both cases the construction after "era penoso" is the subject of the sentence.
    – Gustavson
    Aug 23, 2017 at 0:36

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