3

I got this message in a chat from a Spanish speaking guy:

Créeme que si vas a Colombia no te vas a querer ir.

What is the translation here?

  • you don't want to leave
  • you don't want to go to Colombia
7

It means "you won't want to leave".

This is an example of a radical change in meaning when a verb (in this case ir) becomes pronominal. A pronominal verb is always accompanied by an object pronoun. It looks like a reflexive verb but it isn't.

You have ir three times in your sentence, but the second one (the second vas) is just part of the periphrastic future (vas a hacer algo = "you're going to do something") so let's leave that one out.

Créeme que si vas a Colombia no te vas a querer ir.

The first vas is the verb in its bare form, where it means "to go" in general. When found alone without a complement (such as a Colombia) we tend to parse it as "to go there, somewhere", that is, going to or towards some place.

The infinitive ir is the pronominal form; believe it or not the pronoun is te. This is sort of a complicated example because you have ir subordinated to querer and querer in turn forming part of the periphrastic construction, but bear with me here. You could rephrase this as

Créeme que si vas a Colombia no vas a querer irte.

The thing is (finally coming to the point), pronominal ir doesn't mean "to go" in general, but "to leave, to go away". That's why the sentence makes sense.

The pronoun is te because we're referring to the second person singular. If this were in the first person singular you would say

Si voy a Colombia no me voy a querer ir.

And in the third person singular:

Si va a Colombia no se va a querer ir.

The third person reflexive pronoun se is the one that is customarily used to cite the pronominal verbs in textbooks. In this case we would say the verb is irse. Dictionaries, however, might cite these simply with the bare infinitive and note that they are pronominal. The DLE, for example, conflates the two main meanings of ir in its first entry for it, adding "U. t. c. prnl.", which means Úsase también como pronominal, "Also used as pronominal".

2

"No vas a..."

or its affirmative:

"Vas a ..."

is a very usual verb phrase to indicate a foreseeable behavior or reaction attributable to your interlocutor. To translate it, I'd use "won't" (or "will" in the affirmative) to express certainty:

  • If you ever go to Colombia, believe me you won't feel like leaving. (Créeme que si vas a Colombia no te vas a querer ir.)

  • If you ever go to Colombia, believe me you will feel like staying. (Créeme que si vas a Colombia te vas a querer quedar.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.