Un artículo publicado en The Four Hour Work Week blog by Tim Ferriss llamado How to Learn (But Not Master) any Language in 1 Hour sugiere que la deconstrucción de un idioma es una de las cosas más importantes para aprenderlo. Por lo tanto, mi pregunta es: ¿cuáles son las traducciones gramaticalmente correctas de las siguientes oraciones?

An article from The Four Hour Work Week blog by Tim Ferriss called How to Learn (But Not Master) any Language in 1 Hour suggests that deconstructing a language is one of the most important parts of learning it. The article lists several basic sentences to translate into the target language as a starting point. Obviously Google is not much help getting translations when literal accuracy is important.

So, my question is: what are the grammatically correct translations for these sentences in Spanish?

  1. It is John’s apple.
  2. I give John the apple.
  3. We give him the apple.
  4. He gives it to John.
  5. She gives it to him.
  6. I must give it to him.
  7. I want to give it to her.
  8. I don't give him the apple.
  9. I gave him the apple.
  10. I will give him the apple.

Also, it probably goes without saying, but if there are regional differences or ways of translating these sentences into different types of phrases, those aren't the translations I'm looking for. The point of this is to learn proper sentence structure, not to figure out "How a person would actually say xyz...".

Thanks so much for your help!

  • 2
    If you want study the grammar of any language, I suggest you try to think in that language. – Leandro Bardelli Jun 3 '12 at 18:58
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    This appears to be a simple translation request. Or well, ten of them. Simple translation is off-topic. If there are passages you are struggling to translate due to some nuance in the language, then it is appropriate to ask here--but you should ask one question for each passage, not a single question for ten. Please edit your question, or explain why it is helpful to keep all 10 translations as a single question, or this question will probably be closed. – Flimzy Jun 4 '12 at 15:24
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    I think we all know better than to trust Google for simple translation work. That doesn't really make this on-topic. It seems almost as if you're asking "teach me Spanish." None of the 10 passages are particularly difficult to translate. I'm having a difficult time understanding why this is an on-topic or constructive question. I see it as either simple translation (which you deny, although I don't see any evidence how it's different), or far too broad, as asking someone to teach you Spanish. – Flimzy Jun 5 '12 at 2:18
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    For now I am going to close this question, although this needn't be a permanent fate for this question. I invite you to discuss this on Meta, if you feel it needs additional attention, or simply get 5 re-open votes, which will indicate the community believes it's a good questions as it's written. – Flimzy Jun 5 '12 at 2:19
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    @JosiahSprague: Have you read our FAQ? – Flimzy Jun 5 '12 at 16:31

After we talk on the comments, I will try with a correct grammar "translation". Take care that in spanish the "elipsis" is very often, so they can be sound bad, but are correct on their grammar.

1: It is John’s apple.

It: esta / is: es / Jonh's: de John. / Apple: Manzana.

Esta es de John, la manzana. (Usual way to say it: Esta es la manzana de John.)

2: I give John the apple.

I: yo / give: doy / Jonh: a John. / Apple: Manzana.

More accurate and grammar to say it: Yo dí a John la manzana. Usual way to say it: Yo le [a John] dí a John una manzana.

3: We give him the apple.

Nosotros damos a él una manzana. (Nosotros le damos una manzana)

4: He gives it to John. Él lo dió a John.

5: She gives it to him.

Ella se lo da. (to him: se, because there is a it, you can't use "Ella le lo da")

6: I must give it to him.

Yo debo dárselo. Idem: dar + se + lo. This happens because the verb is in infinitive, the "must" carries the conjugation.

7: I want to give it to her.

Yo quiero dárselo. Idem to 6. Le (se) works for masculine / femenine. The it is masculine because is neutral.

8: I don't give him the apple.

Yo no quiero darle la manzana. Common "le" because the "Complemento Directo" is the noun, not the pronoun.

9: I gave him the apple.

Yo le doy la manzana. Idem

10: I will give him the apple.

Yo le daré la manzana.

If you are doing your homework about OD and OI on spanish, please ask for the grammar and Ill be glad to answer you.

Take care when you use a pronoun verb (dárselo) you must respect the accent rule for the ticks:

da: it's ok, doesn't carry the "tick" (tilde)

dalo: it's ok.

dáselo: must carry the tick.


No leí el artículo, pero en cualquier caso, estas son las traducciones que me suenan más naturales, manteniendo la mayor fidelidad posible a la estructra gramatical de las originales. En muchos casos, los pronombres como él, ella, etc, podrían obviarse (y en la práctica se obviarían) si se sobrentendieran por el contexto.

It is John’s apple.

Es la manzana de John.

I give John the apple.

Le doy la manzana a John (also: Le doy a John la manzana)

We give him the apple.

Le damos la manzana (a él)

He gives it to John.

Él se la da a John.

She gives it to him.

Ella se la da a él.

I must give it to him.

Debo dársela a él (also: Tengo que dársela a él).

I want to give it to her.

Quiero dársela a ella.

I don't give him the apple.

No le doy la manzana (a él).

I gave him the apple.

Le di la manzana (a él).

I will give him the apple.

Le daré la manzana (also: le voy a dar la manzana).

  • Gracias! Tengo que estudiarlo para ver si eso es lo que estoy buscando. – Josiah Sprague Jun 3 '12 at 13:36
  • Be aware adding and/or remove not useful grammar words, the OP ask for a grammar comparision. – Leandro Bardelli Jun 3 '12 at 20:12

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