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I just came across no te pares which according to google translate means don't stop. This is the exact meaning of the negative imperative tú form no pares.

What is the difference between them and what is the purpose of the object pronoun?

For example:

¡Mantente en el camino a través del bosque y no pares! (taken from a little red riding hood story.)

No pares is used even though the idea is that she is moving from one place to another.Should no te pares be used instead?

  • Here's an alternative for this juncture in the story: "Ve derechito a la casa de la abuelita. No te desvíes del camino, y no te detengas por ningún motivo." – aparente001 Jan 18 at 6:53
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The verb parar is one of those verbs with a lot of meanings. It would be better if you gave us a bit of context, but nonetheless I will tell you what I understand if someone tells me both sentences.

  • No pares: if someone tells me that, I would mainly understand that I should not stop doing what I am doing.
  • No te pares: if someone tells me that, I would mainly understand that I should not stop walking (or running).

The trick is that both meanings refer to the 11th definition of parar, that says that the verb can be used both as an intransitive and as a pronominal verb without changing its meaning. The subtle difference is the implicit action that should not stop.

Some examples taken from CORDE:

Pero ya que estamos en esto, ¡habla, habla! ¡no pares de hablar!
(Don't stop talking!)

Corre, ve a traerlo, Pascual, no te pares.
(Don't stop running.)

Nonetheless, I have said that this is what I would mainly understand without any other information, as both cases are somewhat interchangeable. I wouldn't say "no te pares de hablar" or "corre, ve a traerlo, no pares", but in the case of someone driving I could say to them "no pares aquí" or "no te pares aquí", because I can consider that person as performing a general action (driving in this case) or as someone who is moving from one place to another (as if walking or running).

  • ¡Mantente en el camino a través del bosque y no pares! taken form a little red riding hood story. no pares is used even though the idea is that she is moving from one place to another.Should no te pares be used instead? – Simple May 14 '18 at 12:51
  • also "no te pares" means "don't get up" – Mike May 14 '18 at 13:49
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    @Simple in that cases I would have said "no te pares", though there may be regional variations. – Charlie May 14 '18 at 13:51
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As Charlie says, the difference between parar and pararse in this context are slim, but also (again as Charlie says) consider that there are regional variations. If I had to translate I'd say No pares means "Don't stop doing whatever you're doing", while No te pares means "Don't stop moving", and these meanings might coincide.

There's one important difference, and that is that you can say e.g. no pares de correr but you cannot say *no te pares de correr. So there's a construction [parar de + infinitive] but no equivalent construction using the pronominal pararse.

Also note that in the Americas (and Murcia, Spain, according to the DLE), pararse also means "to stand up, to get to one's feet". A text that is intended for an international Spanish-speaking audience should take this into account, so if the meaning must be "don't stop (moving/doing)", then no te pares may not be the better choice; for that meaning, no pares is universal and unambiguous.

  • I disagree with the last sentence. My Spanish is from a place where pararse is used to mean to stand up. One takes the meaning from the context. Just because pararse means to stand up in the region where one lives, that doesn't mean that pararse stops also having the other meaning. I think you can fix your answer by taking out or rewriting that last sentence. – aparente001 May 15 '18 at 1:45
  • Well, it means both things, but even in context te pares sounds less apt to me that no pares. I'll try and make that clear. – pablodf76 May 15 '18 at 10:24
  • Your edit is great. I think I hadn't gotten what your point actually was in the other version. And it's a good point! – aparente001 May 15 '18 at 11:28
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I've had a lot of experience reading children's books in Spanish, checked out of the public library, to my children. Most of the books in Spanish aimed at small children that can be found on library shelves in the U.S. are badly translated.

If you talk to the librarian who does the ordering, and give her catalogs of authentic children's literature in Spanish, from established foreign publishers -- she'll likely put them all in the recycling bin and tell you that she can only buy hardcover books, and that she's limited to ordering titles from her approved vendor list. The vendors are selected by a distribution system that hasn't a clue about the quality of children's books written in languages other than English.

When I've read such books out loud to my children, I've had to rewrite them mentally in order to make them usable.

I searched for your exact phrase online. Here's one that claims to be the source of this widely disseminated version of Caperucita Roja -- although the translator is not credited: https://www.thespanishexperiment.com/stories/redridinghood. (Note, this site set off a virus detection alarm for me, so perhaps you don't want to click on that link.)

Skimming through the print story (below the audiovisual version), there's lots of stuff that would need reworking if I were reading it out loud to a child. Then a super obvious blooper jumps off the page -- boing! -- in some wolf dialogue:

¿Por qué estas caminando en el bosque tan sola? ¿A dónde estás yendo?"

This makes me cringe. It should be ¿Adónde vas?

Thus, we see that any strange-sounding choice of language that we might come across in this particular translation of Caperucita Roja can't be trusted.

Moral of the story:

Spanish learners should stay away from unverified translations of children's literature.

  • That is exactly where i got it from. Maybe I should have sited the link. Also you saved me from asking the question regarding estás yendo. Thank you. I checked my local library (I'm from Trinidad and Tobago) but the material they had were based on Spanish grammar rather than story books. – Simple May 16 '18 at 7:02
  • How does one know if a translation is verified or unverified? – Simple May 16 '18 at 7:03
  • @Simple - Step one, was the book published in a Spanish-speaking country? Step two, if it's a translation, is the translator's name given? When in doubt, you can always ping me to go to chat to check a title. // Do you want some suggestions of a certain type of children's literature that you would like to use for reading practice? If so, I and probably some other regulars here, could provide suggestions. – aparente001 May 16 '18 at 19:30
  • Some suggestions would be great :) – Simple May 16 '18 at 22:10
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    Asked a related question: Why would you prefer "vas" over "estás yendo" in this example? spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/32736/… – Cal Stephens Jan 15 at 16:37

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