A translation of the English sentence "Nobody sang except me" into Spanish would be "Nadie cantó excepto yo". Why does the object pronoun in English become the subject pronoun in Spanish?

  • In Spanish, if A knocks on the door, and B asks, "¿Quién es?", the answer is "Soy yo." But in English the answer is "It's me." (As @eftshift0 pointed out, in English is should actually be "It is I" -- but at least in the U.S., in practice people don't say "It is I." ) Jun 30 '18 at 5:37

You certainly gave me food for thought. Maybe this trick will suffice to explain: rephrase to get the 'subjects' together:

Nadie excepto yo cantó.

Music to my ears. I would say that Spanish is 'functionally consistent' in this case. Is the trick valid in English?

Nobody except I sang.

I think that sounds correct, but I'm not a native speaker so won't conclude on it. However when using but instead of except it really comes out: nobody sang but I / Nobody but I sang'... Which looks kind of weird but I would think those are the right way to use them, the same way one should answer 'it is I' to the question of 'who is it?'

PS 1: in grammatical terms, the use of 'yo' (subject pronoun) vs 'mi' (object pronoun) makes perfect sense because I is the person who carried out the act of singing (actually, the only one because no one else joined, right? ;)) So it is actually English the one that is kind of breaking it because Spanish (as I said before) is doing it consistently.


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