Why in the below sentence does it use "de la" instead of "con la"? Is there rule when to do so?
Me han dicho que estás enamorado de la nueva secretaria.
They told me that you're in love with the new secretary.
Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, teachers, students and Spanish language enthusiasts in general wanting to discuss the finer points of the language. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
The problem is in the verb, "enamorado", the feeling is yours, not hers.
When you say "de" the action is from you to her
- Me han dicho que estas enamorado de la nueva secretaria.
- They told me that you are in love (and the reason is her). The new secretary.
The action "enamorado" comes from you and is directed to her The sentence doesn't say if she is in love too
When you say "con" the action includes both
- Me han dicho que estas enamorado con la nueva secretaria.
- They told me that you are in love... (but is she in love too?)
It is ambiguous, because in the first part, you say that you are in love, but in the second part you are saying she is with you in the same feeling.
I'll ask you the same question: Why does English use "with" instead of "of"? This shows that it is not a good idea to try to "fit" the Spanish language into the English rules.
This is just the "collocation". There are some structures that are just like that. For example, why do you say "depend on", and not "depend of"? or "depend in"? It's just teh collocation.
So you should highlight enamorarse de, and not de la, because the important part is the structure verb+preposition. There are just some verbs which need that proposition.
So, that's how it works. I know this is not very satisfying, but the most I can say is: "try to find a mnemonic device". It completely lacks of rigour, but it might help.
So, let's try to embellish this a little bit. RAE defines enamorar(se) as
- prnl. Prendarse de amor de alguien.
and prendarse means
- tr. Ganar la voluntad y agrado de alguien.
So now you might recognise that "of" can be suitable here.
Unlike English, prepositions in Spanish do not work in the same way; sometimes they match.
We always collocate enamorado de alguien, but we do not say, enamorado con alguien, which sounds horrible to my ears.
It is true that prepositions don't always match one-to-one between languages. But the problem here is not the preposition, but the translation of enamorado.
If you translate it with the much more literal enamoured, you see that the preposition used is really the same:
Estoy enamorado de ella.
I'm enamoured of her.
What we see here is just that the two languages express the same sentiment in slightly different ways and literal translations are often not the most idiomatic. (cf. i'm hungry vs. tengo hambre)