I am supposed to transform the following sentence to a grammatically correct one word by word but without changing those bold ones.

Usted/importar/todas/el/especies en peligro.

What is wrong with this version, please?

Te importa todas las especies en peligro.

  • 1
    Las especies en peligro = plural – Traveller Mar 19 '19 at 16:57

Importar works like gustar. In fact you can say that

importar : gustar :: to care : to like

That is, importar relates to gustar in more or less the same way as English "to care" relates to "to like" (grammatically speaking).

It's not a reflexive (pronominal) verb. It has two arguments: the person who cares about something, and the thing that someone cares about. The thing is the grammatical subject, but it tends to be found after the verb, instead of before as usual. The person is an indirect object, or dative, and it tends to be before the verb instead of after. So the usual word is reversed (again, exactly as in gustar).

I guess that your example

Usted/importar/todas/el/especies en peligro

is supposed to mean "you (formal) care about all the endangered species". In that case the correct sentence in Spanish would be

A usted le importan todas las especies en peligro.

A usted and le refer to the same person, but this redundancy is grammatically compulsory in this case. Note that usted is a second person pronoun but it works like third person, therefore we use le, not te, to refer to it.

Importan is in the plural (-n) because the grammatical subject is todas las especies en peligro, which is plural. Don't let the unusual order fool you.

If you need to "translate" this into English, you could think of importar as equivalent to "to be important":

A usted le importan todas las especies en peligro.
"To you are important all the endangered species."

| improve this answer | |
  • I tried, but "A usted le importan todas las especies en peligro." is still not correct. Could importar mean import instead? – zyxue Mar 19 '19 at 19:54
  • @xyxue Who or what is telling you that the phrase is still incorrect? – Traveller Mar 19 '19 at 20:14
  • Maybe I'm completely misunderstanding the exercise but I can't think of any alternative sentence. If you have the solution but you don't understand how it works, please tell me so I can adjust the answer. – pablodf76 Mar 20 '19 at 1:06
  • Have you tried 'Usted importa todas las especies en peligro'? Is a bit odd, because implies an import/export business with all the endangered species, but is still correct. – Ramon Mar 20 '19 at 16:36

If you say a usted, it's to specify the le. But they don't want to specify that the 'le' refers to 'usted', so answer is: Le importan todas las especies en peligro.

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  • 1
    The question is not the best at clarifying what the OP needs to know (it's almost a translation request), but we tend not to just say "[the] answer is" without explaining why that is the answer (or one of the possible answers). Please update your contribution to explain if "importar" is a reflexive verb and if (or why) you need that pronoun. – Diego Jun 28 at 19:53

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