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In the below sentence why is "es la de ser" used instead of "es ser"?

la libertad que buscamos es la de ser nosotros mismos.

The freedom we seek is to be ourselves.

The sentence is from the book "Los Cuatro Acuerdos" by Don Miguel Ruiz.

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    It's more or less The freedom we seek is the one that allows us to be ourselves. In English one could make a small adjustment, e.g. "The freedom we seek is that which allows us to be ourselves." (Or one could rewrite it since that sounds a bit pompous.) – aparente001 Dec 25 '19 at 21:44
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    Some thoughts: We would not need "la de" if the sentence were "Buscamos la libertad de etc." In Spanish, "La libertad que buscamos es la de ser etc." is elegant. True, one can cut corners and say, "La libertad que buscamos es de ser etc.," but that sounds kluge-y. // The sentence as you provided it sounds like a translation from English. In Spanish it would be more natural to say, "La libertad que buscamos es la de expresar nuestra propia identidad" or something of that sort. // Now I looked up the book in Amazon and indeed, it is a translation from English. – aparente001 Dec 27 '19 at 9:11
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Here, la refers to la libertad: "La libertad que buscamos es la libertad de ser nosotros mismos".

In English, this might be translated as

The freedom we seek is the freedom to be ourselves.

If you say "La libertad que buscamos es ser nosotros mismos", you are implying that "being ourselves" is itself the freedom. Instead, the sentence with "es la de ser" indicates that "being ourselves" is not itself freedom, but it is what freedom would allow us to do.

This is a rather philosophical difference, and everyone will understand you if you say "La libertad que buscamos es ser nosotros mismos". But using "es la de ser" sounds more correct to me.

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  • I don't think "la" is a pronoun that replaces the noun. There is ellipsis of the noun, but no pronominalization. See this: hispanoteca.eu/Foro/ARCHIVO-Foro/… – Gustavson Dec 25 '19 at 22:48
  • @Gustavson both Hispanoteca and RAE's Nueva gramática de la Lengua Española (S15.2b-e) mention both interpretations, and RAE seems to prefer the interpretation as pronoun in some cases (at least when using un/uno) . I edited the answer to remove the word "pronoun" – wimi Dec 26 '19 at 7:40
  • I agree. While "uno/a/s" can do without the modifiers, "el/la/los/las" cannot: the latter continue to be articles with an elided noun, while the former act as pronouns. – Gustavson Dec 26 '19 at 10:23
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la libertad que buscamos es la (pronombre/pronoun) de ser nosotros mismos. la = la libertad

As explained before by somebody else, not any 'libertad' just the one that allows us to be ourselves.

La libertad que buscamos es ser nosotros mismos. Very similar but not the same, there is a very tiny difference. As explain before ser nosotros is a freedom itself

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