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En un artículo en inglés https://www.realfastspanish.com/grammar/prepositions-nouns leí lo siguiente (en punto 3):

"How to connect nouns and infinitive verbs: Algo de, algo que, algo para – Something to

"Is there anything to eat?"

When you translate this sentence into Spanish, it is tempting to put algo (something) and the infinitive verb comer (to eat) right next to each other. But, in Spanish, you need something in between a noun and an infinitive verb. And, you have three possible options as follows:

"¿Hay algo de comer?" "¿Hay algo que comer?" "¿Hay algo para comer?"

If you asked me which option is best, I would say they are fairly interchangeable...Here are some more examples:

"We don’t have any time to waste." = "No tenemos tiempo que perder."

"There is plenty of food to share." = "Hay mucha comida para compartir."

"I know a lot of places to explore." = "Conozco muchos lugares para explorar."

"I have a lot of work to do." = "Tengo mucho trabajo que hacer."

"Their instructions highlight the need to put things in order before moving on." = "Sus instrucciones destacan la necesidad de poner en orden las cosas antes de seguir adelante."

Before moving on, I need to highlight that the above applies to infinitive verbs after nouns. In contrast, conjugated verbs after nouns are more obvious. They generally can only use que. For example:

There is a project that we need to finish before tonight. = Hay un proyecto que necesitamos terminar antes de esta noche."

Preguntas:

  1. Lo que explicó el autor, ¿es correcto? Por lo menos me interesa esta parte:

""¿Hay algo de comer?" "¿Hay algo que comer?" "¿Hay algo para comer?" If you asked me which option is best, I would say they are fairly interchangeable"

  1. Si lo anterior no fuera correcto, ¿cómo elegir cuál preposición se tiene que usar?

P.S. Por adelantado les agradezco a todos ustedes los que corrijan errores en mi escrito si hay algunos o en gramática o en uso de palabras o en algo más.

  • 1
    En la última parte debería ser: 1. "Lo que explicó el autor, ¿es correcto?" 2. "Si lo anterior no fuera correcto, ¿cómo elegir cuál preposición se tiene que usar?". – pablodf76 Jul 15 at 19:44
  • Está corregido. – Alex Jul 15 at 21:25
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With verbs that have to do with consumption, such as comer, beber, you can use any of the three particles*. With most others you cannot use de. That is, if you can't find a good movie to watch, you cannot say "No hay nada de mirar" ("There's nothing to watch"); the most correct option would be "No hay nada para mirar".

The meaning might change according to the particle you use.

  • With que the meaning tends to be about accessibility and potential ability: "lugares que explorar" = "places that can be explored". For example: ¿Hay algo que hacer? = "Is there something that can be done?"

  • With para it's more about things being on offer for a purpose, so to speak: “lugares para explorar” = "places that are there to be explored". Also: ¿Hay algo para hacer? = "Is there something that one could busy oneself with?"

  • With de it's about specifying type or quality, and you use it almost always with algo: algo de comer = "something to eat, something of the kind that one eats".

As you see, de is the odd one out. This is because in fact this usage is an extension of the usage of de to indicate kind or composition (i.e. de comer can be interpreted as "of the kind of thing that one uses to eat").

With the other two, the difference might be slight, but sometimes it's crucial. If a person is dying before your eyes you could ask the doctor, ¿No hay nada que hacer? ("Is there nothing to do?", meaning "Is there nothing that you can do to save him?"). Using para would be wrong. ¿No hay nada para hacer? is what you would expect from someone who visits you in your town, finds no touristic attractions and asks, ¿No hay nada para hacer? ("Is there nothing to do?" meaning "Is there nothing that I could do to amuse myself here?").


* Que is not a preposition but a relative pronoun. I'll call them "particles" for short. "Particle" is a generic term for a function word, not a proper Spanish grammatical term.

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    As with the other similar questions I have to add that there are also regional differences. I agree with @pablof76 and all these are correct but in Colombia we almost always say "¿hay algo para comer?" using "para" instead of "de" – DGaleano Jul 16 at 19:46
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    I think usage in Cuba is the same as in Columbia (“¿hay algo para comer?” is more common) – Traveller Jul 17 at 9:52
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    “Hay algo para comer” is also common in Argentina. I'd say it's almost interchangeable with “de” in the most usual setting, which is when one actually comes to a place and asks if there's anything to eat (for oneself). – pablodf76 Jul 17 at 12:05

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