Sunday, October 20, 2019

How To Use Indefinite Articles Un and Una in Spanish

How To Use Indefinite Articles Un and Una in Spanish If you listen to oldies music, you may recall one of the sentences of a popular Spanish-language dance tune: Yo no soy marinero, soy capitn, soy capitn. Translated, that would be, I am not a mariner, I am a captain, I am a captain. That sentence indicates one of the differences between Spanish and English. Although English requires the word a before mariner and captain, Spanish doesnt require an equivalent word, which in this case would be un. Un and Una Classified as Indefinite Articles A and an are known to grammarians as indefinite articles, and the Spanish equivalents are un (used before masculine nouns and noun phrases) and una (feminine). Using the Spanish indefinite articles when they arent needed is one of the pitfalls for many beginning Spanish students. Say no soy un marinero, soy un capitn, and it would sound as awkward (and improper) as one possible translation into English: I am not one mariner, I am one captain. Generally speaking, whenever you use un or una in Spanish, you need to use a or an to say the equivalent in English. But the reverse isnt true. The appearance is that Spanish frequently omits the indefinite articles. Omitting Articles With Ser Dont use the indefinite article before an unmodified noun after a form of ser (to be), especially in reference to occupation, religion, affiliation, or social status. Normally, if the noun is modified, the article should be used: Soy profesor. (I am a teacher.)Él es un buen dentista. (He is a good dentist. Here, dentista is modified by buen.) ¿Eres catà ³lica? - No, soy una metodista feliz. (Are you a Catholic? No, Im a happy Methodist. Metodista is modified by feliz, but the unmodified catà ³lica stands alone.)Es artista. (She is an artist.)Es una artista que muere de hambre. (She is a starving artist.) Omitting Articles With Otro A common mistake made by English speakers is to use un otro or una otra for another. Otro/otra stands by itself. Quisiera otra taza. (I would like another cup.)Comprà ³ otro coche. (She bought another car.)Quiero viajar a otra ciudad chilena. (I want to visit another Chilean city.) Omitting Articles With Certain Large Numbers The numbers mil (1,000) and cien (100) do not need the article. Mil and cien already refer to one thousand and one hundred, respectively. Gana mil dà ³lares por mes. (He earns a thousand dollars per month.)Tiene cien aà ±os. (She is a hundred years old.)Hay mil maneras de cambiar el mundo. (There are a thousand ways to change the world.) Omitting Articles In Exclamations Using Que In exclamations such as  ¡Quà © sorpresa! (What a surprise!), theres no need to put anything between the que and the following noun.  ¡Quà © lstima! (What a shame!) ¡Quà © casa! (What a house!) ¡Quà © diferencia hace un dà ­a! (What a difference a day makes!) Omitting Articles With Some Prepositions After sin (without), the article is usually omitted unless the speaker is emphasizing the utter lack of something: Escribe sin ordenador. (He writes without a computer.)La ciudad tendr un mximo de 30 grados sin posibilidad de lluvia. (The city will have a high of 30 degrees without a possibility of rain.)La cantante compartià ³ fotos sin una gota de maquillaje. (The singer shared photos of herself without a single touch of makeup. It would be grammatically correct to leave out the una, but its inclusion puts emphasis on the utter lack of makeup.) The article is usually omitted after con (with) when con has a meaning similar to English words or phrases such as wearing or equipped with. When con can be translated as using, the article is typically omitted if the object is being used in an ordinary way. El bebà © come con cuchara. (The baby eats with a spoon. This is the ordinary use for a spoon, while the use in the next sentence isnt.)El preso se escapà ³ de la crcel con una cuchara. (The prisoner escaped from the jail with a spoon.)Vestir con zapato plano y obtener un resultado de 10 es posible. (Dressing with flat shoes and getting a 10 is possible. Contrast this sentence with the following example, where the shoe isnt being worn.)Sà © como abrir una botella con una zapato. (I know how to open a bottle with a shoe.) Omitting Articles After Certain Verbs The article is frequently omitted after forms of tener (to have), comprar (to buy), llevar (to wear), and some other verbs when generically referring to things that people would normally have or use one at a time. No tengo coche. (I dont have a car.)Lleva camisa. (He is wearing a shirt.)Vamos a comprar casa. (Were going to buy a house.) ¿Tiene madre? (Does he have a mother?) Including the Indefinite Article When English Doesn’t Finally, there is one case where we dont use the indefinite article in English where its needed in Spanish. In a series of two or more words joined by and, we often leave out the a or an, but when using y in Spanish the un or una is used to avoid ambiguity. In English we might say a cat and dog, for example, but in Spanish it must be un gato y un perro. Without the second un, the phrase would be understood as referring to one creature, a cross between a cat and dog. Note the distinction in these sentences: Conozco a un artista y un dentista. (I know an artist and I know a dentist.)Conozco a un artista y dentista. (I know a dentist who is also an artist.) Key Takeaways Although un and una are the equivalent of one, they are often better translated as a or an.Most of the time that Spanish uses un or una before a noun, the corresponding English sentence can be translated using a or an.The opposite, however, is not always true, as there are many times that an a or an is left untranslated in Spanish.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.