"Reverse" verb constructions in Spanish
Consider sentences such as the following in English:
Suggest a change / Cambios sugeridos
|Experiencer is subject||Experiencer is object|
|I forgot (it)||it slipped my mind|
|I remembered (it)||it occurred to me|
|Jane loves tennis||tennis enthuses Jane|
|I can't stand him||he annoys me|
|I don't like the situation||the situation doesn't please me|
|nobody inherited anything from him||he bequeathed nothing to anyone|
Each row in the table above contains a pair of sentences which express more or less
the same idea. In the first sentence of each pair, the experiencer or
recipient of the notion expressed by the verb is the subject of
the verb. In the second of each pair, that experiencer becomes the object of the verb.
In Spanish, a comparable situation often occurs: a construction can be chosen with
the experiencer as either the subject or the object of the verb (depending on the verb).
In some of these pairs, you'll probably agree that one of the constructions is more common.
For example, the verb inherit is a reasonably common verb, whereas
bequeath has pretty much fallen out of everyday usage.
A similar thing can occur in Spanish.
But it turns out that there are a number of verbs where the
'common' way of translating that verb into Spanish uses the construction that
is "the other way round" to English.
Understanding and forming the reverse construction in Spanish
To understand how this construction works, see this site's page on how to
say I like in Spanish, along with the interactive tutorial
on the verb gustar.
Other examples of reverse constructions in Spanish
Here are some other common examples of this reverse construction:
|English/Spanish verb pair||English||Spanish|
|antojarse / fancy||what do you fancy?||¿qué se te antoja?|
|caer bien / like||I like David||David me cae bien|
|caer mal / don't like||I don't like David||David me cae mal|
|dar / to get, have (an illness, temper)||I got a headache||me dio un dolor de cabeza|
|he had a tantrum||le dio una rabieta|
|dar envidia / be jealous||I'm jealous of him||me da envidia|
|encantar / love||I love the cinema||me encanta el cine|
|gustar / like||I like tennis||me gusta el tenis|
|hacer falta, faltar /|
need, not have enough
|it needs some salt||le hace falta sal|
|we need more money||nos falta dinero|
|importar / care, mind||I don't mind that much||no me importa tanto|
|hartar1 / be sick, fed up with/of||I'm fed up of the situation||me harta la situación|
|tocar2 / get||I got plenty of meat||me tocó mucha carne|
1 The verb hartar, like some other verbs in Spanish, is also used
pronominally (hartarse de algo)
with a similar meaning.
2. This use of tocar is equivalent to English get in the sense of "be given as one's portion", "receive by chance". The verb get has a variety of other translations depending on its more specific meaning.
Introduction to Spanish verbs
Copyright © Javamex UK 2012. All rights reserved.