Chancing the subject in the second clause

KentB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Chancing the subject in the second clause

Quiz statement:  Esa profesora explicaba muy bien pero esta nos aprobaba fácilmente.

My translation: That teacher explained things very well but this one passed us easily.

Quiz translation: That teacher explained things very well but with this one we passed [the subject] easily.

How I would translate that back into Spanish: Esa profesora explicaba muy bien pero, con esta, aprobamos fácilmente.

The translation of the second clause seems to change the focus, with the subject being the teacher (passing the students easily). I realize it’s subtle but do you think it makes a difference? Did the second teacher go easy on the students or did they just connect better with her teaching?

Asked 2 years ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Kent

In Spanish, the only interpretation of:

..., pero esta nos aprobaba fácilmente

is "...but this one passed us easily" meaning that that teacher was easy on the students [when marking]. That other possible interpretation only happens in the English, not in the Spanish using the verb "aprobar".

However, in Spanish, we can use the verb aprobar in this context in two different ways, with pretty much the same meaning:

1. esta profesora nos aprobaba fácilmente 

Literally "this teacher passed us easily" (she gave us a pass easily)

2. con esta profesora aprobábamos fácilmente

Literally "with this teacher we passed [our exams] easily"

The subject is different on each sentence, in 1. the teacher does "give a pass" (aprobar a alguien), in 2. we "pass" (aprobar [un examen])

I hope this clarifies your doubt. 

Un saludo cordial.

Inma

InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Kent

If we see again the whole sentence, it's saying:

 

Esa profesora explicaba muy bien pero esta nos aprobaba fácilmente.

That teacher explained things very well but this one passed us easily

Here, using the imperfect in both sentences: esta profesora explicaba / esta nos aprobaba,  we are talking about what "used to happen", where the imperfect is used to convey that sort of past action. So, bearing in mind this nuance, this would be "This teacher used to give good explanations but this [other] one used to give us all a pass easily"

We could also use the preterite in these two sentences, and then consider these actions as a "one time action": 

 

Esa profesora explicó muy bien pero esta nos aprobó fácilmente.

That teacher explained [things] very well but this one passed us easily.

Then, here, we'd be talking about something that happened and had an end, normally seen as a single action each time (one teacher explained once, the other gave us a pass), as if talking about something that happened one specific day. 

So, grammatically they are both correct, but with different nuances.

I hope this clarified it.

Saludos

Inma

KentB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Muchas gracias Inma por su aporte! Being able to ask these questions and get your insights makes a huge difference with my language learning.

I notice now that I used present tense for what was a past tense statement (con esta aprobamos fácilmente) and you corrected it with the imperfect. That brings up a new point … selecting imperfect or preterit is challenging in some instances. Regardless of whether the teacher gave the pass or the students passed, doesn’t that feel like a singular event for which the preterit would be more accurate?

Saludos a usted

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Kent

Following a bit on what you said about sounding more appropriate to use the preterite in "nos aprobó facilmente" instead of "nos aprobaba facilmente", again, we are still saying "but this one used to give us a pass easily" instead of "gave us a pass easily [in one specific occasion]". 

In this instanse it'd be more logical to continue with the same time frame that we are using in the first sentence: "Esa profesora explicaba...", so with both teachers we are referring to something that "used to happen". I hope it makes sense.

Keep practising the imperfect and the preterite, it's a tough topic for everyone... : ))

Saludos

Inma

Chancing the subject in the second clause

Quiz statement:  Esa profesora explicaba muy bien pero esta nos aprobaba fácilmente.

My translation: That teacher explained things very well but this one passed us easily.

Quiz translation: That teacher explained things very well but with this one we passed [the subject] easily.

How I would translate that back into Spanish: Esa profesora explicaba muy bien pero, con esta, aprobamos fácilmente.

The translation of the second clause seems to change the focus, with the subject being the teacher (passing the students easily). I realize it’s subtle but do you think it makes a difference? Did the second teacher go easy on the students or did they just connect better with her teaching?

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