If definite articles are used on the subject of a sentence, why are they used with ríos and vegetación? Isn't the subject of the sentence acid rain? If a word that receives the action of the verb (contaminar) is the object , doesn't that make ríos and vegetación objects not subjects?
I think I've reached the limit of all my understanding of grammar in both Spanish and English. I can't get this right. I'm ready to quit.
Freeform Writing Exercise A2
The definite article is used in Spanish but not in English when you talk about nouns in a general sense:
-En esta región se produce el vino
-Lo más importante es la esperanza.
-la lluvia ácida contamina los ríos y la vegetación.
In these cases the nouns denote the whole of what they represent — all wine, all hope, all rivers and vegetation etc.
When the noun only refers to part or some of it, the article is omitted:
Yo tomo carne. I’m having meat. (i.e. some meat).
Oh and remember when learning spanish, grammar isn't the most important thing, so don't give up!
After 3 years I still don't get it and every time it is 50-50 whether I get it right. Thank you very much for your help though, it is much appreciated.
And does my example of subjects and objects make any sense or am I wrong about that?
I still have issues with this. My grammar book says the rules are notoriously difficult to explain! However the best explanations [too long to write here because there are exceptions to some of the rules] can be found in the book A new reference Grammar of Modern Spanish published by Routledge. I find it very useful and comprehensive.
Please don't give up Peter. I often get frustrated too. The thing I find most helpful is reading as much Spanish as I can. In my opinion, only when we see and hear a language being used can we fully immerse ourselves in it and thus truly grasp it's grammar.
By the way, I really appreciate your honesty in admitting your struggle with this. Often people feel embarrassed at being unable to grasp something. The teachers are so wonderful here, as are many of the students and all are willing to help and share when they can.
The use or omission of articles is one of the most difficult things to master when learning Spanish as a foreign language. As Marsha said, there is no clear-cut rule for this. There are cases where the article is compulsary, e.g. when using gustar or when there is a noun being the subject of the sentence, but in many other different structured sentences the omission or the presence of the article doesn't have a clear justification other than seeing that noun as a more general noun (omission) or being a bit more specific (presence).
I keep researching more on this subject and we may soon have an article about this with as much clarification as possible.
Saludos y ¡ánimo!
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