When should the object be plural

ColinA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

When should the object be plural

Hi,

I was comparing two of the sentences above:

Clara se lava los pies cada día

and

Nosotros nos ponemos crema solar en la cara.

In English, both refer to plural objects i.e. her feet and our faces.  In Spanish, los pies but la clara.

I wondered why Spanish refers to 'la clara' rather than 'las claras' as there is more than one subject therefore more than one object.

Thanks.

Colin



Asked 2 months ago
JohnB2 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hola Colin,

This is a great way of learning how sentences are structured and how verbs behave differently (and often very precisely) in Spanish. The root of the confusion may be that the verb "lavarse" is a reflexive use of the verb lavar, and means "to wash oneself." The person doing the act and the recipient of the act is the same person. Another example "Afeitar" is to shave someone else, while "Afeitarse" is to shave oneself. When you think of it this way "Clara washes her feet every day" is fairly unambiguous. 

"Nosotros nos ponemos crema solar en la cara" needs a bit more explanation but bear with me. In this case ponerse means "put on yourself or apply" and it also means "get dressed." The root verb is poner "to put."  So the sentence means literally "We put sun cream [on ourselves] on our face." In English we could get away with saying collectively for a group "We put sun cream on our faces" I think it would be fairly accurate and acceptable usage, but I don't know if the same is true for Spanish. 

I'm sure Inma can sort that out for us.

I hope that helps

Saludos

John

When should the object be plural

Hi,

I was comparing two of the sentences above:

Clara se lava los pies cada día

and

Nosotros nos ponemos crema solar en la cara.

In English, both refer to plural objects i.e. her feet and our faces.  In Spanish, los pies but la clara.

I wondered why Spanish refers to 'la clara' rather than 'las claras' as there is more than one subject therefore more than one object.

Thanks.

Colin



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