fueron or habia

tomio

New Member
UK English
I have been told the following sentence is grammatically correct:

"Fueron los misioneros y los exploradores de Espana quienes trajeron la religion catolica al Nuevo Mundo"

Can someone please tell me why this is so. As a literal translation from english the following would appear to be more suitable yet I am guessing it is not:

"Habia los misioneros y los exploradores de Espana quienes trajeron la religion catolica al Nuevo Mundo"

Thankyou!
 
  • dave

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Hi Tomio,

    Whilst it would be best to wait for the natives for a definitive explanation, my thoughts are that using "fueron" is the closest to the literal translation from English.

    Fueron = They were
    Habia = There was / were

    In English the sentence would be:

    It was the missionaries and explorers from Spain who brought the Catholic religion to the New World

    This is a simple use of the verb "to be" rather than the structure "there are" (although of course in English we usually keep the verb in the singular in this kind of sentence).

    Does this make sense?
     

    tomio

    New Member
    UK English
    yes, thankyou, but it is exactly this point that was confusing me - how does fueron translate to 'it was'?? I presume, because it is plural, that 'fueron' refers to the missionaries rather than the 'it' in 'it was the missionaries'.

    I thought habia was closer, you thought fueron was closer - you are obviously right!
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It is "fueron" because in Spanish "misioneros" is the subject of the sentence. It's just that the word order is inverted (i.e. V + S), a frequent phenomenon in Spanish. Therefore, the verb needs to agree with this plural subject.

    In the English translation, "missionaries" is not the subject, but the predicate nominative. Since the subject is "it," the verb needs to be singular to agree with it. In English, the verb always agrees with the subject, not the predicate nominative. That is, one would say "The worst problem is (not are) his complaints."

    I hope this makes sense!
     

    dave

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    I'm not sure, but I think it's just because in Spanish observance of subject/verb number agreements is a bit stricter than in English. If we put your original Spanish sentence into the singular, e.g:

    Fue Colon quien trajo la religion catolica al Nuevo Mundo

    Then it might be easier to see the literal English translation:

    It was Colombus who brought the Catholic religion to the New World :tick:
    and not
    There was Colombus who brought the Catholic religion to the New World :cross:

    That's why Spanish uses the verb Ser and not Haber. Hope this helps.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    You are absolutely, right, but English subject-verb agreement is also pretty strict, as I hope was shown through my explanation of why English uses the singular verb.
     

    tomio

    New Member
    UK English
    thankyou both, if I rephrase the english version so that it sits better with this explanation:

    "the missionaries and explorers from spain were who brought the catholic religion to the new World"

    Then the literal english translation is closer to the spanish, and it makes sense to me
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    tomio said:
    thankyou both, if I rephrase the english version so that it sits better with this explanation:

    "the missionaries and explorers from spain were those who brought the catholic religion to the new World"

    Then the literal english translation is closer to the spanish, and it makes sense to me

    Just that tiny correction...in the Spanish "quienes," the "those" is understood.
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    tomio said:
    I have been told the following sentence is grammatically correct:

    "Fueron los misioneros y los exploradores de Espana quienes trajeron la religion catolica al Nuevo Mundo"

    Can someone please tell me why this is so. As a literal translation from english the following would appear to be more suitable yet I am guessing it is not:

    "Habia los misioneros y los exploradores de Espana quienes trajeron la religion catolica al Nuevo Mundo"

    Thankyou!



    The translation would be " It was the missioners who brought....." :p
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Yes, it would be, but I think tomio was just trying to internalize the structure in Spanish and thus chose a more literal translation... :)
     

    tomio

    New Member
    UK English
    yes that is exactly what i was doing - it seems to be the way my mind works best with this kind of thing.

    I'm sure more experienced language learners may think this is silly!!
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I don't think it's silly at all...I've been learning languages forever and I do it all the time! It's actually quite an effective technique! Keep up the good work! :)
     
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