Saturday, 26 May 2012

Tell Me, What Did You See On TV?

Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are recalling what you each did yesterday. The other person wants you to tell him/ her what you saw on TV and says to you something like: "tell me, what did you see on TV?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿qué viste en la tele?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿qué vió (usted) en la tele?

The question is an invitation for you to say what or who you saw on TV. When you say what or who you saw on TV, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating what you saw. Perhaps you want to say that you saw:
  • Some TV programme;
  • Some type of show;
  • Some object or other item;
  • People;
  • Animals;

Here are some examples of what you could say in each case:
  • Vi un episodio de la serie Mujeres Desesperadas (I saw an episode of Desperate Housewives);
  • Vi las noticias (I saw the news);
  • Vi una vivienda muy moderna (I saw a very modern dwelling/ house);
  • Vi a Antonio Banderas y a Melanie Griffiths* (I saw Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffiths);
  • Vi a Pluto en una serie de dibujos animados* (I saw Pluto in a cartoon series);

Now you should practice replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿qué viste en la tele?

*Please see grammar below

Grammar-Personal “a”
Please note that the last two answers above are not quite in the same form as the first three. The reason for the differences is that in Spanish, when a person or animal proper name are 'direct objects', a preposition “a” is normally placed in front of such direct objects. The preposition used in such situations is often referred to as the personal “a”.

Some examples of the use of the personal “a” are:

  • Llamé a mi hermano por teléfono (I called my brother on the phone);
  • ¿Dónde dejaste a Pluto, tu perro? (where did you leave Pluto, your dog);
  • Pedro admira a su amigo Juan (Pedro admires his friend Juan);
  • Visitamos a nuestros padres (we visited our parents);
  • ¿Visteis a Pedro? (did you see Pedro?);
  • Escucharon a Gonzalo toda la noche (they listened to Gonzalo all night);

Now you should practice using the personal "a" with some examples of your own.

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