Tuesday, 24 February 2015

I remain where you left me . . .

Well, it's been a while.
I can't believe it's three months since my last post, but I spend so much time keeping my own Spanish polished up (pulido) that I forget to find time to share the insights I pick up along the way.

I've been planning to write about today's subject for quite a while, so it's well overdue.

You're no doubt familiar with the verbs quedar (to stay) and dejar (to leave [something])
but they both have very frequently used colloquial meanings, which are very similar.

Normally, you'd say, for instance 'nos quedamos en casa' (we stayed at home) or 'dejé mis llaves en la casa' (I left my keys at home) and these are the simple, classroom, uses of the verbs,
However, in conversation, it's not unusual to hear someone say 'me dejas atónito' which literally means 'you leave me astonished'. The idea is that the other person has done, or said, something which amazes, or appals you.

There are literally dozens of expressions which can follow the verb 'dejar', but the inference is that the action of the other person has caused a change of state, which leaves you in a different condition to your condition, previous to whatever it is they said or did.

The simple structure is 'me' plus 'dejar' followed by an adjective
e.g. 'me dejas triste' - you have made/left me sad
'me dejaste entusiasmado' - you made/left me enthusiastic

but, you can also follow 'me dejas' with a descriptive phrase
e.g. 'me dejas sin palabras' - you have left me speechless
or 'me dejas queriendo mas información' - you leave me wanting more information

and let's not forget that the cause of the change in state may not be another person, but an object or occurrence
e.g. 'la muerte de su madre le dejó huérfano' - the death of his mother left him orphaned
'el ataque le había dejado preocupado' - the attack had left him worried
'el fracaso de su campaña le dejará sin ingresos' - the failure of his campaign will leave him with no income.
You will see from these examples that the construction can be used in a number of tenses.

Closely allied to this use of 'dejar' is the colloquial use of the verb 'quedar'.
It has pretty much the same meaning, and suggestion of a change of state and can also be followed by adjectives, descriptive phrases or even verbs.
e,g 'me quedaba nadando por mi vida' - I was left swimming for my life

So, re-using the examples above
'él quedaba huérfano, despues de la muerte de su madre' -  he was left an orphan, after the death of his mother
'él había quedado preocupado despues del ataque' - he was left worried, after the attack
'él quedará sin ingresos despues del fracaso de su campaña' -  he will be left without an income, after the failure of his campaign.

Interestingly, although the literal meaning of 'quedar' is 'to stay', in these examples, the best translation is 'to be left', which is closer to the meaning of the verb 'dejar'

Well I hope that hasn't confused you too much.
There are many different colloquial uses of the verbs quedar and dejar but 'espero que yo no les dejé a ustedes confundidos ' - I hope I am not leaving you all confused.

¡Hasta la próxima!

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