Use of article

PatiC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Use of article

Please explain why it was necessary to insert "los" before ojos azules. I have trouble understanding when articles (both definite and indefinite) can be omitted and when they are required in written (and spoken for that matter) Spanish.

Thank you,

Pati Ecuamiga

Asked 11 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Pati

You can use the article or omit it, both are fine here. It sounds a bit more natural is you use it. 

The presence and omission of the articles is one of the most difficult skills in Spanish in my opinion. There is only a vague general rule that says we tend to use it when we are thinking of that "noun" it's referring to each time as something specific, something we identify in our mind. If we are talking more generally about something, then we drop it. 

In this case, we tend to use it when we talk about our physical appearance ( but you can drop it too) because if I say "Tengo el pelo negro y los ojos marrones" I am "identifying" that hair and eyes, I see them, I am talking about my own features, it is specific. But you can equally say "Tiene pelo negro y ojos azules" when you take it as a more general meaning and general concepts. 

Unfortunately, there's no easy rule as I said to master this. There are only certain structures that require the article or the opposite, like sentences with gustar (Me gusta EL chocolate) or with subjects: "EL café no es bueno" (there's no other option in these cases). 

Sorry we can't be more helpful in this matter. 

Saludos cordiales

 

PatiC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thanks. I understand the use of definite articles (i.e., EL after gusta and at the start of sentences) very well. That's not my problem. Rather, it's the other situations (as indicated in my examples) that are frustrating.

If I'm interpreting your response correctly Inma, it seems whether (or not) to insert the definite article is largely idiosyncratic. That is, it's not right or wrong to include or not include them. As such, seems the Kwiziq system should accept both responses as opposed to inserting the article (or striking through it) depending on ---- I don't know, --- the whim of Kwiziq? There's already precedent for what I'm proposing. For example, sometimes the Kwiziq system will accept say entender as well as comprender (or comenzar as well as empezar). Why not the same for use (or non-use) of definite articles in the types of examples I've noted like "los ojos azules"? Perhaps there a good reason for not doing so, but based on your response I still don't understand it.

Perhaps others can offer insights on how/when to insert the definite articles.

Thanks,

Pati

Use of article

Please explain why it was necessary to insert "los" before ojos azules. I have trouble understanding when articles (both definite and indefinite) can be omitted and when they are required in written (and spoken for that matter) Spanish.

Thank you,

Pati Ecuamiga

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