Re: [OT] Spanish grammar (was Re: [q] Typesetting rules in Spanish)

From: Martin Kochanski (
Date: Sat Sep 07 2002 - 16:28:12 EDT

To expand: "su" can mean "his" "her" "their" as well as the polite "your". In this context, "el marino, el hermano de su madre" risks being felt as a complete phrase in itself (the sailor, the brother of his mother), so you need "de usted" to anchor it firmly to the second person. If Juan hadn't been a sailor, (yo soy Juan de Aguirre, el hermano de su madre") then the risk wouldn't have been there but he could, as D.E. says, still have been being ultra-polite.

At 09:53 07/09/02 -0700, Doug Ewell wrote:
><Peter_Constable at sil dot org> wrote:
>>> ??Yo soy Juan de Aguirre, el marino, el hermano de su madre de usted,
>> Can one really say, "su madre de usted"? Can you do that with any noun
>> and any semantic relation expressed by the possessive construction?
>> (su casa de usted, su pays de usted, etc.)
>It's an emphatic form, sort of like saying "YOUR mother" slowly while
>raising one's eyebrows and pointing one's finger at the listener. (OK,
>maybe not quite that emphatic.)
>I imagine you could use that form with any "possessed" noun when the
>situation calls for that type of emphasis.
>-Doug Ewell
> Fullerton, California

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