Sunday, December 29, 2019

Using the Spanish Verb Deber

The Spanish verb deber is quite common and can be used to express obligation or that something that is likely.   Key Takeaways: Using the Spanish Verb 'Deber' The everyday verb deber is most often used to express that someone has a debt or is obligated to do something.The phrase deber de can be used to indicate that something is highly probable.In the preterite, deber is used to indicate that something should have been done. Expressing Obligation When used in this way, deber is frequently similar in meaning to the English must, should, or ought: Debes estudiar tus lecciones. (You ought to study your lessons.) ¿Quà © carro debo comprar? (Which car should I buy?)Alguien deberà ¡ hablar de todo esto. (Someone will have to talk about all this.)No debe dormirse despuà ©s de comer. (He shouldnt go to sleep after eating.) The tone of deber to express obligation can be softened by using the conditional form instead of the present tense, although the difference isnt always translatable. When telling someone what he or she should be doing, using the conditional can come across as more polite: No deberà ­as abrir un blog si vas a hablar de temas personales. (You shouldnt start a blog if youre going to talk about personal subjects.)La Fuerza Aerea deberà ­a comprar mejores aviones de combate. (The Air Force should buy better combat planes.)Hay 25 libros que deberà ­amos leer antes de cumplir los 30. (There are 25 books we should read before we reach our 30s.) Expressing a Debt When used with a noun direct object, deber can usually be translated as owe. No me debes nada. (You dont owe me anything.)El gobierno le debe mà ¡s de $3 millones a mi madre. (The government owes my mother more than $3 million.)Siempre te voy a deber el haberme levantado cuando tan abajo estaba. (I am always going to owe you for having lifted me up when I was so low.) Expressing Strong Probability The phrase debes de is used to refer to a strong likelihood. In such cases, it is often the equivalent of the English must when must isnt used to express obligation: No debiste de firmar nada. (You must not have signed anything.)Debo de ser anormal. (I must be abnormal.)Deben de estar en buena condicià ³n. (In all likelihood, they are in good condition.) It is very common in some areas, especially in speech, to drop the de in sentences such as those above. However, out of context, doing so would make the sentences ambiguous. Thus while ​debà ­as de verme can mean only you must have seen me, debà ­as verme can mean either you must have seen me or you ought to have seen me. In that case, you would need to know the context to understand what was meant. On occasion, in some regions, you may hear deber de to express obligation. However, this usage is frowned upon by grammarians and should not be imitated if you are learning the language. Using Deber in the Preterite In the preterite tense, the rough equivalent of the simple past tense in English, deber can be used to indicate that something should have been done. Son las palabras que no debiste decir. (They are the words you shouldnt have said.)Pedro debià ³ pedir disculpas a sus empleados tras la difusià ³n del video. (Pedro should have asked for forgiveness from his employees after the video was broadcast.)Debà ­ ver que esto iba a ocurrir. (I should have seen that this was going to happen.) Phrases Using Deber These are among the common phrases using deber: Deberse a (owing to, due to): El aumento de las enfermedades crà ³nicas se debe a nuestro estilo de vida. (The increase in chronic illness is due to our lifestyle.)Cumplir con su deber (to do or fulfill ones duty): Complà ­ con mi deber de votar. (I fulfilled my duty to vote.)No deberse a nadie (to be answerable to nobody): El presidente no se debe a nadie — salvo a todos los ciudadanos de todos y cada uno de los estados. (The president isnt answerable to anyone — except for all the citizens of each and every one of the states.)Sentido del deber (sense of duty): No puedes decir que me falta el sentido del deber. (You cant say I lack a sense of duty.)

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