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preferir sobre?

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

preferir sobre?

Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Aug 30, 2005 12:21 pm

Yesterday I read a bar notice lauding the virtues of a Brazilian beer by the name Tauber, which is far from being the most popular one (it doesn't matter to me, anyway, I don't drink). What caught my eye was something like this, which was laid out in 10 statements to give the reader the semblance of the 10 commandments of beer drinkers:

Preferir a Tauber sobre todas as outras cervejas
To prefer Tauber over/above all other beers.

I had seen prefer over/above before (but only in English) and that preferir sobre was SO strange. The canonical preposition is a: Preferir a Tauber a todas as outras cervejas, and do que is also used (in spite of some grammarians' scorn) in everyday language. But sobre?

How powerful is linguistic contamination? How ever powerful it may be, I highly doubt whether the person responsible for inditing those commandments has any grasp of the English language, especially of its nuances. Or is it possible that change can converge to the same point in different individuals, notwithstanding their mother tongue?

By the way,

prefer Prefer is most often used in constructions that do not involve prepositions. However, when it is used to copmare two things in the same sentence, the second, especially if it is a noun or pronoun is usually introduced by to:

Movement is always to be preferred to inaction - Normal Mailer, Adverstisements for Myself, 1959

... monarch butterflies, who prefer them to any other flower - Eleanor Perenyi, Green Thoughts, 1983

... he prefers sweaters and slacks to suits - Current Biography, July 1965

Sometimes other prepositions are used. The OED notes above and before as being used forerly (George Washington used before). Over is occasionally used:

... but who, nevertheless, are preferred over the A type or the D type - William J. Reilly, Life Planning for College Students, 1954

This construction is especially frequent in adverstisements for products where doctor or housewives of some other group will be said to prefer one brand over all others.

This is why, by and by, I doubt the term native speaker means anything. If any foreign student of mine had written that, I would have corrected it. If he asked me why, I would simply say, "Nobody talks like that."

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Postby tcward » Tue Aug 30, 2005 1:30 pm

... monarch butterflies, who prefer them to any other flower - Eleanor Perenyi, Green Thoughts, 1983


Funny, but I would prefer over in this example.

... monarch butterflies, who prefer them over any other flower...

Or I would leave the final phrase off.

... monarch butterflies, who strongly prefer them.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:38 pm

... monarch butterflies, who prefer them to any other flower - Eleanor Perenyi, Green Thoughts, 1983

If it had been up to me, I would have used which instead of who. I think who implies too strong a personification for the antecedent, and I don't think that is aimed at here. If we were talking about a family pet, then who would be okay. But who am I? :wink:

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Postby uncronopio » Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:03 am

I was reading my copy of Diccionario de dudas de Manuel Seco, looking for the use of preferir in Spanish. He is adamant that the correct use is with A. For example, 'preferir una cosa A otra'. Then he states that the sentence must not use QUE, giving as example 'A veces prefería demorar el amor QUE apagar su infalible cigarro cubano', a sentence written by García Márquez, winner of the Nobel prize of literature.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:23 am

'A veces prefería demorar el amor QUE apagar su infalible cigarro cubano',

I cannot pass any judgment until I find out what should have been in place of that &.

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Postby tcward » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:59 am

The secret is in the &...; This marks the use of a special character, in this case, the i-acute, otherwise known as í.

Thus, the actual word should be prefería.

'A veces prefería demorar el amor QUE apagar su infalible cigarro cubano'...

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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Sep 22, 2005 10:42 am

Thank you, Tim.

For example, 'preferir una cosa A otra'. Then he states that the sentence must not use QUE, giving as example 'A veces prefería demorar el amor QUE apagar su infalible cigarro cubano',

Well, that's a very weird man then. First he states one thing, then he says something else. In standard Portuguese we'd also have: A vezes preferia demorar o amor A apagar seu infalível cigarro/charuto cubano, but many people would have used QUE as well instead.

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Postby uncronopio » Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:09 pm

As a non-smoker, I can't understand how would you prefer a cigar!
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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:06 pm

And I'm not an expert on the former either, so I'll refrain from commenting. :)

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Postby Stargzer » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:46 pm

uncronopio wrote:As a non-smoker, I can't understand how would you prefer a cigar!


We'll have to ask Rudyard Kipling. (The most famous line is third from last.)
Regards//Larry

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