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Old 14th October 2010, 04:32 PM   #1
jubilee
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Default sabor a / olor a ??

Most days when I read a text in Spanish I am surprised by the use of some preposition or other. Todays is the use of a in the following:

La manteca de cacao es un sustancia grasa sólida que funde a 29° C, es de color blanco o amarillento y de olor y sabor a cacao. I would expect de olor y sabor DE cacao.... Are taste and smell always followed by the prep a?

Many thanks
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Old 14th October 2010, 06:59 PM   #2
Angelo
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Originally Posted by jubilee View Post
Most days when I read a text in Spanish I am surprised by the use of some preposition or other. Todays is the use of a in the following:

La manteca de cacao es un sustancia grasa sólida que funde a 29° C, es de color blanco o amarillento y de olor y sabor a cacao. I would expect de olor y sabor DE cacao.... Are taste and smell always followed by the prep a?

Many thanks
Well, I have never used/listened "olor/sabor DE ... [something]", so it seems true.
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Old 14th October 2010, 08:52 PM   #3
Beckett
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Originally Posted by jubilee View Post
Are taste and smell always followed by the prep a?
Yes, when you are referring to a specific smell or flavor: sabor / olor + a +noun.

But you don't need the preposition if you follow with an adjective: sabor / olor + adjective.

For example:

sabor a chocolate
(chocolate flavored) but sabor dulce (sweet taste)

olor a humo (smells of smoke, smells smokey) but olor terrible (horrible smell)


Regarding your question about why Spanish uses the preposition "a" instead of "de," I don't know why. It's just another one of those things which don't translate directly. After all in English we say that something "smells like..." or "tastes like..." and the use of "like" in that construction is probably confusing to some people learning English.

Your original question was about the nouns "sabor" (taste) and "olor" (smell) but the Spanish preposition "a" is also paired with the verb equivalents. For example: Mi pelo huele a humo. (My hair smells smokey, my hair smells of cigarette smoke.)

A funny way to say that something smells awful in Spanish is to say that it "huele a tigre" (smells like a tiger).

And yes, OLER is an odd verb that undergoes a spelling change to the letter "h" in the present tense: huelo (I smell) hueles (you smell), huele (he smells), etc.

Just to complicate matters even more, the verb SABER (to know) also can mean "to taste" in Spanish. Thanks to the preposition a in Spanish we can distinguish between "saber de..." (to know about, to know of) and saber a (to taste of, to taste like).

¿Sabes de un buen lugar para estudiar español? Do you know of a great place to study Spanish?

Esta galleta sabe a coco. This cookie tastes like coconut.

Isn't Spanish wonderful?
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Old 17th October 2010, 08:21 PM   #4
jubilee
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Many thanks for always doing so well on answering grammar questions. I always benefit a lot from your input, and I really appreciate it. thanks. Hopefully I'll now use saber/sabor oler appropriately!!
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Old 19th October 2010, 09:58 PM   #5
Beckett
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Jubilee,
De nada. Always happen to help whenever I can.
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