View Single Post
Old 14th October 2010, 09:52 PM   #3
Mega Forero
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 898

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?
Beckett is offline   Reply With Quote