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'De Que' Used To Connect Clauses

Lesson 5 in the 'Real Spanish Grammar' Series

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Excerpt from news article: No cabe duda de que en los últimos cinco años, el destino de América Latina ha sido influenciado fuertemente por tres de sus más visionarios y decididos líderes: Hugo Chávez, Rafael Correa y Evo Morales.

Source: CubaSí. Retrieved Jan. 18, 2012.

Suggested translation: There is no room for doubt that in the last five years, the destiny of Latin America has been strongly influenced by three of its most visionary and audacious leaders: Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales.

Key grammatical issue: This sentence shows the proper use of "de que" as one equivalent of the English "that."

The simplified rule, as explained in our lesson on de que, is that in sentences with the form "noun + 'that' + noun + verb," "that" can be translated as que when it means "which"; otherwise de que must be used. De que functions here as a two-word conjunction linking the clauses "no cabe duda ..." and "el destino ... ha sido influenciado ..." See the de que lesson for further explanation other examples of the contrasting uses of que and de que, as the distinction isn't likely to be intuitive to English speakers.

Here are three other sentences from CubaSi.com showing the use of "de que":

  • Tenemos documentos fiables y evidencia de que este acto terrorista fue planeado. We have trustworthy documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned.
  • No quiero dar a nadie la impresión de que estamos enviando a toda prisa a dos portaaviones para allá. I don't want to give anyone the impression that we are immediately sending two aircraft carriers over there.
  • Estamos convencidos de que el crecimiento infinito en un planeta finito es insostenible e imposible. We are convinced that infinite growth on a finite planet is unsustainable and impossible.

"De que" should not be confused with "de qué," which means "of what." Quien camine por esta calle sabe de qué hablo. Whoever walks down that street knows of what I'm speaking. (Colloquially, whoever walks that street knows what I'm talking about.)

Other notes on vocabulary and grammar:

  • Caber usually means "to fit" (as for something to fit in a space). "No cabe duda" also could have been translated less literally as "there is no doubt" or "undoubtedly."
  • Although último can mean "ultimate," it more often means "last," making último a fickle friend.
  • "Ha sido" is a present perfect form of ser, a verb meaning "to be."
  • Influenciado is the past participle of influenciar.
  • Fuertemente, like many Spanish adverbs, is formed by adding the suffix -mente to an adjective, in this case fuerte, meaning "strong."
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