"Ella me dijo que yo debía estar aquí."

Translation:She told me that I should be here.

January 3, 2013


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"Deber" and "deber de" have different meanings. Without the preposition it means obligation, whereas with preposition it indicates supposition. For instance:

"Debe estar en su casa" means "He must be at home"

"Debe de estar en su casa" means "He is probably at home"

January 3, 2013


We use "should" in English in a similar way, but you have to recognize it from context and tone. For instance:

"Where is he?"

"Well, I think he should be at home."

Here, the speaker supposes that the person being discussed is at home, but is not entirely certain. On the other hand:

"Well, I think he should be at home."

In this case, with the emphasis on "should", the speaker really is saying that the person spoken of has a duty to be at home. He might've left, but if so, he's doing something wrong.

June 30, 2014


"She told me that I should be here." is also accepted as correct.

October 30, 2015


See: http://spanish.about.com/od/usingparticularverbs/a/deber.htm

As jboalml noted deber can be used to express obligation or likelihood.

Deber can mean must, should or ought in the sense of obligation. As in, She must/should/ought not do that. Using the conditional form of deber (e.g., debería) softens the sense of obligation to should.

Deber de means 'must' in the sense of strong likelihood. As in, She must be out of town. The site notes that in some regions, the de is often dropped in spoken Spanish. It also notes that the use of deber de to express obligation (e.g., El debe de hacer la comida) is considered poor Spanish.

September 2, 2014


What you're saying about the preposition sounds like it must be right, but I don't actually understand it (yet). I simply haven't heard "probably" associated with "deber" at all. But in English when we're wondering where someone is, we might often say "He should be at home [now] [soon]" -- and that is a little bit different than "He is probably at home," but it seems to me it's close enough to reflect deber's "ought to" or "should" meanings. I'm wondering if you really mean to say "He should be at home" instead of "He is probably at home"?

April 11, 2014


Technically, deber + de means either probability or supposition.

May 6, 2018


The use of DE is not obligatory, in fact it's dropped in many countries.

May 27, 2016


Right, but then it makes some sentences ambiguous for people learning Spanish. No doubt dropping the de is no problem for the people who live in those countries, but for people learning Spanish, it would make it more confusing as to what exactly is meant.

"Debía hacerlo John" without de could then mean any of the following:

  • "John used to have to do it."

  • "John ought to/should do it."

  • "John must have done it."

On the other hand, "Debía de hacerlo John" = John must have done it.

May 6, 2018


Gracias!. Preposition is hard to master.

December 17, 2013


She told me that I should be here on my coach at March 15 at 10:45

March 15, 2018



March 15, 2018


Why not "I ought to be here"? This would imply obligation but not insist on it.

September 12, 2013


I understand that "Dijo" is in the preterite, although why should "debia" be in the imperfect? Would it still make any sense to say, "Ella me dijo que yo debo estar aqui"?

March 2, 2014


I am having a really hard time with this section.. Especially when the hints show (I/he/she/it/you) used to owe
(I/he/she/it/you) was/were owing
(I/he/she/it/you) owed
And this sentence has nothing to do with owing anything.. I understand that the hints aren't always correct but how am I supposed to learn? I am so confused right now.

June 4, 2015


Ought to be!!

January 30, 2014


I agree - shall report it!

May 7, 2014


I still prefer debiera if the idea is "She told me to be here." When one person "commands" another person to do something, it's subjunctive. When one person "commanded" another person in the past, it's past subjunctive. That's why all the commands look like subjunctive. :) (They ARE)

December 17, 2013


One of their alternatives for "debia" (With accent of course) "used to must"!

December 27, 2013


"debia" With an accent is imperfect. I used "should" which was accepted

August 26, 2014


"She told me that I must be here." is also accepted. They also appear to have corrected the hints. It reads should or ought to now.

May 1, 2018


Duolingo is so precise in what it expects here that I fear I'll never pass this section.

May 27, 2014


I believe that "should" and "ought" are synonymous in this case.

September 4, 2014


what's wrong with "she told me that I ought to be here"

October 17, 2014


"Deber" means obligation. It hasn't the meaning of should, it has the meaning of must.

"Debería" is what we use to say something that you should do, but you don't have to as an obligation.

"Deber de" is used to say something you think:

"Debe de estar cocinando": means that he/she should be cooking, he/she is probably cooking in this moment. "Debe estar cocinando": means that he/she must be cooking because it's a obligation.

We don't use "de" depending of the country, this preposition make sentences have a different meaning.

Anyways, a lot of Spanish people use it wrongly, so all of this is usually in our text books from highschool. Probably a spanish person would understand you if you don't know how to use "de", but it could be used wrongly.

I hope I explained well, I'm from Spain so my English could be a bit poor, but my Spanish is really good haha

October 18, 2017


Should be debiera.

August 11, 2013


I disagree. Spanish is my mother tongue and the sentence is correct as is. It conveys the idea that I had to be here, in the past. Debiera is wrong in any case (at least in Spanish from Spain). You could also use "debería", but that would change the meaning slightly. It would mean that she expected me to be here in the present but I am not. Obviously, this sentence does not make sense, as if she is capable of telling me this right now is because I am actually here.

August 11, 2013


what about 'she told me that I needed to be there.' ? Would that be correct? it marked it as incorrect.

April 14, 2014


Sentences that use "need" in English generally get translated to Spanish using necesitar.

June 30, 2014


English speakers often say "need to" that's similar to should or even must. One of my books said that necesitar sometimes is as strong as tener que or must, but that "need to" is used far less often in Spanish than in English.

May 1, 2018


jboalml: that's why i translated it as "She told me that I must STAY here". Because she expected/was "demanding" (something). Estar could also mean to remain somewhere, depending on the context.

November 16, 2014


Interesting. In the reverse course, the present tense of deber is translated as must, and the conditional debería is translated as should. That gave me the impression that Spanish was similar to English in that debo/must is a much stronger obligation that debería/should. Is that not the case in Spain?

According to my grammar book, it says that both debía (imperfect) and debería (conditional) translate as "should" or "ought to." On the other hand, this sentence is indirect speech (reported speech).

  • What is conditional in estilo indirecto would have been future in direct speech (estilo directo). (Yesterday) she said, "You must (will have to be) here tomorrow" = Ella dijo, "Debe estarás aquí mañana" Or since the conditional in direct speech stays conditional in indirect speech, she might have said, "You should be here tomorrow." = "Debería estar aquí mañana."

  • What is imperfect in estilo indirecto would have been present in direct speech (estilo directo). She said, "You must be here." = Ella dijo, "Debe estar aquí."

So, it seems to me that if what she actually said yesterday was "You will have to be here tomorrow," = "Debe estarás aquí mañana" or "You should be here tomorrow" = "Debería estar aquí mañana," then using the conditional today to report: "Ella dijo que debería estar aquí hoy" should be okay. Or am I misunderstanding something (entirely possible).

May 1, 2018


I translated this as "She told me that I should have been here," and the official translation is "She told me that I must be here." I wasn't marked wrong, but these seem to me to be different meanings. I though that since debía is in the imperfect, that the time that I was supposed to be here must be past. Am I wrong?

April 26, 2014


Yes, this was my thinking too. I'm also a little bit unsure of the different uses of debía versus deberías.

August 25, 2014


She told me that I should have been here = Ella me dijo que debería haber estado aquí

May 1, 2018


This one is very hard for me to translate.

"Must," in English, seems to refer to present or future. "You must [at this exact moment]" or "You must [in the future at the appropriate time]"

I have a hard time thinking of "must" in the past tense. Normally I would instead say "you should have." For example, "You should have come" or "you should have eaten more vegetables."

On the other hand, when I think of the English version of debería, it seems more like "ought to have" to me.

"She told me that I ought to have been here."

In conclusion, "She told me that I should have been here" seems like the most natural English translation of the given Spanish sentence.

Unless I am forgetting something, maybe English does not distinguish between giving a reprimand for something missed ("should have") and clarifying that the missed thing was an order ("must"). English is both messy and passive aggressive, after all.

May 26, 2018


I wrote "She told me that I should have been there" and it was correct, but it's a totaly different meaning, isn't it? Can that really be right if my answer was in a different tense?

May 14, 2014


Yes, it does mean something different. "Ella me dijo que debería haber estado aquí" is a reprimand for not being there. "Ella me dijo que debía estar aquí" is an order.

May 1, 2018


Why does it accept both 'should' and 'must' for 'debía'? Is it that in Spanish they don't distinguish these meanings?

September 30, 2014


All the cheats have to do with "owing". But the answer has to do with have to and must.

December 10, 2014


Report it. Debía is accepted as "should" in this sentence as well as "must".

October 30, 2015


"She told me that I needed to be here" is also a correct translation I think?

November 27, 2016


why "debía de estar" in the one sentence and know without "de" ?.. sometimes confusing:/

January 3, 2013


Adding that yo is the key to the necessity to use debiera

January 30, 2014


What's the difference between 'debia' and 'debo'?

September 8, 2014


Debo (present tense) = I must

Debería = I (or you, he, she) should

May 1, 2018


a previous example specifically translated " debia" as "was supposed..." but now DL rejects "....the I was supposed to be here". I reported it but is it a valid, or even preferred translation, for "debia"... Thanks.

November 12, 2014


What does "debia" mean in this context?

September 24, 2015


I wrote"She told me that i was to be here".....& was marked wrong....can anyone tell me why this wouldnt be right? To me it means the same thing as "she told me i must be here"

October 6, 2015


If "she told me" is issuing some sort influence over an action that I should have completed, or should complete, this should employ the imperfect subjunctive, should it not? So, it should be debiera or debiese.

December 24, 2015


Weird sentence

February 28, 2016



May 23, 2016


If you wanted to say "She told me that you must be here" can you say "Ella me dijo que tu debes estar aquí"?

July 24, 2016


Somehow, i feel like the words 'told me' imply an order or demand, which would mean to me -must or have to. Ought and should seem more like suggestions. And so if that were tbe intention i think it would say, -Ella dijo que- instead of -Ella me dijo. Does this sound right to anyone else?

February 22, 2017


Transation not grammacticaly correct

April 4, 2017



July 30, 2017


Love the new one

July 30, 2017



August 31, 2017


I was confused with the suggestions it gave me for debía.. went with was supposed to.. why is that not correct?

September 2, 2017


Stepping back a moment, can someone pls remind me how we know that dijo in this context is taken as past tense (told vs. Tells)

January 24, 2018


For regular verbs the ending -O is for 1st person sing. in present tense. Regular -ER, -IR verbs have -IÓ in 3:rd person sing. preterite.

Decir is very irregular: digo/ I say and dijo/ he said

January 24, 2018


I like to FART

March 15, 2018



March 15, 2018


Ought means same as should

May 9, 2019


Hmm in the previous phrase, "Debo amar," I wrote "I should love" and it was marked wrong and suggested "I have to love." Here for "Ella me dijo que yo debía estar aquí" I entered "She told me that I have to be here" and it was also marked wrong. Why is "deber" translated differently in these two sentences? I know sometimes a verb's meaning can change in different tenses. Is that the case here? Otherwise, I would think both "should" and "have to" could be correct in both examples.

June 17, 2019


No acepta said aunque está en la lista

October 3, 2019


The English sentence is grammatically incorrect. If 'must' means obligation, which is obviously the case here, then in subordinate clause of the reported speech it should be replaced with 'had to' to make sure that the verb's tense matches the past simple of 'told'. "Must" can only be used in such a sentence to indicate probability, which is not the case as there is no "de" after "debia"

February 16, 2015


Me cago en todo yo hablo perfecto espanol y esto es una mierda

April 14, 2016


debiera not debía

November 11, 2017


and since it's one person who told another person what to do, in the past, the second part has to be in past subjunctive. Ella me dijo que yo debiera estar aqui'. BAD duolingo!!!!

March 16, 2013


In fact it has to be in the simple past perfect ("pretérito perfecto simple" in Spanish), which is why the sentence proposed by Duolingo is correct.

August 11, 2013


I think between zopilotes and jboalmi, that the latter is correct. Why?

Because subjunctive is not needed. It is not an order. She is not telling him what do do. She is just giving him information.

September 1, 2013


I would disagree. Telling someone that they should or should not be somewhere could be an indirect dictation of what someone is to do. Would you not agree that these are correct: "Ella me dijo que yo pudiera estar aquí" or, in the present tense, "Ella me dice que yo pueda estar aquí". She is giving permission or giving an allowance of attendance, but that is not creating a certainty of outcome. How is it different than saying "Mis padres permitieron que yo saliera"? They are not givng me a command or telling me what to do, but rather giving the permission that creates uncertainty of outcome.

December 25, 2015


No podría estar más de acuerdo.

October 17, 2014


Their ANSWER, though, is not in the pretérito perfecto simple. It is in the imperfect.

December 25, 2015
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