"He takes after his father," is a perfectly reasonable way to talk about the idea that somebody acts like his father.
"Up until today, the only person I'd ever seen eat peas off a knife was Joe Senior, but there's Joe Junior doing it too." "Yes, he takes after his father."
There can be sometimes many many many different possible English translations. But DL is not into dealing with them all. This is not a course for learning to be a professional Translator but a means to get into the language as simply as possible. DL is aware of other English translations of words and provides them but does not include them in the lessons for the sake of simplicity. And it is enough to learn the translations DL utilizes and expand one's own mind on one's own as far as other usages of a word is concerned. One good way to do that is by starting with the resources that Duolingo provides.
After finishing this lesson suggest clicking on "Words" in the menu bar above. You will see a list of words you have so far studied and should know. Click on one. On the right a pop up window will show displaying what the word translates to. If there is a down arrow at the bottom of the list, click on that and prepare to be astonished. If you are not astonished or if there is no down arrow, click on different words until you become amazed.
"Su" must match with the word that is with it. In this case "padre" so you must say:
- Ellos siguen a su padre = They follow their father
- Ellos siguen a sus padres = They follow their parents
But "su", without context, is not clear who is doing reference, so it can mean his or her, even a formal you. So the phrase can be translated as:
- Ellos siguen a su padre = They follow his/her/your father
- Ellos siguen a sus padres = They follow his/her/your parents
Why assume anything? Our aim, here, is to learn what translations are correct. And "They follow his father" is correct and does not ding out. And so one should be using that along with "They follow her father" along with "They follow your father." Even, "They follow its father." After all, you might visit a farm some day and see ducks trailing after a pony's stud and you might want to point that out to someone some when you see this amazing event happening. But to be able to say it the correct sentence must be learned, first. And it is in this lesson such a miracle can take place, providing assumptions can be set aside, that is.
OK, I've ready everything here and I'm still a bit unsure... does this mean they're physically following their father? oooor ... ?
Some people are saying that it means "take after" but others say no, there are other verbs for that.
Anyone got a definitive answer as of yet? lol
Technically, it can mean either. There's not enough of a "story" for us to differentiate in this instance, so both should be acceptable. And, yes, there may be other, more precise, translations (just as English has multiple ways to indicate the same idea), but that doesn't negate either "physically following" or "acting like" as being a correct response.
And I REALLY appreciate your phrasing your 'confusion' as a question.
I've noticed that many use the comment section to argue why their response is better than DuoLingo's. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to hold DuoLingo to the impossible standard of recognizing EVERY available translation for every single sentence it gives. And often, such expectations just lead to more confusion to those 'following' us. :-)
I try to think of DuoLingo as a fun way to lay the groundwork for a new language. It helps me remember to think about matching gender (something we don't have in English), word order (Casa Blanca rather than white House), conjugation, personal 'a', and any other concepts I may be unfamiliar with. When I finish my DuoLingo 'tree', I sincerely doubt I will be as fluent as a native speaker. I do, however, expect that I will have attained enough fluency to get the basics of my ideas across to a native speaker... And that is the purpose of language. Not to be perfect, but to communicate.
I have several family members with English as a second language (none Spanish though). One learned English over twenty years ago and still makes mistakes. For that matter, a few of my native English relatives routinely slaughter basic grammar. But they get their point across, and that's what is important.
May we all accept Duolingo for what it is ... One of MANY tools in your language learning toolbox. The internet is filled with countless 'free' websites to help with your studies. Read the comments in DuoLingo. Follow the links. Learn from them and pass them on. But, let's not get so lost in the petty details that we miss the overall joy of learning. (Can't see the forest for the trees). Best of luck and Happy Learning :-)
Generally used with the direct object following the verb. If the object being acted on is a person/beloved pet use the 'personal a'. If it isn't, no 'a' needed. I know some English sentence can be constructed backward (John was bitten by the dog.), but Spanish pretty direct... Subject, verb, direct object. (The dog bit John.)