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  5. "Les voy a contar una cosa."

"Les voy a contar una cosa."

Translation:I am going to tell you something.

January 6, 2013



It makes more sense if you realize that the speaker is addressing a group of people and therefore the English translation would be "I'm going to tell you all something." That would have made the meaning of les a bit more apparent.


I translated it as "I am going to tell you all something" and it was not accepted. I think it should be accepted as, previously, with similar constructions, it has accepted "you all". I think I shall report this...


I agree, Kazmax1. Did you report it? 201507


I'm repoting it... now!


Or perhaps "I will tell them one thing", as in a politician making a statement about the opposing party


I wanted to say "something," but am so paranoid at this point about what DL will accept that I played it safe with "one thing."


I wonder if the developers of DL realize that they are training us like Pavlov's dogs! And not necessarily in a good way!


Kai Guy... thanks! I needed a good laugh! Jajajajaja


that took a second to figure out.... I'm not terribly proud to say.... Well done, YOU!


¡Sálivate, mi amigo, sálivate!


Now that they have changed the system so you are not kicked out after 3 mistakes, I am less concerned with getting 'their' answer, and happier to play a bit. When you come back to this section, it 'remembers' how good you were, and tests you accordingly.


Even with the heart system I liked playing to see what words they would accept.


Sí, usted tiene razón.


"I'm going to tell y'all something."


algo is something, in this sentence you can use them with out changing the meaning


Que es eso? No entiendo...


I think Duoliongo's translation is wrong, it shoud be 'I am going to tell them something'. The English sentence would be translated as 'Os voy a contar una cosa'. In Latin American spanish this construction is common. The pronouns are a bit different when your cross the Atlantic ;-)


Surely it can mean "I am going to tell you (plural) something" too, doesn't "Les" match "ustedes" as well as "ellos" and "ellas"?


I agree. The translation says "I am going to tell you something.". Shouldn't it be "I am going to tell THEM something"?


"Os" is only used in Spain and I believe Argentina... so "les" is correct.


Like clawedinvader, Pepijn4C, did you report this? DL will add it to acceptable answers. 201507


Did you report this? DL will add it to acceptable answers. 201507


Ooo contar is also to tell? I was thinking strictly "to count" and that this should have been decir?


'contar' and 'decir' are not exactly the same, 'contar' a story and 'decir' something. If you thought in 'contar' as one, two, three the sentence has no sense.


I think of contar as being somewhat like "recount", as in "recount a tale".


Exactly! And I'm suddenly reminded of the French "raconteur," storyteller.


Yep. I jest checked out a book from the local library -- "Antología de cuentos Mexicanos" -- an anthology of Mexican stories. I tie "cuentos" and "contar" in my head -- like an account and to account. (That may make no sense to others, but it works for me.)


You beat me to it, albeit by 2 years.....


Mucho gracias. Yeah, I was thinking of contar as numeric counting... I had a hard time working it into a sentence that made sense.


DL introduced the verb in the sense of "to count" (1,2 3...); it has two meanings in Spanish. To count and to tell someone something (a story, but also information.)


I put the answer "I am going to count something for them" but I guess there is no 'for' in the sentence


It didn't make a lot of sense , no!


I put "I am going to count one thing for them." Duh! It does not make much sense but I think that it is grammatically correct. It would not be the first time that Duo had some strange examples.

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I agree with you Mr Gro- I thought the "les" stands for "them" too


tinmur, like clawedinvader, and Pepijn4C, did you report this? DL will add it to acceptable answers. 201507


It can be both "I'm going to tell you... (pl)" and "I'm going to tell them..."


Señor gro: Tienes razon. "os" is the plural of tú in the direct object form. The correct translation of the DL sentence = I am going to tell them something.


There's a lot of ways to say you in Spanish. Tú, te, usted, le, lo, la, ustedes, les, las, los, vosotros, vosotras, AND os.


Talca, they rarely use vosotros forms here on DL. I don't remember any, actually, maybe because here in USA and in Latin America, it's rarely used? 201507


I think I'll go count my plates now.

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Ha Ha, I giggled to myself this occurred to me too!


I don't remember learning that "contar" can mean "tell."


Yeah. Its can be used for tell as in 'giving someone an account of what happened'.


I don't remember learning it meant anything else...


How about: to count.


Err, sorry, I misread your comment. I meant exactly the same as you, I only knew the meaning "counting", not anything else!


This might be English specific to a region but can it be ' i am going to tell you all something'?


"You all" is English from the American South. Standard American English doesn't have a plural "you".


You all is not a Southern-ism. They would say y'all. You all is fairly standard, especially when emphasizing the entire group as in, "You have homework and I expect you all to do it."


As Dingisbroot said, the American English language uses "you" as 2nd person singular and "you" as 2nd person plural. You all is just a modifier of you. I'd never, for example, use "you all" or "y'all" in anything formal, because it sounds out of place where I live, and it can be better described by just saying "you." In You have homework and I expect you all to do it, the "all" is modifying the 2nd person plural "you," and it's unnecessary. You have homework and I expect you to do it makes sense too.

Basically, the "all" in "you all" or "y'all" is just a modifier of the "you." And that's about all it does.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here.


I sometimes use "you-all" , but I would not say it is standard northern English.. I don't know anyone else who does use it..

I did borrow the idea from my southern friends.

Also, I believe, but may be wrong, that in the South, "y'all" can be used as a singular "you." This article addresses that question. http://mentalfloss.com/article/58782/can-yall-be-used-refer-single-person


Yes, it's not necessarily southern, but in the above sentence, "you" could be plural even without "all"


I am from the Midwest and we say "all of you" not "you all" for a plural form of "you".


Duo isn't teaching colloquialisms - the correct English form for the plural 'you' is 'you'.


Don't forget the widespread "you guys" -- which is said everywhere in the United States. It's for very informal use only.


Explaining to my Colombian SO that "y'uns" in the Pittsburgh area and "y'all" in the south is our way of saying "ustedes" (or maybe more appropriately "vosotros" in Spain) was a fun conversation. I use "you guys" all the time informally.


"y'uns"? What does that stand for? I've never heard that one. Just curious. "Young ones" is all I can think of.


English used to have a singular and a plural "you" (thou and you, respectively). These died on the chopping block to streamline the language and "you" became both singular and plural.

According to Wiktionary, "y'uns" is a contraction of "you" + (a form of) "ones." Try googling "etymology of y'uns." There is some interesting stuff there.


My son's wife is from Pittsburgh. She laughs about "yinz" and "yinzers", but there is a hint of pride in it too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinz


Oh! I really like "y'uns"! That does not say whether "you" are "guys" or "gals". It's all inclusive! My favorite new word for here in Tucson, Arizona, RaeConfer! 201507


There was an exercise earlier in the program where I typed "you" and it was marked wrong. It said the correct translation was "you all", so this time I typed "you all" an it was wrong. There's an inconsistency on Duolingo. In the South nobody says "you all". We say y'all.


You should never be marked wrong for typing 'you' where it is plural. English does not distinguish between singular and plural 'you'. People have their colloquialisms such as 'y'all' and it's possible to say 'I expect you all to do it' but only to emphasise that 'every single person' should do 'it' but frankly, only 'you' by itself should be accepted as an answer for the plural so as not to confuse learners. Learners need to understand early on that 'you' is both singular and plural. No extra words are needed.


Sigh, ElleLingo, you (alone) are right verses us all, lol. (I was trying to be funny, but you do make a very valid point about the "correct" use of "you"). OTOH, we are not given context, and i hear and say "you all" frequently when i'm addressing several friends. (I'm also on a one person mission to stop the capitalization of "i" as "she", "he" and "it" are not capitalized, so why should i!!!). 201507


Yes it is, and it should be reported every time.


I have never had duolingo ding me for using just "you". I have been dinged on several for using "you all" or "all of you".


As mentioned above, Jumap, if you report it to DL, they will add it to acceptable answers. 201507


I've seen numerous instances of DL providing an alternate correct response that says "you all."


Isn't "una cosa" one thing? How does that translate to something?


Gnimble, that was my exact thought. 201507


why the "les" ??


Les refers to you (plural) or them.

Les voy a decir una cosa - I'm going to tell you something or I'm going to tell them something.


I have a question. Can "Les voy a contar" by itself translate into "I am going to count them" in English?


No. "Les voy a contar" = I am going to tell them. In this sentence "Les" is an indirect object pronoun (to them). In the sentence "I am going to count them," "them" is a direct object pronoun and would translate to "Los/Las voy a contar" or "Voy a contarlos/las."


Why is "i am going to tell a thing to you" wrong?


Because no one actually says that. It sounds weird. They say: "I am going to tell you something."


it doesn't sound that weird and it is perfectly fine English. I would like a real grammatical reason why.


Grammatically it is fine. But it is NOT perfectly fine spoken English.


I don't see anything grammatically incorrect. But I agree, that it sounds very weird.


I am not saying it would not be understood. I am saying that it sounds weird. I am assuming that English is not your mother tongue, otherwise it would sound very odd to you, too. You may find it helpful to take a look at some of the numerous books available on "English usage". Good luck!


DrCord. I've read through the debate and I must ask: Are you a native English speaker? I imagine not given your belief that your sentence should be correct. Kazmax1 kindly tried to explain to you that it's wrong and not how English speakers would talk. You then disagreed with a native speaker and when proven wrong, you complained that it is obviously possible to prove someone wrong when you present them with evidence. Yes, yes it is.

Not only is your original sentence wrong ("I am going to tell a thing to you") - in fact, so is the additional example you gave ("I am going to tell something to you"). I don't claim to be a grammar expert so I'll hazard the guess that English prefers the indirect object to come before the direct object with 'tell'. Yes, you would be understood by English speakers and there's nothing wrong with speaking like that if you choose to. The point is that Duo is not teaching you 'pigeon English' or 'street English' or 'they'll get the gist English', Duo is teaching you correct English as far as possible. The correct answer is "I'm going to tell you something".

However, with 'say' the correct answer is: "I'm going to say something to you".


Bless you, ElleLingo! Another voice of reason.


I am a well-educated native English speaker. I also excelled in honors English class while in school. The sentence "I am going to tell something to you" is perfectly grammatically correct. It is the exact same sentence you are defending as the only correct version "I'm going to say something to you". Tell and say are synonyms and are the same parts of speech. The other sentence is is also grammatically correct. "a thing" and "something" are basically synonyms (not technically, because "a thing" is 2 words, so it cannot technically be a synonym, but they mean the same thing and fill the same part of speech). Furthermore I looked each of these sentences up on English language grammar checkers and they come back as correct. You should consider doing research before presenting your guesses as definitive rules. You should also consider whether you intend to be very rude by not only deciding that I am a non-native English speaker, but telling me I speak in pigeon-english.


You are just NOT GETTING IT!!! No one has disputed its grammatical correctness. We are saying IT IS NOT WHAT ANY NATIVE SPEAKER WOULD NORMALLY USE IN CONVERSATION!


Incidentally, DrCord, your sentence was NOT originally "I'm going to say something to you" but "i am going to tell a thing to you".


He clearly stated that it is not grammatically correct, idk what comment you are reading...


DrCord, you know perfectly well that I did not say that you spoke pigeon English. I said Duo isn't teaching it. Additionally, if you don't know that 'I will say you' is grammatically incorrect whereas 'I will tell you' is required then I'd question the standard of English required in your 'honors English class'. Nevertheless, given that you are an English language expert, you do not require any assistance from anyone here regarding your original sentence and you yourself will be able to figure out why it was wrong. By 'wrong' I do of course mean 'not common usage'.

Finally, I did not present my guess as a definite rule, I quite clearly stated that I wasn't a grammar expert and that I was just hazarding a guess so I'm afraid that your response really made no sense whatsoever.


Don't let him get to you. We know you are correct ElleLingo. I was going to stay out of the discussion but he is so RUDE and then calls others rude. He asks a question then acts like a jerk when it is answered.

If you already know it all DrCord why did you "ask" in the first place?


I'm with you on this. Not so far different from "Let me tell you a thing or two". I think it should be accepted!


Just noticed that contar-counting (=zählen in German) or telling (erzählen in German) is easy to remember if you know German.


"Voy a decirte una cosa." makes sense. I don't understand how count=tell


The only connection I see (for my own purposes of learning/memorizing) is the verb recount in English (although I don't hear/see it often).

tell someone about something; give an account of an event or experience: [ with obj. ] : I recounted the tale to Steve | [ with clause ] : he recounts how they often talked of politics.


Is anyone else having problems hearing these sentences sometimes? I have the sound on but still nothing. Quite annoying!


Yes, I do occasionally have that problem. Also, there have been times when, even on the slow speech, a first letter is missing...for example, the other day, I heard "asado" instead of "pasado", no matter how many times I replayed it. Really irritating...


I agree with gro-com


I think it's important to know that contar seems to have a multiple meaning. For instance, "Voy a contar los platos" would mean let me count the dishes. Where as in this case it is "I am going to tell you something". The brackets are used to identify the meaning.

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plato is masculine, so it would be Voy a contar los platos


I thought it meant count


Thank y'all. Reading the comments below, I have learned more about how to speak American than Spanish today.


'los voy a contar una cosa' would be incorrect?


Yes, "los" would be incorrect. The verb "contar" requires an indirect object pronoun (you tell something TO someone), so you need "les" here. "Los" is a direct object pronoun and used in a sentence such as: I saw you (all) at the party ("Los vi a la fiesta (a ustedes)).


So 'les' in this sentence means 'you'?


I thought she said "cantar," so I was waiting for a little Granados.


"Contar," so count and tell is the same word in Spanish?


Is there any distinction between "contar" and "decir"?


Wouldnt les mean that it could be yall?


No because 'y'all' isn't a real word.


That's one way to conceptualize it. It quite literally has the same meaning as ustedes or vosotros. It's just the plural "you" with an emphasis on the plural, I suppose.


Makes sense if I think of it as "y'all" like they say in the Southern US: "I am going to tell y'all something."


I am going to count them as one thing.

As in: Only ten items at this check out. You'll have to put back the six pack of beer. But, I am going to count them as one thing.


Jeff, in your example, "them" is a direct object (the thing that took the action of the verb). Several people have explained in this thread that les,the Spanish word in the lesson sentence, is an INdirect object (le=singular you, les=plural you or them). It is the "clue" for you to know NOT to translate the verb as "count" (because "count" only takes a direct object), but to use the other definition "TELL you something." "Something" is the DO, & "you" is the IO. It is a similar use with the verb "read," when you say "I'm going to read you a story."

If re-ordered, you could mean the same thing to say, "I'm going to read a story to you." But the "to" is "understood," or silent, when you place it earlier in the sentence.

In Spanish, their sentence structure requires the IO to be placed before the verb and DO, if I remember their advice correctly. Hope that helps. :-)


What is the difference between las, los, and les i get them confused


Las and los are plural direct object pronouns. Les is the plural indirect object pronoun.


"Las" is also a plural, feminine, definite article meaning "the".


I just wrote the same "I am going to tell you something" amd it take it wrong!!! What's that?

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This should read as "I am going to recount something TO THEM, as in English, to recount or repeat something to them..


How would I put the empahsis on the YOU here? As if were arguing with someone and wanted was about to give my comeback.


would it also mean: I am going to tell something


Why is the les in this sentence?


Is "i am going to tell them one thing" a translation for this?


Let me 'plain you something


The sentance is wrong


Why not 'I am going to tell them something?'


Stupid me wrote ' I'm going to tell them one thing'. The les threw me off. Dumb!!!!


This is a weird idiom, but I got it right :-\


"les" is third person plural. So translation is better using "them" than "you".


Why not I am going to tell them something?

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