I wrote: "To where do your sisters go" and lost a heart. This is very disheartening.
This is all wrong. "Where are your sisters going to?" is correct and yet duolingo marks it as wrong. The thing is preposition would be wrong indeed if the spanish sentence didn't have "a donde" which implies using where to not where.
I've been trying to figure out when to use "Adonde" and when to spell it as two words, and can't figure it out. Is it that different dialects have different conventions? Can anyone help me out?
adonde is used with verbs that show motion. Thus "Donde esta la vaca?" = "Where is the cow? while "adonde va la vaca?" = "Where is the cow going?"
Turn "adonde va?" into a statement and you have "va a ..." and you can see that the "a" is the "a" that goes after "ir" (and lots of other verbs of motion.)
Right! But what is the difference between "Adonde va la vaca" and "A donde va la vaca"? Or, why for the sentence given is it "A donde van tus hermanas?" I wrote "Adonde" and duolingo told me to write it as two words.
"Where" is an adverb, so you can't use it together with the preposition "to". For example, we say "go home" rather than "go to home" , that is because "home" here is an adverb, and the preposition "to" is omitted.
In this case the "a" is the "a" that follows forms of "ir" (to go), the "van" in this sentence. It is not the "a" that means "to". Because both Spanish and English very frequently invert the word order in questions, the "a" is in the front of this question. Turn it around to make it a statement, and you have "Van a donde" (You are going where). But that way, at least you can see how the "a" follows ir (van). While the "a" can mean "to", it is seldom correct to translate it.
"va" (or "van") translate in English to "goes", "is going", and "does go", all of which are equally correct and grammatically equivalent. The problem is that in English, frequently if the 'helping verb' ("is", or "does") isn't used, it sounds terrible. It is even more necessary that it be used in questions, especially "do" or "does". Correct English sentence order would be "To where do your sisters go?". Not necessarily any rules, just if it is not said that way, it sounds funny to native speakers.