"Я спросил у Дженни, что она думает."

Translation:I asked Jenny what she thought.

November 7, 2015



Why is there a "у"?

December 9, 2015


спрашивать/спросить can be used with у (+ genitive) or without у (then just accusative). Here's a classic song from a much loved film to help learn this word: https://youtu.be/REy643r7z60

February 18, 2016


Great stuff. Thanks.

February 19, 2016


Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful song.

October 22, 2018


What a beautiful song! Did he ever find her?

December 5, 2017


Kind of... at the end of the song his friend tells him that she's become his wife. :((

December 6, 2017


I'm wondering the same. Anyone can shed any light?

January 2, 2016


I asked Jenny what does she think?

November 7, 2015


I asked Jenny what she thinks (of something) would be correct English while remaining in the present tense

November 7, 2015


also, there is a section in the "tips & notes" for this lesson that talks specifically about why the sentence is translated "what she thought" rather than "what she thinks".

November 16, 2015


I still don't get why the app doesn't have this session...

June 13, 2017


Does not look like correct English. You have to convert direct speech into indirect speech.

November 7, 2015


it is not correct in Standard English but correct in Indian English. Anyway, how would you say ‘I asked Jenny what she thinks’ in Russian?

September 3, 2016


Just what the prompt is - Я спросил у Дженни, что она думает. or Я спросил Дженни, что она думает.

September 3, 2016


So, ‘I asked Jenny what she thinks’ should be accepted. Is it currently accepted?

September 3, 2016


@R_Andersson As often happens on Duolingo, a lack of context leads to differing interpretations. I interpreted this example as a question about a specific situation, in which a strict interpretation of English grammar rules prefers "thought" - I'm going by the basic rules outlined at .http://www.englishgrammar.org/sequence-tenses/

They do also say that for "universal truths" the second verb may be in the present; I think this would correspond to your example "I asked Jenny what she eats," which I agree sounds fine. I'd also say "I asked Jenny what she thinks about when she goes for a walk" - again, for a general statement the present is good.

September 4, 2016


@curt Not correct in Standard English? What? I am not a native English speaker but the sentence makes sense to me. It makes even more sense when we replace ‘to think’ with a verb like ‘to eat.’’ Just for fun’s sake, do it.

‘I asked Jenny what she eats’ makes perfect sense. It does not mean the same as ‘I asked Jenny what she ate’ because when ‘eats’ is used, you get a more general concept of what can eat and not. ‘I asked Jenny what she eats and she answered that she is a vegetarian.’ It may not be ‘correct’ but it makes sense to me. When ‘ate’ is used, you get a more precise meaning, like if we are referring to a specific event in history when she ate something. ‘I asked Jenny what she ate at the party last night.’

‘I asked Jenny what she is eating’ also gives are more precise meaning, referring to the present. It can be understood that first person asked Jenny in the near past, like a two minutes ago or something, because she has not finished eating since the question was asked.

‘I asked Jenny what she was eating’ gives an even more precise meaning, this refers to a single moment in the past, more precise than the same sentence with ‘ate.’ Like ‘I asked Jenny what she was eating the moment she vomited.’

So, all of these would translate to «Я спросил(а) (у) Дженни, что она ела» or «Я спросил(а) (у) Дженни, что она кушала»?

September 4, 2016


@curt Since you didn’t answer my last question, I assume they all should be translated as «Я спросил(а) (у) Дженни, что она ела/…кушала».

Thank you very much for linking to that website. It helped me better understand English grammar. Спасибо большое за это обсуждение!

September 4, 2016


I don't know. It may not be because, strictly speaking, 'I asked Jenny what she thinks' is not correct standard English. But since so many native speakers don't follow the sequence of tenses rule, maybe it should be accepted, so that's a question for the Duolingo people. :)

September 3, 2016


she thought - она думала (past)

she thinks - она думает(present)

"I have asked Jenny what she thinks". Am I wrong?

Чем больше пытаюсь разобраться в английских временах, тем больше запутываюсь.

May 20, 2016



This page may be helpful, especially the section 'Past tense in the main clause - Прошедшее время в главном предложении.'

The examples they give are clear and correct English - but keep in mind that many native speakers of English aren't aware of the 'sequence of tenses' rule, and don't apply it consistently in informal usage. There's been all sorts of disagreement/confusion about this in Duolingo discussions about how to translate Джон думал, что она ходит в школу.

June 22, 2016


So how would you say the sentence for "I asked Jenny what she thinks?"

April 5, 2017


Я спросил у Дженни, что она думает.

April 5, 2017


So it's the same? How would you know which one the person is using? It seems context would only help so much here.

April 5, 2017


Russian and English have different sequences of tenses.

June 22, 2016


More specifically, Russian has no sequence of tenses.

June 8, 2017


в данном контексте кто-то рассказывает, что он спросил у Дженни, и это прошедшее время, что она думает на тот момент, т.е. тоже прошедшее, опираясь на комментарии носителей я поняла именно так ;)

January 9, 2017


How are we supposed to know how to type an ENGLISH name in RUSSIAN???? There's is almost no way for us to know how it's spelled. It should be a name that is very popular in Russian and English or a name that is popular in Russian.

September 10, 2017


Why is "I have asked" not correct in this context? How would I say, "I have asked"? (I thought the perfectiveness showed the completion of the action).

May 8, 2016


I'd say "I have asked" should be accepted. I'm a native speaker of (US) English but can't articulate the 'rules' of when to say 'have asked' vs. simple past 'asked;' I'd say it depends on context, which Duolingo can't provide in these one-sentence chunks, so I wouldn't worry about it too much here. You're right that using perfective спросил indicates a one-time action that was completed.

May 9, 2016


How do you make the distinction in Russian between
"I asked Jenny what she thought" i.e. I asked Jenny her opinion on a specific matter
"I asked Jenny what she was thinking" i.e. she looked pensive and I was wondering what she was thinking of ?

October 9, 2016


1: Я спросил Дженни, что она думает.
2: Я спросил Дженни, о чём она думает.

October 9, 2016


Thanks Gwenci

October 9, 2016


The latter is also "о чём она заду́малась"

October 9, 2016


Does the difference between your version and Gwenci's depend on whether a sudden idea had occurred to Jenny, or she appeared to have been pondering something for some time?

October 9, 2016


She is thinking deeply and doesn't respond, so it's the latter again, I suppose.

October 9, 2016


I heard "я спросила Дженни”, the sound was very tricky.

April 22, 2017


What about "я спросил дженне', would it be correct?

November 18, 2015


Yes, you can also say so, "Я спросил Дженни". Дженни does not decline.

November 18, 2015


I heard "ДжИнни" not "ДжЕнни". Fix it please

September 25, 2016


Why is the translation of thinking past tense when it is present in English?

January 8, 2017


Думать is imperfective (action isn't finished), подумать is perfective (action has completed). Should it therefore not be translated as I asked Jenny what she was thinking instead of thought?

December 19, 2017


Either "спросил" should be changed to "спросила" or the sentence should be recorded with a male speaker. A female speaker saying "я спросил" is grammatically incorrect.

January 13, 2018


It is not very clear, it could be "thought" or "thinks". It appears the answer they give is actually "thinks" even though they say it is "thought".

October 19, 2017


Sorry but how am I supposed to know that it's typed Дженни not Джини or something else. Shouldn't be a mistake in my opinion

February 18, 2018


Interesting. "I asked what Jenny thought" is rejected. If the rejection is valid, I'm tempted to conclude the Russian phrase is unambiguous about whom I asked. So, the Russian sentence would not include the possibility that I asked someone other than Jenny their opinion about what Jenny was thinking?

July 15, 2018


Correct me if I'm wrong, but Дженни is undeclinable, so "Я спросил Дженни, что она думает" should be correct.

December 9, 2018


...'what she thinks' must be correct

February 2, 2019


I typed up "I asked Jenny what she's thinking" It marked it as wrong and just wondering why. Is it because the tenses clash or for some other reason?

May 6, 2019


Думает - thinks или думала - thought. Все же, как правильно?

June 18, 2019


i asked jenny what is she thinking

should be acepted second part shouldnt be in past form

March 21, 2017


turtelian, you could make an argument that they should be more accepting of English speakers who don't bother with the English sequence of tenses rule... but for what it's worth, this is why they accept past in the translation (or see my comments above): http://usefulenglish.ru/grammar/sequence-of-tenses

November 24, 2017


Turtelian, I agree with you: "думает" is Present Tense or Present Continuous and should be translated as such. I will never understand WHY it is translated as Past Tense. If the idea was to ask what she thought, they should have used "думала". To be sincere with you: I don't think Russian is a logical language with all respect to the Russian people or Duolingo doesn't know how to translate properly.

September 1, 2017


You could make a good argument that Russian is more logical than English here (ie no sequence of tenses rule to think about), but in the end, I think worrying about what's 'logical' isn't productive in language learning. Often exceptions or other seemingly illogical features just reflect how the language developed historically – but burdening beginners with those details wouldn't be helpful.

November 24, 2017



December 23, 2016



July 15, 2018


I can't answer the question because I don't have a russian keyboard. THe system should allow to answer with latin alphabet....

June 24, 2017


The example is stupid and confusing.

July 1, 2017


I totally agree. At first, I thought the sentence would translate as 'I asked by Jenny what she thinks." I don't know what purpose the 'у' serves...

Why couldn't it be: Я спросил Дженни, что она думала? It would make more sense to me than this--Я спросил у Дженни, что она думает...

November 24, 2017


спрашивать/спросить can be used with either у + genitive (я спросил у Дженни, у Сони, у Бориса), or just accusative (я спросил Дженни, Соню, Бориса), with no difference in meaning. So your example would be correct too – not because it makes sense to English speakers, but because that's just how this verb works in Russian.

I don't know if Duolingo mentions or provides this information, but it's incredibly helpful to learn which case and/or preposition is used with a given verb. Katzner's excellent dictionary gives this critical info after спрашивать like this: "(with acc. or у)", and other sources might give the question words (кого? у кого?).

November 24, 2017


Alonzo, if I have understood the info I found on Wikipedia correctly, this is because Russian (as opposed to English, Dutch, French...) uses relative time. In English, the tense of the verb depends on the position (in time/space) of the person who utters the sentence. If I talk now, today, about some activity I did yesterday after waking up, then both the activity and the waking up would be in the past tense.

However, since Russian doesn't use this absolute time, the tense does not depend on the storyteller, but rather on the comparison with other events in the sentence. I woke up (past tense) and then I "do" (not "did") the activity. It doesn't sound right in English, but that's exactly the difference.

I hope the explanation isn't too longwinded (and I hope it's correct - otherwise I've mislead myself).

December 19, 2017
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