"Я спросил у Дженни, что она думает."
Translation:I asked Jenny what she thought.
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This video is actually a fragment from a well-known movie "The Irony of Fate". The movie ends well for the main characters. You may watch it on youtube with English subs:
There are many beautiful songs in it.
@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.
@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»?
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.
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.
This is grammatically correct, but it means something different. It implies that what she thought was very, very wrong. For example:
"You put a fork in the microwave? What were you thinking?"
"They tricked me and I fell for it! What was I thinking?"
"Jenny, I thought you knew better. How could you make such a mistake? What were you thinking?"