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  5. "Я спросил у Дженни, что она …

"Я спросил у Дженни, что она думает."

Translation:I asked Jenny what she thought.

November 7, 2015



Why is there a "у"?


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


Great stuff. Thanks.


Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful song.


What a beautiful song! Did he ever find her?


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


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: one, two. There are many beautiful songs in it.


You can easily find this movie on youtube by searching "Ирония судьбы, или С легким паром 1976".


The links labeled 'one' and 'two' that E-chan. provided work fine for me. It's just you Miguel791014.


So, to summarize: to ask someone: спросить + (у) + gen/acc; to answer to someone: ответить + dat. Correct ?


спасибо большое!! Я очень люблю Микаэла Таривердева


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


I asked Jenny what does she think?


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


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".


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


Unfortunately i don't get this on the app.


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


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?


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


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


@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»?


@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!


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. :)


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.


Russian and English have different sequences of tenses.


More specifically, Russian has no sequence of tenses.



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.


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


Я спросил у Дженни, что она думает.


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


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 ?


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


You are the best!


The latter is also "о чём она заду́малась"


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?


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


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).


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.


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


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


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.


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


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


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".


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?


...'what she thinks' must be correct


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?


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


she though but russian says 'she thinks', oh well


думает is present tense. Shoud it not be dymala ????


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


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.


I think it's usually much easier to translate English names into Russian than vice versa because Russian is much more phonetic.


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


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?


You are wrong because "thought" is in past , and "думает" is in present


"I asked Jenny what is she thinking" and it was wrong... is it really wrong tho?


don't get this since until now она думает has meant she thinks


There's a difference between English and Russian in sentence construction. When a past tense clause is followed by another clause, English tends to match tenses across the clauses, whereas Russian tends to put the second clause in present tense.


думает is not the past tense of thinking


In Russian, they put the second clause into the present tense.


I asked Jenny what she is thinking. Why is this not correct?


How could you ask her in the past what she is thinking in the present? It doesn't make sense.


Could those producing the course please not use "Анна" and "она?" It's almost impossible to distinguish the two. Thanks.


I have asked jenny what she thought. Why is the "have" wrong?


"I asked Jenny what did she think." "I asked Jenny what was she thinking." are rejected. I'm not sure about what the proper English grammar is.


It's not a question so you don't change the position of the verb in the sentence. The correct version is: I asked Jenny what she was thinking.


i asked jenny what was she thinking

could this be right?


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?"


думает is this word not a present tense ?


This is asking for present tence not past


Why is the ¨с¨ suffix used for words like this? isn´t the questing being directed towards the person, not with them?


You probably mean the prefix? I'm not sure but I think the difference is in how finished the verb feels, which is studied later in this course. That is:

"Просил" - I was asking.

"Спросил" - I asked.

This doesn't mean that "с" makes verbs finished, the prefix or the change in the verb is different for the different verbs.

And of course, "с" doesn't mean "with" here.


Думает is present tense, therefore the translation must be in present tense as well.


You can learn a lot about English grammar in this course even if you're a native speaker. No, everything in the English sentence has to match; that's why everything has to be in the past tense even though in Russian it's not.


i asked jenny what is she thinking

should be acepted second part shouldnt be in past form


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


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.


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.


The example is stupid and confusing.


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...


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).


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?).

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