"Dejó una gran fortuna a su hijo."
Translation:She left a great fortune to her son.
You don't - it could be either he or she, there are no clues in this sentence.
Why does "gran" precede a feminine singular noun? Abjectives like gran, primer, and buen should only precede a masculine singular noun unless this is a rare exception.
"Grande" shortens to "gran" in front of any singular noun, masculine or feminine.
You might be thinking of other adjectives that change only in front of masculine nouns like: "bueno" changes to "buen" in front of a masculine singular noun; "malo" changes to "mal"; "tercero" changes to "tercer", etc. ..........but "grande" changes in front of a masculine or feminine singular noun
Thanks for the clarification. It is one of those distinctions that one must remember.
a general question about distinguishing past/present tense... when written down, the accent tells us this is 3rd person preterite, rather than 1st person present and it's pretty straightforward... but when spoken aloud they sound the same (at least to my untrained ears)... if someone was saying this, how would you know it meant "he/she/it left", rather than "I leave". Are there any clues I should be listening out for?
ahh, that would be it. I probably need to find some examples of them both being said, so that I can hear the difference. Thanks Luis.
Could someone explain why this is wrong? "He left his son a great fortune." I'm just not seeing it. Thanks!
You're not seeing it because it isn't wrong. Perhaps the problem is that you're using an indirect object followed by a direct object in English (perfectly correct). The Spanish has the direct object followed by a prepositional phrase, so a closer translation would be "He left a great fortune to his son." Either translation is accurate and correct. Perhaps Duo prefers the grammar be identical in both languages (not very practical, IMO).
We don't have the complete conversation. Perhaps, the man was raising his sister's son. When he (the uncle) died he left a large fortune to her son.
Si dice He, se trata de el pronombre maculino. Entonces no puede estar bien que diga " her son" que es un pronombre posesivo femenino.
El hombre cuidaba al hijo de su hermana. Cuando el tío falleció dejó una fortuna al hijo de ella. Dejó una gran fortuna a su hijo (de ella). Se puede traducir en varias maneras.