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  5. "Son buena gente."

"Son buena gente."

Translation:They are good people.

January 12, 2013



I thought "gente" always went with the singular... so shouldn't it be "Es buena gente."?


Yes, gente is almost always singular, but the subject of the phrase is like in English: "Ellos", so the complete sentence is "Ellos son buena gente".


but then why it isn't Son buena gentes? cos it is plural here?


because the word gente doen't exists in the plural form. It's a singular (and feminine) word that express always the idea of several people. So:

  • "Es una buena persona."

  • "Son buena gente."/ "Son buenas personas."

Gente is ALWAYS singular, so any verb of which it would be the subject will be at 3rd pers. sing; any adjective whith "gente" will be feminine sing. etc...

By the way, if there was a plural for gente you would have to put an "s" in "buenaS".


The word gentes actually does exist according to RAE.


mitaine56 | The use of the plural is almost always saved for literature, but in Mexico and some other countries around the same area, gente can also refer to only one person, so if they wish to refer to more than one person, they must use gentes.


Wow, man. A lot of languages.


alezzix- it exists but it's a pleonasm, like an exageration, the real gente is singular


alezzzix, Just because gente can refer to just one person doesn't mean that it can't also (in another sentence) refer to more than one. In some locations and in some dialects, people may use gentes, but it's not really correct to say they must use gentes. I believe most of the Spanish-speaking world uses gente the way Duolingo does here.


Las gentes de los varios paises de Europa hablan idiomas diferentes.


Please, don't say las gentes, ITS REALLY WRONG, I'm native speaker Spanish, and we never say "gentes" that sounds like "THE' PEOPLES LIVE IN THAT PART..." for example.



The verb in this case is actually 3rd pers. plural; which is correct of course.


Of course, the verb is in 3rd pers. plural. The subject is understood to be "they" (ellos), not gente. As is so often the case, the ellos is, in effect, part of the verb son. Gente is the predicate nominative, not the subject. See HolyT's comment below.


This is good. Thx. Had same question.


Think of it in English as "they are a good group of people" as opposed to "it is a good group of people".

  • 2351

As in English, the person and number of the verb are based on the person and number of the subject, NOT what follows. In this sentence, the subject is inferred to be ellos or ellas or Uds. or some other third-person plural noun or pronoun. We can infer that because the verb is third-person plural. What follows (gente) is called a predicate nominative. It doesn't matter that it is third-person singular.

In English, we say

●They are a good group.
●The Stephenses are a nice family.
●My children are my life.
●His hobbies were a burden for him.

The subject and verb must match in number and person. The predicate nominative can be different in number from the subject.


When do you say Nosotros and when son?


I think you may have two areas of confusion here, but if I am overexplaining please forgive me. Nosotros means we. When conjuring the verb Ser, to be, the nosotros conjugation would be somos. So, if the sentence were We are good people, you could either say Nosotros somos buena gente or just somos buena gente. The latter would be much more common because the nosotros forms are quite distinctive, so the Spanish speaker would never need them for clarity. They would be only used for emphasis. Foreign speakers tend to sound overly emphatic if they don't learn to drop the subject pronoun when it isn't needed.

Son is the third person plural indicative of the verb Ser. It is used for ellos, ellas, and ustedes. Obviously since it could pertain to three different pronouns there is more room for confusion and you will see third person conjugations with pronouns more often than more distinctive forms. But in real life conversations it will often be obvious from the flow who is being referred to, so these too will often stand alone. When free translating (as opposed to building block style exercises) from English Duo generally will allow you to either include or omit the subject pronoun. But in translation from English you know which one to choose, at least between ustedes and ellis/ellas. We obviously have no distinction between they masculine and they feminine on English. On a sentence like this if you are translating from Spanish Duo should accept either they or you (you all y'all type plural you)


I wrote "son buen agente"! And DL said I was ‘almost correct’ and didn't knock me for the mistake. I should have been punished.


And yet I spell ademas (adamas) wrong all the time and they ding me for it. Not sure how they decide which misspellings are okay.


If a misspelled word becomes by accident a different dictionary word the computer sees the misspelled word as a wrong word and consequently dings one.


I know that is not always true. I can't remember what word it was, but I used the English spelling instead of the Spanish spelling. They didn't mark it wrong. It was far off too. I reported the error! :)


When you click Report, there is often the option "My answer is correct." I've never seen the opiton "My answer is wrong."


I think they remind you ? # of times than it is a ding until remembered. Dyslexia syndrome


Nope, it dinged me from the start. Yet other words I keep spelling wrong they still let me get away with. hmmmmm


They read it as a misplaced space rather than two misspellings.


son can mean you also...why does it keep saying it is wrong?


This was my last question and I had no hearts left and I made that same "mistake"...


To make it easier, use the word "gente" like you would use "folk" in English.

You would say, "They are nice country folk," and not, "They is good country folk." (Although country folk themselves may say that.)

Also note that you do not need an "s" at the end to imply plural. "Folk" and "gente" automatically refer to a group of people.


I found out that 'buena gente' is a popular expresion. Here is what they say in this site:


Still, I don't understand why 'You are good people' is not acceptable here in duolingo. Maybe because it is a non-formal expresion that does not fit to the pronoun 'ustedes' (which is a formal you)?


So when "gente" is the subject of the sentence, you use 3.sg "la gente es buena..", but when "gente" describes the subject of the sentence, you use 3.pl "(ellos) son buena gente.."?! That's going to be tough to remember.


I see it in another way : "gente" is a sing. fem. word, that hasn't plural form, meaning "several persons". So anything that you conjugate, make agree with has to be sing. fem. as "La gente ES", "la buenA gente".

Now why "Son buena gente" ? Because the subject is not "gente", it's "ell@s" which is omitted. And as gente is a sing. fem. form, it's buena and not "buenaS" or "buenO" etc..


  • "(ell@s) son buena gente"/"(ell@s) son buenas personas"
  • "La gente es buena"/"Las personas son buenas"

  • 2351

This is correct. The subject (omitted in the sentence) is plural. The verb agrees with the (unseen) subject. The adjective buena modifies gente, so it matches in gender and number. Gente is not the subject; in English, we call it a predicate nominative. It does not determine the number or person of the verb, and it does not have to be the same number (plural or singular) as the subject.


Pretty good outline as far as can tell.


My answer of "They are good folks" should be accepted as correct, I think.


Why does the adjective go before the noun here? I thought nouns were first in Spanish?

  • 2351

Many adjectives precede nouns. Some can go before or after (sometimes changing their meaning). Here is one good page about this issue: http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/whereadjective.htm


"They are a good people" was wrong. It's confusing because gente is a collective singular noun. I guess the rules are different from English in this situation.


I think they didn't like "are a". It can be said that way in English, it just isn't the way most people would say it.


Are good people.... thats what this says ... thats what I wrote... but its wrong


You left the subject out "they".


They're good folks. That's what we'd say down South.


So does "gente" mean people like when you group people by say race, religion, creed, or similiar? example: man: "Sam is from the south. He's a southerner. Woman: "Those people sure know how to cook.

  • 651

I assumed singular and put 'you are a good person'. Is gente always a group and not a singular person?


It can be a singular person in some regions, but the verb (son) is conjugated to ustedes or ellos / ellas (plural), therefore gente refers to a group of people.


Is there a rule for when the adjective should/does come before the noun?


What is the word for person in Spanish?Please answer.Gracias


Another question, why isnt it the usual order of adjective last, like "Son gente buena"?


I don't have a great answer for you, but here's what I know. Bueno is listed as a meaning changing adjective meaning that its meaning varies depending on where it goes. But the definition good is given for both sides, so that actually doesn't seem to be the case. But bueno/a is the adjective that seems to move back and forth most often in my experience. Some things we just accept. Nobody questions Buenos Días and associated greetings. I guess the author of the piece below would say it represents the subjective view, but as a person experiencing this subjective view I think it might also feel as if you were expressing that good was an essential quality as described in the piece, although the author obviously had a much more limited perspective on culturally accepted inherent qualities. But you will often see bueno/a in front of nouns in such a way that the noun and the adjective form there own subset. Good Friends buenos amigos. Good news buenas noticias Good People buena gente.


My point didn't lay out that well, so you may consider me just a raving lunatic. But if you pay attention to where you see it in which place, you may develop your own hard to explain but reliable system for replicating it.


I typed "They are good" and it said it's correct


LOL) I heard 'Son buen agente', and it marked as right)))


They are nice people. Why does it show wrong?


Nice and good aren't always synonymous, especially when it comes to people. I have known nice people who weren't particularly good and good people who weren't particularly nice. Nice can be an option for translating non living things like good day vs nice day, but not really here.

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