"What document did he present?"
Translation:¿Qué documento presentó él?
I thought that this kind of "what" was "cual" instead of "que" when you are talking about specific items ( the document) as opposed to non specific ( ie que quieres?)....?? I know "cual" also means "which" and this is how I "used" to know when to use it i.e you can say "which" document but you don't normally say "which" do you want..
This may help explain it. From a native speaker who also teaches Spanish: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/279614/qu-o-cul-uf-qu-dolor-de-cabeza
Interestingly enough this article provides almost the same information as the other except it does say that it is not necessarily wrong to use cuál in front of a noun and you will see it sometimes. http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/que_vs_cual.htm
Of course without more information or examples that leaves me no where. I found a similar issue in a discussion here about indirect object pronouns. A native speaker said that the indirect object pronoun is not NECESSARILY required if the indirect object is named. That was in direct conflict with what I had learned, but when I researched it I found conflicting answers. I always wonder when I see these discrepancies if it is a regional thing or if it is a result of changing grammar rules. Certainly English grammar rules are changing.
I know that the difference between using que and cual, in formal Spanish is this... Cual should be used for anything that is quantifiable, even if the possibilities are seemingly endless. Like when asking for the password for the WiFi, you would say cuál es la clave instead of qué. Qué is used for things that are not quantifiable. Like what are you doing, qué haces.
Yes, but I think I rather say that "cuál" is used for a choice among many things, as you state, such as asking "Cuál es tu carro?" in a parking lot full of cars. It seems to be the difference in English when asking "Which is your car?" not "What is your car?" when the speaker surely knows what a car is. Have a lingot.
My first translation was '¿Qué documento presentó?' without a pronoun. It is not needed since the verb is in third person, and in common speaking if you know who are you speaking about, the pronoun is omited. Your sentence has a strange order. It is not fully wrong, but it sounds like yoda speaking.
The did in English questions is not translated. This is the way we form questions in English. You will notice that in questions like What did he do. There is no double use of the verb to do here, the did is just used to form the question. In Spanish that would be Qué hizo él. We don't reverse the subject and verb in questions, we use the "do".
Carolyn, you probably know this by now. But for others who may have the same question, DL's drop-down dictionary showed "pasado de hacer (past of 'do')" because that would have been so if the English "did" were the main verb. But in our sentence here "did" is not the main verb but rather it's there because that's just how we form question sentences in English; it doesn't need to be translated for the Spanish (because the Spanish doesn't use an extra verb to form a question as English does). The (main) verb we need to translate to form the equivalent Spanish sentence is "present" in its past form for "Él" (which is "presentó).
Regarding "Qué" vs. "Cual", this excellent explanation from a native speaker may help settle the debate:
In many languages including Spanish one of the standard ways of forming a question is to reverse the subject and the verb. English has this as well, like Are you tired? Will she go? or Have they eaten. But in English most questions use auxiliary verbs, and in the absence of one in the declaratory sentence that is required, a form of do is used. The verb to be is always reversed, and to have can be, although Has he time is less common than does he have time probably. Spanish does also allow for many questions to be presented as questions simply by vocal inflections. English has this as well of course, but perhaps not as frequently. But questions formed with interrogative pronouns will use the reversed subject verb model, except of course that subject may be a subject pronoun that can often be omitted. There are also other factors that can cause or at least allow the subject to follow the noun in Spanish. This is not the case on English.
It was probably just because you switched the syntax. Duo likes you to only change the syntax on translation based on a standard difference in syntax. Though possible in Spanish, I don't think a native speaker would prefer your sentence. But part of it is simply the mechanics of allowing different syntaxes in the database. They can certainly do that, but it makes it a lot more complicated. That's why it is essentially reserved to cases where it is teaching something about Spanish, or at least how it differs from English.
Think of it like 'que' meaning 'define' or 'what' - for example, '¿qué es este libro?' (what book is this/define what boom this is)
However, think of cuál as which for example, '¿cuál es tu asignatura favorita?' - what is your favourite lesson. If you used qué in this situation it would be 'define: your favourite lesson '