Wow, some of these idioms are impossible to understand without an explanation. Duolingo's method works great for the other lessons, but fails miserably here. I hear it in Portuguese, can translate it literally, but I lose a heart because I can't figure out which idiomatic expression it corresponds to in English? What's the point?
Especially when they are telling me to "type what I hear" and they are all words I have never been taught. Three new words right here being said to me by a robot woman and I have to guess what she's saying and how to type it, THEN figure out the ACTUAL meaning of the phrase by going to the comments section.
To elaborate on Toby's answer, when the subject is a thing, not a person, the reflexive can be used as the passive. Presumably this is done because it's shorter. Note that in contrast to the true passive, you cannot specify the actual actor.
Compare: Vendem-se maçãs. versus Maçãs são vendidas pelo supermercado.
In Portuguese (and Spanish and probably some other languages), the passive voice is indicated by using a reflexive pronoun. So while translating word for word, you get "That man is not a flower that smells itself.", the reflexive pronoun "se" means passive voice here, so the literal translation is "That man is not a flower that is smelt.", or even "That man is not a flower to be smelt." (where "smelt" is spelt "smelled" in America if you like that better).
I'd suggest: That man is not a flower that one smells. That man is not a flower to be smelled. That man is not a flower you smell.
"that man is not a flower that one should smell" is not an expression that is used in English, its just a word for word translation. "a bad egg", "a rotten egg", "a poisoned apple", "a wolf in sheep's clothing" all imply someone who appears good or attractive outwardly, but is in actual fact no good at all.
Spanish is my primary language, and even idioms in english and spanish, i can never relate them. I've never heard these idioms in spanish. So they're hard to relate. Although good new vocab for me. So that's nice. But most of these I'm literal translating and making a sensible sentence, and then i get it wrong. Lol
oh lord, that's hilarious. I typed The man isn't and then, not knowing how to continue, pushed enter to see the right answer, and guess what it was?
'That man is f*cked'. I really couldn't stop laughing. It's a wonder how it even came to be accepted. Apparently some of the developers were feeling especially naughty that day.
It's still there. What's Portuguese for "We're all going to hell in a handcart"?
Not close at all! When you realize that the literal is "That man is not a flower that is smelled." A flower smells good, so the man is not good. Then you will see that we need an expression that shows the man is bad, which is how we get "That man is a bad egg." If he were like a flower, than I could see your confusion but you can't forget the word "não" which means "not". I personally don't get where you got the inference for "dumb" though.
No, the proverb in this lesson is used in order to tell that someone is not a good person. It's not about what he thinks of himself.
The literal meaning of the phrase is “This is no flower to be smelled / not a flower one would smell". Notice that it's not about a flower smelling itself. I just don't have the knowledge to explain the grammar behind it, maybe someone can add in to that.
By the way, we have many expressions to say that someone thinks too highly of himself! We normally say “ele se acha demais“, (acha here is like to think something about something or someone) or shorten it to “ele se acha”.
Those are the most common form, but... We can make it funnier: “se acha a última bolacha do pacote" (the last cracker in a package), or “a última coca-cola do deserto" (the last coca-cola in a desert), or "o buraco da bolacha cream-cracker" (the holes of a cream-cracker), “as pregas do cu duma virgem” (the wrinkles of a virgin's butthole — yeah, indecent language)... The list may be endless, and I assure you, I've heard these out there more than once!