"¿Él pensó en sus padres?"

Translation:Did he think about his parents?

January 16, 2013



Why "en" sus padres? Why not "sobre" or "de"?

January 18, 2014


pensar en is idiomatically "to think about" in terms of the "object" of your thoughts

pensar de is about expressing an opinion, the way you might ask in English "What do you think of him?" (What is your opinion of him?)

pensar sobre just isn't used (to my knowledge)

January 19, 2014


When we ask ¿qué piensa sobre algo/alguien? or ¿qué piensa acerca de algo/alguien? is like asking ¿qué opinión tiene de algo/alguien?

June 26, 2016


Thanks this was very helpful

November 26, 2016


Thanks. A very useful link.

November 4, 2017


Thanks for the link. Span¡shD!ct is also an awesome resource with regard to providing multiple meanings/uses of words.

January 8, 2018


What's wrong with "Did he think of their parents?"

August 7, 2014



March 18, 2015


For a did-question, I think the Spanish would have the pronoun after the verb. (But a did question in English would be more natural)

January 23, 2016


DL accepta ahora, Diciembre 2016

December 11, 2016


"He thought about his parents?" is not a proper english question, only "Did he think about his parents?"

January 16, 2013


You can make any English statement into a question with tone of voice ("going up"at the end) and that is true across the globe. It's usually used, as has already been stated, to show surprise. Ex: He failed the test. - He failed the test!? He's 30 years old and he still can't drive. - He's 30 and he still can't drive!? He got really drunk. Then he started dancing. - He started dancing?! When he thought he was going to die, he thought about his parents. - He thought about his parents!? but they were never kind to him!

All of those make perfect sense, all contain questions that could be statements depending on how you read them. You don't necessarily need a "question word"to ask a question.

March 15, 2014


Who is this 30 year old person you know who fails a test, does not drive, gets drunk and starts dancing and then thinks about his parents?

February 25, 2016


You made LOL! Thanks

May 20, 2016


Zombiesue, sorry I did not read your excellent response before commenting to gyen... . I agree with you, entirely.

November 25, 2015


I would have to disagree as a native English speaker. If the last syllable of parents is spoken in a higher tone, then it can be understood as a question.

November 25, 2015


I agree... Sorry @zombiesue.

March 16, 2016


Why is there no personal "a" here before "sus padres"

April 17, 2015


I have the same question. Can someone explain?

July 19, 2016


There is probably a complex explanation regarding verb+prepositions / preposition+(potential)direct objects, and their possible relationships, but I think it is easier to just say:

Spanish prepositions don't double up. "¿Él vio a sus padres?" but "¿Él pensó en sus padres?"

This is just an observation, not a quotable rule that I can find, so if anyone disagrees please do.

July 20, 2016


How would the question in Spanish sound like if I wanted to ask "did he think of his parents?" ?

January 23, 2014


Same thing.

April 29, 2014


No. You'd have to leave out "él" (which you could've done in this case too). You could also say "Penso él".

June 6, 2014


Thanks! I have asked this because duo marked "did he think of his parents?" as a wrong translation for that.

August 18, 2014


It was accepted today, 10/30/2017.

October 31, 2017


Sometimes people in english leave out the questions starters like "will you, can you, did you try," etc and they use the altering of their voice at the end to indicate question is being asked, i think this is true in other languages, duo hardly use typical way of asking questions like in english

August 17, 2014


I put that exact answer (Did he think of his parents?) and got it right.

May 24, 2015


When I learned Spanish in school I could have sworn we were told the s/v order had to be reversed in questions: "¿Pensó él en sus padres?" I haven't seen Duolingo do this at all.

Is this an optional thing? Is it a regional variation? Does it change the emphasis?

November 20, 2017


This is a really good question and I hope a native speaker answers. My thoughts until they do:

Yes, I'd say the order is optional, but commonly reversed in a yes/no question, so I think you are right that "¿Pensó él en sus padres?" would generally be more common.

With other questions that begin with a question word (por qué, dónde, cuánto etc.) the verb will nearly always come next before the subject: ¿En quién pensó él?

As far as yes/no questions go there may be some regional variation, personal preference, or emphasis that contributes to the chosen order. Native speakers may need to advise.

One thing I have heard is that placing the subject before the verb can imply scepticism/surprise, which would make "¿Él pensó en sus padres?" translate like "Did he (really) think about his parents?" We can employ the same statement question form in English to express the same scepticism/surprise: He thought about his parents?

November 20, 2017


Thank you for the well-thought-out answer. Have a lingot.

November 25, 2017


Instead of en, could "acerca de" be a valid substitute?

April 17, 2014


See comment from Daniel-in-BC. Pensar en and pensar de are phrases in Spanish.

You wouldn't use pensar acerca de for the same reason you wouldn't use pensar sobre -- pensar en is the correct way to express "to think about"

April 17, 2014


Why is it not "Had he thought about his parents?" to get the past tense?

August 30, 2014


That would make it past perfect instead of simple past. In Spanish, the past perfect tense is formed by using the imperfect tense of the auxiliary verb "haber" with the past participle (StudySpanish.com), so your sentence might be "¿Él habia pensado en sus padres?" (but a native speaker would need to confirm).

October 21, 2014


Why is "en" here instead of "de"? Is it because the verb is "pensar"?

September 24, 2014


Yes, these are called "linked verbs" - certain verbs are used with certain prepositions to mean certain things.

Pensar en = to think about (as in contemplating/ruminating)


October 22, 2014


I didn't know that you have to put the preposition "en" to convey that meaning. I thought "a" is used in this case. Is it wrong? Can I say "¿Él pensó a sus padre?" or is it wrong?

January 10, 2017


Yep, it's wrong. Pensar takes some slightly odd prepositions but they can be wrangled into English :)

Pensar en: To think on ... (think about something)

Pensar que: To think that ... (believe something is the case)

Pensar de: To think of ... (hold an opinion about something)

January 10, 2017


Why is there a question mark as if that was a surprise that he thought about them

April 5, 2017


The implication of surprise that goes with that specific word order in English isn't necessarily present in Spanish. You could translate the Spanish here as either "Did he think about his parents?" (no surprise) or "He thought about his parents?" (surprise). In a real life situation or a literary one, tone of voice and or context is going to tell you which is the more accurate translation.

Read through this whole thread and you'll see that there are a number of subtle changes that could made to this translation.

January 27, 2018


Why is en required here?

November 3, 2014


"pensar en" is just one of many fixed phrases in Spanish. A lot of verbs will come "attached" to a certain preposition to mean different things.

January 7, 2015


Just a question about pronunciation; When using these preterite forms of the verbs, like "bailó", the 'o' with the accent is pronounced sort of with emphasis? It would be pronounced differently than the present tense, I dance ( Yo bailo ) ?

January 7, 2015


Yes - pronunciation makes a difference!

Bailo - I dance Bailó - He/she/it/usted danced

January 7, 2015


Thanks for replying. :D

January 7, 2015


it marks the stress - -
bailo is pronounced BAI-lo
bailó is pronounced bai-LÓ

January 13, 2018


"He thought about his parents"? is the other correct answer. I answered "He thought of your parents" and it's correct too. Can someone explain this further please... how would you know when to use his over your?

March 7, 2015



If there is no subject change or mention of another person, it's safe to assume (especially in Duo) that "su/sus" refers to whoever was already mentioned in the sentence.

So this one is probably "HE thought about HIS parents"

But "su" can also mean "his/hers/yours/its" so Duo should accept those as correct translations.

In real life there would be more context - sentences before or after that would provide more information.

Also, if you wanted to clarify that "sus" was referring to someone else, you would probably not use "sus" and instead use the "de ____" contstruction.

"él pensó en los padres de ella" - he thought about her parents

March 7, 2015


Gracias JuevesHuevos!

March 7, 2015


"Has he thought about his parents" should be accepted.

September 22, 2015


Conversationally for sure, but technically that's present perfect: "¿Él ha pensado en sus padres?"

September 23, 2015


I am wondering if sus denotes paricularly "his" "her" or "their" parents. I said "Did he think about their parents" and was corrected "did he think about her parents" ???

November 4, 2015


Nope. "Sus" could mean his, her, their, your (formal), or even its. "Did he think about their parents?" is fine, so report it.

November 4, 2015


How can he have more than one father ......thats nonsense

December 11, 2015


Well, two fathers is entirely possible, but I'm pretty sure this isn't the intended meaning. Spanish uses "padres" for "parents," "abuelos" for "grandparents," "hijos" for "children" etc.

December 11, 2015


being past tense, why not "Has he thought of/ about his parents?" (my answer)

February 22, 2016


That is present perfect tense, not past tense.

February 22, 2016


Ok thanks!

February 23, 2016


Why the hell are there question marks if its a statement? Please help

June 8, 2016


If you are asking regarding the Spanish sentence then this is the standard form for such a question. There is no "¿Do/does/did ... ?" format in Spanish. For this type of question the statement form is just enclosed in question marks.

If you are asking regarding the English sentence then this has been well answered above. Although it is more common to use a "Do/does/did ... ?" format, the statement form for a question of this type is perfectly acceptable. In fact, the statement form is probably the most common in contexts where the question is seeking confirmation of a previous statement. Eg. Statement: "He gave his car away." Questioning that statement: "He gave his car away?"

June 8, 2016


Would someone please tell me what part of this sentence should have clued me in to use the word "did" here?

June 16, 2016


The question marks and the past tense Spanish verb.

June 16, 2016


Why is "was he thinking about his parents" wrong? It's past tense...

August 5, 2016


I agree, although it's actually imperfect, not what they were looking for perhaps. I'll report is as correct.

December 25, 2016


I think DL is right to mark that wrong Pigslew, for the reason you mention. In the absence of a specified point in time "Was he thinking about his parents?" would require the imperfect in Spanish. Either "¿Él pensaba en sus padres?" or "¿Él estaba pensando en sus padres?" but not "¿Él pensó en sus padres?"

February 17, 2017


Why is there no personal "a" for parents?

September 6, 2016


There is no direct object. The personal "a" only goes after verbs, not after prepositions (even if the preposition is after a verb).

September 6, 2016


What the hell, it told he thinks about his fathers

September 25, 2016


"Pardres" means "parents", not "fathers".

September 26, 2016


Flagged. The form of an English question is not to simply change the punctuation on a declarative sentence. Grammatically, it may be passing, but it is not English usage.

February 17, 2017


There are numerous responses to Gyenesvi's comment above that deal with this matter. To summarise:

The statement form of question is grammatically sound and is used in English. While it may be less commonly used when the answer is unknown, it is commonly used when seeking confirmation or expressing surprise.

February 17, 2017


I think my answer war right

May 23, 2017


Did he think of his parents

June 6, 2017


Why not "has he thought about his parents?"

August 17, 2017


That's the wrong tense.

Has he thought about his parents? - ¿Él ha pensado en sus padres?

August 17, 2017


I wrote "Was he thinking of his parents?" Seems more natural. Duo didn't like it. Comments? Si? No?

September 1, 2017


Was he thinking of his parents? - ¿Él estaba pensando en sus padres?

September 1, 2017


On 'pensó en' it sounded like 100 spanish words were being said. Written 9/7/17.

September 8, 2017


I put [does he think about his parents] wrong. why is the correct Espanol sentence indicating a past action? I am confused.
Another question I have is since I do not know how to come back to this particular page to look for answers, is the point of asking questions to benefit the next viewers that may have a similar inquiry? I seem to be on some kind of an impasse here on duolingo, I'm hoping it's temporary and my brain will reboot soon. Not that #s are important to me but last week it said I was 57% fluent [no way] but this week it says 55% ?? thanks for reading.

December 25, 2017


mine was corrected to "he thought of his fathers?" which yay, gay dads!

January 13, 2018


I usually don't write nonsense here, but...

Who else immediately thought "what did he DO?"

February 28, 2018


Something so shameful that it cannot be spoken of ;)

February 28, 2018
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