"¿Él pensó en sus padres?"
Translation:Did he think about his parents?
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)
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.
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.
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
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?
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).
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)
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.
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