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  5. "Tienen que dejar de beber."

"Tienen que dejar de beber."

Translation:They have to stop drinking.

January 24, 2013



why is quit drinking not ok?


to quit drinking means to give it up forever. To stop drinking is more immediate. Both are right, but have different senses of meaning. If you think your answer is right, report it. If enough people report, they change what they accept, and the system improves.


Maybe your assumption "quit means to give up forever. But I have seen "quit used in a different context meaning to stop. Sometimes DL needs to understand they may not fully understand the English context.


The English context is really not the point. The purpose of translation for Duo's purposes is to help people understand the Spanish context. You are correct that quit can be appropriate here, but to the extent that any user assigns a shade of meaning to the use of quit over stop, and for many people there would be a difference here, translating dejar de as quit will tend to color their understanding of the Spanish. We aren't being taught the English, we know that. But Duo would be remiss in providing translations that tend to color our understanding of the Spanish. There are many contexts where we use quit very much as we use stop, as in Quit it. But when it comes to something like drinking which can be considered a bad habit, vice or health risk, we are much more likely to use quit to imply at least an attempt for forever. Stop absolutely can also mean forever as can dejar de, but in this particular example seeing a translation of quit would tend to give the wrong connotation to quit.


FYI, I typed "They have to leave to drink" and was marked right. I think "stop drinking" is better though, after I looked it up.

  • 1792

That's so off the wall it makes me wonder how the program works.


It is the Spanish way of saying 'they have to stop drinking. In Spanish you can not use the present participle like in English. You have to use the infinitive 'to drink' instead.


I guess because "dejar" can also mean "leave"? Anyway I now know the correct answer, and that's more important.


"dejar" = to let/to/leave/to permit/to allow

"dejar de + infinitive" = to stop


That is so confusing. It's been making it really hard for me to remember what dejar means.


So confusing that you might take LEAVE OF your senses? English has several expressions related to "lay off" or "put aside" an idea. Even "give up" has the same form. A verb related to LEAVE: "give, lay, put..." followed by a preposition: "of, away, off, up, etc." "Dejar de" isn't too much of a stretch.


droma - Gracias! :) you just answered my next question! Use of the "de" :)


Droma, have a lingot on me. These are the types of "golden nuggets" that I seek by reading comments. ¡Mil gracias!


Thank you this was the explanation I was looking for.


I typed "They have to leave to drink" and was marked wrong! (1/8/15)


I typed that and they counted it wrong


And "they have to leave to drink" has a different meaning entirely. It means they have to somewhere else so they can drink.


That was not correct. I have noticed some strange things accepted recently. But I have to leave to drink would be Tengo que irme para beber. Dejar doesn't mean leave like that. It means leave as in leave it on the table. And para is used when you want to indicate a goal or destination.


What context would this be used in? Is it that they've been drinking too much tonight and should stop drinking for now? Or is that they drink too much in general and need to stay away from alcohol permanently? (Or both?)

Saying they have to "stop drinking" is a bit ambiguous, but if you translate it to "quit drinking" it seems to be the latter.


What about it's 2am, the bar has to close....


Can anyone please explain the use of "beber" and not "bebiendo". I'm thinking it's something along of bebiendo would mean they were drinking at that moment and beber is more like "these guys are alcoholics, they have to stop drinking". I'm not very good with grammar (in any language) so if someone could explain and use terms like present, infinitive, continuous present... that would be great! #BonusLesson


Although it's tempting at first, we just can't use the Spanish present participle as a gerund (or a "noun") the way we do in English.

Your "I'm thinking" example (continuous present, by the way) is actually pretty much on the mark. In the case of "they were drinking at the moment," the word "drinking" is part of the verb, but when we say "they have to stop drinking," we are actually using that word as a noun (in that case, as I said, a gerund) . Can't do that in Spanish. In Spanish, that same function (verb as noun) is done with the infinitive, so that If I wanted to say "Drinking is my favorite thing," I can't say "Bebiendo es mi cosa favorita," but would have to say something like "Beber es mi cosa favorita." ; -)

Edit: This will explain it better than I: http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/31


Thank you for the explanation.

I too have been having some trouble with this. I don't think we were ever really thought this grammar in English.

Anyway, what I've been trying to do is to replace the "-ing" word with something that is definitely a noun, and it helps me to figure out if it is the gerund or the present participle.

So for example, "they have to stop the bus", instead of "they have to stop drinking", does not change the action of the sentence, namely 'having to stop something', so this makes me think that it is the gerund in English.

However, "I am a man" versus "I am thinking", changes the action from me 'being something', a man, to , well, 'me thinking', the thinking itself is the action. So this time I think that 'thinking' is the present participle, and as such would be "estoy pensando" in Spanish.

Is this an ok way to think about it?


Thanks!! Love the use of gerund as well! Exactly the type of explanation i wanted.


I believe the idea is that when you have multiple verbs linked together you only conjugate the first one. In this case you have "tener", "dejar" and "beber", so you conjugate the first one ("tener" becomes "tienen") and leave the others as infinitives.

This is only when the verbs are linked, so if you were to say "they eat and drink" you'd still conjugate both: "comen y beben".


That helps a lot! Thanks for the explanation.


I actually think "dejar de" mean "to quit".


it does indeed.


Why not 'They have to stop to drink'. If that is wrong, how would I say it?


"Tienen que parar para beber."

Dejar de [verb] means to stop doing that verb, dejar without de means to let, leave alone, etc. Parar however, means simply to stop in general.


I said "stop to drink" and it IS wrong. Dont know why and dont know how you would say it? Would love to know if possible


See the comment just above yours. . . "parar" means "to stop" and would likely be used in your sentence.


I typed "They have to quit drinking" and got it wrong. Shall I report it or it's me who is slightly wrong?


Yes, quit should work for dejar de. The following is solid evidence:

dejar de [+ infinitivo]

You can definitely report it. :)


There is a subtle difference between the two in English. Stopping drinking is suggestive of a temporary cessation, you may well start drinking again tomorrow. Whereas quitting drinking is generally used when you're saying that you're never going to drink again. Although I don't think it is actually wrong to use them interchangeably.


same here I'm wondering if it's like stop for now as a opposed to quit forever


No, you are not slightly wrong. There's some good discussion here about the subtle difference between "dejar" and "dejar de," but once you've taken the subject sentence into English, there is no substantive difference between "stop drinking" and "quit drinking." Note, though, that either could take the qualifiers, "for now" -- or "permanently."

  • 1792

OK. I used quit. But it's my first question, so I can dejar de intentar y empezar al inicio otra vez.


what means "que" and why is it there, please help me?


"Que" means many things in different contexts. In this case, it is part of a set phrase, "tener que" which when conjugated, means "have to / has to" , etc.

  • Tengo que = I have to . . .
  • Tienes que = you have to . . .
  • Tiene que = he, she, it, has to . . .
  • AND = you (Usted) have to ....
  • Tenemos que = we have to . . .
  • Tienen que = They have to . . .

Very useful. Follow it with an infinitive and you can say what anyone
has to (must) do.

Tengo que comer, I have to eat; Tienes que ir, you have to go; etc. etc.



I put they have to stop drinking, but I'm wondering if it could have also been, they have to stop to drink?


dejar de beber means literally 'to leave off drinking.' 'Parar para beber' means to stop to drink." Not the same thing at all.


thanks for the info I see that now. sometimes I just get ahead of myself and miss it completely. Thanks again.


How can I say "They have to stop to drink." ?


Tienen que parar para beber.


Elsewhere in this lesson, must and have to were equivalent.


All right, this is a tricky one.

Must and have to have the same differences as deber y tener que. Therefore they are not equivalent.

In addition to that, deber is used to express a probability or likeness to happen. So you can have a question to a friend on thephone, while reparing your car:

"So, I replace the air filter, connect the sensors and replace the lid, that should do it, right?"

Yes it should/probably = debería de, si.

Now, The use is not easy and the rule has changed. Before everybody said it wrong, but could quote the rule. Now, everybody says it wrong and nobody knows the rule, so



Ramosraul is incorrect. In English, "must" and "have to" mean exactly the same. Deber has more the sense of "should" in English, or, to translate more literally, to have an obligation to. To say that "I am obliged to" is weaker than "I must" or "I have to", since we do not always fulfill our obligations.


oh I see the difference with 'deber' thanks. I have been wondering about that for a long time.


I said "They have to leave off drinking," which is a slightly archaic English phrase but still correct, I would think. I was influenced by the dejar meaning "to leave." :D


Perhaps a tad colloquial, Auntiemoosh, but not really so archaic: we still use in down here in Texas. ;-)


remember that "dejar" = to leave/to let/to allow/to permit


"dejar de + infinitive" = to stop


I said "They have to give up drinking" as well. Wouldn't this be an appropriate way to express this in English. Is there another (possibly idiomatic) way to say "give up" in Spanish?


So annoying that duolingo doesn't know that "quit" is the same as "stop".


Not quite the same. "Quit" has the sense of a permanent decision where "stop" feels like it might be temporary. "He has to quit drinking or he will get fired" or "he has to stop drinking now or he won't be able to work tomorrow."


Just wondering, why can you not use: "Tienen ---a--- dejar de beber"? I've seen "que" and "a" being flipped around and used for the same type of "connector" for the first 2 verbs. Thanks!


Tener que + inf = to have to; "tener a" does not have the same connotation and isn't used to mean "to have to". Here are some times when you might see "a" after "tener": http://spanish.about.com/od/usingparticularverbs/a/tener_a.htm


Alright thanks!


I should be able to say "Y'all have to stop drinking"


Y'all is a substitute for you (plural) so I think that Y'all was not accepted here was because you replaced "they" with "y'all".


I put "They need to stop drinking" - was I the only person who did this?


While it might make sense to say this, "necesitar" is the word used for "to need". So you would use different words for your sentence. "tener que. . ." always means "to have to".


I'm not asking whether the Spanish sentence would change if I were using tener que or necesitar; this exercise was translating 'Tienen que dejar de beber' to English. I'm pretty sure "They have to stop drinking' is conversationally just as acceptable as "They need to stop drinking.' I may have been so accustomed to it that my grammar is failing me, but as far as I know a person may say "I need to..." in most, if not all situations where a person could use "I have to..."

In Spanish this would change but I would think in English both are acceptable? I mean people say "I need to do X" or "I need to go to Y" and the like all the time.

I'm curious no one else has asked why answers aren't accepted that way by DuoLingo before me apparently, though. Maybe 'need' is grammatically incorrect and these things just became common practice.


There is nothing incorrect about saying "They need to . . .". It's perfectly fine and acceptable to say that from a grammatical standpoint, and it's somewhat interchangeable. However, the connotation can be slightly different, so it can't be translated that way from this particular sentence in Spanish because "need to" and "have to" have slightly different meanings. While we should always translate "thought for thought" rather than "word for word", it's still important to get the closest meaning possible. Therefore, DL rightly only accepts "have to" because that is the meaning of "tener que". If they accepted anything that was "close" to the intended meaning, at what point what they draw the line? Therefore, a correct translation could only be "They have to. . ." So what you put is perfectly fine to say in English, but I was just trying to answer your question on why it's not an accepted translation for this sentence. I hope that makes sense. :)


Yes, that does. I wish there had been a heads up though! Thank you for taking the time to explain why it couldn't be accepted.


No, I put "need to" also. I learned in school that "tener que" meant to need to, so I was surprised that this answer was not accepted for this sentence. I am not convinced that it is incorrect. Anyway, the only difference I can imagine between "have to" and "need to" in this context would be "they have to stop drinking because they have run out of liquid." But... it is not the only time DL corrects what I think is an acceptable answer. I am willing to accept that probably DL is right in these instances more often than I am ;-)


So "stop drinking" in spanish is translated to "stop of drinking"? Because of the de. Seems weird to me. Is there something I'm missing here?


Dejar de means stop. It's just something you have to remember.


Think of dejar de as meaning 'leave off' which is a colloquial phrase in English.
at least the 'leave part is a direct translation, if that makes it easier to remember


How would you say "they have to stop to drink"?


Perhaps "Tienen que parar para beber", or "Tienen que parar para tomar algo." The thing is, the kind of 'stop' contemplated by your question, even in English, is not exactly the same as 'stop' meaning to desist or refrain from an act of some sort — or, as JohnGrunewald notes just above, to "leave off" or "quit" doing a thing.

"Stop" in that sense is what you do at a "Pare" sign.


Why is beber not bebiendo


Because we can't use the Spanish gerundio as a noun/gerund as you can in English; for that function, we have to use the infinitive.


Yea, we've all been there.


So "dejar de hablar" would be correct?


Is "tiene que" (or in this case, "tienen que") interchangeable with "debe", or are they used for different situations?


Couldn't 'allow drinking' also be possible.....the opposite meaning?


i didn't know duo the owl knows drunk people


They have to stop to drink was marked wrong. How does the gerund form, -ing or drinking in the case, of the verb come into play. Does dejar de + infinitive = to stop ___ing, stopping an action?


What is "que" doing here?


The expression 'tener que' means essentially "to have to" So the "que" is an important part of the construction. "Tengo que comer o voy a morir." "Tiene que ir al baño ahora o va a tener un problema... lots of examples.


Maybe think of it as "It is important that they stop drinking" That would be a direct translation for 'que'


Why could you not say ¨Tienen parar bebiendo." Instead of ¨Tienen que dejar de beber¨ Sorry if I totally butchered the sentence- I am bad at linking verbs together.


Perhaps this will help: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/VRBSPREP.HTM Specifically: "Verbs meaning “to stop” or “to finish” are normally followed by de plus an infinitive" and "Verbs meaning “to continue” are normally followed by the -ndo form, with no preposition"

Also as far as I know it must be "tienen que" (they have to) not just "tienen" (they have).

So maybe this would have been accepted: tienen que parar de beber.


Oooh, so it's just a part of a formula I guess. Gracias por la ayuda. :)


Tienes que dejar de hablar. Does that mean you have to stop talking?


I wrote "They have to stop drinking." and it was marked wrong and corrected to "You have to stop drinking."


You should report it.


So I put "they have to stop to drink" and got flagged. I think it makes sense... like they can't do whatever they're doing and drink simultaneously.


I wrote: "They need to stop drinking." Why wasn't this accepted?


Why are we using "tener" to show imperative? It seems like a very English usage.


I dont understand the use of que here. I guess im the only too bc no one else asks


I get why the answer is "they have to stop drinking". I'm hoping someone can tell me how one would say in Spanish "They have to stop to drink". For example, if some people were running a marathon and "they had to stop to drink." Thanks.


Beber is in an infinitive why is it used here as a present participle?


Take a look at this page: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/VRBSPREP.HTM

Specifically, "Verbs meaning “to stop” or “to finish” are normally followed by de plus an infinitive."


In English we seldom use the straight infinitive. One of the most common ways of translating the infinitive from Spanish to English is to use the present progressive, or participle. We wouln't, for instance, say "I am to go to the store." We would say, "I am going to the store." Very, very common transition of Spanish tense to English tense.


You have to say, "They need to stop drinking." I said "you need to stop drinking" and I got it correct for some reason.


Leave drinking is suitable translation


Why is "you need to stop drinking" incorrect?


duolingo didn't allow; they have to stop to drink. two sources on spanish dict. give it as a correct translation


'dejar' means 'to stop' only in the sense of 'leave off' or 'quit.' To stop the forward motion of something is "parar". Tienen que parar para beber I think would mean "they have to stop to drink. In the sense of "they can't drink while they are moving, so they have to stop."


In this case, Duolingo is correct, and John is correct. By " two sources on spanish dict.", I gather you mean two of the machine translators. because none of the knowledgeable users over there would have steered you wrong. Those translators are fairly good, but "dejar de" is a fixed idiomatic phrase (not an "idiom") meaning to stop, cease, or quit doing a thing. Suggestion: read through the entirely of these threads; in this case, it's been explained several times. Good luck.



john, thanks for the explanation on the difference between dear de and parar. it makes sense now


El placer es mío. We all help each other along the way. You will no doubt pay it forward sometime.


Doesn't "que" meaan that? I put "They have to stop drinking" because that made sense in what the options were. but i dont understand how it translates


"Tener que <verb>" is a set phrase that means "To have to <verb>". It's just something to remember. For example:

  • Tengo que comer - I have to eat
  • Tienes que dormir - You have to sleep


How would you say "They have to stop to drink."


Would "they have to refrain from drinking" be an acceptable translation?


Why not:. They have to stop to drink


Because "dejar de + [infinitive]" is a set phrase in Spanish, meaning to stop doing something, where the infinitive expresses the something. There's quite a bit of discussion covering this idea in the thread.


They have to stop to drink would be "Tienen que parar para beber", or "Tienen que parar para tomar algo," where "parar" is to stop in the physical sense.


Dejar de + infinitive means to stop doing whatever the infinitive verb is. Dejar de comer to stop eating. Dejar de trabajar to stop working.,etc To stop to drink is equivalent in English to to stop for a drink and that is how you would say it in Spanish, but since dejar de only means to stop doing something (otherwise it means let or leave) it would use parar. Para para una bebida


The dictionary hints say "They have to stop to drink" why is this wrong


You have just demonstrated the problem with relying too much on the hints on Duo without understanding the actual meaning of the words. It is one of the major reasons why I recommend that people to always check hint meanings with a good dictionary to understand in what way and under what circumstances the words mean this.

The expression dejar de (infinitive) means to stop doing something (the action of the verb) meaning to no longer do it (at least for the moment) But the expression to stop to do something implies that you are interrupting what you were doing in order to do something else. But the implication is that your intention, at least, was to continue doing the original thing once the other has been accomplished. Using the term for this we have borrowed from racing, it is a pitstop. Dejar cannot be used to express this, or at least not easily. The basic meaning of dejar is to leave or let. There is an expression in some regional American dialects that might help you with this meaning if you are familiar with it. You may have heard people say I have to leave off drinking or smoking, etc. Now this expression is most often used in English when whatever you are "leaving off" doing is something that is considered a bad habit, which is NOT necessarily a connotation of dejar de, but the use of a similar verb in that expression did help me understand dejar de. So dejar de beber or dejar de comer means to stop drinking or stop eating (or at least that particular eating session/meal). If you want to say that you stopped (in order) to drink or you stopped (in order) to eat, you would use a verb like parar whose base meaning is to stop. So in terms of your sentence They have to stop to drink, that would be Tienen que parar para beber.


Beber = to drink. So the literal translation would amount to " they have to stop to drink". Anyone can explain away my confusion? Thanks


They're just things to memorize:

  • "tener que" + infinitive = to have to ___
  • "dejar de" + infinitive = to stop ___

"Tener que" will be followed by an infinitive in both languages. "Dejar de" will be followed by an infinitive in Spanish, but translates to the ING form of the verb in English (the "gerund" form, I believe).

  • Tenemos que dejar de comer - We have to stop eating
  • Queren dejar de comer - They want to stop eating
  • Voy a dejar de comer ahora - I'm going to stop eating now

I don't know if there are any exceptions to anything above.


Dejar de + infinitive means to stop doing something (the action of the verb). So dejar de beber is to stop drinking, just as dejar de trabajar means to stop working. You have to remember that any infinitive that is the object of a preposition may well translate as an English gerund. The gerund in English is the form of the verb used as a noun, but in Spanish that form is the infinitive.

To stop to drink has a rather different translation. First of all you can't use dejar, since dejar without the de + infinitive doesn't mean to stop, it means to let or to leave. So it would use parar. And when you see a construction in English that is like stop to drink or work to eat, where the to is short for in order to, in Spanish that translates as para in Spanish. So They have to stop [in order] to drink would be Tienen que parar para beber/tomar.


They have to abandon drinking. That was marked as wrong.


That is wrong. I can see how you might get there if you only understand dejar as to let or to leave, but abandon would only be used in English with something like drinking in a rather poetically invocative sense. Abandon is an emotionally charged word in English. People stop drinking. You would only say that they abandoned drinking if you had just referred to drinking as a lifelong friend or something equally emotionally charged.

And the other side is the Spanish. Dejar de (infinitive) is a standard expression meaning to stop (doing the verb). Dejar de is synonymous with parar, but only when it is part of a phrasal verb. But it has no particular emotional impact, so would not support your translation. The tone and emotional impact of words is an extremely important part of effective communication and therefore language learning and translation.


Not - 'They have to ALLOW drinking'?...


Dejar alone is to let or to leave, but dejar de +infinitive is to stop. When talking about allowing something to happen I generally hear permitir.


This is not fair... how can the same verb mean "to stop" as well as "to allow"?? X(


This is not fair... how can the same verb mean both "to stop" as well as "to allow"?? X(


This is not fair... how can the same verb mean both "to stop" as well as "to allow"?? X(

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