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  5. "מה עושים?"

"מה עושים?"

Translation:What do we do?

July 10, 2016



If this can be translated as 'what are you doing' (you being אתם) then why can't it also be 'what are they doing' (הם being assumed)?


I think because the "you" here is the universal you, as in "What do you do when this happens." So if you're using "you" to address someone or "they" you need to use a pronoun to clarify it.


Though it would then need to be only "what do you do", not the progressive form


Sometimes Duolingo wants "we", sometimes "they", sometimes "you"...I have to memorize the specific translations for each question because there doesn't seem to be consistency


Agreed, why can't it be they?


It seems that Duo uses the subject “we” with the plural present tense of verbs when there is no explicit subject. I noticed Duo did this in other cases, such as “למה אומרים "שלום"?” translated as “why do we say hello?” or “איך אוכלים פיל?” translated as “How do we eat an elephant?” Is there a grammar rule that specifies “we” in these cases instead of “they” or “you”? Or is this a matter of context. And if so, shouldn’t “they” or “you” be accepted in these cases where there is no context?


Agreed with alexkrule, if there is no subject it can be translated by : "what do we do, what do you (plural) do, what do they do".


Why is מה עושים with an assumed 1cp subject, but קוראים לי with an assumed 3mp subject? Just is? Any tips to know?


there is no pronoun.So how are we supposed to know the correct translation


This fourth lesson of the determiner section wants us to practice the “impersonal plural”, which has no pronoun and by that, we are supposed to know that the idea such as “why does one eat food?“ is being practiced.


can I not say, "what is one doing"?


Maybe "What does one do"


needs to be plural


Duo accepted “what does one do” and in a sense that’s plural because that “one” is similar to the universal “you”.


why this is " what do we do?" and no" what are we do?"


Because in English we need to use "what are we doing" or "what do we do"


Why cant we say "what can we do"?


There's no can in the sentence, but I'm learning too so a native might say something opposite.


wouldn't it be מה אנחנו עושים?


Why can't this be "what do you do"


Or "what are you doing"


I’m not a native speaker, but from my understanding, I think it wouldn’t be what are you doing or what do you do because it’s not addressing one person (את) with עושים, it is talking about people in general so you could say what does one do, but not you. Again this may not be correct because I am not a native Hebrew speaker.


You can be plural


Could this expression be used in a situation where you think that you just have to accept the situation, you think there isn't any thing to about it, semantically like for the English: so, what to do? (What can we do about it??)


Close: for that we use מה לעשות or מה אפשר לעשות.


Is this construct a way to ask about a general rule or about something that's generally done?


Of these two, it's more about something generally done than about a rule, but the two seem to me almost the same, no?

Actually without more words in the sentence, it would usually be used for the opposite of these two, something like "What shall we do now, given this surprising situation?"

(I'm tempted to mention the reputation of Israelis as bad rule followers, good improvisers...)


Why not: "what are they doing?"


es58_1, the rule we are practicing here is about what a person or what people do in a general situation, such as “what do you do when you have a headache? You take an aspirin.”

If you say “what are they doing?”, that implies not a general situation such as what we’re practicing here, but a specific situation.

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