"Voy a servir el arroz."

Translation:I am going to serve the rice.

February 2, 2013



I think in English the article is optional. I've often heard people say "I am going to serve rice."

August 30, 2013


I would say it's more correct to say it without the article, because rice is considered a mass noun

November 27, 2013


I agree. Saying the rice would actually get you weird looks in English. At least around here, it may be a regional thing.

February 14, 2014


No weird looks around here (Florida). "Are you going to serve the rice or the pasta next?" "I am going to serve the rice."

August 8, 2014


Indeed. If you are talking about a specific dish you can use "the".

October 5, 2014


Yes ... but seeing as how there is no context and therefore no knowledge as to whether or not it is a dish of rice or rice in general, I would think that both would and should be acceptable.

UNLESS Spanish is perfectly parallel with English in this and 'servir el arroz' always means to serve a specific dish of rice and 'servir arroz' means 'serve rice' in general?

Can you say "...servir arroz." ?

October 8, 2016


That article about definite articles suggests that we /have/ to use the definite article with nouns used in a general sense. The examples it gives are

  1. La comida de México es deliciosa. (Mexican food is delicious.)

  2. Las películas de Almodóvar son interesantes. (Almodóvar's movies are interesting.)

This is more along the lines of what I was thinking.

Perhaps there's a site that would define the difference between

'Voy a servir arroz' and 'Voy a servir el arroz' ?

Because I think that that article about definite articles is suggesting that the second one is the one to use when rice is used in a general sense ... that's my take on it at any rate.

Not sure about the meaning for the first one. Wondering if 'un plato de arroz' or something along those lines might not be what might be used for 'a rice dish.'

October 8, 2016


Yes, you can say Voy a servir arroz. It is perhaps somewhat more common to say el arroz in Spanish than English, but this usage is basically parallel.

Here is a link that explains when the definite article is used in Spanish when it isn't in English


If it is not one of the listed exceptions, assume that the use is the same.

October 8, 2016


Ianisona I am responding above to your comment above it as we are too deep in and have no more reply buttons.

You misunderstood the term generalizing in their context. When we generalize or make a generalization we are making a comment about ALL of something. When we say Mexican food is delicious you are saying ALL Mexican food is delicious. This is a situation when we NEVER use the definite article in English as we use the definite article to identify a particular subset of the whole, but in Spanish they include when you are talking about the whole set. Certainly many times we make generalizations about something we understand there are exceptions, but our statement does not say that. If you have ever made a generalization in front of an argumentative child they would prove that. You say Mexican food is delicious and they reply Not all Mexican food is delicious, mole is disgusting.

So I might say me gusta el arroz el arroz es sabroso, or even El arroz es blanco. Each of these statements is talking about all rice, although my argumentative kids would object to the last one because of brown rice. But when you say you serve rice, you might say you served all THE rice (which simply means all that was there or made etc) but you would never say that you serve all rice.

One of the easy ways for me to remember this idea is reading Paul's comments on faith, hope, and love (charity) in Spanish

Y ahora permanecen la fe, la esperanza y el amor, estos tres: pero el mayor de ellos es el amor.

Depending on your background that may or may not be helpful to you. But the faith, the hope, and the love sounds so strange in English it helps me remember that it works in Spanish as you are talking about all of it in general.

October 8, 2016


None of that answered what would be the translation, in English, of "voy a servir arroz."

My background is from a linguistics perspective if you wish to use any linguistic argot in your explanation. An explanation of how articles are used differently in different languages is accepted as naturally true but superfluous.

I am asking 100% about THIS sentence that we are commenting upon based on comments that I read regarding the definite article not being 100% required.

I felt that it was 100% required in this sentence; I read that it wasn't.

Hence, I am asking for a translation of

"Voy a servir arroz."

Or is this a sentence that I would, in a linguistics paper, have two asterisks placed in front of to say "no native speaker would ever say this or accept it as even passably acceptable."

Or maybe one asterisk meaning "this is not natural speech but it's understandable"

Or maybe just a question mark meaning "it's completely understandable but any native speaker when questioned about it would automatically fix it or at least say 'yeah ... that sounds a bit weird'." Example in English: "? Lightening and thunder"

November 30, 2016


Voy a servir el arroz. I am going to serve the rice. Voy a servir arroz. I am going to serve rice. In this sentence the addition of the addition of the definite article makes the exact same difference in the Spanish sentence as in the English. Qué vas a servir a tus suegros esta noche. Voy a servir arroz. But Sirve la carne, por favor. Voy a servir el arroz. I can see how you could call the former talking in a general sense, but it is not making a generalization about all rice. In French the first sentence would still require the partative article du which is roughly some. If you can add some to the sentence and not change the meaning, you are not generalizing. So in the first example when asked what you are going to serve your in-laws, you answer rice. You are not saying all rice, you are saying some rice, from somewhere unstated. But in the second example you are probably standing in the kitchen with a helper in front of pans of cooked food, so you are neither generalizing about all meat and all rice nor taking about some meat and some rice of unstated origen. You are talking about THE meat and THE rice in front of you in the pans (specific subset) . So, in this case, since this is not one of the differences between English and Spanish usage, you translate the article if you see it because it makes a somewhat different statement. Even without context it works. If someone out if the blue said Voy a servir el arroz or I am going to serve the rice, I would expect them to get up and come back with some prepared rice dish.

November 30, 2016


Well Florida is different!

August 3, 2017


Florida may be different, but many different Spanishes are spoken in Florida, just as they are in California and Spain and Mexico. Perhaps the dominate Cuban influence has a colloquial effect on this.

August 3, 2017


"Spanishes" is not a word in English. Also, "dominant" not "dominate."

February 13, 2018


Being a mass noun has nothing to do with it.

If you are going to serve a specifically designated rice (say, the rice that you have prepared for supper), then you would say "serve the rice." Or "are we ready to eat the rice?" On the other hand, if we have no specifically designated rice, we say "do you want rice tonight"? or "I am going to serve rice (tonight)

It depends on whether (some) rice has been previously designated, or not.

June 25, 2017


My take is if there are several dishes to be served, then it makes sense to add "the".

December 8, 2013


Yes , you could serve the dish of rice. If you say "the rice", you are specifying "the rice that was cooked."

Also, if you say I am going to serve "rice" that inevitably means " some rice " so you may mean " to each person" or you may mean " there will probably be some left over." I am going to serve rice and chicken can mean that you are preparing and it may not even be bought yet. If you say "I am going to serve the rice." It can mean you will be serving everyone and splitting up all the rice that you have cooked or that you will be serving everyone the rice and then you will serve the next dish, maybe the vegetables.

February 10, 2014


So the real question is then whether the article is used similarly in Spanish. If it is used similarly then it is incorrect to omit the article in the English translation, otherwise it is probably fine.

Anyone with better Spanish skills happen to know the answer?

January 9, 2015


There are some similarities, but there are many differences. In some respects they are opposite. (They use articles for abstract nouns (and nouns in general).

. For example: "La unidad es mejor que el dinero." (Unity is better than money) "El gobierno necesita mejorar la seguridad." ("The government needs to improve security..")

I don't yet have it figured out, but here are some other references http://www1.udel.edu/leipzig/Assistant/artdef.htm http://www.onetoonespanish.co.uk/blog/the-definite-article-in-spanish.htm

June 25, 2017


Rule of thumb in English, if you use the definite article "the," you can expect that people are going to ask themselves, "which one?" If the answer isn't obvious by context, you shouldn't use "the."

In this example, "I am going to serve the rice," would warrant the question, "Well... which rice is he serving?" If you had a plate of rice directly in front of you, it would be obvious that you meant you are going to be serving that rice right there. If there's no rice in sight, native speakers will be confused. "What rice could he be talking about? I don't see any rice."

April 18, 2014


It is with context: Out of the Rice, Chicken or Beans what are you going to serve? I'm going to serve the rice.

December 11, 2014


I think there is a subtle meaning difference at least to my ear. If someone asked me what I am going to serve for dinner or at an event I would say I am going to serve rice. But if I were in my kitchen looking over what I had to serve I might say I am going to serve the rice (ie in the pot on the left as opposed to the pasta on the right) It is a response to a choice. The flight attendant asks, "Do you want chicken or fish?" You could certainly say I will have chicken but you might well say I will have the chicken.

December 26, 2015


i agree

February 9, 2015


I agree!

June 10, 2017


In English, the article is optional...because you have the option of saying two DIFFERENT things with two different shades of meaning.

"I'm going to serve rice & beans at my party" is a fine general statement that would sound weird if you inserted an article, unless you are in the midst of talking about some specific rice to merit a "the" in front of "rice".

However if you're sitting at a dinner table with guests in your dining room with a bunch of different foods cooked, it's normal to say "I'm going to go serve the rice", that is the particular rice that is sitting in a bowl in the kitchen that I cooked earlier.

Without the article it is abstract, with the article it is concrete.

If you are at a restaurant, when you first place your order you can say "Can we get fried rice please?" An hour later & the waiters have brought every dish of food except the rice, food's starting to get cold, you start to get annoyed, they must have forgotten the order, you call the waiter over & say "Can you serve THE fried rice please?" That is, can you serve the specific order of fried rice that we asked for. "Oh, THE rice, I'm so sorry, let me go get that for you right away." If you just say "Can you serve fried rice please?", it would just sound like you are placing a new order to go with your dinner. "Oh you'd like some rice, sure, I'll go put the order in right now".

At a restaurant you can ask the waiter "Do you serve rice?" That is, does this restaurant cook any kind of rice that I can order? "Do you serve the rice?" would actually put the focus on "you", that is, waiter, are you the person who comes over & serves the rice around here? Which would be a weird question in most contexts.

Perhaps substitute "drinks" for "rice", or better yet a specific type of drink, "cocktails".

You ask the waiter "Do you serve cocktails?" The waiter answers "Yes, we serve cocktails here."

You ask the waiter "Do you serve the cocktails?" The waiter replies "No, one of the barmaids will come over to serve the cocktails".

Two different answers to 2 different questions depending on whether the little word "the" is thrown in there.

September 26, 2017


And in general the definite article would change the focus of the sentence AWAY from whatever object you threw "the" in front of.

"I am going to serve rice"- the main point of the sentence is the abstract concept of rice, if you love rice come to my party because I happen to be serving it.

"I am going to serve the rice"- the main point of the sentence is "I" as the subject & my intention to be the one to go pick up & serve the bowl of rice. Nobody else has to do it, I'm taking care of the rice-serving. The concrete existence of "the rice" is given, "I'm going to serve the rice. Can you serve the beans and someone else serve the chicken please?"

You're not getting rice-lovers excited telling them about your plan to serve the abstract Platonic ideal conception of "rice", you're just doing the mundane chore of grabbing "the rice" to serve while others grab the other food items to serve, check off the list so you don't forget to serve something you cooked.

September 26, 2017


No dont! It'll go straight through the strings of your racket

August 1, 2015


I wonder if there are any native speakers that would serve me THE rice?

December 5, 2015


I'm a native speaker (in the US) and "the rice" is quite natural to me and everyone I know. When my wife and I plan dinner she asks me to make the rice, since paella isn't her forte. Sometimes she ask me to check the rice, since she doesn't have enough hands. And, sometimes, I even serve the rice. The use of "the" depends on the context.

December 5, 2015


Hello DanD8.... I'm looking for some positive direction from a native speaker...... If I asked you what you are serving for supper, and you responded with "I'm serving rice" would you say "Voy a servir el arroz" or "voy a servir arroz" Thanks in advance !! On another note.... can I come over for PAELLA? :)

January 24, 2016


I'm sorry, Riq5, I should have been clearer. I'm a native speaker of English from the US. I was making the point that "the rice" is an appropriate phrase in English. I did ask a friend of mine, a Spaniard, and she said that it's more or less the same as English. You add the "el" when being specific.

And yes, the paella will be ready at five :). My Spanish blood might not be first generation, but the recipe is.

January 24, 2016


Thanks DanD8. I had my first taste of paella in France about 3 months ago, then some in Spain 2 months ago. Equally delicious. France... more sausage and chicken, Spain ... more seafood. I'll be over at 4:30, with wine :)

January 24, 2016


I agree that in English just "rice" is acceptable. But to specify I am going to serve the rice first.

November 22, 2014


Ugh, I keep forgetting to put the darn "the" and then I get it wrong. Bleh!

April 23, 2016


I am going to serve rice is fine....

April 6, 2014


So is “I'm going to serve the rice." in proper context. I can't tell you if it is or isn't an Americanism, but they are both widely used.

January 7, 2015


It isn't an "Americanism." If anything, American English speakers use the definite article even more often than those in the UK; i.e; in UK English: "I'm going to hospital" "I flew on Concorde"

June 25, 2015


I'm not surprised, and I'm not complaining, but gonna is not accepted, I tried it out of curiosity. I'm almost relieved it's not accepted.

July 30, 2014


duolingo tranlate literal so not accepted. this happen to me learning english sometimes

August 9, 2014


"the rice" - it sounds really weird. Please correct me if I am wrong (English is not my native tongue)

August 29, 2014


Both "rice" and "the rice" are used. It depends on context. "Rice": "What are you going to serve with the meat" "I am going to serve rice." "The rice": "What are you going to serve?" "I'm going to serve soup, salad, rice, meat and dessert". You've brought out the soup and salad. What are you going to serve now?" "I am going to serve the rice."

August 29, 2014


What is the difference in "I am going to serve the rice" and "I go to serve the rice". I am not understanding this difference in "I go" and "I am going" [like I presently go}, maybe? There must be something about "voy" that I have not understood.

May 22, 2016


It+a+infinitive is a special construction for a more informal future tense which is very parallel to our going to. Just as the phrase I am going to serve the rice does not necessarily imply any motion away, but rather is an alternate future tense to I will serve the rice, Voy a servir el arroz is an alternate form of Serviré el arroz. If you just say I go to you definitely are referring to motion and it is possible for those phrases to be ambiguous as in I am going to work later. Are you traveling to work later or just working on something later? The Spanish can also be ambiguous, but most people don't travel to serve rice.

May 23, 2016


"I am going to" has two meanings, depending on context. Usually, it means "I am about to" or "I intend to" or "I will". It can also mean "I am moving to a place" where I will do something. "I go to" has the second meaning, so "I go to serve the rice." means "I am moving to some location where I will serve the rice."

May 23, 2016


I answered correct but eas marked incorrect Perhaps a fluke in system?

May 25, 2017


There is a type of fluke in Internet systems where occasionally network noise distorts the transmission of the data and you are marked wrong. It generally happens very infrequently, but other errors may be involved. ALWAYS report these through the flag as only Duo tech staff have access to the information to show what may have happened.

May 25, 2017


My answer matched yours, the ruce

May 26, 2017


Whew! Lots of comments. This is all mysterious, but I feel "I am going to serve rice" should be acceptable.

February 20, 2018


It's hard to sort through the comments, but no, in this case the use of the definite article has exactly the same effect in Spanish as it does in English. It is identifying a particular rice, probably the one in the pan in the kitchen waiting to be served. The situation where Spanish does have a difference comes from the fact that when you are generalizing about something, in other words talking about all of it, you never use the definite article in English but you must use it in Spanish. So in English the sentence Coffee is hot is a generalizing statement. We know that from the LACK of an article. The sentence The coffee is hot is talking about a specific cup or pot of coffee. But in Spanish both of these sentences would be translated to El café está caliente. This is the situation which causes English speakers to think the definite article is always used in Spanish. But when you are referring to some, the definite article is not used. So if you were to ask someone what they were going to serve at a dinner party, a Spanish speaker would list the dishes without articles just as an English speaker would. So this sentence is said by someone about to serve a particular dish of rice. To make sense of it I assume they are either serving one dish at a time or saying they will serve the rice and assigning another to serve the meat, or whatever else.

February 20, 2018


Please translate this sentience into Spanish: "I'm am going to serve rice"

June 12, 2018


I am assuming that this is a new broken suggested answer. Sometimes when Duo is editing to add additional accepted answers (like both I'm and I am some typo in the code merges the answers together. Report it.

June 12, 2018


why do you use I'll when it definitely says I am?

June 13, 2018


Voy a servir

I am going to serve


I will serve

Both are acceptable ways to translate it.

June 13, 2018
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