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  5. "¿Sabes nadar?"

"¿Sabes nadar?"

Translation:Can you swim?

February 2, 2013



I really like how sometimes in Spanish all it takes is two words to convey so much.


then your imagination has to kick in.


I really want to say "Can you swim" since saber is the verb to use for "can" in such a context, but I have lost so many hearts using the normal English that I wonder when the programme can be adjusted to accept this fact.


I think Duo is trying to distinguish between the uses of "saber" and "poder." I was taught that saber is "to know how to do something" and poder is "the ability to do something." "Puedes nadar" = Are you able to swim? Can you swim?


Do you know how to swim? "Yes, I was a life guard for a year." Can you swim? "No, I get ear aches if I swim."


You would be in trouble if the questioner were to add "one word answer only". But that usually never happens, so you are free to give the answer you gave above.

[deactivated user]

    Thanks rspreng and rocko2012!! :D


    That was very helpful. Thank you.


    That was helpful!


    Yes, and I wrote "Can you swim?" as a shorter and more common translation and that was accepted as a correct answer.

    There is a difference in the kind of expression between English and Spanish. For an ability, you have learned, you use in Spanish "saber" and in English preferentially "can". That corresponds the definitions of the Cambridge dictionary:


    Short copy:


    We often use can to talk about ability to do something in the present or future:

    I can sing one song in Polish.


    In my first comment i was talking about normal English. If someone wanted to hire a canoe, he might be asked "Can you swim?" This would not be a question about his arthritis or intoxication, but whether at some stage in life he had learned to swim. I suspect that in Spain he would be asked "¿Sabes nadar? and if he asked "please say in English" it would be "Can you swim?"


    And he might be asked "Do you know how to swim?" All I am sure of is that my two good, thick Spanish/English dictionaries have many entries for "saber," but neither uses the word "can" in any way, shape,or form in defining "saber." When I look up "can" it says "poder, be able to" and "saber, know how to." I am not trying to argue, just saying what I see.


    I think most of time "can you swim" = "do you know how to swim". I have no idea if duolingo will accept it here. I will test it if I get the sentence in the practice in the future and report back the results.


    Wow, I just got this sentence but forgot to test "can you swim" :( I did write down an example I saw in the practise session. "Mi padre sabe nadar" = "My father can swim". So I conclude duolingo probably will accept "can"="know" in the relation to swimming.


    Thanks rocko2012, it looks as though Duolingo has heeded our feedback.


    Sad. It is a shame that Duo nuckles under to such malarkey. The verb in use is not poder which is what is needed for, "Can you swiim?"


    I know how to swim.

    But I can't. I'm allergic to water.(or chlorine)

    Or, if at the ocean. I'm afraid of all the creatures luking under the surface.

    Just a couple of examples of the difference between

    "Know how to"

    and "can"


    What I have actually been asked in the past was, "Do you know how to swim?"


    Why is "Do you know to swim?" incorrect? Am I making a mistake in English?


    yes, it's "do you know HOW to swim"


    At first, I thought it said, "do you know nothing?".


    Can I say ; sabes hablar inglés?


    Do you know to swim? is also accepted in the English language


    That's very incorrect grammar. It needs the "how" because it is a question.


    Doesn't it mean Do you know how to swim?


    It seems like a bit of a stretch to use how in this example but I suppose that if you translate "Sabes" as you know and "nadar" as to swim, the most logical word to connect those ideas is how.


    Why not, "Do you swim?". The "know how" is implied.


    A native English speaker would not use "Do you swim?" in a question to determine if someone had mastered the skill of swimming (sorry that is very long winded sentence but I don't want to get into the argument about "can" verses "able to"). Depending on the context the answer to "Do you swim?" could be something like " Oh yes, I go to the pool on Mondays and Thursdays".


    What's wrong with "do you know swimming?"


    How would you say do you swim?


    "Estás nadando" for "Are you swimming" or simply "Nadas?" for "Do you swim?".


    This also means do you know how to swim.


    Just excepted Do you know how to swim


    In every other practice sentence I've gotten Duo says "saber" is "know how to". I get a type what you hear (¿Sabes nadar?) and then I am informed the translation is "can you...". I read the comments to see if there is an explanation to the change, and everyone else wants to use "can you..." :O lol


    Why not ¿Puedes nadar?


    Wouldn't this transition be do you know to swim


    Can is puede and saber mean to know. So why can is used for sabes?


    I said so you know how to swim. Why is that wrong?


    You know to swim = DO you know HOW to swim?? The question marks are the only clue that leads me to add DO and HOW. Other than that I'm stumped.


    Oddly, the pull down list shows the two complete answers Duo is using.


    Can "Sabes cómo nadar" be correct? I don't understand why "how" is omitted in the Spanish translation.


    No, Mega_Bobby, "cómo" is not needed in this sentence and it is incorrect to use it in that way. "Saber" means "to know" and "to know HOW TO" (among other things), so "sabes nadar" says it all.


    You won't say "Can you how to swim?" in English, too, it's just "Can you swim?". "How" isn't omitted, it wasn't there in the first place in this particular situation.


    The translation is not "Can you swim?", but rather "Do you know how to swim?", in which you would definitely use "how" in English. "Can you swim?" would be "¿Puedes nadar?" because "sabes" means "[do] you know" and not "can you".


    Yes, you're right. I wasn't specific enough, my point was that different languages may use different constructions in the same situation or similar construction in different situations. "Can you swim?" is similar (of course not 100% but similar nonetheless) in meaning to "Do you know how to swim?" and you use "how" in one and not in the other. In Spanish the structure "verb + infinitive" is used with "saber" and "poder", comparing to English "can" only. Cheers :)


    For some reason, I thought about "you no nothing" LoL


    How come you accepted 'she can't swim' for the first sentence and not 'Can you swim?' for this one? Just askin'..


    In the listening practice, how do you tell whether it is "¿Sabes nadar?" or "¿Sabes nada?"


    wouldn't it have to have como in the middle?


    ¿Sabes nadar? is definitely a question, so why is "you know how to swim ?" not accepted? Why is the "Do you" needed ? I am always stuck when i have a "Do You.." question and i am trying to train myself to forget the English DO YOU and go straight to the Spanish verb conjugation., Come on Duolingo, in learning Spanish from English we need to think Spanish, since we do not need to be taught an English expression,


    i have discovered that according to Duolingo the English phrase DO YOU is a substitute for a question mark since Duolingo ignores punctuation!


    Silent 'd'? Sounds more like narar


    do you know swimming? what is wrong with this translation as nadar can mean swimming also "nadar en la piscina"

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