Kcmurphy, i must agree that is the primary context that i relate that statement to with that definite article. (in English)
Does it have the same context in Spanish?
Could you say, "no, tú eres primera," or would that be wrong?
If you have to use the definite article here (in Spanish), does this actually better translate to English using 'no, you are first,' because the article changes the meaning so significantly. (even without the sexual innuendo.)
I believe it can have that connotation, but I do not believe that that is its primary meaning.
Actually, in this case, the definite articles translate pretty well to English, so...
You are first. = Tú eres primera.
You are the first. = Tú eres la primera.
"Eres primer@" also seems to mean something like "you come first (before all others) in my affections/esteem." Obviously that's not a literal translation :P
I wrote, "No, you are first" and it was marked wrong due to missing "the." When would I know that the el/la needs to be translated and when it's just required in Spanish but doesn't need to be translated?
Would it just be, "No, tú eres primera" if I wanted to say, "No, you are first?"
I am not sure there is a way of distinguishing between "first" and "the first" in Spanish -- hopefully someone will tell us. Knowing when to use and translate the article is a long and frustrating process, and native speakers are not always consistent. The good news is that the Spanish speakers I have met are very, very forgiving about it!
@ludwig3655 re: primera is a noun.
After reading the exchange between Viaa and PiNG72 it seems pretty obvious that primera is an adjective.
The word primera is introduced by Duolingo in the second lesson of the first Adjective Skill Set.
StudySpanish.com says the following about ordinal numbers, "Like many other adjectives, the ordinal numbers have a masculine and a feminine form."
At first I read your observation and agreed with it. "You are both incorrect. Primera is a noun here, not an adjective. It is la primera=the first."
But as I thought more about this statement, it occurred to me that this is one of those sentences with an unspoken parts.
Ordinal numbers are adjective. The speaker reveals to us, that the person being spoken to has some qualities that add more information.
We know that whatever happened, tù was the first to do it And the unspoken part is that she was the first female to do it.
Yet the words girl, female or woman became redundant after "primera".
I disgree. I think Viaa and PiNG72 are on to something.
I regret LittleWing1 that you have over-thought this.
La primera is a noun. It is a descriptive ordinal number, but still a noun. This is indicated by the definite article and no following noun.
And the gender of the person is irrelevant. The reason that it is feminine here is that what it is implied is not their sex but that they were the first of other people (la primera de otras personas). Where you would be right about its being an adjective is if the phrase were Eres la primera persona, there it is an ordinal adjective.
Where the gender of the ordinal referent is masculine, the gender of the noun changes too: El primero y más famoso de esos exploradores fue el genovés Cristóbal Colón. That would correctly phrased even if Columbus were a woman
I realize that sometimes duolingo uses different parts in the lesson to arrive at the same answer. The part I understood was to translate "No tú eres la primera" into English. As such since the "la" is present, the English sentence needed "the" included. It does change the meaning in English. For example: The lady asks "Have you ever been with a woman before?" the gentleman responds "No you are the first". This meaning is vastly different than someone pointing out your position in line "You are first".