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"Puede o no ser cierto."

Translation:It may or may not be true.

5 years ago

69 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/gregers212
gregers212
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This is pretty much impossible to get the first time around. Colloquial in its translations.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DeanG6
DeanG6
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It was easy for me the first time, but I was translating from Spanish to English. I know English so I knew how to write the English version of the idiom. I'm not sure that I would have figured how to translate it from English to Spanish though.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Noe326903

I know I'll get voted down for this, but I got it on the first try; didn't feel good about it though because I have no clue when to use "ser", and was pretty sure I misheard that word.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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It took me a few minutes to think about it, but I got it the first try. Why do you think it's colloquial?

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BLPK
BLPK
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It would be a pretty simple fix for DL to simply present such phrases first in multiple choice, leading us to learn the idiom before having to translate it directly.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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Why does everyone think it's an idiom? It's very close to being a word for word literal translation:

  • puede = it can or it may

  • o = or

  • no = no or not

  • ser = to be

  • cierto = true, one, or certainly

If you string them all together you get word for word: It may or not to be true

From there, it wasn't too hard to figure out that it should be: It may or (may) not be true.

I added the second may and deleted to before the second verb.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ruinchristmas

What about "He may or may not be certain" ?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tanmay.4

This is my understanding of it - whether the 'cierto' stands for being certain or being true, will depend on the verb in this context.

If the sentence has to convey that 'he may or may not be certain', the verb 'estar' will be appropriate, not 'ser'.

Example - "él es seguro" means he is safe, but "él está seguro" means he is sure.

Therefore, 'Puede o no ser cierto' has to mean 'It may or may not be true'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsampaio1010

Cierto means true and not certain.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KatrinaMac4

Cierto can mean certain

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsampaio1010

But not in this case. The most usual mean for cierto is true.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ajabrams

Incorrect. It can and does mean certain and can mean either in this sentence. Cierto means CERTAIN in spanish. It is because we generally do not use that word in english very often that we generally translate that into "true" in english. Please, if you are not CERTAIN of an answer here, beg off giving bad information. - http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/cierto

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ajabrams

Welcome. I think we all learn as much about out own language as we do about spanish on this journey.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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ajabrams, can you give some examples where "true" is used in America where "certain" would be more appropriate?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ajabrams

Baraba - No it doesn't. Look at the top of the page. It says -cierto∗ ≈certain ∗ adjective.

Although I was saying it can mean both, I was also maying it means more certain than "true" because we in Amercia tend to not use certain as much even when it would be more appropriate.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ajabrams

Of course.

while it is true that… would be better as "while it is certain that"

The definition of certain is "not having any doubt about something : convinced or sure" That is not the same as "true" the difference it subtle, but there. It is what YOU think it true, but might not necessary be the truth.

The rumors turned out to be true; is that true? The first "true here can be left as "true, the second should me "is that certain?"

"It is not true that my wife has walked out on me" Might be better served as " it is not certain that my wife has walked out on me" The second gives a meaning more likely that the husband thinks it isn't a permanent thing.

As I stated before, we often use "true" in english where certain would be better served, however certain has fallen out of favor here. In spanish they use it much more often and in the context of exactly how it is defined in english. True, reliable, inevitable, destined etc. My original point was that you could most CERTAINLY replace true for certain in the above sentence. God I love word play.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/miza713

Ajabrams, some would argue that there are no universal truths.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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That spanishdict page lists "true" as the first definition. The word "certain" is very commonly used in English.

Edit: I may have misunderstood what you said. If you are saying that "cierto" can mean both "true" and "certain", then that is correct.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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Thanks ajabrams. I'll pay more attention to how I use "true".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jack.george

Thank you ajabrams, that advice is very helpful and I hope many people take it and use it. Good for you.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
elizadeux
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I don't know why everyone has downvoted you fsampaio1010. Are you a native Spanish speaker? I watch a lot of television in Spanish and it seems to me that "cierto" does usually mean "true" much of the time.

Even Spanish dictionary translates "no es cierto" as "it's not true"

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/no%20es%20cierto

In addition, Spanish dictionary translates "I am certain" as "es seguro"

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/it%20is%20certain

I am certain = estoy seguro

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/klooth
klooth
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DL accepts "It may or may not be certain" but not "You may or may not be certain". Is there a reason one is correct but not the other?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roger_Burke

You would be "puedes".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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Formal "you" would be puede. Maybe in this case you'd have to be more specific, "Usted puede o no ser cierto".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/klooth
klooth
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Yes, I meant the other you: "(Usted) puede o no ser cierto".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ajabrams

The short answer to this is that generally, when usted is meant, it is used in the sentence. This isn't, as far as I'm aware, a hard and fast rule but it is generally the case that I have seen. If there is ambiguity in a sentence, assume "it" first, then if "it" doesn't make sense go to you, he or she.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/letter_s
letter_s
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"May or may not be true" didn't make it either. I guess I can see why. Is there a lesson for this unit? I can't find it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gernt
gernt
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I thought "It may or may not be true", but that is English. So I went with "It can be or not be true". Nope. The computer would have taken it without the first "be".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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Do you mean "It can or not be true?". No, that is not valid English. "It can be or not be true" is not valid English either.

"It may or may not be true." This is valid idiomatic English, and I think it has the same meaning as the Spanish sentence.

"It can or cannot be true." This is valid English, but it is not idiomatic. It sounds very strange. I don't think it means exactly the same thing as the Spanish sentence, but I am not able to explain why.

"It can be or cannot be true." This is valid English and it means the same as the previous sentence. But it sounds even stranger than the previous sentence.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gernt
gernt
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"It can or not be true" was indeed listed as an acceptable solution. All it did was strike out the first "be", And all I was doing was trying to rig a sequence of words that would be accepted.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johnmurraybray

"it can or cannot be true" was accepted

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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Wow. I wonder where that solution came from. Sometimes the accepted translations in DL are awkward, but I haven't seen very many that are actually incorrect English.

"It can be true or not." is valid. I wonder if that's one of the valid answers and maybe somebody reported that "It can or not be true" should be accepted and a non-native-English DL staffer agreed.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roger_Burke

The question is the lesson. Do not be so afraid of learning by being wrong or uncertain. If you run a red light and your passenger gets killed, you soon learn not to run red lights. As the British poster says, "Be Calm and Carry On". Just do the section, read the comments. Read the translation. Do the section over and get it right the next time around. There are no lessons, just then endless stream of questions. You just throw your answers at the wall and each day more and more sticks. "Be Calm and Carry On"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dj63010
dj63010
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All you say is true, however being a very frustrated human with little patience I got this as my first question of the lesson and not a chance was I going to get it right. I absolutely hate it when I miss the first question of a lesson. So much so that I usually quit the lesson and just start over then and there. I just can't stand being handicapped from the get go.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roger_Burke

Yours is a perfectly valid approach. Don't think of the restarts as cheating. I have restarted as much as fifteen times for a single lesson. Early in the morning, I am much more likely to push through a lesson. Late at night, I will restart as soon as I think my chances of successful completion are stalled. The failures in any case are not failures, as long as you continue to restart you will finally level up. It is like cutting prison bars with a nail file. The question is not if, but simply when. I figure that when I finish the course, I will just restart the course until I get to the point where I move my learning to Spanish language media and continued direct contact with Spanish speakers.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dj63010
dj63010
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Thanks Roger, that does make me feel a little better.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roger_Burke

Failures don't count only successes count. Thomas Edison made thousands of trial light bulbs before he found one good enough to bring to market.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/venetoblu

This is definitively not the recommended way to do it, but...this time I peeked at 'puede', saw 'may' listed then guessed the rest based on 'true' as the final word. Up until now I have not thought about 'puede' meaning 'may'!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rkelbaugh

"o" as pronounced here certainly sounds like "al"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/skepticalways

Dick, I kept reading this whole thread to find someone who couldn't understand Duo-lady's "o"! It sounded to me like a nasal-French sound, "awn." Nothing came to mind remotely like the word for "or," so I had to guess (wrongly) at the translation. Oh, well, maybe I'll get it next time.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/skepticalways

Plus, if they repeat the verb in translation, wouldn't it be clearer to say, "Puede o no puede ser cierto." In English that would make a valid sentence: "It may or it may not be true."

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jstarr37

how i am supposed to guess this i have no idea.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KyleMunz
KyleMunz
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So why isn't "It may or may not be certain" valid?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elmailderamiro

cause certain=cierto, but in the meaning of certain things, ciertas cosas, cierto= true in this context

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/learnTACO32

"Puede o no puede ser cierto" Is this use of two Poders a valid way of saying the above sentence as well

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/purangrewal

Thoughts on, "Whether it is or not true" ? Obviously not a literal translation but is the meaning accurately conveyed?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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It is not correct English. You need to repeat the "is" - "Whether it is or is not true".

Aside from that, I think it does convey the meaning of "It may or may not be true". But it has a slightly different meaning because it's not a complete sentence, it is only an introductory clause. You would have to add something else ... "Whether it is or is not true, I still plan to take flying lessons".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jacob.Stecher

So, what i'm not getting here is why there is no "it" (lo le la). Lo puede o no ser cierto makes more sense to me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KatrinaMac4

Le la and lo are indirect or direct object pronouns not subject pronouns so they cannot be used to indicate the subject of a sentence. It is accepted in Spanish that if there is no subject, no previous context, and it's conjugated in third person singular, "it" is the subject.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gernt
gernt
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Often I don't use one in English. Someone makes an assertion, and I say "could be". But plain "puede ser" in Spanish is very common as is "no puede ser".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dockeryz
dockeryz
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"It could or could not be true" should/could also be an answer.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KatrinaMac4

Could or should would make valid English sentences, but would use different Spanish words

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lng52-._
Lng52-._
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Not unless you are dealing with the conditional tense-- "Podría o no podría ser cierto".

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nperr
nperr
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Are there commas in spanish?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gernt
gernt
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Sure, but they may go in different places. Punctuation is more regional rather than associated with a language. For example, in Europe, the commas and dots are switched in numbers.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gordonwk

Oh yes. In written spanish quite long and complex sentences are common, with individual phrases divided by commas like this, to the point where an english speaker expecting crisp one-purpose sentences can go completely mad, however you have to get used to it because, as i have been told, they think our little simple sentences are a bit child-like. Phew!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HomesickTourist

Why "It can or It can not be true." is incorrect.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sheila.mcg

I put It can or not be true. It was marked wrong

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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You have to repeat the "can" for that to be valid English. "It can or can not be true", or "It can or cannot be true".

If this is in the Idioms lesson, the usual English idiom is "It may or may not be true".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sneuberg

This sentence conveys zero information. It's always true.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/suhi89

Apparently "it can be true or not" is acceptable but "it may be true or not" isn't. Any ideas why?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gordonjackson1

I don't think these Spanish sentences that cannot be logically translated are helpful. "Good things come to those who wait" in Spanish is still a mystery to me!! What do we learn from these except to parrot them!!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MommaSus

This dude has marbles in his mouth...i swear it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mystericwolf

The voice is clearly saying "sere" when you listen to the slow recording, but the word is supposed to be "ser"...

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alicia2017

In my case I got the correct answer BUT it was marked wrong.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/23bullisli

When i tranlated the sentance i said 'it may or may not be true' but duolingo marked me wrong. Was i wrong?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dtturman
dtturman
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"It may or not be true" = "it may or may not be true"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

English-wise, I vote for "may or may not"

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraMorris
BarbaraMorris
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Right. "It may or not be true" isn't valid English.

5 years ago