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  5. "No sabemos quiénes son."

"No sabemos quiénes son."

Translation:We do not know who they are.

March 11, 2013



Would the verb conocemos be more applicable here?


No, because you want to know a fact or information. You would use "conocer" if the sentence was referring to knowing the children as in "being acquainted". Here "saber" is used because we want to know some information about the children (who they are).


Ah es más claro, muchas gracias!


And yet in this same section "He knows women" is translated as "El conoce [a las] mujeres" while "El sabe [a las] mujeres" is marked incorrect? Hard to see how both translations can be correct, or incorrect for that matter.


Well, in the first example, the speaker wants to know factual information about the children (who they are....possibly their names, but just facts). There is no familiarity with the children. "He knows the women" implies a familiarity with the women. He knows something that goes beyond factual information about them. They are his friends, he knows something about their likes/dislikes, he has a relationship of some sort with them. "Conocer" implies familiarity. Does that help?


I get the saber/conocer distinction. What I don't understand is how, without context, DL can say that one is correct and one is not. In the "He knows women" example I and others argue that 'saber' would be more appropriate because the sentence implies he has knowledge about women in general, not that he is familiar with any particular women. Similarly it could be argued that 'conocer' would be more appropriate in this example if it were taken to mean not that we lack knowledge of them, but instead that we aren't familiar with them.


I certainly get your point about knowing women. It is certainly ambiguous in English. If you substitute people for women (to be more generic and avoid my feminist perspective) it is clear. I know people can be said by someone who is claiming a knowledge of human nature and behavior. But it is also said by people claiming good contacts. How are you going to get that done? I know people. Of course changing the object name probably added an additional issue in Spanish, changing between gente and personas.

But for me the construction of this sentence in English is not ambiguous, and I believe the Spanish would also be different. I don't know them would be No conozco a ellos. I don't know who they are is No sé quienes son. I certainly cannot be sure, but my sense is that No conozco quienes son would either not make sense in Spanish or be interpreted more like I don't know who they are anymore (i.e. friends or family who seem to have changed) .


MIND-Bullets has a valid point, I also think both translations are correct. Sabemos indicate WE so where the THEY came from.

  • 2697

What a fabulous sentence with the 'hidden' plural subject!


This gave an unnatural alternate translation of "We don't know who they're"


Couldn't this also mean "We do not know who are"? Both have valid meanings and this is a more direct translation since "ellos" wasn't included in the Spanish to specify.


but there is no Ustedes, either, so I don't think 'you' is a more direct translation


I think you misread my point. No where did I write or imply "Ustedes" was involved. I exactly suggested "We do not know who are", as in:

Q: "Do we know which of the men are from Mexico? A: "We do not know who are."

Q: "Sabemos cuál de los hombres son de México?" A: "No sabemos quiénes son."

It may seem more formal, but it IS more direct, since it doesn't make any assumption of who the subjects are as long as they are plural.


I don't think that's correct English


It definitely is correct. Think of it this way - you could say, "We do not know who are, and who are not." Without context, the are doesn't hold much meaning, but as a response, it is perfectly valid, because the other person would know what are is referring to. The sentence, "We know/don't know who are and who aren't," is used pretty often. It may not be very clear, but there are no grammatical errors.


Greeting MindBullitz. I am really only qualified as a beginner Spanish student. I am, however, sympathetic to your understanding of how this sentence could be translated. Context/Scenario: A mother suspects that 2 of her 6 children took some cookies from the family cookie jar without asking. She asks 2 of her children "Do you know who are the ones who took cookies from the cookie jar?". One of the children decides to speak for the 2 that were asked this question from their mother. "We don't know who are." would be an ok response simply because the one who spoke for the two actually didn't know. Anyways, it's conceivable that something like this could happen in real life. My question as a Spanish language learner is this. Would "No sabemos quienes son" be how this would be written by a native Spanish student if it were the subject of an essay in a formal academic environment?


Yes, thanks Jeff. That's exactly my curiosity. One thing I love about duolingo is the seemingly purposeful lack of context at times. I think it forces us to think outside the most common situations and possibly find unusual but still acceptable ways to express yourself in another language. I'd also like to see what native speakers have to say about this.


Why are we using "saber" here if we are talking about people? Shouldn't we use conocer?


Conocer I implies familiarity, and saber implies just knowing. So they cannot become familiar with whom they don't know. That's kinda the gist of it.


She really blends the "s" in "quiénes" and "son" together. Thought she was saying "quién."


Quienes son _ can also mean who are you


how do you report the microphone is not functioning?

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