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  5. "¿Tocas la flauta por las noc…

"¿Tocas la flauta por las noches?"

Translation:Do you play the flute at night?

March 18, 2013



Tocar - to play (a game, an instrument) and to touch


Exactly what I needed to know. Thanks for clearing that up.


I'm gonna use this sentence a lot :P "¿Tocas la flauta por las noches?"


Be careful not to say: "¿Te tocas la flauta por las noches?". You've been warned.^^


Would that mean what I think it does? A young man playing with his own ahem flute at night?


Yep. the addition of 'te' means 'to yourself'. Makes the action be reflexive. Though the word flauta is not so common for this meaning, it leaves little to imagination.


Well if your not thinking in the gutter, there is nothing wrong with asking some one: "Do you play with your flute at night?" Show me a musician who has never played "with" their instrument when they should have been playing it, and I'll show you someone who's not a musician.


Because I fell in love with Mexican food before I decided to learn Spanish, I did not think of musical instruments when I saw the word "flauta." I assume your warnings also apply to be careful when saying: "Me gustan las flautas de pollo."


The Japanese bamboo flute (尺八 shakuhachi) is used metaphorically to refer to an act I won't name. (Think Bill Clinton...) I wish that DL would not cook up sentences that encourage this sort of discussion, even if I have participated in it myself.


My translation was, "Do you touch the flute at night?" And, well, that seemed...off, shall we say?


Luckily you didn't say Do you touch your flute at night, or, do you touch my flute at night, or, do you touch her..um..his flute at night?

The site should be aware of this language-hazards, and choose more proper sentences, if possible, with no room for misunderstandings.


No way, we have to have sentences with possible misunderstandings so that we can learn those language-hazards in a safe place.


And for our entertainment. We need the giggle every now and then.


@Santi_Minstrel I always wonder if Duo picked the flute on purpose. There are so many other instruments to choose.


Duo has taught me so much by forcing me into making mistakes, it's why it works so well.


I had a very similar thought. Hilarious sentence


why is por las noches used for at or during, why not us a las notches or durante? Shouldn't por mean by the night or for the night. I translated it Do you play the flute in the night and was incorrect.


The only universal language is math. Sometimes 'por' best translates into English as 'by' but not in this case. Prepositions don't have strict equals between Spanish and English. In this case, the best translation is por las = at. (i know what you're thinking and you're right, prepositions are evil)

Another point about translation, a good translation is something you would actually say. You wouldn't ask, "Do you play the flute in the night?" unless you were asking if someone gets up in the middle of the night to play flute, using durante/during also implies that. So neither of those work for this translation.

As for as "a las noches,' i can't help you. However a la noche means at night or tonight. I'm not sure about the plural.


I am confused when do I use "por". I know many of you are

I know "Tocas la flauta por las noches" translates as (if you translate the idea and not make a literal translation) "Do you play the flute at night?"

Whereas that might be understandable translating a Spanish sentence to English, its not the same with translating from English to Spanish. Let's say someone asks me to translate "Do you play the flute at night?" to Spanish. How do I know to use "por" or "en". Wouldn't "en" be a better option if I have to say "at night"?

I read somewhere that "por" can be used to express movement through time. Now "at night" is not any movement through time, its a still time. On the other hand if I use "by night" then that would be a movement in time. So I think in this above sentence we should be using "by night" and not "at night". "At night" could be used if it was "en las noches"


I don't understand the point you make in your last paragraph. It sounds like you're saying "Do you play the flute by night?" is a better translation because por and by both imply movement in time. However, "do you play the flute by night" doesn't make sense, so I think I must be misunderstanding you. In case I'm not misunderstanding: sometimes por can be translated with by, but por can't always be translated into by. The word por, on its own, doesn't literally translate to any single English preposition; it has many meanings (i.e. translations) depending on the context. In fact, prepositions in general (in any language) are difficult to pin down. Using por "to express movement through time" is only one of its many uses.

I think I can help with your other question. If you want to say (i.e. translate) "at night" in Spanish, how do you know whether to use por or en? Technically, I think you can use both, but I think por is used more. Now that you know that "por la noche" is a good translation for "at night," you should add it to your list of uses for por .

To help you remember, it might help you just to read through the definition of por. Below I've pointed out the entry that applies to our example.

go to: http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=por
click on the Collins tab.
scroll down to # 11

this thread discusses por/en/a


You are misunderstanding me a little bit. I know the different uses of 'por' and I also know that 'por' doesn't always means 'by'. But my point was that mostly or almost always 'por' indicates some kind of a movement. Movement through time or movement through space. Actually what I wanted to say was "by the night" or "through the night" for "por la noche". That would mean the person is playing the flute through out the night which would indicate some kind of movement. But I think you are right as well. This could just be an exception and I should add "por la noche" = "at night" as another use for 'por'


Actually, as a native UK speaker, I think that 'by night' is perfectly acceptable. See http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/by

and look at meaning 6. where 'by' is used to indicate "the period in which something happens".


Very interesting. I never use by in that way. It must be a regional difference.


That's what I meant to say. Thanks for coming up with the example


"flauta de piel" jaja ;)


Skin flute. Penis.


touches - plays. again, if guessing like me instead of peeking, a little common sense is required. Not literal translation.


Tocar is literal for this sort of playing. All instruments require touch of some sort. Whereas to play a game or with friends (jugar) does not. That's the easiest way to remember for me.


las noches is singular in this context?


"las noches" remains grammatically plural, but a reasonable translation into English is singular. The English translation suggests more than one night even though 'night' is singular, IMO.


In English, you can say "Do you play the flute nights?"


You wouldn't say that in UK English - it would be "Do you play the flute at night?"


Do you mean you would never say, "Do you work nights?'' or "Do you works days?" That is a pretty common usage, meaning during the day or during the night.


I would say either of those but think of them as abbreviations for "Do you work night shifts". I would never, for example, say "Do you go shopping afternoons?"


With how we Americans love to shorten our sentences it would be normal usage. If said during a conversation it would be easily understood.


Is tocar the right verb here? Is there a verb more particular to playing music or performance?


Yep. Musical instruments are 'touched' in Spanish.


They used to be touched in English sometimes as well. I guess somewhere in the 1700's we started playing them instead.


I am confused when do I use "por". I know many of you are

I know "Tocas la flauta por las noches" translates as (if you translate the idea and not make a literal translation) "Do you play the flute at night?"

Whereas that might be understandable translating a Spanish sentence to English, its not the same with translating from English to Spanish. Let's say someone asks me to translate "Do you play the flute at night?" to Spanish. How do I know to use "por" or "en". Wouldn't "en" be a better option if I have to say "at night"?

I read somewhere that "por" can be used to express movement through time. Now "at night" is not any movement through time, its a still time. On the other hand if I use "by night" then that would be a movement in time. So I think in this above sentence we should be using "by night" and not "at night". "At night" could be used if it was "en las noches"

I need an expert (a native Spanish) to clear this up.


Well that's one kinky sentence. hahaha


I used 'in the evenings' and it was marked correct. I just couldn't use 'at/for the nights' or 'at night' because noches is plural. So what is the best answer?


I used by night and got it right. Por in this sentence = by. Even though noches is plural it translates to singular in English. Its like saying, I work at the airport by day and at the bar by night. The sentence implies a regular occurrence at night, thus multiple nights (noches). But I think your answer would be close enough in a situation outside Duolingo scenario.


why is Do you play the flute in the night? not accepted


This is also what I said. I feel like it means the same as "during the night" and should be accepted.


"You play the flute at nights" should not be one of the "correct solutions." That is not is not what a native English Speaker would say.


I responded with "Do you play the flute in the night?" and I'm unsure why it's incorrect? As a Spanish student as well, I pretty sure you use por for by or in? but perhaps not


I think it is due to regional differences in speaking. "in the night" does sound more poetic but in mid-west America we probably would not use it. You can report this to duolingo to get them to accept it (if they agree with you). They are making corrections/changes to the site.


Oh come on damn Owl! Through the night should be accepted!

  • 1267

Sí ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


Does "Tocas la flauta por la noche" mean "do you play the flute tonight"?


Almost. 'Por la noche' means periodically every night, and 'tonight' means this night of today. If you wanted to translate to spanish the latter, you have to say esta noche.


One of the "correct solutions" was "Do you play the flute by night?". Has anyone said it this way or heard anyone say it this way? I got the answer wrong, I'm not arguing that. Just thought one of their accepted versions shouldn't be accepted.


You are right, TC, that is a bad translation. "... by night" is not common and suggests an "under the stars" situation, alluding to the darkness rather than time on the clock, e.g. "The fox hunts by night", "The highwaymen rode by night." "During a storm they plough the roads by night." But I do my homework at night, not by night. But having said all that, I also agree with the comment below that " ... by day ... by night ... " sounds okay for indoor activities, but only when paralleled, I would suggest. (Strange if true).


I think that 'by night' is perfectly acceptable (I'm a native UK speaker). And the Oxford English Dictionary seems to agree too. See the 6th meaning for 'by' here: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/by


Ha ha, any English learners out there...do NOT use a direct translation of this when speaking English. ;)


My answer was "Do you play the flute nights?"


why is por mean something else. can someone explain. dumb it down please


I think it's because of the connection between the shape of the flute and the shape of the penis. There are a number of posts about this at the start of this thread.


I got an Oops for "Do you play the flute nightly?"


I went on a search and found nightly = de la noche. I don't know if its commonly used this way.


"Nightly" implies "every night", while "at night" might be a few nights a week. An advertisement "Bingo nightly" means it's on every night.


I translated the sentence as "Do you play the flute evenings," and it was marked as wrong. I know this is not a direct translation, but can someone explain why my answer was not correct? Thanks.


In my opinion it's not a bad translation.


It would be incorrect in UK English - I'd try "Do you play the flute in the evening?"


Oh my GOD I have failed to clear this lesson twice.Prepositions are causing problems. I thought por means "on".


Why didn't it accept "french stick?"


"Do you touch the French stick at night?" may be a reasonable translation, but I would avoid saying it to a policeman on duty.


So how would you say "Do you play the flute ever night" vs "Do you play the flute at night"?


would it be wrong if I were to say "¿Tocas la flauta por la noche? " or does it have to be plural ?


It is perfect as you say =)


geezus... i actually thought it was: Do you touch your flute at nights? I was like: These lessons are getting better and better!


please tell me i'm not the only one having second thoughts about this sentence meaning?


why -Do you play the flute at the night?- is incorrect


I cannot say why, but "at night", "in the night" and "during the night" are all correct, while "at the night", "during night" and "in night" are all incorrect. (Note: I am not saying the three correct phrases all work for this particular sentence).


"at the night" would be awkward in English.


"por las noches" is what, exactly, in English?


Here it means either "at night" or "by night". "Las noches" is plural because it indicates an action that is repeated fairly regularly. We use the singluar in English but mean the same as the Spanish plural.


she sounds so surprised while asking this question .. I think it warrants a ¡ !


During (durante) was no where in the sentence!!!! Ugh!!!


No Toca mis lingots!!


why is it por la noche and not durante la noche??


Did no one else translate this as "What nights do you play the flute on?" 'Noches' is clearly plural here.


This one time at band camp...

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