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  5. "Why don't you wash your face…

"Why don't you wash your faces?"

Translation:¿Por qué no se lavan ustedes la cara?

March 1, 2018

This discussion is locked.


Why not las caras?


I think it's because in English we say "faces" because we're talking to at least two people, so we see at least two faces.

In Spanish we say "cara" because each person has only one face


Very helpful Marcy....


Yes. Also, with a verb like this, which with la cara is clearly reflexive and means that each person should wash their own face, in Spanish, this it the same form if the verb is reciprocal meaning to wash each others faces. People would probably understand what you mean, but that would be the literal interpretation of you said las caras.


I also have this question, and don't really understand Marcy's answer.


I think it's just a language thing, Spanish just has the sentence like that. As she said, Spanish emphasizes the fact that each person has only one face, and therefore words the sentence like that, whereas English refers to all of the faces, and therefore uses the plural. That's just the way English and Spanish developed.


Hm, I used "las caras" in mine and it accepted it.


You see, this just doesn't make sense to me. We were given 3 choices. As usual, only one made any sense whatever, and that was "la cara." Which I chose, but clicked "discuss" because it didn't make sense to me not to use "las." So I guess my question is ... how the hell could you even choose "las caras" when it isn't in the choices?


Hey Jay, you were correct to select 'la cara' so maybe there was something else in your answer that made it incorrect. Whenever you can, please post your entire answer here. There are many helpful people that would be able to help find the problem maker.


Gina, Jerry didn't say that his answer was found incorrect and I don't believe that it was. He, like me, had a multiple choice (which included 'la cara'). I don't think that he understands that the same sentence is presented in many ways buy duolingo ... multiple choice, Spanish to English, English to Spanish ... and all are addressed with the same Discussion. As a result people are discussing options (las caras vs. la cara) that Jay never had a chance to see (among his multiple choices)


You wouldn't select 'las caras' since it is incorrect.


I wish you'd posted your entire entry here :-(


"Por qué no se lavan las caras" was accepted 10 Dec 2019


'Por qué ustedes no se lavan las caras' was not accepted on 9 Feb 2020.


Lots of conversation about this throughout this thread.


I wrote the same also not accepted


¿Por qué no se lavan ustedes la ceras?" (la caras) accepted on 27 April 2020


This was not accepted for me on April 15th 2020


Not anymore, lucky you.


It would be very helpful if commenters always posted their entire answer. There are many reasons why an answer is marked incorrect and Duo does not always point to the true reason an answer was rejected.


In my situation, Duo gave me the "la" so I should have used "cara." If it had given me the chance to change la to las, then caras would have worked


Is there a reason for the location of ustedes in this sentence? Does anywhere else work?


"Por qué no ustedes se lavan la cara?" was marked incorrect, but I'm not sure why. So, I'm wondering the same thing. Anyone know?


You don't want to separate "no" from the verb phrase that it is nullifying.


But it is separated by the word "Ustedes".Why do you even need it here?


Thank you for this tip!


It did accept "Por qué ustedes no se lavan la cara?" though.


I have often had problems in Spanish questions when I include a personal pronoun. So I leave them out. That also appears to reflect common usage.


I left out ustedes completely and my answer was accepted.


@Christine, same here.


Duo accepted Por que ustedes ...


'Ustedes' is fine at the beginning of this sentence.


Por que no te lavas la cara is incorrect. Why?


I thought the same thing but Basil989 below answers this question. "faces" in the sentence indicates plural


I was wondering that too!


I'm wondering why the answer is only accepted using the formal. Why not the familiar. Unless you're a mind reader, the question doesn't specify the form, therefore, surely either is correct.


That is my question. I don't understand why "te lavas" isn't accepted.


"Te lavas" is singular, which is impossible here given that multiple faces are mentioned.


Thanks. I realized that after reading the original sentence for the umpteenth time, just before reading your reply. Sometimes it takes my brain a while to kick in.


"Ustedes" is plural, not formal.


This seems like a question parents might ask their children, so could it not also be correctly translated as "¿Por qué no os laváis la cara?"


Yes, although Duolingo mostly uses the ‘ustedes’ form even for the informal plural.


I saw elsewhere that for Latin American spanish in particular, there is only ustedes for you plural. It does not use vosotros.


That’s what I typed ("¿Por qué no os laváis la cara?") and it was accepted. :o)


If we say 'ustedes' (you in the plural), then why not 'caras'? In the question, in English, you have said 'faces'.


Why not, "Por que no lavanse sus caras?"


The "se" comes before the "lavan". The rule for object pronouns (direct objects, indirect objects, reflexives) is that they have to go immediately before a conjugated verb.

If your sentence contains an additional verb form, like an infinitive or a present participle, then you have the choice to put the object pronoun before the conjugated verb or attached to the end of the infinitive or the present participle.

Se lavan la cara. (only a conjugated verb = only before)
Se van a lavar la cara. OR Van a lavarse la cara. (conjugated + infinitive = choice)
Se están lavando la cara. OR Están lavándose la cara. (Conjugated + present participle = choice)

Reflexive verbs usually use definite articles with parts of the body and clothing.
He washes his car. Él lava su carro.
He washes his face. Él se lava la cara.

See my response to lunzie about "caras."


In answer to katkiniowa and gondrini's comments I think the light bulb notes at the start of the lesson may help you and also in the discussion it is explained that "faces" (which is plural in English and therefore tells us that it is two people we are addressing) means in Spanish we have to translate using su not tu (and 'ustedes' if you like but I think it is not necessary here) Hope this helps. I have found this quite difficult but think I'm getting my head around it now


complicated! face versus faces!


Yes wondering why. Faces is plural caras is plural but marked wrong and cara was accepted.


Por que no se Lavan la cara works just fine


Why is 'Por qué no os lavaís tu cara' not acceptable, ie using the informal second person plural, for children for example?


You incorrectly mixed second person plural with a second person singular possessive. Anyway, your sentence should read "¿Por qué no os laváis la cara?"


¿por qué no se lavan la cara? Works


Using cara under duress


Why not "Por que te lavas la cara?"


Is it a rule that usted has to go after the verb? I wrote "Por qué no ustedes se lavan la cara?" and it was marked wrong. 1/13/20


Why is *te lavas las caras " wrong


I had the same question! From what I can gather from this discussion it seems that the only thing wrong with this answer is that it is addressing a singular subject, i.e. "te lavas". The text from the question (Why don't wash your faces?) indicates that the speaker is addressing multiple people and therefore requires the ustedes form of "lavarse" i.e. "se lavan". It is only by reading through this discussion that I have come to the realization that "ustedes" is not explicitly used for formal conversations but also for contexts such as this where the speaker is directly addressing two or more subjects, regardless of the formal/informal setting. Hope this helps!


The English sentence suggests plural you, so "se lavan" is needed.


I was trying to figure this out as well and then I remembered that ustedes is used for plural you, not just formal you. That then made me realize that my sentence would have implied that one person had multiple faces, which made me giggle.


Some of these are so confusing, I don't expect to ever understand and know them. I'm not looking to speak perfect Spanish, just to be able to make myself be understood, and to understand others. I think Duo makes it harder than it should be. I don't remember these hairline exceptions in two years of high school Spanish.


Ahh Sharon. I see where you're coming from. Perhaps Duo isn't the right platform for you? Or maybe consider adding another. There are many webinars for conversational Spanish, some books, several other (mostly paid) platforms and always your nearby community. Please don't be hard on yourself. By incorporating additional learning experiences in with Duo, you might feel more at ease with the language. Relax, enjoy, and I hope you do well and continue on :)


Why is you not an appropriate translation?


Can Cara be both one face and several faces ???


Can someone explain me the construction of this sentence? Inversion subject verb like in English?


why doesn't por que no se lavas tu la cara work?


Is "¿por qué no se lavan ustedes sus caras?" also correct?


In Spanish you use the definite article (el/la/los/las) for body parts, not possessive pronouns (mi, tu, su etc).


FYI - Duo accepts "Por que vosotros no os lavais la cara" as correct 25th Aug 2019. I hope that this helps some understand the singulars and plurals!


At last I can relax about this issue:) Thanks for the update


Boy Duo, you pulled a fast one on us here. "Por que no te lavas la cara" was counted wrong and you came up with something we've never seen. Really? "Por que no os lavais la cara?" Really? What the heck is "os lavais?" Isn't that the formal Spanish from Spain that we haven't covered?


In English, with the "In Spanish, it's singular because all have one face", the sentence might be better shown as "Why don't you all wash your face?"


Sometime I wish Duolingo would give more explanations. A group of people have more than one face.


It seems their teaching philosophy is repetition and examples, not explanation. For the theory you go to the discussion group, which is often not satisfying.


True, and true!


Por que no te lavas la cara? Why is this incorrect?


I had the same question! From what I can gather from this discussion it seems that the only thing wrong with this answer is that it is addressing a singular subject, i.e. "te lavas". The text from the question (Why don't wash your faces?) indicates that the speaker is addressing multiple people and therefore requires the ustedes form of "lavarse" i.e. "se lavan". It is only by reading through this discussion that I have come to the realization that "ustedes" is not explicitly used for formal conversations but also for contexts such as this where the speaker is directly addressing two or more subjects, regardless of the formal/informal setting. Hope this helps!


I feel like this sentence is kind of unnatural in english. I think it should either say face or you two or you guys. You suggests a single person even though this sentence is meaning multiple people. I feel like the sentence is saying you wash multiple faces. Not a major issue just an odd sentence.


You can be singular or plural. Here it is plural.


I thought it was talking about one person with two faces


Why is 'Por qué no te lavas la cara' wrong? Assuming that you're speaking to someone you know.


I had the same question! From what I can gather from this discussion it seems that the only thing wrong with this answer is that it is addressing a singular subject, i.e. "te lavas". The text from the question (Why don't wash your faces?) indicates that the speaker is addressing multiple people and therefore requires the ustedes form of "lavarse" i.e. "se lavan". It is only by reading through this discussion that I have come to the realization that "ustedes" is not explicitly used for formal conversations but also for contexts such as this where the speaker is directly addressing two or more subjects, regardless of the formal/informal setting. Hope this helps!


The question I had was a fill-in-the-blank and the article was la, not las so the answer had to be singular. I don't think there is any reasonable answer for why the singular is used. It might be just another Duolingo anomaly.


If you are speaking to multiple people about an item, and each person only has one of the item, it is conjugated as singular.

Since we know that it's impossible for each person to have more than one face, the singular should be used here, even though it is shown as plural in English.


¿Por que no te lavas la cara? Why is this translation wrong?


Usually second-person singular is indistinguishable from second-person plural in English, but since you are given that there are multiple faces that need to be washed later in the sentence, you have to be talking to multiple people here. Therefore, the sentence HAS to be conjugated as second-person plural.


this one is really strange! "porque no te lavas las caras?" wasn't accepted, but why? Also could pls someone explain me the right answer? Why is it " la cara?" Thanks


You have to consider the human body when reading this sentence. Everybody only has one face, which affects the grammer here.

'Te lavas' is the second-person singular. Given that the English tells us that there are multiple faces needing to be washed, we know that we have to be talking to multiple people here. Therefore, the second-person singular is wrong. You have to conjugate this sentence as plural.

Also, because each person only has one face, the object is simply 'la cara.' 'Las caras' would imply that each person has multiple faces to wash.


Amazing! Still pretty strange, but with your explanation more understandable. Thank you very much!


Not accepted today 28APR20 (I'm still learning so I am trying different word orders) Por qué ustedes no se lavan las caras? Por qué no ustedes se lavan las caras? Por qué no se levan la cara? The only answer accepted (for me) - Por qué no se levan ustedes la cara? Maybe Duo used "your faces" to identify YOU ALL as we all only have one face. Sneaky Duo!


How are you supposed to know from the English that this should be formal?


You don't need to know whether it is formal or not. 'Ustedes' covers both.


What would be the informal way of saying this?


"Go wash ya mugs!"

You mean in Spanish? Ustedes is both formal and informal.


What is wrong with "Por que no te lavas la cara"?


For those who missed the fill in the blank, please note the article was 'la' so cara is the correct response to match the simgular article. Using "la caras" would not be correct.


Why was my answer, "Por que no vos lavais la carra" rejected? Is the vosotros form not permitted by Duolingo?


Vos isn't vosotros. You would use os, not vos and you spelled cara wrong.


How to say that phrase using VOS?


That would be a challenge, because vos is singular, and this sentence requires plural.


How about vosotros, 2nd person plural?


Has already been discussed.


I've clearly missed something ... There is no way I could EVER come up with this solution. And the best I could do is "¿Por que no llaves su caras?" or possibly "¿Por qué no te lavas las caras?"

I'm willing to flunk myself and go back to whatever place is necessary to understand how in the heck you got "ustedes" in there, or even how you ended up with the "They" form of lavan, or why FACES is singular instead of plural.

Just tell me where to go back and pick up whatever lessons I need to understand...


Just tell me where to go back and pick up...

Top of this discussion.

  • 422
  • "¿Por que no llaves su caras?"

llaves are keys
su is singular but caras is plural

  • "¿Por qué no te lavas las caras?"

te lavas is singular. One person can only have one face, so there must be more than one person being addressed. Redo this for you plural, and you will be there. 🙂


Why no you wash you the face


No, that doesn't make any sense in English.


My husband is a native Spanish speaker and he says, ¿Por qué no se lavan ustedes la cara? is an odd construction and it should be, ¿Por qué no se lavan la cara ustedes? ....but then again he's from Puerto Rico so, maybe it's different there?

  • 422

Both of those are accepted by Duo.


Por que no se llavas las caras is wrong? If so, than I have a question (tengo una pregunta) When better use formal form with sir ustedes or when use normal form tu tienes or el tiene? I can't figurate when to use it right?


One issue is that, if you're going to use "lavas," you need "te" instead of "su." However, because the English uses "faces," we have to assume that the "you" in this sentence is plural. This issue is complicated, so you might want to have a look at previous comments addressing this issue on this page.


Thanks for explanation :))


Am I being naive but WHY doesn't there ever seem to be a definitive response from Duolingo or is it just that their algorithms can't respond?


There are something like 3,000 new posts in the Spanish forum each day. There is no way a free (or cheap) program could have the staff to field that many questions. That's why they added the forums early on. They wanted users to be able to help each other.

You'll find many advanced users and native speakers hanging around answering as best they can.


Why is la cara not in the plural?


If we were taught by conjugations it would be easier to remember en vs an endings


Why do we use ustedes here instead of usted?

  • 422

Because we are talking to more than one person.


¿Por qué no se lavan ustedes la cara? VS Por qué no te lavas las caras? Only the first is correct??


The fact that it says faces tells you it's plural.


Why not: porque no te lavas tu cara?


why isnt ........se lava usted ......not accepted?


This has already been asked and answered a few times. Please read the others posts before posting.


One more, how can I know when is plural or singular?


Reading through the previous comments might help.


Google translate says "te lavas las caras" why does duo say its wrong?


Because it IS wrong. The answer given is correct. (And Google translate is frequently wrong.) It might be helpful to read through this page. (Note that your sentence suggests that one person, te lavas, has more than one face, las caras. Not likely.)


Instead of "se lavan", why not "te lavas"?


Please review the previous comments. This has already been answered hundreds of times.


In English when talking to more than one person we would also say "why don't you wash your face". Asking why each person hasn't washed their face. This would make it easier for us to translate.


Personally, in English I would not use singular "face" when addressing more than one person. Only "faces" makes sense in English. At the top of this page, please check out Marcy's simple explanation as to how Spanish differs in this instance.


The true topic was: Why don't you wash your faces. Face plural so caras would be correct, but the drop down hint only gave the incorect singular.


Except the singular IS correct as already explained multiple times in this thread.


i had correct twice n it was rejected


Lol. I noticed you didn't copy and paste your "correct" answer here so we could have a look at it.


?por que no se lavan ustedes la cara?


Yup, that is Duo's official answer. Others enter that and get it marked correct. Yet you enter it and it gets marked wrong. How can it be?

Duo is just a computer program. It doesn't have moods. It won't mark correct answers right sometimes and wrong at other times.

If it really unjustly marked your correct answer as wrong, if Duo is picking on you, there is nothing anybody here can do for you.


This is just a bad sentence. It should be taken off and replaced with something more acceptable.


There is nothing wrong with this sentence. It's meant to make you think.


The setence uses faces but when translated it is singular using cara


Yes, and it has already been explained why that is the correct way multiple times in this thread.


What tells you that this subject is plural? Since "la cara" applies to both singular and plural, I should be able to choose which I want to use!


there is no way to tell that this is you plural


I think "faces" tells you that the "you" is plural.


What if you are two faced?


Then poor Junas will always have one dirty face


Then shouldn't it be "las caras"?


Tomas, Surprisingly enough, English and Spanish don't always handle things the same way. I suggest starting at the tope of this page and reading down. You will find many comments regarding this issue.


'Las caras' would imply that each person has multiple faces.


i think duo is just poor at english at times this is not the first time entirely improbable if not improper english phrase was used.


You do realize that your post is horribly ungrammatical and almost impossible to follow, right? If you're going to criticize grammar you may want to use capital letters and punctuation.

As LonzCat said, Duo's sentence is grammatical.


You may be unlikely to utter this sentence with any frequency, but there is nothing improper about it. And, as Marcy (above) points out, the sentence is constructed to point out a useful distinction between English and Spanish in dealing with a singular/plural issue.




" . . . faces." The s makes it plural and that is the clue. If the sentence wasn't referring to multiple faces of multiple people then what kind of nightmare horror story do you think it would be describing here?

Of course the English language can tell us when stuff is plural.


"Por que no te lavas las caras" is a CORRECT answer but DUO said its wrong. IT IS CORRECT DUO


I'm just pointing this out as a friend, but your very sentence contradicts itself. Your sentence translates to "Why don't you (singular) wash your faces?" I assume a singular person has only one face. So, a grammatically correct sentence would either be worded "Por qué no se lavan las caras" or "Por qué no te lavas la cara".


Por que no te lavas la cara..marked incorrect..why?


As has already been explained, your sentence is grammatically correct but the English sentence refers to pleural 'faces' therefore pleural people.


That is my question. It does not specify formal or not. Why it is not correct is confusing


Formal/informal is irrelevant in this sentence. Ustedes is plural for both, and, as has been discussed, the English sentence uses faces.


Not las caras, each person only has one face

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