Hi, thanks for replying! I get that "usted" is formal "you". If you look at it, "escibe" is in third person singular. Now, this might just be the way it is used in this language; as in french, when you want to be formal, you use second person plural and all the conjugations of verbs that come with it. The way it is used here, changes. It is the you formal but the conjugation of verb of the third person singular. I was just wondering if it was a mistake in the program or if there was a better explanation than the one provided.
"Usted(es)" comes from "vuestra(s) merced(es)" which means "your mercy." Think of addressing a judge as "your honor" or a king as "your majesty." It's technically 3rd person, which is why it conjugates that way, but it's used when communicating 2nd person.
I've never heard an explanation, but I think of it as distancing yourself from from the person. When you write an academic essay in English, for example, the teachers always tell you to refrain from writing "you." Kind of the same thing. Just to make it clear, no one has ever told me this, but it kind of makes sense to me.
"Usted" is the singular polite "you" and it takes the same verb conjugation as "él/ella".
"Ustedes" is the plural "you" and it takes the same verb conjugation as "ellos/ellas".
"Vosotros" is the plural "you" that's really only used in Spain anymore. Duolingo focuses on Latin American Spanish, so you shouldn't come across "vosotros" very often.
Hola Paul: You use "Tú escribes" when you are talking to a friend, a child, someone you know well, in a casual or informal setting. You use "Usted escribe" if you are talking to someone you just met, your boss, an important person, in a more formal setting, to be more polite, etc. Chau.
tú is the informal singular "you"
usted is the formal/polite singular "you"
ustedes is the plural "you"
But "usted" takes all of the verb forms and possessives that go with él/ella and "usted" takes all of the verb forms and possessives that go with ellos/ellas.
Statement only. The imperative form is a little different.
tú is the singular, informal "you". ("tu" is the possessive form: Tú tienes un gato; es tu gato = You have a cat; it is your cat.)
usted (and the plural
ustedes) is the formal version of "you" and takes 3rd person verb conjugations and 3rd person possessive forms. Usted tiene un gato; es su gato. Ustedes tienen un gato; es su gato.