"Where were the fish yesterday?"
Translation:¿Dónde estuvieron los peces ayer?
For the subject to be singular - el pez - the verb would have to be singular too, estuvo. Estuvieron is plural (third person, preterite), so it is conjugated for a plural subject, los peces.
And translating from English to Spanish, to understand "fish" to be singular the verb used would have to be "was" and not "were":
"Where was it (the fish)" cf "Where were they (the fish)".
So the subject must be plural fish because of "were".
¿Adónde van los peces? → Where are the fish going (to)? / To what location are the fish moving?
¿Adónde vamos luego? → Where are we going (to) later?
Adónde llevas esas bolsas? → Where are you taking those bags (to)?
¿Adónde viajaste el mes pasado? → Where did you travel (to) last month?
¿Dónde están los peces? → Where are the fish?
¿Dónde comemos hoy? → Where are we eating today?
¿Dónde vives? → Where do you live?
Adónde is used with verbs to indicate movement toward a location. A+dónde can be understood as meaning "to where". In English the preposition "to", if it is said at all, would usually come after the verb (or a direct object) but mostly it is omitted.
Dónde is used with verbs that do not involve movement, so there is no movement indicated to or from a place - we just want to know "at which place". In an English translation it would make no sense at all to use "to" after the verb - "Where do you live
¿Dónde estuvisteis los pescados ayer? wasn't accepted. Reported October 2020. The fish could be dead theoretically. ¿Dónde estuvisteis los peces ayer? isn't accepted either. Also reported. These are both plural and should be accepted assuming that there are no other errors.
elizadeux, my understanding is that pescado refers to fish that is intended for consumption, so from that point when it has been caught for that purpose (fresh fish) - as well as fish already prepared for eating (cooked?).
This is the pescado definition from the RAE dictionary, translated to English:
Edible fish taken out of the water by anyone from the procedures from fishing.
The error here is "estuvisteis" which is the "vosotros" form of the preterite "estar" and translates as "you were".
The subject here is "the fish" and the verb is "were" so it needs to use the 3rd person plural ("ellos/ellas") form: "estuvieron"
Both "peces" and "pescados" are acceptable for "fish" as there is no context to suggest any preference (for the difference outlined by Les.)
I now think they rejected estaban because "ayer" makes the time reference an enclosed one that is completed. But I think the same sentence could be correct with estaban if the surrounding context made it clear that the fish were there as a background condition while something else happened.
Estuvieron » preterite
Estaban » imperfect
Both are past tenses but have a difference in meaning.
» an action or event begun and completed at a definite past point in time. In this case this past point in time is given as ayer.
» an action or event that was habitual in the past, recurring over a period of time - eg, "The fish used to be here".
» Or something that happened in the past but when it happened or its duration is not indicated (timing is vague), or the timing of when it did happen is not important, so there is no clearly defined start and finish time - "The fish were here" (at some time or other - and in fact may still be here).
"Fish" is a plurale tantum, which means that the singular and plural forms look the same. One fish, two fish, and so on. English typically does this with animals, like sheep, deer or moose.
The verb here actually gives the clue how many fish we're talking about. "Were" is the plural form, the singular would be "was".
- Where was the fish? - one fish
- Where were the fish? - multiple fish