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  5. "She is brushing her long hai…

"She is brushing her long hair."

Translation:Ella se cepilla su cabello largo.

March 12, 2018



This is the only example using 'su cabello' instead of 'el cabello'. What is the difference?


Sometimes when the body part is modified by an adjective the possessive is used, it mostly happens in poetry I believe, but to be honest, this is not a good example, as it's something a native speaker would not say in actual speech, and the poetic version would be more like "Ella se cepilla su largo cabello". As it stands right now, it sounds like she's got another set of hair apart from the long one.


That is a great last sentence! Well put.


Genius critique.


Thanks, alezzzix. You have answered a question I asked on another question that you apparently have not seen. It's good information!


Or possibly just one long hair.


thanks. This one always confuses me, since we just did a zillion lessons with emphasis on masculine and feminine.


I love it! Thank you


Thank you, Alezzzix. I was in a dark room and you flipped on the switch ;)


I'm pretty sure it's an error. The reflexive indicates it's her hair so there's no need to say it.


Well, at least I was not marked as wrong when I typed "el cabello largo."


I was marked wrong with "el cabello largo."


You probably had another mistake or typo


El cabello largo is accepted.


I was! 30/7/2020


It would be nice if someone who knows for sure why "su" is used here instead of "el," would explain it. Please.


It's because there is an adjective modifying hair.


She is brushing her hair not some hair. Su cabello is necessary to show the difference.


That is not why "su" is used here. Please read the previous comments. The question about why "su" is used here rather than the usual "la" has already been answered.


I thought cabello is masculine, hence 'to cabello '


Should it be "Ella se cepilla el cabello largo"? Or maybe when the direct object is described with an adjective (largo) it necessitates the possessive pronoun?


07/14/18. Very good educated guess, lv2jft8s. It is the adjective "largo" which at least permits (if not necessitates) the use of the possessive adjective "su" in this exercise example.

"When the thing possessed is emphasized or particularized by context, or by an adjective or some other words, or whenever ambiguity must be avoided, the possessive adjective usually reappears: [ ] Vi sus ojos grandes, fatigados, sonrientes y como lacrimosos. I saw her eyes, big, tired, smiling, and seemingly tearful." Butt, John and Carmen Benjamin, A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish, § 8.4.3 (Definite article instead of possessives), p. 96 (4th ed. 2004).

But note that the above contrasts with another example from www.thoughtco.com/body-parts-vocabulary-3079570, where a definite article is used with a body part modified by an adjective: "Tengo el pelo negro. (I have black hair.)"

Apparently, choosing the use of a 'possessive adjective' over a 'definite article' with a body part modified by an adjective is more optional than mandatory in Spanish, with the 'possessive adjective' being chosen when the intent is to place greater emphasis on the modified 'body part' noun.


Isn't "Tengo el pelo" saying, "I have hair"?

Not, "I have BLACK hair".


The word for black was blocked by some automated system


What a time to be alive


Wow!!! That's ridiculous... Please fix, DuoLingo.


negro? lets see if mine is blocked


Yup, blocked. Wow


For God's sake!


I don't yet understand the difference between saying cepillarse vs se cepilla... Anyone know to help me understand this???


i think i got it; cepillarse is the infinitive form so for example i could say "he wants to brush his hair" - "el quiere cepillarse el cabello" as opposed to he's brushing his hair "el se cepilla el cabello"


Quick and simple; first verb needs a prefix in front, second verb in a row will need it to be added behind. "Tiene que" is also considered a verb so the next verb coming cannot have a prefix.

El quiere cepillarse = two verbs - El se cepilla = one verb

This didn't turn out simple at all. :)


Not prefixes but pronouns, right?


Thanks for this!!!


I got confused by this as well because i didn't notice that it was one of those reflexive verbs... meaning "i brush my own hair" vs. "I brush hair". The former needs the extra me/te/se/etc. before the conjugation. At least that's how i made sense of it later.


throughout the lesson we are being told to use 'el' and suddenly this is wrong and it's 'su'.


El is not marked wrong.


what is wrong with "Ella está cepillando su cabello largo"


I had the same problem. Accepted when I added "se": "Ella se esta cepillando su cabello largo."


Thank you. I came here to ask about this.


I believe that you would need to add the "se" in the gerund as well. "Ella se está cepillando su cabello largo"


Same problem with "Ella está cepillando el cabello largo."


That's exactly what I said, & it was counted right


Barbara, I think you still need to get the se in there because the verb is cepillarse. So, maybe Ella se está cepillando el cabello largo, or Ella está cepillandose el cabello largo. (I'm sure someone will tell me if I messed up either of those suggestions! :) )


I wish Dl would explain themselves rather than leave it up to the discussion group.


GregWilks, Hi! Do you ever read the TIPS before the lessons?

On the phone app, you click on the Light Bulb icon. What they say there gives you examples & simple explanations pertaining to the lesson.

Lots of people don't know about that helpful section. :-)


Thanks, I've read the tips but giving examples doesn't always clarify the theory behind something. I find that new concepts, vocabulary and idioms are introduced via the "get it wrong the first time and you'll remember it for next time" method which may not be such a bad teaching method although frustrating when you mix it with DL's game/competitive format.

What I have gleaned from following the example answers is that you can use the possessive form when the noun is modified by an adjective and also when it is a negative statement, such as "Ella no se cepilla su cabello." Do others think these rules are valid?


I agree. The tips have never explained every word use in the corresponding category.


I always use PELO for hair.


I believe... Pelo is hair in general: for any part of the body, for people and animals.

Cabello is only the hair of the head of a person (not including beard, eyebrows,...)

Vello is any short and soft hair covering people's bodies, such as arm hair, legs, eyelashes, or down there ... ahem ; )


Yes, why is it cabello? After all, you go to a peloteria to get your hair cut, not a cabelloteria.


I am assuming that "cabello" is an American usage. I was taught "pelo" by a native Spanish speaker.


How confusig this is! I love the explanation by alezzzix about poetry, but ostensibly we're learning conversational Spanish and after missing a a similar question for using su, it seems as though the deck is stacked!


I believe that either su or el are correct, and el is more common.


El is correct also. Accepted 2/14/19


someone help us


what is wrong with "Ella está cepillandose el cabello."?
Or should it / could it be "Ella se está cepillando el cabello"?


Yes indeed, why is "el cabello" wrong? "Cepillar el cabello" as far as I know means "to brush one's hair"


'el cabello' is not wrong


I believe your example actually means 'Brush the hair' and not SHE is brushing HER hair. You need to conjugate brush (i.e. cepilla) and use a reflexive pronoun (i.e. se) so you know who's hair she is brushing. Then you need to use the possessive pronoun 'su' instead of 'el' because hair is modified with the adjective 'long'. However, in reading other comments, it sounds like using 'el' instead of 'su' would be perfectly correct - though I am not sure which (i.e. el or su) would be preferred in this sentence. Using 'su' would probably be required when it is not clear what the descriptive adjective - in this case 'long', or other modifier is referring to.


Yes, it is very tricky to know if it should be "su" or "la"


Duo accepts either su cabello or el cabello.


I got this correct and don't even understand how or why. That's bad.


Why is "esta cepillando" wrong?


All forms of the reflexive verb cepillarse need a reflexive pronoun (me, te, nos, se), including the gerund form.


She might well have. I remember my wife's hair pieces.


"Ella cepilla su cabello largo."

You used the wrong word. Ella cepilla su pelo largo.



fushunpoon, pelo = cabello, but what you did wrong was you forgot to make it reflexive. You need to put se before cepillo. "We ourselves brush our (el) hair." Hope that helps.


Yes thank you I rather like the Spanish way of thinking. Hair is a part of us, so we brush ourselves the hair. In other languages the reflexive nature of brushing hair is much less explicit, where hair gets treated as some distant disembodied object.


To be clear, the same rule about the reflexsive verb & preceding pronoun applies to "She herself is brushing her long hair." On the phone app, you can't look back to see the sample sentence.

Since there is an adjective modifying her hair, however, it seems to be okay to use the possessive pronoun su before cebolla instead of using the article el, so the answer was "her hair" instead of "the hair."


don't say ella in the tips and then say su.Very frustrating


so with the reflexive verbs, can I say, for example, "Yo me cepillo el cabello largo" and "Yo cepillome el cabello largo" and it mean the same thing?


Perpetua, "yes" to your first example, "no" to your second.

When you only have one verb in a sentence, you can't attach the reflexive pronoun unless it's an affirmative command (e.g., digame). When you have two verbs (or a compound verb), the reflexive pronoun can go either before the conjugated verb or attached to the infinitive or present participle of the second verb.

For example, "I want to brush my hair" = Me quiero cepillar el cabello OR Quiero cepillarme el cabello. And, "I am brushing my hair" = Me cepillo el cabello, Me estoy cepillando el cabello OR Estoy cepillandome el cabello.

See also https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/reflexive-verbs-and-reflexive-pronouns


Oh for God's, sake! Now they use the possessive!!??


I thought when there was a reflexive verb... te gusta, le encanta, se cepilla, any preceding pronoun had to be preceded by an "a". So I put "A ella se cepilla su cabello largo". Can anyone explain why that "a" is not needed at the beginning of this sentence?


gustar, encantar and interesar are not reflexive verbs. Reflexive verbs have a "se" in the third person. Gustar and the others have a "le" or a "les" in the third person (singular or plural). And the subject is what follows the verbs. In "Me gusta esta falda", "esta falda" is the subject, and "me" is the indirect object (this skirt is pleasing to me). This is why, if there are several skirts that are liked, you would say "me gustan estas faldas" (verb in plural because the subject is plural). In a sentence like "le gusta esta falda", the skirt is pleasing to her. But "le" could also be "to him" or "to you (formal)". If you wanted to emphasize whom the skirt is pleasing to, you could add "a ella" to specify who "le" is. So "A ella le gusta esta falda" - translated literally, it is "to her to her is pleasing this skirt". In this sentence "Ella se cepilla su cabello largo", "ella" is the subject of the verb cepillarse. And the "se" means the action is done on herself. I hope this clarifies it.


te gusta- to you is pleasing { it is liked by you } me encanta ( to me is pleasing ( it is loved by me) [ sorry for using pleasing in both the places] but a ella se cepilla would be 'to her is brushing'


this is driving me nuts now;-(


This may be a stupid question as it hasn’t been asked before but why again is it that cabello and largo are masculine when it is talking about a woman. I remember something about certain words not changing but I just can’t remember the exact rule, could someone please help? Thanks in advance


These words don't qualify/describe the woman and are independent of her, so their spelling is not changed. Cabello is simply a noun that ends in 'o', so it is masculine. Derived from Latin "capillus" - hair, so maybe their is story about why its masculine in Latin, but I don't know. Largo is an adjective describing the hair, so it follows the gender of the noun, hair, and therefore keeps its masculine default spelling.


so what is the difference between the verb cepillar and cepillarse and how can I tell which to use when?


The verb only indicates brushing occurs. You need to add the pronoun her, which is the 'se' part in cepillarse, or she brushes 'her' own hair. I'm not sure of the rules exactly, but I believe you can put the se both in front of the verb, or attach it to the back of it in most cases (i.e. 'se cepillar' vs cepillarse'), but you have to include the pronoun her (i.e. se) or it wouldn't make sense.


'ella se está cepillando el cabello largo' is also accepted


Why not "Ella cepillarse su cabello largo"? Isn't crpillarse and su cepilla the same?


My answer "Ella se cepilla su cabello largo" was accepted, but the answer from Duo said I had a typo and gave THIS answer "Ella cepilla sus cabellos largos." The words "sus" and "cabellos" were not among the answer choices given on the "Write this in Spanish" page.


Thank you Thank you Thank you You are all helping me very much


Why cepillarse is not right?


Cepillarse is an infinitive. It needs to be conjugated for this sentence.


Same as se cepillar?


Yes, it's the same thing.


Thank you I'm starting to get it. So this form is used only with infinitive? And also are these two interchangeable? Ta!


They are interchangeable. You just have to remember that if you want to use the 'se cepillar' form, the 'se' has to go at the beginning of the entire verb phrase.

Ella se necesita cepillar su cabello.


Is, "se", needed and if so why?


Can someone tell me why ella cepillarse su cabello largo is wrong


Ella quiere cepillarse su cabello largo (this sentence has two verbs - one is conjugated to ella [quiere], second reflexive verb [cepillarse -performs action on her own]). Ella se cepilla su cabello largo (this sentence has only one verb - cepillar, conjugated to ella, because she performs action on her own you conjugate - se cepilla...). That is my understanding.


Because you didn't conjugate the verb.


why is "cepilla el cabello" here incorrect


Would someone please explain why it is Ellas SE cepillan and it's also Ella SE cepilla, not Ella LE cepilla? Muchas Gracias!


Le = Direct Object

Se = Indirect Object


This isn´t right. "se" and "le" are both third person pronouns. "Le" is only indirect object and "se" is both direct or indirect object, but "se" is used for reflexive verbs, where the subject does the action on itself. You can find a chart of pronouns here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_personal_pronouns (note that what they call "accusative" = direct object, and "dative" = indirect object)


can someone conjugate brush for me? I suddenly don't understand when to use cepillarse. I haven' had difficulty with the other reflexive verbs, but I keep missing this one. Maybe it is the is brushing that has me dumbfounded. I brush=? She brushes=? She is brushing =?


"Cepilla" is translated to one of the English present tenses, "is brushing" or "brushes". It depends on context. Don't forget, translating is not a word-for-word exercise.

As for conjugations, refer to SpanishDict. https://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/cepillar


Is it "su cabello" becuase she's brushing her own hair? If not then how would one say "She brushes my/his/her(3rd person) hair"?


The Spanish "su" is ambiguous, but note that the English "her" also is.


My answer is Ella se cepilla el caballo largo. I answered el cabello because the previous question I used tu cabello for their hair and was wrong. The right answer for the previous question was el cabello. I'm very convused.


Caballo or cabello? Caballo means horse.


How is this wrong? It's literally what I typed


How can we help you?


You have a typo. Ella cepilla sus cabellos largos. : Yet the prompts 'sus cabellos largos' are not given as an option!


Kischela, apparently DL's AI came up with something that really doesn't make sense. Perhaps its suggestion would be correct if "she" were brushing several of her children's hair.

But, for the sentence you were supposed to translate, perhaps the problem is that you left out the se, which indicates that she is brushing her own "set" (singular) of hair: Ella se cepilla su cabello largo.

For the future: This reply might have have fewer perhapses in it if you will copy and paste (or screenshot, or retype) your answer from the answer page into your post. Thanks!


Why wouldn't this be "Ella cepillarse cabello largo"?


You have to conjugate the main verb in an independent clause.


From the tip at the beginning of the lesson, you said use el/la or los/las for body parts. Why is this different?


Because cabello has a modifying adjective attached to it.


I'm just wondering why it's not el pelo instead of cabeza.... She's brushing her HAIR not her HEAD...?


What's the difference between pelo and cabello


Has already been discussed. Read the thread.


Negro is blocked because in English it is a bad way to refer to a black person


OK, why mark su cabello largo as a typo (en vez de sus cabellos largos) when this is the only option given in the word buttons?


We are at a bit of a disadvantage since we can't see the tiles you were given.


When do we say "cepillarse" and when "se cepilla"?


They're the same exact verb. One is just conjugated for the third-person, and the other is the infinitive form.


when do we use su cabello and when do we use los cabello


"Los cabello"? Please read the thread, starting at the top.


How do we know when to use cepillarse and when to use se cepilla or sometimes when to use both?


Why not just "ella cepilla " ?


"Ella cepillarse el cabello largo."


Dahai69790, That infinitive form is what you use when it is the second verb in a sentence.

For instance, if the sentence said "She wants to brush her long hair."


Please give some examples in Spanish.


You used the singular "cabello" here, instead of the plural "cabellos". Ella se cepilla su cabello largo.

W. T. F....


Do you brush your 'hairs' each morning on your 'hair'?

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