1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Spanish
  4. >
  5. "Yo tengo un problema con la …

"Yo tengo un problema con la secretaria."

Translation:I have a problem with the secretary.

May 7, 2018

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lets_learn_team.

An affair methinks


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wwhalen85

Shouldn't it be "una"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Slagar1

"Problema" is a masculine noun, despite ending on an "a". There are a few exceptions to that rule, and you'll just have to learn them as you go.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SirPugsly

It's because "problema" is a word taken from Greek. This shows up with many other words such as "dilemma" and "sistema," both being masculine. Happens in Italian too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaxineSamphire

Are you saying that these words, with their "a" endings, are considered to be masculine in Greek, therefore also masculine in Spanish? Otherwise, since they fit the mold, why not just declare them to be feminine? Obviously objects do not have gender.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

Those words were neutral in Ancient Greek, stayed neutral in Latin, and then became masculine in Spanish as the neutral gender merged with the masculine.

The gender of Spanish nouns mostly depends on the gender they had in Latin - or whatever language the noun derived from.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laura977380

@SirPugsly I had a pug growing up named Pugsly!!! Now I have a two year old pug that we have had since 6 months old named Henry. I love them!!! Mucho gusto, SirPugsly! Yo vivo circa de Chicago en Estados Unidos. Tenga un buen día!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SirPugsly

I've never owned a pug myself, I just thought Sir Pugsly was a great name for this picture. I've used this as my online persona for years now hahaha. Thank you though. Have a good day!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RahultheOw

Problema, telegrama, sistema, clima, idioma, mapa, dia & planeta are some examples of masculine nouns despite ending with an A


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jani245857

Thanks for this list RahultheOw! Lingot to you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EugeneTiffany

Yeah, it's like el dia.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sikeryali

Buenos días


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tess568007

Ahhh si, I forgot this rule. Gracias!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lets_learn_team.

un tema, un problema, un planeta, un diá all have Greek origins. Therefore, most break the rule


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

Día doesn't derive from Greek (that would sound more like "emera" and it would be feminine), but it's a Latin origin, from the masculine "diēs", which got vulgarised to "*dia" while keeping its gender.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ashleygirl24

the plot thickens Hmmm... I didn't know Duo was into mysteries!! XD


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaylahTrev

I understand that "problema" is a masculine noun from reading the other comments and replies, but is there a way to tell between masculine and feminine words when they don't follow the usual rule? Or are they just exceptions you have to get used to?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

There are some patterns, but for some other words you can only memorise. Those original Greek-neutral nouns almost all end on '-ma': problema, dilema, tema, drama, programa, and so on. Then you have the job names ending on '-ta' which you can use for either gender: el/la artista, arquitecta, optimista, poeta, fundamentalista, et cetera. And there are those more-or-less one-ofs, like "el mapa", "el avión", and "la mano".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IOK-1

One can translate "yo escribo una carta" as either "I write a letter" or "I'm writing a letter", so why is "I'm having a problem" not accepted as a correct translation for "yo tengo un problema"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

"Have" is one of the verbs that is used in the progressive tense only in certain situations. You can be "having a drink", "having a party", or "having a shower". These are all uses where it can be expressed with a different verb, "drinking", "partying", or "showering", respectively. But when it comes to using "have" to say that you own something, using the progressive tense and saying "I'm having a car" is very weird. Same with "a problem".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sguthrie1

I gave you an up vote for a good answer. However, I suggest that "I'm having a problem" with my secretary is perfectly acceptable.

I suggest that the issue of "ownership" is fairly clear with cars. But not so clear with "problems." For example, I could say "I am having car problems."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

Hm, right. Reconsidering this, "I'm having a [thing]" also sounds like you're experiencing something. Like you could "be having a moment", or "having an experience". I think "problem" can fall under that. "I'm having a problem with my secretary" still sounds somewhat weird to me, though. Like you didn't have a choice in choosing one and require a new one, now. "I'm having a problem with Photoshop" is more familiar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda_from_NJ

Ryagon, don't forget that "having a baby" means "giving birth," while "have a baby" means that you birthed a baby at some time in the past: I have (possess) a husband, two dogs, and a baby. (Don't get me started on "having a husband!")


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnFMurray

For "I'm having a problem with..." this is not ownership but a temporary state that is expected to be rectified and sounds good English to me. For car, you could express a near future receipt "I am having a car for my birthday" (lucky person!).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda_from_NJ

"Having a car" would be like "having a baby!" Ouch! "Getting a car" better expresses a near future receipt.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rachelpowers643

Why is it 'secretaria' and not 'secretaría'??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

Secretaria without an accent is the person, "secretary". Secretaría, with an accent on the 'i', is the office, the secretariat.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kvihma

Is this because of learning the Duolingo "flirting" skill?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/macfarlanerick

What is the problem with writing "Tengo" instead of Yo tengo?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

No problem with that. Personal subject pronouns can usually be dropped.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Byelingual2004

this is getting intresting uu


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sqitso

The female speaks so fast her words jumble together. The male is really clear


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gary689692

Yo tengo un problema con problema being an irregular noun

Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.