Translation:They are not interested in playing tennis.
Duo teaches that when using jugar we should add the Spanish equivalent of "at the" --- as in "he likes to play at the tennis."
In Spanish, "at the" is either a la for feminine, or a el for masculine.
If you say a el aloud, you will probably notice that you need to pause between the a and the el in order to keep them from running together. So, Spanish has fixed that problem by deliberately running a and el together into al.
A la doesn't have this problem.
(There is some disagreement as to whether native Spanish speakers actually do use a la or al) after jugar* but that's another issue.)
Tricky one that really. Would the sentence be more fluent if we changed it slightly to "they aren't interested into playing tennis?"
However, i read that sentence and know exactly what it means, but a Spanish person learning English might not have as much joy. To play tennis is a description of the suggested action in itself so a person's enthusiasm towards that action must work in most forms (I'm asking this to learn myself).
Agree. Report it. The infinitive (here it's 'to play') is what's being conjugated in almost every verb. It is the basic and correct verb form and should always be accepted by Duolingo for that reason. The infinitive phrase here ('to play tennis') is also the direct object in English (cf. 'to take a walk', 'to take swimming lessons'). Personally, I don't think there's anything unnatural in the phrasing, nor any obvious loss of meaning, so again it should be accepted by Duolingo.
If you look at the many real-life examples on spanishdict.com you'll see that the word "al" is optional (https://www.spanishdict.com/examples/to%20play%20tennis) . I can't say whether it's incorrect or slangy to not use it, but for every sport, while there are more real-life examples using "al" there are also many that omit that word, whether you want to Jugar al Baloncesto, Jugar al videojuegos, Jugar al ahedrez, (chess), or jugar al béisbol to name a few.
You make an interesting point, but while Laura's sentence would be understood, it's a construction seldom, if ever, heard coming from a comfortable English (US) speaker.
We will always have some tension here as to how far Duo should go in accepting answers that may be technically correct but are, as nEjh0qr4 says, unnatural English. This brings us to the never ending question as to which is more important being, marked "correct" or learning how the languages are actually used.
Not in this case. Encantar and gustar and odiar all take this form and you would use les (or nos for us or te for you etc) and never las.
However if you have a sentence like: These letters, I am going to read them.
It translates as: Estas cartas, las voy a leer.
I think so, at least. And now I can't figure out what the difference between the two cases is.
Randall, you've probably learned the answer to this in the 5 months since your question, but in case not . . . . A ellas means "to them." To say "to the girls" you would need a word that means "girls," for example a las chicas . . . . You could say that, and the phrase would be even more clarifying than a ellas. But, that's not Duo's prompt, here.
Thanks for your perspective. I thought that "a ellos" (like los padres, los abuelos, los ninos) was used for the plural (as well as for "the men"). Fully agree, that using "chicas" is best for clarifying. This is 1 aspect that irritates me about Duolingo; sometimes it's very loose in its translations & other times very strict. But it's a lot better than most for the cost!!
Dorido, I sympathize with your having to translate twice in one exercise! But, just remember that, in English, sports and games--when used as nouns--do not take an article (definite or indefinite). When a sport or game is used as an adjective, however, you do need an article.
- I am playing tennis.
- We played chess yesterday.
- I want to go to the tennis match.
- The chess tournament was surprisingly exciting.
Pablo, I wish you had retyped the sentence you began "a nosotros". We can't compare two things when we can only see one of them.
But, whether a ellas is appropriate to begin the sentence depends upon the verb. For example, here interesar is being used like "a verb like gustar".
For "verbs like gustar," see:
http://www.spanish411.net/Spanish-Using-Gustar.asp https://studyspanish.com/grammar/lessons/gustar (this one has a list of such verbs)
This construction "play at the tennis" (jugar al tenis) is technically correct. However, several comments --- here and in other sports-related lessons --- have suggested that in South America, both the a and the el and, thus the al are usually omitted.
UPDATE: I have noticed that in the Spanish to English course, they use just jugar tenis.
There are a couple issues with the phrasing. The first is that in English you have "interest in" something, not "interest of" something. The second is the phrasing of the negative; either "they don't have any interest in playing tennis" or "they have no interest in playing tennis" would sound natural and correct (so you could report either of those options if Duolingo doesn't accept them), but just "they don't have interest in playing tennis" sounds off to me (although I can't quite explain the rule of why).
I'm not sure why your question has appeared 4 times, especially as this issue has been discussed several times here. Nevertheless, here's the answer.
Jugar is always followed by a, resulting in the meaning "play at." It's just one of those quirks. Many games/sports are referred to with the direct object el, as in el tenis. When a and el are combined, they are always elided (squashed together) as al.
Having said all this, I feel I should add that I've heard that, in some Spanish-speaking countries, the need to refer to sports/games with the "el" is fading away, as is the need for a after jugar. Nevertheless, here it's always jugar al.
Usually, yes, the infinitive -ar/-er/-ir form of a verb is translated as "to [do something]". But sometimes Spanish and English just work in different ways and that rule doesn't work.
In Spanish, when you're talking about an action as a concept, i.e. treating a verb as if it was a noun, then you must use the infinitive form.
E.g. "jugar al tenis es divertido", "me gusta jugar al tenis", "no me interesa jugar al tenis". Those sentences need to use jugar.
But in English we can say, for example, either "I like to play tennis" (using "to play", the infinitive) or "I like playing tennis" (using "playing", which is called a "gerund") - both are correct. So in a sentence like that you would translate "I like playing" as "me gusta jugar".
With "being interested in [something]", when you're expressing general interest in an activity, using the gerund (the -ing form) of a verb is the way to go in English (https://jakubmarian.com/interested-in-doing-vs-interested-to-do-in-english/). "They are not interested in playing tennis" sounds natural and correct; "They are not interested to play tennis" sounds very unnatural (and I think is actually incorrect). So, although the Spanish must use jugar, the English should be "playing" in this case, not "to play".
Hope that makes sense!
When I hear someone use the construction "They are interested to play . . ." I know the speaker is not entirely fluent in English.
I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in the US, your English teacher would be interested in playing, not interested to play. "Eager to play" would work, though.
See this explanation for why "to play" doesn't work in this sentence: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27258222?comment_id=47975022
Because "the girls" is "las niñas", or "las chicas" (or whatever other synonyms). "Ellas" is just "they".
Yes, that means you lose the gender specificity when you translate to English, so I can understand the desire to specify "the girls". But losing that gender info is a normal part of translation, just because of the way English and Spanish work differently, and is generally okay. Like just translating "jefa" to "boss" instead of "female boss"; or translating "her car" to "su carro" (losing gender information in the opposite direction).
I realize this is an old post, but newer users may have similar questions. I'm not quite sure what SugarBug meant by "this is how some of us work" but It's important to keep in mind that your best approach is to translate the sentence given, not some other sentence you think you might use instead.
There will always be some disagreement regarding the distance Duo should travel in accepting "alternative" translations, particularly when a literal translation is unworkable, but I would say Mr. Bug's offering has stepped too far. "It's not interesting to play tennis" clearly does not mean the same as "They are not interested in playing tennis."