"¿Cuál es el problema?"

Translation:What's the problem?

May 16, 2018

108 Comments

Sorted by top post

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JenniferOD234340

How do you know to use "cual" or "que"?

June 16, 2018

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

In general, use qué when asking for a definition, or when there are few or no restrictions on what the answer might be. (¿Qué onda? What's up?)

Use cuál when there's a restricted pool of possible answers to choose from. (¿Cuál es tu numero? What's your number?)

This also includes the sense of cuál meaning "which". (¿Cuáles de los gatos son tuyos? Which of the cats are yours?)

I hope this helps.

July 4, 2018

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

I think it would be more helpful to restrict it just to this type of questions:

"¿Qué es...?" is used if you want a definition.
"¿Cuál es...?" is used if you want an answer.

  • ¿Qué es un problema? - What is a problem?
  • ¿Cuál es el problema? - What is the problem?

When you start using a different verb or other words after cuál or qué, the meanings change accordingly

September 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bean459985

That was really helpful, thanks!

February 27, 2019

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

Thanks! I was just wondering this myself!

May 23, 2019

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

couldn't "¿Qué es el problema?" translate as "What is the problem like?"

October 21, 2018

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

No, not particularly. That would be "¿Cómo es el problema?"

October 22, 2018

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

Good answer, but there are few or no restrictions on what the problem could be.

July 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael307373

maybe... maybe not. No context is given here.

August 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JenniferOD234340

Thanks a lot. That was a very good answer.

July 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LucyGoneau1

Thanks! Good explanation. I appreciate how you share your knowledge.

July 12, 2018

[deactivated user]

    what is the difference between que and como

    July 12, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SGuthrie0

    First, realize that there is a difference between "que" and "qué". "Qué" means "what". "Que" means "that," and it is used to begin a subordinate clause.

    Example: ¿Pensás que habrá algunos insectos? Do you think that there will be any insects.

    Second, realize that there is a difference between "cómo" and "como". "Como" means "like", "as", "similar to", or "such as".
    "Cómo" means "how" or "why", or "come again" (what did you say?, come again). ("¿Cómo? Yo te no oigo," What? I don't hear you.)

    Now the difference between "qué" and "cómo."

    Both "qué" and "cómo" are "question words" aka "interrogatives" (these specifically are "interrogative pronouns".

    "Que" (that) is a relative pronoun, or a conjunction.

    "Cómo", as an interrogative, means "how" or "why".

    August 5, 2018

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

    Why do people use Que in situations like "Que bonita" or "Que chevere"?

    September 3, 2018

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

    Qué is just used as an interjection, like you would use "how" in those situations in English: "How beautiful" or "How great".

    September 15, 2018

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

    Thank you!

    April 17, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DarronGadd1

    Excellent answer!!!

    October 1, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JerryVande6

    Thanks. Didn't help me a lot though. It says use 'que' for a general broad understanding and use 'cual' for a specific answer from amongst a 'family' or 'subset' of choices. However, when appropriately saying 'Cual es tu nombre', one's name doesn't have a 'family' or 'subset' so the rule doesn't make sense. A name literally can be anything. There are also many examples of using 'que'' when asking for a specific answer. Perhaps the most helpful answer might be what RyagonIV says above.

    August 20, 2019

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/travis384599

    Why is "el" being used with problema?

    May 16, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marcy65brown

    Several words that end in -ma (and come from Greek) are masculine: el problema, el poema, el idioma, el drama, el trauma, el programa, el tema, el sistema, el clima, and many more.

    May 17, 2018

    [deactivated user]

      I think ur right. but in some cases like "el aula" el is used even though the word is feminine and u would say las aulas.

      July 12, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olka2g

      This happens when the word starts with the letter A; the reason is that two letters A next to each other would be difficult to pronounce. I think it's similar to the Spanish prepositions - you can't say "de el", it's always "del".

      July 19, 2018

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

      That happens only if the beginning 'a' of the noun is stressed. So you have "el aula" and "el agua", but it's still "la agente" or "la arena".

      September 15, 2018

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

      Ramon, Spanish is challenging, but so are all Romance languages. Keep practicing. :)

      January 6, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ramon282936

      I thought learning spanish was not supposed to be so complicated.

      January 5, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SGuthrie0

      Tambien, "el agua"

      August 5, 2018

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

      'problema' is one of those exeptions in spanish where even though it ends with an 'a', it is still a masculine word.

      September 13, 2018

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

      El = the Él = he

      June 11, 2018

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

      Actually the "el" here is the article, not the noun, and I don't see how it would even make sens if it were "he".

      July 4, 2018

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

      I think you meant, él and not el.

      August 7, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/w0jZ99BK

      Shouldn't "which is the problem" be accepted?

      May 21, 2018

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

      It's not a likely sentence, but sure, it's a possible translation.

      "Which is the problem, the food industry or your eating habits?"

      September 15, 2018

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

      Which is the problem would be refering to a object

      June 11, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Martin634852

      That would be an object or the object.

      July 21, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SGuthrie0

      "What is the problem" is an open-ended question, with many possible answers. "Which is the problem" assumes a limited number of answers. This distinction is the same in Spanish.

      So, NO, it should not be accepted.

      Note that RagonIV gave context, and correctly used "which."

      September 23, 2018

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

      I'm not sure what you mean by "This distinction is the same in Spanish." "¿Cuál es el problema?" is the only way this sentence can be expressed, and, depending on context, it can translate to both "What is the problem?" and "Which (one) is the problem?"

      September 23, 2018

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

      Cant you say problem insted of matter?

      July 18, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jamaicarose2

      This is a sentence that can be very useful.

      June 8, 2018

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

      If you want somebody to bore you to tears with the saga of their ingrowing toenail.

      July 15, 2018

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

      Can you say what is your problem?

      July 18, 2018

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

      Not as a translation here, since there is no indication whom or what the problem is associated with. But in Spanish you can easily say "¿Cuál es tu problema?"

      September 15, 2018

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

      Yes. I translated it to "What is your problem?" and Duo marked it correct. 3-6-2019

      March 7, 2019

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

      If there is a DL prize for patience, it should go to RyagonIV. Felicitaciones al buda de DL. '))

      February 24, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/William-Taytroe

      Why is it "el problema" and not "la problema" or "el problemo"?

      August 23, 2018

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

      Problema is a noun that originated in Ancient Greek, where it was of neutral gender. While transferring to Spanish, it kept its form, but all neutral nouns became masculine.

      "Problemo" is not a Spanish word, even if media wants you to believe that. :)

      September 15, 2018

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

      'problema' is one of those exeptions in spanish where even though it ends with an 'a', it is still a masculine word.

      September 13, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maria415107

      There are so many translations for "what" me español like I can not keep up. comprende?

      June 16, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maria415107

      en* i hate auro correcr

      June 16, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maria415107

      Oh wait now i know why i use them

      June 16, 2018

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

      Me too!

      Turn it off.

      August 7, 2018

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

      auto correct

      January 22, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnnyKing12

      I wrote "what is the problem?" and it marked it wrong because I didn't use the contraction of what's -_-

      October 3, 2018

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

      That is odd; I wrote "What is the problem?" and it was accepted properly Nov.8, 2018. Perhaps something else was misspelled, or "the problem" has been corrected. ;-)

      November 8, 2018

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

      You should report it.

      October 22, 2018

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

      How to remember the Spanish of what, which, who, when? Any shortcut trick for remembering these?

      November 20, 2018

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

      Hmm, let's see.

      Cuánto (how many) describes the cuantity.
      Cuál (which/what) describes the cuality.

      Quién (who) asks for the Queen and all her subjects.
      Qué (what) is for Quéstions in general.
      Cómo (how) is a bit like "How come?"
      And for cuándo I only have this classic.

      Also remember that 'qu' can only precede 'e' and 'i' in Spanish. For all other vowels you have to use 'c' or 'cu'.

      November 20, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Graciela570453

      thank you

      December 20, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Estoyfeliz13

      Why is : What is the problem incorrect?

      March 8, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Estoyfeliz13

      Why is: ‘What is the problem’. Incorrect.

      March 8, 2019

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

      It is not.

      March 8, 2019

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

      Why isn't it "la" problema?

      November 12, 2018

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

      Problema is a masculine noun. It was originally neuter in Greek and in Latin, and all Latin neuter nouns became masculine in Spanish.

      November 12, 2018

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

      Because problema is masculine.-_-

      January 22, 2019

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

      I have been wanting to use that face for so long -_-

      January 22, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/terri698977

      I have seen por que translate as why? (Excuse the missing accent). When is that apprpriate?

      November 12, 2018

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

      Is there any context to this question? The phrase "por qué" just translates to "why" in English. More literally it's "for what (reason)".

      November 12, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Israel349048

      I am more concerned about the use of el instead of la for problema. I thought feminine use "a" instead of the masculine "o"

      December 11, 2018

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

      That is true for most nouns, but not for all. Problema, specifically, originated from a Greek neutral gender word. It kept the -a ending through the ages, but the neutral gender went away and was replaced by the masculine gender when Spanish developed. There are a couple dozen of those, mostly ending in '-ma' or '-ta': el problema, tema, idioma, drama, atleta, pacifista, mapa, and so on.

      December 11, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Graciela570453

      why is El used instead of la

      December 20, 2018

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

      Because problema is masculine.

      December 20, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Piffles-pal

      Typed in “which is the problem" and it was accepted.

      January 16, 2019

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

      Why does problema use a masculine article when it ends with A?

      January 20, 2019

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

      Problema is a masculine noun, despite ending with 'a'.

      January 20, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jpowers1234

      Why is it "el problema" and not "la problema"?????

      February 2, 2019

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

      Problema is a masculine noun. Articles and adjectives care about the gender of the noun, not how it ends.

      February 2, 2019

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

      Why el not la for problema? Just irregular and something to remember?

      February 5, 2019

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

      Problema is a masculine noun, despite its looks. There are a number of them, mostly ending on -ma or -ta, that derive from Ancient Greek neutral nouns and are all masculine now.

      February 5, 2019

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

      Wouldn't it be "la problema" ?? Because problema is feminine?

      March 7, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olka2g

      If you take a look at the comments here you'll easily see a plenty of them saying the word "problema" is actually masculine. Despite its look.

      March 7, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danny197139

      The problema sounds as though they're saying 'troblema' Is it meant to be pronounced this way or is this a fault in the audio?

      March 14, 2019

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

      I can only listen to the woman, and she pronounces it well.

      The issue might be that microphones are sometimes a bit odd with picking up plosive sounds (p, t, k), so they might all sound the same in a recording.

      March 15, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyceFisch1

      I think it's just which voice is comfortable for you. It's easier for me to undersfand the male voice. Also, the sound is more clear on some lessns than others.

      April 1, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Olivia920515

      U should have put problem. >:(

      March 30, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Katy931130

      Wouldn't this sentence translate to "What is the problem"?

      April 3, 2019

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

      That is also a correct translation.

      April 3, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Russ786290

      Direct translation is 'What's the problem?' However, this is not accepted?

      April 19, 2019

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

      Duolingo generally has issues with recognising contractions that are not with a personal pronoun. It can recognise "he's", but not "what's" or "where's" or similar.

      April 19, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jasmin52245

      Why is it 'es' and not 'esta'?

      June 8, 2019

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

      You're aksing about an identity here, about the nature of the problem. Identities use the verb ser, not estar.

      June 8, 2019

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

      El problema is the problem! a masculine article with "a" at the end

      June 13, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ruth625302

      I did put 'el probleme' as got confused about the m/f thing and it was accepted. After reading through the posts i know realise it is male and words ending ma are from the Greek language and are male. Thank you for the explanation

      June 17, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john719515

      problema is masc.?

      August 12, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olka2g

      Indeed, it is.

      August 12, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sauce661054

      Ok,...i was just instructed, by this board of you fine helpers, that anything ending with the "a" is feminine ie; "cartera, esta is used, not este". Why is "el" used for the word "problema" ...., what gives....

      August 13, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JerryVande6

      Spanish words ending in 'a' are usually feminine, but not always. A lot of Spanish nouns that end in -ma, -pa, and -ta are masculine because they are Greek in origin and had a masculine meaning. See also: www.duolingo.com/skill/es/Household/tips AND www.thoughtco.com/words-that-break-the-gender-rule-3078133

      September 19, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David878250

      Why is "What is the problem." wrong and"What's the problem". right?

      August 16, 2019

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

      Neither is wrong.

      September 17, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paul549140

      Why isnt this "cual es la problema"?

      August 24, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olka2g

      Because problema is masculine, take a look at the other comments in this threat.

      August 25, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Justin632113

      Yo entiendo ahora finalmente! :) I get using cual vs que here. Que is used more for asking directly about the object (i.e. What car, what pet, etc.) where as cual seems to be used more in a longer sentence (i.e. what is the problem, what is your email address, etc.)

      September 24, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyceFisch1

      Why is it "el" problema?

      April 1, 2019

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

      Problema is a masculine noun.

      April 1, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoyceFisch1

      I think thats the first irregular noun I've learned.

      April 1, 2019

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mo_Bamba1

      I want some pizza

      October 22, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim294818

      !ASUNTO, Duolingo....ASUNTO!

      July 24, 2018

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mo_Bamba1

      vbnsfguvyAEuaswv

      October 22, 2018
      Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.