Verb tenses cannot be translated 1:1. I agree that Sir, do you write a book? would be better to learn, but you have to understand that sometimes Presente de Indicativo = Present continuous. In this example, the man started writing a book and haven't finished it, so in English we would say are you writing a book. However, as he is not currently writing this book while we speak, in Spanish we say escribe usted un libro.
Spanish has three (or four in some regions) kinds of second person - informal singular, formal singular, and plural (which in Spain is split into formal and informal).
"Tú" is informal singular and in present tense takes the "'-s" ending you're used to. "Usted" is formal singular and takes the same conjugations as "él" and "ella."
He is writing a book in general but that's not what he is doing this very second. You only use the present progressive form (está escribiendo) if the subject is actively doing the action. :)
It's explained a little more on the bottom of this page: https://studyspanish.com/grammar/lessons/presprog
The he/she/you (formal) form of a verb (escribe) in Spanish can be translated as the present form (you write or you do write) OR it can be translated as the present progressive form (you are writing). In this case, the latter (you are writing) makes more sense in the context of the sentence so it should be used. But I do think the literal translation should be accepted as a possible answer. *This is how my Spanish teachers have taught it. I'm proficient in Spanish, but not fluent.
I think this is one of those situations when it is difficult to keep tenses the same whilst trying to convey the same message. "Sir, do you write a book?" is not something that is commonly said in English with "Sir, are you writing a book?" being the preferred way. But, we are here to learn about Spanish.
It definitely is not the wrong tense.
In English we are very used to compound tenses and even though many other languages support them, they are not used in the same way as English.
Another language altogether would say this as:
Ĉu vi skribas un libron?
Using the present tense. It also happens to support:
Ĉu vi estas skribanta un libron?
However it's definitely not required and is out of the norm enough to at least sound wierd to those who hear it.
"Señor ¿ está escribiendo un libro?" should also be correct when translating from English, though it would be less likely used as it would mean that you are in the middle of writing a book and yet I am asking you anyway. So when you ask if we would understand what you meant, it depends on what you meant. We use the English present continuous way more often and in more situations than the Spanish present progressive is used. More often the English present continuous is translated to the Spanish simple present which is much more used than the English simple present.
¨Sir what do you do every day now that you are retired? Do you write a book?¨ ¨Yes, I write a book during the week and write songs on the weekend¨
¨Yes. I am writing a book during the week (but NOT here at the bus stop while talking to you) and I am writing songs on the weekend.¨
Both are correct English tense translations from Spanish present tense. Why? Because the English continuous tense used here (in the process but not actually happening at time of declaration) is NOT correct for the Spanish continuous tense and instead is covered by Spanish present tense.
I the same way that ¨I run to your house tomorrow¨is not correct in English but is a perfectly acceptable way to indicate future action in Spanish. ´Corro a tu casa mañana.´
Remember that Spanish is NOT English with different words.
We need to remember that we are learning Spanish here, not English. In many languages the constrution of sentense does not directly indicate if the speaker has finished or is in the process of doing something. Just remember that in many languages present simple is equal to present progressive.
For me, "mister" is what I'd call "low English". Not incorrect, but used infrequently. In old movies, you see children addressing strangers that way, asking questions. Also waitresses in diners and bartenders in working-class restaurants and bars. It's not rude in those settings, and "sir" would be regarded as stuffy, toffish, too refined, and out of place.
I use "sir" when I am in some sort of customer service role and am speaking to a male person whose name I don't know. That is quite common. I think it would be rather rude for, say, a person staffing the polls during an election to say to a voter, "Mister, you´re in the wrong line."
This is a normal inversion for a question. https://www.thoughtco.com/asking-questions-spanish-3079427
It seems it is time to look for a teacher, that understands Spanish. Twice now it has marked my answer is wrong when indeed they are correct. I am spanish and my mother, a native speaker, says there is nothing wrong with my answers. Duo needs to go learn Spanish. Very disheartened with duo.
Present tense in Spanish can be either present or present progressive in English. (And also some other tenses, but let´s keep this simple.)
In English, we would be very unlikely to say "do you write a book?" We might say "Do you write books?," but would not phrase the question that way when asking about one book. We would be likely to use the present progressive and say "Are you writing a book?," however.
The grammar for using the auxiliary verb "to do" in English, and the choice between present simple and present continuous in English, is quite difficult. As a general guideline (not a rule), present continuous is used for current activities, while simple present is used for habitual activities: "He is writing a book now" "He writes books to earn money." You don't use "to do" when asking questions using continuous present: "Is he writing a book?" but you use "to do" when asking questions using simple present: "Does he write books?" There are many exceptions to the way these verb-forms are used.
“Sir, do you write a book?” and “Sir, are you writing a book?” are better questions which are both accepted for this translation.
“You write a book?” is a repetition of what someone just said that is asked in a tone of disbelief. It is less used and it is not a general question. A person could respond with “No, I was just kidding.” or “Yes, I do.” or if asked as “You are writing a book?” -“Yes, I am writing a book.” stressing the “am” or even stopping after the “am”. The question is not “Do you write a book?” but rather “I don’t believe you, is it true?” It would seem a bit strange to be polite by using “sir” and then question the person’s honesty. The stress can be on the word “book” or it can be on the word “you” or really on whatever part you don’t believe. I wonder if this would be worded in subjunctive in Spanish since it implies that you don’t believe the person?
It should also be correct, but unlike “escribo” which is only used for “yo”, the verb form “escribe” is used for “él”, “ella” and “usted”. Without the pronoun though, I would go to the fact that you are saying “señor” as if you are talking to that person, so I would assume “usted” in this case.
"Escribe" is in present tense, not the past tense. One of the points of this sentence is that Spanish often uses the present tense where English speakers would use present progressive.
"Eres" is indeed one form of "are." It is a conjugation of the verb "ser." Present progressive, however, uses the verb "estar" and the present tense formal second person conjugation of that verb is "estás." "Are you writing," if translated literally, would be "estás escribiendo." As already noted, however, this sentence should not be translated literally.
Only the form for “nosotros” is the same for past and present. All the others are different. “Escribe” can only be present tense for usted, él or ella, or it can be the imperative form for tú.
You skipped the first word “Señor,”which translates to “Sir,” and you should also have a question mark at the end of your question, but we would say “Do you write books?” for the general question which this is not, so “Sir, are you writing a book?” is the best answer.
No, “un libro” = “a book”
“an author” = “un autor”
When asked to translate, that does not mean extrapolate.
If I fixed my own sink, that does not necessarily mean that I am a plumber. A kindergartner can write a small book, but that does not mean that the child is necessarily an author, especially, since the book is not finished yet.
https://www.thoughtco.com/asking-questions-spanish-3079427 Please delete the copy of your question below.
Yes, but it is the formal form in Spain that was developed at a time when it was rude to talk directly to royalty or even nobility. "Would his highness like another slice of pie?" So, "usted" does use the 3rd person singular verb form even though now it is a 2nd person form used directly with someone that you are not on a first name basis with. The verb form "escribes" is only used with "tú" which is the familiar you form used with a child, a family member, a friend and even with God the father or son, just like "thou" used to be used in English. If you used "escribes" with "usted", it would sound like "you writest". It was "thou art", but it has always been "you are" and now we only use our polite form and there are some places in Latin America where the "tú" form is not used.
Words in different languages do not match up one-to-one. "Sir" and "Mr." are both translations of "Señor," but are used in different ways in English. "Mr." should be used exclusively before a last name. You will occasionally see it used on its own (usually spelled out as "mister") and this may be acceptable in some dialects, but it is so informal as to sound rude to many people.
"Sir" is the appropriate honorific to use if you are not following the honoric with a last name.
There is nothing to fix. The abbreviated form "Mr." is only used with a last name. "Mister" could possibly be added, but there is nothing wrong with "sir". Why do you have a problem with "Are you writing a book?" It is a perfectly good sentence, though it may be more common to ask a general question: "Do you write books?"
When using Spanish (or any language, including your own, really) you should expect to hear sentences that you, personally, would never think of. Everyone has different experiences and expectations of life and one of the great advantages of language is that we can discuss them.
For what it´s worth, in my context it´s not an odd question. I, personally, am writing a book (who knows if anything will ever come of it, but I´m writing it) and I know any number of other people who have written or are writing books. Libraries are full of books that somebody has written.
If you had occasion to say "are you writing in a book?," it would probably be something like "Señor, escribe usted en un libro?" or "Señor, está escribiendo en un libro?"
As for "Mr.," AllIntoLearning3 is correct that you only use it with a last name. People do sometimes address other people as "mister," but it´s so informal that it strikes me as rather rude. The polite form is "sir."
For students information; in addition to the literal meaning there is also an idiomatic English English (but maybe not USA english) meaning to this phrase. To ask someone, "Are you writing a book about it?" means "you are taking too long" at whatever they are doing. Happy studying to you all.
I would be hard pressed to come up with a sentence informal enough to allow for "mister" to be used in isolation, rather than before the person's surname. It is so informal as to be almost rude. You will not find it used this way in Duolingo´s official translations. (I have no idea whether it might sometimes be an acceptable alternative, but rather doubt it.)
In any case, "usted" signals formality and you should translate any honorifics in the sentence accordingly.
“Escribe” is present tense, but “wrote” is past tense. So it is “Sir, are you writing a book?”, because we use the English continuous form for ongoing activities. He is not doing it at the moment, so we use “escribe” as the Spanish progressive is only for action that is happening at this moment.
Is it me or is something wrong here? "Type what you hear" so I wrote Senor,¿escribes usted un libro?. It was marked incorrect, the reason being that I typed in English, not Spanish. ????. Ok I put escribes cos that's how it sounded and it should have been escribe (my mistake for not concentrating!) but I'm pretty sure what I typed wasn't English!!
I'm not sure where you're getting "to" from. I don't see anything that would usually be translated as "to" anywhere in the sentence.
Spanish often marks questions by placing the subject after the verb.
"Escribe" is the corrrect conjucation of "escribir" to use with "usted."
Thus, a literal, but grammatically correct translation would be "Sir, do you write a book?" We would normally phrase this type of question in the present progressive in English, however, so a better translation would be "Sir, are you writing a book?" (Spanish often uses the present where English would use present progressive.)
If you are just starting, it would be wise to read the other comments and then you would already have known that was wrong. You are writing,”
Sir, you is writes a book.”. However, being a beginner you might not have also realized that there are two verbs in Spanish for “to be” which have specific uses and are not interchangeable. Just your luck, the Spanish progressive requires a conjugation from “estar” and not “ser” and the present participle of “escribir”. Also, the minute you use “Señor”, you will need the conjugation for the formal singular form of you,“usted” and not the conjugation for the familiar singular form of you, “tú”. Then, only if the gentleman is currently in the process of writing at this moment would you use “Señor, ¿está escribiendo un libro?" Otherwise, ongoing but not currently happening activities in English do use the present continuous, but then Spanish would use its simple present tense.
The literal translation is only correct when it is actually happening at this moment, but English uses its continuous tense far more often than that and then it must be translated with the Spanish simple present tense instead of the Spanish progressive tense. When translating from English without any cues of time, both Spanish tenses should be accepted as correct. When translating from the Spanish simple present, without cues both English simple present and English continuous should be accepted, but there is a cue. We would generalize by saying “Do you write books?” and book is not plural for this sentence, so it would be “Are you writing a book?”
Well to be entirely honest if someone were to ask me that question the answer would be yes. But for more common usage it might come in a response to an intrusive question. "Did you go to her apartment?" "Sir are you writing a book?" to mean "Why are you asking me that?" though rude Americans like me would leave off the sir.
This is not the expression meaning why are you asking me that? This is literally asking a gentleman if he is writing a book. Duolingo is making sentences out of the available vocabulary that has been learned so far. They are including “Sir” to make sure that we use the formal form “usted” instead of the familiar form “tú” as well as teach us this new word. There is nothing wrong with this sentence.