The translation uses the wrong verb tense. The translation makes little sense to me, if it was "are you writing a book" then I believe the Spanish sentence should be along the lines of "está escribiendo un libro"
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.
OK, but there is this connotation: Boss is trying to write a letter- it takes too long, so secretary says: " Sir, are you writing a BOOK !"
Usted takes the third person verb form since it comes from a time when you could not address royalty or nobility directly and it is the formal form in Spain.
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."
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.
Any form of the present tense can also be present progressive, not just 2nd and 3rd person singular.
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" also means "Mister." That said, using "Mister" without a last name is very informal in English, to the point where it strikes me as slightly rude.
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.
You can add the subject if you want to emphasize “you”, but you cannot omit translating “Señor” to “Sir” as we are addressing this question to this person politely. However, Spanish usually omits the subject. This might come off as “Sir, you are writing a book? Doesn’t it sound a bit offensive.? As if we didn’t think that you of all people would do such a thing.
I know that in Portuguese that sentence form with a question mark at the end is the standard, but in Spanish verb inversion is quite common. I would omit the subject for a question in sentence form in Spanish, but I don’t think that you have to omit it.
I was more referring to the fact that the "Usted" is placed after the verb rather than before.
Yes, that is called verb inversion when the subject appears after the verb and it is commonly used for questions in Spanish and in English as well, you will see the conjugated part of the verb before the subject.
Is it necassary or optional rule? Does it work for any questions or for some kind of questions only?
The translation into English is not proper. "You write a book?" is not good English except as a declarative statement.
“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?
Señor, ¿escribe usted un libro?
Entonces, ¿por qué tan entrometido?
Then, ¿why so nosy?
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.
It is not required. It is sometimes helpful to show question order and to show that the subject is not “él”.
It's problematic for me that there seems to be no definite definitive answer from Duo or another language authority on this, just personal opinions.
Wouldnt it be "escribes" since ES= you? Escribe would mean that HE WRITES. Why is esceibe correct in this sentence?
“Escribes” is for the familiar form of you “tú”, but you are not on a first name basis with this person so you would use the form for the formal you “usted” which is, like that for “él”, also “escribe”. https://www.thoughtco.com/use-of-familiar-you-spanish-3079385
Sir, did you write a book? (Wrong) How do when write vs. writing? I thought Eres = are?
"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.
I am confused about tense. How do you know when something is past tense and when it is present?
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.
And not all authors write books as opposed to short stories, blog posts, magazine articles, etc.