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  5. "I have a problem."

"I have a problem."

Translation:Yo tengo un problema.

May 24, 2018



Why un and not una?


Because problema, even though it ends with an A, is masculine.


Why is it masculine? There should be some sort of explanation!


While most nouns ending in "-a" are feminine, there are exceptions. Some — including many that end in "-ma" — derive from Greek words and are masculine nouns despite ending in "-a". There are no hard-and-fast rules for these, so you'll just need to make note of them when you come across them.


Great explanation! Thank you!


This is the first time I've ever actually gotten an explanation for this thanks


I just started learning spanish.. So not yet an expert.. But this is very interesting.. Thanks for initianting the nice explanation.. I loked up more words endong in ma which are the masculine whereas "mano" ending in o is feminine. https://spanish.stackexchange.com/questions/346/why-are-certain-words-ending-in-a-masculine el clima: the weather el programa: the program el sistema: the system el lema: the motto el tema: the topic el idioma: the language el drama: the drama

Problema is from Old French probleme, via Latin from Greek problēma, from proballein ‘put forth’, from pro ‘before’ + ballein ‘to throw’


Deriving from greek words, say no more. That makes sense, that rules would alter a little bit for those particular words. qué increíble...


One example is: "La calle".


Thank you for explaining this. It was helpful


The lesson really should explain this to you first. As a platform for teaching people languages, it's important to explain the nuances of the language as they come up rather than leaving people confused.


I agree. Where are the charts of conjugations and declensions? I feel like that would help me out a little. As for learning new vocab, hovering over the word is enough for me.


I actually just discovered yesterday that there's a dictionary feature and it shows you the conjugation charts! It's only on the desktop version of the site though which is pretty lame.


I find more answers in reading these comments than Duo provides. These help me enormously!


Men are problems? ;)


Haha! That's a good way for me to remember. Certainly the patriarchy is a problem


How to understand should the word is masculine or feminine?


But how would we know that? How do we distinguish between fem and masc words that end in -a or not? Like 'clase' is fem. Right? Is it because women are customarily the maestra? So confusing.


Unfortunately, the only thing to do is learn and memorize. You can't always tell by looking, so you have to go by trial and error. Also, grammatical gender doesn't have anything to do with biological gender.


I think it's an irregular noun but yeah it would be helpful to get a note about these when they pop up!


Houston, yo tengo un problema.


Houston, TENEMOS un problema.


Houston, hemos tenido un problema.


Wouldn't that be "we have had a problem?"


Houston, tenemos un problema.


Lol, good one! But it would normally be "Houston WE have a problem" So I THINK it would be "Houston, nosotros tenemos un problema"


Spanish does not require pronouns like English does. The verb usually makes it clear who the person performing the action is.


You are right, but you don't actually have put nosotros in there because the conjugation of the infinitive verb "tener" let's you know it's "we have" a problem.


June 16, 2018 Here's a discussion of Spanish gender exceptions: https://www.lawlessspanish.com/grammar/nouns/gender-exceptions/

Some are shortened versions of feminine words (such as foto/fotografia). There are also some -o words that are feminine (la mano).

Note that many of these exceptions end in -ma, -pa, & -te. When I encounter an unfamiliar word with those endings, I check the gender in the dictionary.

There really aren't that many, and you'll remember the ones you use a lot.


Muchas gracias, Dios te Bendiga. Septembir 2019


There's also el día and el agua that are masculine


El día is indeed masculine.

However, just to confuse the issue, the el in el agua is there just because it's hard to say la agua. Agua is feminine for all other uses. In fact, you would say, El agua es preciosA. http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/the%20water

This is why when you run across these odd words, you need to check them in the dictionary if you're the least bit uncertain regarding the gender. It's taken a long time for me to get agua correct consistently. July 10, 2018


dies of confusion


Yes, agua confused me for a long time. :-D


Thank you so much for clarifying that! Finally understand,!


It's also difficult to say la abuela. Why not el abuela?


It's also difficult to say la abuela.

No, it's not (at least, not for a Spanish-speaker). The stress in abuela is on the 2nd syllable 'a-BUE-la', so you almost never pronounce the first A. "la abuela" is then simply pronounced 'la-BUE-la'


Would've been cool if the info in the lesson threw a little hint in there. "By the way, 'problema' is an exception to the gender rule, in that it's masculine, but ends with an 'a.'"

When I was in school, if I didn't know something, the teacher would ask "did you read the lesson." Well, I did, but in this case, there wasn't anything in there regarding gender exceptions.


Why "yo tengo" and not just "tengo"


Duo is feeling self assertive today, so has added the yo.

As you well know, the yo is optional. Be sure to report it if DL counts it wrong to leave it off. Remember to check for other errors, too. July 20, 2018


It can be just "tengo"


you dont have to put the yo there its optional and kinda a more assertive way to say it


Lol clearly because whoever set up the Spanish program doesn't ACTUALLY speak Spanish. It's ridiculous, just saying tengo is right.


Got me again, got to memorize all these nouns with femenine and masculine since the letter they end in doesn't mean anything. I do think duolingo should add a note to questions like this explaining the rules if any exist that would help to give context. It gets frustrating just guessing wrong and not having anything to reinforce the correct answer.


I think Duolingo is tryna tell my something...I have a problem


This is great explanation, but my complaint is the duolingo show forward to an exception help page. Doesn't help when the response shows pairing un problema and then has a help page saying to pair una with words that end in 'a.'


One of the best threads explaining masculine gender, and not too get caught out. Thanks to all for contributing.


I keep wondering as a person who has never taken a Spanish class, this is my first "class". I'm one month in. What would happen if i told a Spanish speaker, Yo tengo una problema. Kinda like, because of the "a" ending, i guessed a feminine, una. Would my statement not be understood, would the person laugh & point, would the world end? Or would they understand what I was trying to say, possibly correct me. Curious.


Why wont it say the spanish sentence so you can know how to say it.


So, had a question as to why we needed the Yo in front of tengo. Doesnt tengo assume its i have not just have?


In French, the answer is you need the "I." From what I see in Spanish, it is unnecessary except for emphasis or formal speech. So, yo tengo and tengo mean the same thing.


You dont need to say Yo first. Conjugating the verb implies who you are talking about. Saying Tengo un problema should not be wrong.


I always forget about problema being masculine.


I thought it was problemo before I started Duolingo


Any explanation of 'not the normal to expect' is very appreciated. I wonder if l can remember them.


What is the result in spanish if you use una instead of un? Will they not understand, or is it a minor grammatical preference?


It will sound weird. For some words, it might lead to a misunderstanding because there would be a difference in meaning (e.g. "un capital" is the financial/economic capital; "una capital" is a capital city)


"Un problema"? Not "una problema"? Why is this one irregular (mas vs fem)?


Because it comes from the Ancient Greek πρόβλημα /pró.blɛː.ma/ which is neutral, so it became masculine in Spanish


Is "problemo" not a word in Spanish?


No, problemo is not a Spanish word


What makes "problema" masculine?


Its etymology. It comes from the Ancient Greek πρόβλημα /pró.blɛː.ma/ which is neutral, so it became masculine in Spanish


Why not just Tengo... Why yo tengo


It really surprised me that "problema" was masculine rather than feminine but I now know for next time!


i was taught that ending in 'a' was feminine, ending in 'ma' was masculine... so el clima is masculine as is un problema...... look out for the 'm' first :-)


Why is it "un pregunta" but "una problema?" This gives me a problema grande :(


February 25, 2019 - Why is it "un pregunta" but "una problema?" I'm assuming you meant una pregunta and un problema.

From June 16, 2018 Here's a discussion of Spanish gender exceptions: https://www.lawlessspanish.com/grammar/nouns/gender-exceptions/

Some are shortened versions of feminine words (such as foto/fotografia). There are also some -o words that are feminine (la mano).

Note that many of these exceptions end in -ma, -pa, & -te. When I encounter an unfamiliar word with those endings, I check the gender in the dictionary.

There really aren't that many, and you'll remember the ones you use a lot.


Difference between quiero and tengo????


March 11, 2019 - quiero = I want and tengo = I have

If you haven't found it yet, SpanishDict https://www.spanishdict.com/ is an amazing resource.


some words are just different. like agua is masculine, even though it ends in an "a"


May 29, 2019 - "some words are just different" Quite right! Fortunately, Spanish has relatively few exceptions, especially when compared to English.

Just to confuse the issue, though, the el in el agua is there just because it's hard to say la agua. Agua is feminine for all other uses. http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/the%20water


How many exceptions do we have with ma ending i mean 5 or 20 or something like that does somebodt know


Why is it un?!?! Pregunta is feminine!!!!


It says "problema" not "pregunta"


This video is useful in learning some exceptions to the masc/fem rules... As he says in the video - it's all just practice! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fre-Vd438Ok

[deactivated user]

    This video is posted by Rae F from the question 'Un problema difícil'. Will be useful for those who have a doubt in un or una. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fre-Vd438Ok


    I thought it would allow 'Tengo un problema


    why problema and not problemas whats the difference


    "Problemas" is plural. That would be like saying "I have a problems," in English.


    Same, the una and un kill me. Its the only thing about spanish that i think is stupid lol


    I wish I had been warned of this (words that end with A are sometimes masculine) before I lost my last heart!


    Dang i just got this wrong for the 2nd time because i thought it was an 'una' not an 'un'


    I'm having a problem in general knowing I went to speak backwards as in Spanish or forwards. Case in particular I have a problem. Case in point: yo tengo un problema. Whereas a simple case in point, a Spanish book: un libro de espanol. I know this is a completely different type of phrase but it's a small example of a kind of problem I'm having with knowing which is which


    problema ends in a. a is for feminine and says un problema. please fix this.


    Need to to say "yo tengo". Simply"tengo" is correct.


    It sounds as if the voice actress is pronouncing it as Pro- lema. Is that correct? Is the B silent?


    no, the B is not silent. The problems is that these are digitally created voices and there are constant glitches. It causes a great many people distress and confusion and i would say it is the biggest drawback to this course. After a while, you can begin to make educated guesses at what the sentence is supposed to be, using context and your growing knowledge (just as you have done here).It also gets easier, because you become accustomed to hearing the same sentences over and over, and it helps that those same sentences are repeated as translation exercises, translating into English and Spanish. I am already hard of hearing, and I have started giving up on that because it's so time-consuming. I listen at normal speed once, and maybe one or two times more, then i go straight for "Turtle mode'. That is also too frequently unintelligible, as many have attested to, and i agree. There are some words that are totally missing the correct consonant. And in Turtle Mode, you can really hear the digital editing as the individual words come across as if they were pieced together from other sentences. I call them Frankenstein sentences. (Have you heard the "facebook!" sentence yet?) It becomes a puzzle to solve, which actually has it's good points as well as bad. This is something that has helped me a lot (but wouldn't work for everybody!):

    I have a growing list of sentences used, organized alphabetically by verb, then placed in the standard procession of conjugation that was drilled into me as a teen: I work, you work, he/she or it works, we work, they work. Or, in Spanish, yo trabajo, tú trabajas, él/ella trabaja, nosotros trabajamos, Ellos/as trabajan. I have the lists in my "notes", which I have open beside Duolingo on the computer. This way i get the the big picture. It's a lot of work, but it is like a further "cementing' of the content in my mind so, to me, it's worth it.


    I thought it would be problemo


    How do you tell if a word is masculine or feminine?


    You have to learn the genders with the words. There is no absolute rule for gender


    After hearing this repeatedly, it still sounds like "prolema". Can't hear "b". Is it just me?


    It is true that B, D and the soft G are 'relaxed' when they are in the middle of a word, so the B is a bit more difficult to hear


    Same question...didn't know problema was masculine.


    Why is it masculine?


    Because it comes from the Ancient Greek πρόβλημα /pró.blɛː.ma/ which is neutral, so it became masculine in Spanish


    Yo tambien. Gracias


    This is totally messed up hahaha


    Shouldnt "tengo un problema" be accepted too?


    Don't have pregunta and problema in the same three sets of questions


    Why un and not una for problema ans pregunta??


    Because problema comes from the Ancient Greek πρόβλημα /pró.blɛː.ma/ which is neutral, so it became masculine in Spanish


    This is to answer Fayvore's question of what is a lingot. (For some reason, the option to reply to you is not available). Copied this directly from Duolingo's "store" page:

    "What is a lingot? A lingot [ling-guht] is the Duolingo virtual currency. The more you learn on Duolingo, the more lingots you'll receive and be able to use in the store! They can be earned through:
    Leveling up - Earn 1 lingot; Finishing a new skill - Earn 2 lingots;
    10 day streaks - Earn 1 lingot for every 10 days on a streak (1 for 10, 2 for 20, etc). Note: Lingots are not awarded when you use a tree shortcut to level up or finish a skill." Hope you see this and it helps.


    Off... just when i thought i was getting the hang of masculine/feminine


    My problem is my signal phone number but I have to write a letter to write you back. Mi problema es mi número de teléfono de señal, pero tengo que escribir una carta para responderte. Pero yo necesito tu dirección, but I need your address.


    as the terminator would say, "no problemo"

    [deactivated user]

      Un, not una? Great.


      Why doesn't "estoy" work here?


      Why "tengo una problema" is wrong?


      Because problema is masculine


      There must be a static rule for "un" and "una"..


      There must be a static rule for un and una.. Its very confusing sometimes :/


      Why not "Tengo problema" pretty sure the "yo" and "un" can be extrapolated by context right?


      The yo is entirely optional. The un can be extrapolated from context, but it is usually provided in a positive sentence (it is usually omitted in a negative sentence, i.e. no tengo problema).


      Can't i type tango una pregunta?


      Incorrect. You dont use un in this sentence. Yo tengo problema


      man una and un are getting me confused now


      Hate those exceptions


      again i do a mistake! un problema,not una problema!opps!


      Ahhhhhhh So confusing


      I thought Problem(a) is Feminine.


      Im very much a beginner. Please explain why use problema and not problemo after yo tengo?


      Because the word problema = problem doesn't have anything to do with "yo tengo" = "I have". The word problema is fixed; it's always problema(s)


      That makes it a bit harder but I suppose I'll just have to make a note of them and try to learn them


      Why is it that i can same una problema dificil but not tengo una problema?


      "una problema" doesn't exist in Spanish


      why is problema masculine - it ends with an 'a'


      Because it comes from the Ancient Greek πρόβλημα /pró.blɛː.ma/ which is neutral, so it became masculine in Spanish


      So when does pregunta get to be un? Im confused


      I had the same question why un instead of una?


      Yo tengo un problema with this una and un


      Why are some words that end in 'a' masculine when most are feminine? Why is this language so sexist?!


      I understand your frustrations and that's alright! Words that end with ma tend to be masculine, words that end with dad are usually feminine. I hope this helps!


      So 'ma' (as in mama, mother) is masculine and 'dad' (pa, papa, father) is feminine? I guess we know who runs things in Spanish speaking countries!! LOL


      Haha yes that rule doesn't apply to all words ending in 'ma' or 'dad', there are plenty of exceptions.


      For what it's worth, grammatical gender has nothing to do with biological gender.


      is there a trick to remembering words in their masculine or feminine form?


      It's language history. It's done that way 100's of years. Madrid o french influence.

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