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  5. "I have a problem."

"I have a problem."

Translation:Yo tengo un problema.

May 24, 2018

147 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rabidace03

Why un and not una?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JOJO_123_123

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eric740723

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikeM597512

Great explanation! Thank you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zachary661198

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaptarshiM437817

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’


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emma.345223

One example is: "La calle".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jamicka1

Thank you for explaining this. It was helpful


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanShea474062

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LucyEsposi1

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanShea474062

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bookworm595

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohannaFlo229547

Men are problems? ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristineL53455

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pra7ik

How to understand should the word is masculine or feminine?


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

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.


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kls153

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deact1vated_User

Houston, yo tengo un problema.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelMar43591

Houston, TENEMOS un problema.


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

Houston, hemos tenido un problema.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheDuo27

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


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

Houston, tenemos un problema.


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

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


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

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


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bro-KenWilliams

Muchas gracias, Dios te Bendiga. Septembir 2019


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krisbutler1234

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rabidace03

dies of confusion


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sumxs1

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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'


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john581308

Why "yo tengo" and not just "tengo"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

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


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

It can be just "tengo"


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.M.K.2

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pookie1888

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HSSweetie2019

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlanJennin5

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.'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lorna659977

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sharon_008

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoseGold25144

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aliaszer0

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.M.K.2

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tricia978821

I always forget about problema being masculine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Izzy749273

I thought it was problemo before I started Duolingo


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Karen560181

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StuartRobe385630

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SherryLynn305964

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Torrest4

Is "problemo" not a word in Spanish?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

No, problemo is not a Spanish word


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Craig701335

What makes "problema" masculine?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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


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

Why not just Tengo... Why yo tengo


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zoe480751

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 :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mary.walsh

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/saana317627

Difference between quiero and tengo????


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

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.


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eloise23

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


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

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


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

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


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

It says "problema" not "pregunta"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeorgeTurner971

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hilary38851

    I thought it would allow 'Tengo un problema


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nish837615

    why problema and not problemas whats the difference


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mini.bad

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrewCran8

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VickiHenry1

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gemstones44

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Scarletter498295

    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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Al-Amin278729

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KevinWater14

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kal_92

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristineL53455

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoaquinD14

    I thought it would be problemo


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Meemers713

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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


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

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

    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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vicki800410

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


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

    Why is it masculine?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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


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

    Yo tambien. Gracias


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MuminAl-Sh

    This is totally messed up hahaha


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IceWolfz159

    Shouldnt "tengo un problema" be accepted too?


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

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


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

    Why un and not una for problema ans pregunta??


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Spanish-Flower1

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NatalieMor975820

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OscarJairo11

    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.


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

    as the terminator would say, "no problemo"


    [deactivated user]

      Un, not una? Great.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heather875243

      Why doesn't "estoy" work here?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/R0h1tm66na

      Why "tengo una problema" is wrong?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

      Because problema is masculine


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

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


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

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SavageBear5

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


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

      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).


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

      Can't i type tango una pregunta?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margaret336483

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


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

      man una and un are getting me confused now


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mohitsingh821217

      Hate those exceptions


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ayesha382746

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmberDC-66

      Ahhhhhhh So confusing


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

      I thought Problem(a) is Feminine.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sugardoll2

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

      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)


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

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


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

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

      "una problema" doesn't exist in Spanish


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

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmineHadji1

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AJoc88

      So when does pregunta get to be un? Im confused


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lori937477

      I had the same question why un instead of una?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ph.JZDgJS

      Yo tengo un problema with this una and un


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

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jaden158133

      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!


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

      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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jaden158133

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


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

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Honourable-AG

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


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimSchultz8

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

      Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.