Because, in general, if a plural noun is the subject, it is preceded by an article. It is referring to "afternoons-in general" not to specific afternoons.
It is the opposite of English.
If we say "games are fun", we are referring to "games-in-general. The Spanish is "los juegos son divertidos."
Note also: The game is fun. (El juego es divertido.)
You will see this over an over in Duo, and you just need to remember.
WE also rely on context, as does Spanish.
Tenemos muchas lunas en el sistema solar. Las lunas varían en tamaño. We have many moons in the solar system. THE moons vary in size. (Context tells us it is "the moons.")
Then how do you say specific afternoons instead of "afternoons-in-general"?
When I read "Las tardes en la playa son divertidas," I reflexively translate that as "The afternoons at the beach are fun" and think we're talking about afternoons that I'm spending or we're spending at the beach.
If it means more broadly that (as we'd say it in English), "Afternoons at the beach are fun," then how would you say it more specifically? Something like "Nuestras tardes..."? Or am I only meant to figure out the actual meaning from context?
The literal translation of "at" is "a," and the literal translation of "on" is "en."
This being said, remember that the Spanish preposition "a" is used to point to/toward a direction/destination, as in "Voy a la escuela" (I'm going to school), and the Spanish preposition "en" is used when speaking of a location, as in "Vi a Mary en la fiesta" (I saw Mary at the party.) If you still want to think of it as "in," reframe it to yourself as "within the party," with the party being a group of people.
This wont accept "at the beach" as a correct translation, where: "Los fines de semana en la playa son muy divertidos." DOES accept "at the beach" as a correct translation. There are other sentances where it accepts "at the beach" in this phrasing of "en la playa" as well. Inconsistent? You decide.
"Divertido" can mean "entertaining," and in English, "amusing" and "diverting" are synonyms when they are both being used to mean "entertaining." Of course, this does not mean that "divertido" means "diverting" in Spanish. Rather, "divertido" and "diverting" are false friends.
The idea that ser is permanent and estar is temporary is misleading. There are many different uses for each of them. https://www.thoughtco.com/verbs-meaning-to-be-ser-estar-3078314
First, we would never put los playas, we las playas (playa is feminine). Then, you have to remember that plural possession in Spanish is distributive, as opposed to the collective possession in English. Basically, if you say The men have a shirt, it generally mean that they share the shirt, whereas in Spanish, you say Los hombres tienen una camisa. On the other hand, if you say Los hombres tienen camisas, it means that each man has several shirts.
In this sentence, it's more or less the same. If you say Las tardes en las playas, it means you go to different beaches in one afternoon, and you do so multiple times. Las tardes en la playa only means that you go to one beach per afternoon, not that you go to the same every time.
So, just to make sure I understand you …
The men have a shirt = Los hombres tienen una camisa = all of the men sharing one shirt. (Because "una" can be interpreted as "one")
The men have some shirts = Los hombres tienen camisas = every man has more than one shirt.
My question is: How is "Each of the men has one shirt?" translated into Spanish? Is it "Los hombres tienen unas camisas?"
The Spanish use the definate article in places that we don't use it. Try this link https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/using-the-definite-article-in-spanish This case comes under No1. Talking about general things! Hope that helps.
luke 791859 joanne641044 and mjStrong3 and I all have an issue with Las in this example. Your post (article inclusive) is very good at explaining Spanish uses of definite articles. But English use? If a person's mornings at the beach sucked but their afternoons did not they might say "the afternoons at the beach...". Why is that wrong?
"1. [The Spanish use the definite article] To Talk [about] Things in General. When talking about something in general, such as a type of food, music, book, etc. or a group of some sort, you'll use the definite article in Spanish: La comida de México es deliciosa. Mexican food is delicious. Los gatos son inteligentes. Cats are intelligent."
It seems that the definite article is not actually very definite in Spanish!
I can see that there is a difference. 'The afternoons' suggests specific afternoons that you are enjoying. 'Afternoons'' without the definite article mean afternoons generally ... Still, I don't understand how you can tell whether the comment is general or specific ... I'll try reporting it.
I submitted, "The afternoons at the beach are fun." This should have been accepted as well. If we look at it this way, it makes perfect sense:
"I love going to Florida. The afternoons at the beach are fun."
(Personally, I would have used a semicolon in place of that period, but that's not the point.) This sentence is perfectly valid.
Ser and estar are often used for different meanings with adjectives, so you may want to look in a dictionary to see which verb is used for the meaning you want. https://dictionary.reverso.net/spanish-english/Divertida
No, “ser” and its forms, including “son”, are used for what someone or something is and “estar” and its forms, including “están”, are used for how or where someone or something is. There are more uses for each, but they are not interchangeable. https://www.thoughtco.com/verbs-meaning-to-be-ser-estar-3078314
I can see here why English prepositions can be weird and interchanged some times. In my native Mid-Atlantic dialect of American English "at the beach" is used almost entirely over "on the beach". This makes me think that the idea of "at the beach" is used for an event, and "on the beach" is only sometimes used as a location
“On the beach” would mean that you are physically on the sand, perhaps sitting on a beach chair on a blanket, but you can arrive at the beach and still be in your car. If you can see the beach and are easily able to get onto it, you are at the beach. You can eat at a restaurant at the beach which has a view of the beach, but you may not actually be on the beach. Now, I am not saying that a restaurant might not actually be on the beach, but it doesn’t have to be for you to be at the beach.
“En la playa” can be either “on the beach” or “at the beach”, so since “on the beach” is included in the more general “at the beach”, I personally feel that “at the beach” is the better translation. However, the course to learn English from Spanish was created first and it may have been an easier sentence to learn that “on” usually translates to “en” when talking about location. The word “at” translates very differently depending on context.
For things that are “on the table”, you wouldn’t likely say “The keys are at the table.” So it depends on whether you are giving an exact location “on” or a rough location “at”. “I’m at the mall. I’ll be home soon.” Here I couldn’t say that I am on the mall, anymore than on the restaurant ; I would have to say “in the mall”, just like “in the restaurant”, but I wouldn’t since “at the mall” covers all the stores in the mall and the parking lot too, This is an example of how like “en” “at” is, since “en” can sometimes be translated as “in”.
I made the same mistake once: https://www.woodwardenglish.com/difference-between-fun-and-funny
A French person speaking is not necessarily going to pause between words, the following s from the word “son” could make you think that “playa” had an s, but I do not know how you heard an s on the word “la”. Sometimes my mind will extrapolate to make sense out of something I heard that I didn’t quite get, so I could see where you might have thought it was “las” since you thought you heard “playas”.
It should also be correct when translating to English, but the point of this exercise may be to show that generalizations which use the indefinite form in English use the definite form in Spanish.
There are more situations where "the" is required in Spanish, but it is not used in English. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-use-definite-articles-3079100
Rarely English uses a definite article when Spanish doesn't. https://www.thoughtco.com/use-and-omission-of-definite-article-3078144
When we are defining multiple things, 3rd person plural "are" = "son" or "están" depending on the rest of the sentence. Identification sentences use "son" and the other is used to tell where they are or how they are. Here is more on when to use each. https://www.thoughtco.com/verbs-meaning-to-be-ser-estar-3078314