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  5. "Señor, ¿cuál es su oficina?"

"Señor, ¿cuál es su oficina?"

Translation:Sir, which is your office?

May 28, 2018



I answered "what" is your office, as in "what is the office of special things." Shouldn't that also be a correct translation?


"Which" indicates that there is a limited set of options.

I think English often uses "what" in places where the grammatical meaning is "which." If I go to an ice cream shop and they say, "What flavor would you like?" I understand it to be "which flavor." If I run into a friend at the cinema and they say, "What movie are you here to see?" I understand it to be "which movie". The word "which" tends to be used in primarily formal English, but Spanish keeps what and which distinct.


Spanish does not make a difference between "what" and "which" most of the time. You mostly don't get to choose whether you use qué or cuál as a question word.

¿Qué helado te gusta? - Which/what ice cream do you like?
¿Cuál es la capital de España? - What/which one is the capital of Spain?


So do we just memorize an arbitrary list of when to use Qué and when to use Cuál?


It's about as arbitrary as the distinction of "what" and "which" in English. :)

There's a system behind using qué and cuál, but it's not very obvious. Here is a good article that lists six cases that you need to distinguish.


Margaret, are you accessing the comment section from the app? The app doesn't allow clicking links for some reason.

Here's the URL if you still need it: https://www.realfastspanish.com/vocabulary/que-vs-cual


Kento, don't know about that, but do know this lesson is about how Duolingo is meaning to teach us cuál means which, here. So that is what one should be learning. True enough, having one's prefered or hoped for meanings can be fun and there is a bit of pain in giving them up. Still, there is an advantage in doing that, which is learning the lesson.


Duolingo's policy since I've been on it (2013) has been to accept all correct translations, whether or not they address the current lesson. New material won't have all correct translations -- we're expected to report them via the Report flag -- "My answer should have been accepted." (Developers will look those over, and reject ones that are actually wrong.)

IMO, purposely rejecting correct answers is lying for no good reason. It harms advanced students. It's like telling someone that 3+8 doesn't equal 11 "because we haven't learned that yet." Duolingo expects us to be learning from the entire world, not just from a rigid set of exercises.



The issue that your post is not discussing is the issue about whether the answer by Kento711 is right or wrong. But I understand that your post was written in reply to EugeneTiffany.

In hindsight, your reply to EugeneTiffany has little to do with the highest scoring post by Kento711 because the answer to the exercise by Kento711 was the wrong answer to the exercise.

If anybody wants to read the explanation for why the answer to the exercise by Kento711 is wrong, then scroll down to read the reply to Mskb1 by RyagonIV. And afterwards, read my reply to Mskb1.


Cuál can mean which or what, actually. There is no "preferred or hoped for" meaning. There are even rules that help one determine whether to use one over the other. Don't believe me? Look it up.


MsPuddles, I agree with your comment. There have been many sentances in lessons on dl where the English uses "what", but the Spanish translation has been given as "cuál", so it took me a while, but I am still learning.


Today is April 8, 2019. Today I received credit for the following answer. I am pasting my answer into this post.

Sir, which one is your office?


Have you reported it using the "report"-button as well?



I don't bother to report my correct answers to Duolingo unless I believe that Duolingo made a mistake. So in this case, no, I did not report my experience to Duolingo because Duolingo did not make a mistake. (Edit: I am a native English speaker.)

― which
― which one
― what


@PhillipMcN2: well, I'm not a native English speaker, but to me your suggestion sounds ok. So I think it could be a good idea to report it next time. The contributors of this course don't (can't) read all the forum discussions.


Su translates into his, not your office.


This is in usted form.


Thanks, I was wondering about this!


Incorrect. Su can have many translations, including "his," "her," "its," "your," and "their."


I was incorrect for saying "Mister" instead of "Sir." Both should be counted right. How many times are we told to say "Senor (name)." In English we would translate this to "Mr. (Name)" not "Sir, (name)." So here you should be able to translate it to "Mister" and/or "Sir."


I agree that Mister should be an acceptable translation - I have been fighting this with MANY of the new questions, for both señor (mister) and señora (lady). Where I grew up, both Mister and Lady were taught as the preferred form of address by a young child to an unknown adult. And it is the primary way Jerry Lewis talked in many of his movies!


I don't think mister and lady are good substitutes for sir, and ma'am. If you do not follow lady with a name such as a title, or Mr with a last name, you may very well come off as being rude.

In my opinion sir and ma'am should be the choices. Mr and lady are a very impolite way to address a stranger. I would say lady to a child in my family or perhaps I would call her "little lady" and in a similar manner jest with the little boys as mister but never would I address a strange man as mister, only sir. You see, it's perfectly alright to refer to strangers as mister or lady when speaking to someone about them but never to them. Sir and ma'am are not only polite but also respectful. I hope my opinion makes sense. Graciad


Whether or not these are considered polite or rude vary depending on region and culture. Duolingo's policy to date has been to accept people's regional idioms.

Kento711 has just told us that he was taught that Mister was the polite form that he was taught growing up.

Your polite idiom would have been unacceptable in my childhood, except from someone with Southern accent, which would be tolerated. I'm from New England; I gather you are from the South.


It doesn't work that way in Spanish. It is only Mister/Mr. if there is a name to go with it(Señor Pérez, ¿cuál es su oficina?). If there is no last name, then señor will always be sir. It doesn't matter how we as native English speakers would say it. There are rules in Spanish that are to be followed. This is one such rule.

On a personal note, I have never called anyone Mister in my life. Mister, which is your office? vs Sir, which is your office? The latter sounds better to my ears. Might be due to my southern roots


The word "mister" in my experience mainly is spoken by old time street kids in movies. "Mister, you got a spare dime?"

It is certainly not ever used in a form of true respect as sir is. Can't be. Does not come across that way.


I agree. Back in the days you are speaking of, that was(while impolite) was socially acceptable. It is not socially acceptable colloquial speech where I live.

I asked my neighbor who was born and raised in Mexico. She says the same. It is not "Mister, which is your office?" but "Sir, which is your office?" She says that the culture of Spanish speaking countries is that of respect and she said that Mister, unless followed by a surname, is quite rude where she comes from.


DuoLingo should not enforce English language usage in a spanish course where preferences vary, even to the point of being commonplace.


Very interesting! As a learner of English, I have a problem with the passive voice. You say: "How many times are we told to say" I suppose that a possible translation would be: Cuantas veces se nos dijo que teníamos que decir" " or ' cuántas veces se nos dice que digamos" . Is this right?

There is a sentence in this course that can be a great problem for Spanish speakers:

" He was told to go to sleep" Se le dijo que fuera a dormit.


Why "su" and not "tu" for the word "your"


Su is used here because the person is addressed as "señor". It's a formal addressing, so you go on with usted grammar, which uses su as a possessive form.


Ahhh, ok. That makes sense to me. I have just missed it. Thanks!!! It's been driving me crazy not to understand why that sometimes tu and others su when speaking of your. I get it!!


Tu means you if I'm right, and su means your, her, his, etc.


Tu is your. Tú with the accent is you. Su is used with his/hers/yours(formal). Tu(without the accent) is used when talking to tú, the familiar people in your life. Pay attention to the accents. If you are using DL on a computer, search the internet for how to change your keyboard to Spanish. The accents change the meaning of words. Esta/está. El/Él. Tu/Tú. All words in Spanish that mean different things because of the accent.


You can't just use either tu or su in a coin flip choice. Both require their corresponding verb conjugation.


I thought "cual" meant what. Now I see it also means which. Does it mean anything else?


If you hover the word when you're on the question, it gives a drop down of all the meanings.

Cuál= what's, which, which one, and what


Thank you for answering. And, wow, that's really helpful about the hover. Something I wish I had figured out sooner.


Beware though -- the hover has some issues. Sometimes it gives translations that don't apply in the current context. In particular, if a word appears twice in a sentence, but translates differently in each place, the hover shows the same translation in both places, even though it's only right for one of them. Use it as a reminder, and don't expect it to be correct everywhere.


My answer: "Sir, what is his office?" I interpreted it as asking for the name of a third person's elected position. I don't see anything wrong with my interpretation for the following reasons.

I am confused on two fronts: 1) what or which? 2) his/her or your?

1)" Which office" would be asking which among various offices belongs to the person, whereas "what office" would be asking which elected or appointed office belongs to the person.

2) "su oficina" = "his/her office" for él/ella as well as "your office" for usted.

Q: Sir, what is HIS office? A: "He is president." But also it could be asking the person being addressed what his elected office is. Q: Sir, what is YOUR office? A: "I am president." Thanks for your help.


Oficina is not used for the political position of a single person. Oficina is either the room where people do work, or, more expandedly, the office work environment, as in "There's a lot of chit-chat in the office."

The "elected position" is ususally called puesto.

Considering this, "what" doesn't really work here. Maybe as a colloquial way of "What does your office do?" but that's a bit far out there. The Spanish sentence is asking about the location of the [person]'s office.

Either of "his", "her", "its", "their" or "your" would be fine here, depending on the context. "Your" is the most likely one, though.


according to my Spanish teacher, su can also be used as the formal version of tu



Before reading my post, first read the reply (to Mskb1) by RyagonIV. I will wait for you.

Extracurricular Activities:

Sir, what is your position in the organization?

Translation number one:
Señor, ¿cuál es su cargo en la organización?

Translation number two:
Señor, ¿qué cargo ocupa en la organización? (Sir, which position do you hold in the organization?)



Great article! :-D

The post by Mskb1 discusses an issue regarding qué versus cuál. Other students might not be completely clear about this issue. For many of us, it is helpful to read the article that MsPuddles is suggesting.


is "su" a formal address instead of "tú"? is it used when we aren't too familiar with the person we're speaking to?


Exactly. "su" is the 3rd person singular possessive used not only used for "él" and "ella", but also for "usted".


We just had a question using cual as what and now they want us to know it's meaning is which? Context, context, context.


Could you translate as which one is your office?


Yes, that would be a very good translation.


More natural English would be 'Which office is yours?'

[deactivated user]

    Both 'what' and 'which' should be accepted as correct because, of course, both are correct. What is your office? = What are your responsibilities? What is your job? etc. In this early stage in the course, we have seen 'cuál' to indicate 'which' and 'what'. '¿Cuál es tu nombre?' = What is your name? I think this is where some are confused. Being taught one thing, then throwing in and idiom to confuse the student. But, something that has happened here is that from now on you will always be aware that 'cuál' is not always going to mean 'what', it may also mean 'which'. Clever... but don't mark it wrong. Explain the reason before the lesson starts.


    Why cant we say cual es tu oficina?


    Because you usually use "usted" for persons you address by "Señor".


    The question is why not "tu" but "su" why does everything bout spanish has to be complicated?


    If you address someone by "Sir", you use the "formal" address "usted", not "tú". And the matching possessive for "usted" is "su".

    why does everything bout spanish has to be complicated?

    This is not complicated at all. Different "you's" exist in many languages.


    In response to which to use, cuál vs qué, please see the provided link



    I used "sir, which is their office? "


    my question is { senor cual es su oficina?} and i wrote sir what is your office and it said it was wrong and i was like what but that what i exactly typed in it said it was wrong :{ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! anyway it should be {sir where is you office?}


    It is supposed to be "Which one is your office?"

    "Where is your office?" would be "¿Dónde está su oficina?"


    "Which is you office sir" is the same thing, just a different way of saying it. Should be accepted.


    Isnt su for his or hers and tu for yours?


    Yes, but in Spanish (and other languages like mine 'Greek') when you speak in formal and being polite you have to use 3rd person because it's kinda rude to address directly to the person you don't know very well.


    can't senor also be translated as mister? it marked me wrong for saying "mister, which is your office?" I think mister and sir are interchangable in english


    You can use it, but "sir" is the more common standalone addressing. "Mister" is usually used together with the person's surname.


    Why is "which is your office" "su oficina" rather than "tu oficina"?


    You're addressing the man formally, as señor, so you have to continue with usted grammar.


    Mister where is your office.


    "Sir" is the better addressing when you're not going to mention the name of the man. Also cuál is specifically "which one" in this case. "Where is your office?" would be "¿Dónde está su oficina?"


    Why is this 'su' (meaning his) and not 'tu' (meaning your) when DL has translated it as 'your office'?


    Check other replies like RyagonIV's:

    "You're addressing the man formally, as señor, so you have to continue with usted grammar."


    "Which office is yours" or "What is your office"


    The first sentence doesn't match the grammar used in the Spanish sentence, and the second has the wrong meaning.


    Ok, I answered Sir, which is his office. Because it said SU oficina. Why would it not be TU for your office? This has bitten me more than once.


    In Spanish (like in many other languages) there are four different translations of the word "you". You have to discriminate between
    a) if you are talking to one single person or to several
    b) if you talk to very close friends of yours, family members or children on the one hand or to everyone else (strangers, your boss, ...)

    • one person informal is "tú", the respective possessive pronoun is "tu"
    • several persons informal is "vosotros" with poss. pron. "vuestro"
    • one person formal is "usted" with poss. pron. "su"
    • several persons formal is "ustedes" with poss. pron. "su" as well

    (and note that "usted" and "ustedes" take the 3rd person (singular resp. plural) of the verb).


    Note that vosotros is generally not used in Latin America. They use ustedes for any group of people.

    (Also vos.)


    what is the difference between su and tu?


    See my comment above.



    Are you referring to your reply to CaraDalton57 ?


    Cuál is killing me. It can be so many things.


    My issue with this lesson seems to be different from what I have read here. After repeatedly listening to the sentence, I answered, "tu," and then I was corrected with that word being, "su." Regardless of the right answer, no grammatical error has been made and the answer should be allowed, based on the verbal only sentence given.


    Did you have an audio exercise? Then you have to use the exact wording, which is presented in the sentence, and this is "su". Of course using "tu" yields a grammatically correct sentence, too, but it's not the one presented.


    Using tu here is indeed grammatically incorrect. You're talking to a señor, so you have to use usted grammar while talking to him.


    well, it's not grammatically incorrect, but rather sociologically :-)


    When do you use cuál and que?


    In regards to this sentence, the expression "¿Qué es ...?" is used when asking for a definition, and "¿Cuál es ...?" for when you want an answer.

    • ¿Qué es un águila? - What is an eagle?
    • ¿Qué es el águila más grande del mundo? - What is the largest eagle in the world?


    Mr, which is your office? WHY am i WRONG?????!!!!


    You shouldn't use the abbreviation "Mr" without the name of the man.


    Or you could use "Sir" and not need the name.


    not a good answer it should be where is your office or which one is your office


    "which one" should be ok, but "where is your office" is not a translation of the given sentence


    Why is it not "tu"? I'm confused. Is it a matter of being formal?


    Yes. We're addressing the gentleman as señor here, which is a formal addressing, so we need to continue with usted grammar. Su is the possessive form for usted.


    What's the difference between Sir and Mister? I've used it interchangeably in the past lessons and now it seems to care which one I use


    Luděk, "Sir" is usually used when you don't mention the person's name. "Mister" is usually followed by a name: "Sir, are you Mister Smith?"


    You use "Mr." in front of a name, and "Sir" if you have it in isolation.


    Why is it su and not tu


    Because you address a person you call "Sir" using the formal "usted". And "su" belongs to "usted" as does "tu" to "tú".


    What about "Senor, cual es tu oficina?" Is this correct too? Su means his her. I'm thinking su is used here instead of "tu" to make the sentence more formal. Am I right or wrong?


    If you call someone "Mr." it is clear that you use the formal address, which means you should use "su".
    You use "tu" only for children, family members and very close friends. None of these you would address by "Mr.".


    Su officina = his&her office... Isn't that correct or do i have a mistake?


    "su" is indeed "his" or "her", but also "your" for the "formal you" "usted".


    In English it would be 'Sir, which one is your office?'. Why have they dropped the 'one'?


    Jonathan, it's also okay in English to drop the "one" and use "which" as a pronoun. It apparently just sounds odd in some dialects.


    I am a native English speaker. It's possible that both ways are grammatically correct. However, I don't think it very common in English to say 'Which is your(s) ..........?' instead of 'Which one is your(s) ..........?' in general conversation. In fact, we'd could also say 'Which office is yours?' which drops the 'one'.


    isn't mister the same as mr. ? I wrote Mister, which is your office? and they said it was wrong


    You use "Mr." with a name after it. Without one, you usually say "Sir".



    I hope you reported it. They absolutely are the same thing and both should be accepted.

    Sometimes Duo is insistent on a contraction or an abbreviation and then sometimes not even though they mean the same thing.

    There's one lesson where Duo will not accept I'm and only I am.

    However Duo may insist on Sir for these lessons.


    Why isnt it "what's your office"?



    Because 'what's your office' is extremely bad grammar that doesn't make any sense.

    "Cual" can be 'what' or 'which' depending on context.

    Imagine there's a hallway of offices, you would ask 'which' not 'what'.


    I thought "su" meant "his/her" and "tu" meant "your":-\


    In principle you are right. But "tu" is only for the informal "tú". The formal "usted" uses the 3rd person singular verb form and therefore has "su" as well.
    And because you address the person by "Sir", you need the formal variant.

    So, depending on context, "su" can mean "his", "her", "its", "your" or "their".


    so how I'm gonna now who is he talking about when saying ''su'' ?


    If there is no context that suggests that you are talking about a third person, it means "your". and references the person you are talking to.



    It's obvious that we are talking about the "Señor".

    "Sir, which is your office?

    I'm not sure I understand which part of this you're confused about.

    "Su" functions as your in both second and third person, I believe, depending on context.

    It's a possessive pronoun for he, she, you formal & y'all as well.


    I think he is talking about the possibility that the sentence could be translated as "which is his office" or "which is her office" as well. This is possible, but highly improbable in most contexts.



    That may be true but in this sentence we are talking directly to the "señor" not about him.

    And you're suggestion (which I have no problem with) would be a different sentence contextually and su would still be used as third person his, right?


    How else would you say it, if you directly talk to the "señor" and ask him which one is someone else's office?
    As in "I am looking for Pedro. Mr. X, can you tell me which one is his(=Pedro's) office?".


    Probably the same way I would think.

    In your new sentence you've pointed out that you're looking for someone else so then su becomes his because "su" can be both your and his right? depending on the conversation or the context of the sentence of course.

    "Estoy buscando a Pedro. ¿Señor, puede decirme cuál es su oficina?"


    "¿Cuál es oficina de Pedro?"

    Someone is going to have to correct me. I don't know that these are right.


    In your new sentence you've pointed out that you're looking for someone else so then su becomes his because "su" can be both your and his right?

    Exactly. In this context you could say "Señor, ¿cuál es su oficina?" and it means "Sir, what is his office?".

    Btw. "¿Cuál es oficina de Pedro?" is not correct, it should be "¿Cuál es la oficina de Pedro?"



    So I passed? except I forgot the article.

    I knew there was something wrong with that sentence, it just didn't feel completely right.

    Thank you!


    "su" is the formal "your" (as well as "his", "her" and "their").


    I feel like the voice actor really swallowed the "su" here. I realize that we are try to learn to listen to natural speech, but even when i listen out for it its barely there.


    Same difference


    I couldn't hear her say the "su".



    Yes the articulation is bad as it spliced together from recordings but what else could have been?

    Pro tip: All the listening exercises are pulled from the lesson, they're just a repetition of what you've already been doing.


    I wonder, what is contraction for 'Señor' in Spanish? Because "Sr, cual es su oficina" was not accepted.



    There isn't one.

    Why do you need to have a contraction?


    I think this is weird. Why is it "sir, which is your office"? If anything made sense, it would be "which one is your office"? English is changing and right now this makes no sense. However, it does accept "sir which one is your office".



    I'm not sure I understand what your issue is with this translation.

    What do you mean by English is changing?

    It's not really.

    Are you under the impression that people aren't formally polite in English? There are many people that do use sir to address someone of older age or authority, even a stranger.

    The sentence is trying to force you to recognize the formal your (su), you also can't just exclude señor from your translation.

    If I'm wrong about your comment intentions then I apologize but this is what I gleaned from your post.


    i did it right i said sir which is you office and they said i was wrong


    It is wrong. It should be "your office", not "you office".


    I put "Sir which is your office?" And i was marked incorrect.


    You probably didn't notice that you mistyped something.



    If that is exactly how you wrote it then it should have been accepted and you should report it.

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