"Sir, are you writing a book?"
Translation:Señor, ¿escribe usted un libro?
Yes, I don't think the other comment made that so clear. I hadn't thought that when speaking to people of authority would require changing the verb to its "he/she" form. Just in case the original comment doesn't quite understand the correlation between the "usted" and "escribe", the rules are:
leo - I read
lees - you read
lee - he/she/you (formal) reads
The light bulb next to each new set of lessons will inform you of rules you may need to learn as you go. It helped a lot when I discovered that!
(Edit: Daniel explained it well enough, just thought an example would help.)
Usted comes from an (older?) Spanish phrase basically directly translating as "your grace" or "your eminence" or something similar . If you think of
usted (formal you) that way, it makes sense:
Tu escribes un libro: "You are writing a book.
Escribe usted un libro: "Your grace is writing a book".
Put it this way: You'd never say "Your grace are writing a book".
While they will list multiple forms of the word in the drop-down hint list, usually only one is right...and they don't always list the correct one first which I know confuses a LOT of people. I try to write the sentence before checking the hint list as it helps test memory/comprehension, and use the hint list as more of a double-checking system. Hope this helps a little!
Despite Tessa Jade's comment below, she is attributing context to a situation that lacks context. We have only the translation to work with. If the English asks for present continuous, the correct Spanish response should also require present continuous tense. This confuses people who are doing our best to learn difficult verb tensing. DUOLINGO NEEDS TO CORRECT THIS ERROR.
Present tense (indicative) in Spanish means three things.
Yo hablo inglés: I speak English. I do speak English. I am speaking English.
Yo como pan: I eat bread. I do eat bread. I am eating bread.
Yo vivo en Buenos Aires: I live in Buenos Aires. I do live in Buenos Aires. I am living in Buenos Aires.
señor, es usted ecribiendo un libro? = means literaly, Sir, are you writing a book? so why have they rejected it ??????
I don't see how adjective word order applies here, but while Señor, ¿usted un libro escribe? might be technically correct, it's really weird word order, like Sir, a book are you writing?.
"¿Señor, usted escribe un libro?"
"¿Señor, escribe usted un libro?" and
"¿Señor, escribe un libro usted?"
are all better translations.
I've had that before. From what I understand, you put el Señor when he are talking about a guy. You say Señor when talking to the man himself.
Ex: El Señor Pérez tiene un libro. Mr. Pérez has a book. (Talking about Mr. Perez) ¿Señor Pérez, tiene un libro? Forgive me if I put the question marks in the wrong spot. But that translates to: Mr. Perez, do you have a book? You are addressing Mr. Perez directly.
Like he said earlier, the use of 'Señor' implies the question is formal, 'usted' not tù.
In an earlier lesson you said that 'usted' had to come before the verb. So I wrote ¿El señor, usted escribe un libro? but you said it was wrong and 'usted' (being formal as you are saying 'sir') should be after the verb - you wrote Señor, ¿escribe usted un libro? Where does usted go in a sentence? What is the rule please?
In English, we can use the present continuous tense to talk about activities that are on-going, but that we aren't necessarily doing at that moment. However, in Spanish, this is not the case. In Spanish the present continuous is reserved for whatever action you are completing in that precise moment. For example, in English, it would be common to say "I am working at the supermarket," to one of your friends when you are not actually on the clock. But, if you are speaking Spanish and you say, "Estoy trabajando en el supermercado," that would actually mean that you are on the clock working at that moment. Check out LightSpeedSpanish on youtube - they have some great videos explaining grammar concepts like this. Their videos are very succint and to the point - about 10 minutes each!