I agree. And I believe that is why the English has been changed to be more "natural".
I think of this as more an "idiomatic expression." -- the literal is too strange, and needs to be modified.
Another example (from Duo): "Estamos sentados en la mesa de atrás en el restaurant." ( We were sitting at the back....").
De niño = As a child....
Other examples: Había una vez = Once upon a time there was ...
Tenemos ganas de ir al cine = We feel like going to...
Except this is a very different kind of example. Verbs-with-prepositions are known as "phrasal verbs". Spanish has many phrasal verbs -- they variously use "con", "a" or "de".
For a list of English phrasal verbs, see this: http://www.lingolex.com/spanish.htm
For Spanish phrasal verbs, see these: http://spanishplus.tripod.com/VerbsandPrepositions.htm http://www.bowdoin.edu/~eyepes/newgr/ats/append.htm#appb
However, this "can't" example does not involve a phrasal verb.
The LIGHTBULB finally went off!
I quickly and incorrectly translated this sentence into the past tense as "you didn't find your dictionary" because a LITERAL translation, "you not find your dictionary," while in the present tense is obviously wrong.
This is why the correct translation is "you can't find" -- that's the only way to put this in the present tense in English and have the question make grammatical sense.
Sneaky Duo teaching me more when I get the answers wrong than when I'm right!
No, did is used for past tense. Here the Spanish means something like: So, you haven't been able to find your dictionary yet, right? The Spanish can convey this meaning just by using the present tense. English can communicate this with can + the main verb rather than having to resort to "you haven't been able to"
In statements and question in English, unlike Spanish, you always or almost always need to show the subject. The main exception to this is commands / imperatives. The reason for this is that the verb conjugation system in English contains much less indication in term of who the subject is. For example:
He went She went
You all went
All those conjugation use the same word, unlike Spanish where there might be 6 variations.
An extreme example of the need for the subject is the dummy subject like follows:
It is raining.
Llueve or está lloviendo
It is nice weather today.
Hace buen tiempo.
That shouldn't be acceptable because it's bad grammar. You're missing the subject in the question.
Even the translation by Duolingo is bad grammar hence the down votes. The correct way to translate this is "Can't you find your dictionary?" or "Don't you find your dictionary?"
The verb is encontrar, it means "to find", and it shouldn't.
English treats verbs of perception a bit differently than Spanish. When you're asking about being able to do something or negate it, you normally use "can" in English. Spanish is fine with just the verb.
- ¿Oyes eso? - Can/do you hear that?
- ¡No encuentro mi hijo! - I can't find my son!
- ¿Sientes el aire caliente? - Can/do you feel the warm air?
Patti, the translations between Spanish and English don't work so straightforwardly. "To find" is a verb of perception, and English prefers using "can" with those in questions and negative statements. Spanish is fine with just the full verb:
- No encuentro los boletos. - I can't find the tickets.
Patti, if you're talking about Spanishdict, these are the relevant examples I could find in its entry for encontrar. They're in the Collins part of the page, which is the third part, right above the "Examples" section:
no encuentro las llaves - I can't find the keys
no encontramos ningún sitio para alojarnos - we couldn't find anywhere to stay
no encuentro mi nombre en la lista - I can't find o see my name on the list
None of those uses poder. If you have a different source, I'd like you to link it. If you're referring to an automatic translator, I'll haunt your dreams tonight. Automatic translators are not reliable.
The Spanish sentence: "No encuentras tu diccionario?" doesn't have verbs that would require "going to find." Because the literal translation "You're not finding your dictionary?" is not the usual way English speakers would ask the question, the preferred translation is "You can't find your dictionary?"
Sanat, this is a so-called "declarative question". It's a type of question that uses the ame word order as a statement, and it is used to express surprise about something, rather than genuinely looking for an answer:
"I have to be somewhere else next week."
"You can't come on Tuesday? But we need you."
From the lovely characters in your post that I can't even recognize, I'm guessing that Spanish is not your second language and that English is probably not your first. I wish I had the stamina to work on so many languages! (And different alphabets!)
I'm sorry that you're frustrated, but Ryagon is correct. In both English and Spanish, one can make a "statement" into a question by use of intonation (rising at the end) when we're speaking and by virtue of the punctuation when we're writing. In the latter case, Spanish is ahead of English because it puts the inverted question mark at the beginning of the sentence to clue the reader in early on.
Sir, Thanks. You guessed it right. I'm from India. Here in India most people know at least three languages. Read, write & speak. Every language has its own beauty. I'm not frustrated, just annoyed. See, we're learners. We translate the words and that's also as taught to us. ¿No encuentras tu diccionario? would mean to me. Don't you find your dictionary? There may be another translation also. But would you say that my translation is wrong?
And yes, "Don't you find your dictionary" would seem to be a decent translation except that modern English speakers don't usually speak that way.
Here's a cool way to use use Google translate. Type in "don't you find your dictionary?" It will give you "no encuentras tu diccionario?" But when you switch languages (from Spanish to English), the translation for "no encuentras tu diccionario?" will be "Can't find your dictionary?" What this tells me is that "don't you find your dictionary" would be comprehensible to an English Speaker, but the preferred way to say the English phrase will use "can't."
I often use this little trick when I'm trying to figure out if my Spanish sentence makes sense. I'll put in MY sentence and Google will give a translation that generally corresponds to the idea I wanted to convey, but then when I switch it, I often find a slightly (or more than slightly) different sentence. I've learned a lot this way.
BTW, "Cora" is a feminine name in English.