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"¿No encuentras tu diccionario?"

Translation:You can't find your dictionary?

June 7, 2018



I'm not sure why "You didn't find your dictionary?" isn't a correct translation. And, to my ear, it sounds perfectly natural in English.


"Encontraste" is the past tense


So is "didn't find."


That's what I put too, but I think maybe that sounds too much like past tense. If they didn't find their dictionary, that sounds like they've finished looking. If they can't find their dictionary, maybe they're still looking but haven't had any luck so far.


I thought that too. But encuentras is present


There is no word for "can't" in the spanish sentence


The more literal translation: Aren't you finding your dictionary? seems awkward.


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...


I don't have a problem with "You're not finding your diccionary?" In fact, I'm pretty sure I've used it often, to my husband, about his glasses, and it's usually "You're still not finding . . .?"


Why is it that so many of the weird sentences apply to husbands?


Good point. OK. He could probably say the same about me, but it would be my coffee cup.


No, sometimes it's built in to the present tense.
No encuentro mis llaves. I can't find my keys.
¿Te ayudo, abuelito? Can I help you, Grandpa?
¿Me traes un café? Can you bring me a coffee?
The new sentences seem to be stressing that.


Thank you for that very helpful explanation. Your posts are insightful for learning the way native speakers communicate.


Another verb where this often happens is contar con = i.e. you can count on me, for example. Here's an example sentence from contexto.reverso.net

Tú sabes que cuentas conmigo para todo.
You know you can count on me for everything.


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.


Thanks for the explanation, Marcy! Duo gives this as an example (https://www.duolingo.com/skill/es/School-4/tips) but without explanation.


Would this be OK? "Can't you find your dictionary?"


I think that would be fine and should be reported.


It's not so they haven't fixed that yet


In my opion the correct traslation is: "Don't you find your dictionary?" or "Can't you find your dictionary?


I used, "Don't you find your dictionary?"


Was it accepted?


"don't you find your dictionary" isn't grammatically correct English.


You can't find your dictionary?: ¿No puedes encontrar tu diccionario?, no es lo mismo a ¿No encuentras tu diccionario?


Al inglés le gusta usar "can" en las oraciones de percepción, especialmente si son negativas:

  • No veo el televisor. - I can't see the TV.
  • No encontramos las llaves. - We cannot find the keys.
  • No te oigo. - I can't hear you.

  • No veo LA tele.
  • No encoNtramos las llaves.


Thank you for spotting the typo. For tele, I was going for "el televisor" instead of "la televisión".


"Tele" and "Televisión" are feminine. "Televisor" is masculine. I hope this helps.


Oh dear, you're right, televisor doesn't abbreviate as tele. I thought it'd work like radio.

Thank you, I'll correct my sentence.


Can't you find your dictionary?


English question form is not respected. It should be: can't you find the dictionary?


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!


Ok typing "Can't find your dictionary?" is wrong????


The subject is missing. In formal English grammar, you need to mention a subject in a question.


Sometimes the subject is inferred but that's no reason for a downgrade so I reversed it. You and Marcy 65 Brown are the most helpful ones on the whole Duolingo forum.


Sometimes the subject is inferred, but that is no reason to downgrade you so I reversed it. You and Marcy65Brown are the most helpful ones on the whole forum.


did you find makes more sense


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"


I think the answer is Ok under conversation . But i don't like it.


I didn't hear the S on encuentras but should have known to use it to agree with TU


I find it interesting that the use of 'can' in english makes it sound polite, as the literal translations are often ... I help you? Not... Can I help you? This explains a lot about cultural differences in how we ask questions.


Yes, and there is some variation available as well.
Can I help you?
May I help you?
Might I help you? (less common)
Could I help you? (very common)


WHy is You needed in the begining of the sentence. Isnt Cant find your dictionary also acceptable?


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:

I went
You went
He went She went
It went
'We went
You all went
They 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?"


You can't find your dictionary needs to be said with intonation indicating it's a question. I think people usually say 'Can't you find your dictionary?


I am curious of this verb, does encuentrar mean to be able to find? If not, shouldn't it be no puedes encuentrar tu diccionario?


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?


‘Didn’t you find your dictionary?’ means pretty well exactly the same and should be acceptable!


Encuentras is a present-tense form, so the search is still going on.


Why isn't "don't you find your dictionary" correct?


Margareta, would you commonly say that in English? It sounds odd to me without "can".


Really??! Well I think literally is the perfect translation but it doesn't make sense in english? I have more problem to write good in english than in spanish sometimes xD


Didn't you find your dictionary

Should be an accepted answer


Patty, encuentras is a present-tense conjugation. The person is still looking.


No puedes encontrar tu diccionario

Is the correct translation for "can't find".

You don't find your dictionary is the correct translation for the Spanish phrase noted.


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.


The Spanish Dictionary disagrees and notes the use of the poder verb with the infinitive.

The English language has been bastardized enough over the past 50 years resulting in erroneous grammar. Spanish used to be a more precise and correct usage.


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.


are you not going to find your dictionary? LOL, confused


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?"


I don't understand this English, Where a question starts with YOU instead of CAN'T.


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."


If we don't follow grammar, we're wrong. And when DL doesn't follow, we're wrong. અજબ વિડંબણા છે, યાર.


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?


You're welcome.

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.


Thank you, ma'am.


PODER. no PUEDO ver la palabra que significa "can't". No PUEDO creer que mi respuesta "You don't find your dictionary?" as awkward as it sounds, wasn't accepted. Of course, I'm no expert.


I think it's not accepted because it sounds awkward. :)

English prefers using "can" with verbs of perception, but Spanish is fine with just the main verb.


why is "did not find" not accepted?


Did not find is past tense. But this sentence is in present tense.


This question is really asking, "You lost your phone!" No one uses a dictionary anymore.


This translation is WRONG. It is not a question, and there is no 'poder' in the original so 'do' must do.


The translation is not wrong and just as in the other 28 lessons prior, intonation more than "CAN" is what tells you when it is a question.

If you're still barking about this this far into the lessons, you haven't learned much.


I beg to differ, I have learned something.... It's the rules built into the system which can make this flustrating at times. I said it before and I will say it again, in a physical class it would not be the same problem.

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