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  5. "¿Cómo se escribe gato en esp…

"¿Cómo se escribe gato en español?"

Translation:How do you write cat in Spanish?

June 8, 2018

34 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gerry....

Surely this should read ¿Cómo se escribe 'cat' en español?

June 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cucaracha23.

You make a good point about the illogicality of this sentence.

June 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lets_learn_team.

de acuerdo

July 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mikeylee48

Saying something doesn't mean you know how to spell it so the sentence does make sense. If it had been "Cómo se dice gato en español" then it would not make sense.

December 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BlueBlazar

There still wouldn't be any use for the "en español." An English speaker isn't likely ask "How do you spell cat in English?"; they're more likely to say something like "How do you spell the word cat?"

December 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GrayNathan

It does make sense. If I was not certain I was hearing the word correctly or pronouncing it correctly, I might ask how the word is spelled in Spanish in order to see it. I have encountered this before with word more difficult than gato.

April 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheGEICOgecko

Maybe the person is writing it, or this is a Spanish translation of someone saying this in sign language

August 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cucaracha23.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my impression that Spanish speakers use the verb "escribir" to express the idea of the English verb "spell." In other words, an alternative (and probably better) way to translate this sentence would be "How do you spell 'cat'?"

June 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marek462424

That's most likely true. In Polish, we commonly say literally "how do you write [word]?" when we really mean to ask for spelling. Wouldn't native English speaker understand it the same way?

August 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lesaken

In the Collins online Spanish-English dictionary the second meaning of escribir, after "to write", is

to spell, [an example]
“voy” se escribe con “v”
“voy” is spelled with a “v”

Linguee though lists to spell as one of the lesser used meanings.

For those who believe the Duo sentence is nonsensical, if this question is heard and not read it makes complete sense. After all, we are learning to speak and listen as well as to read and write Spanish, as mikeylee48 points out. So this question would not be at all strange in context - say, if a Spanish tutor orally asked this question of a learner whose native language is English.

Personally, I would like the option of hiding the written Spanish words so we could choose to disclose them only after listening first.

December 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tammy639160

Agreed. With 2 of these speakers, I often report trouble with their diction and speed of speech. Our first efforts should be in listening to learn, not reading to learn- although that does help embed the memory.

When clicking the continue button, I avert my eyes from the screen, ready to hear something before I read it.

February 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bajaca

Spell is accepted by duo

January 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cawooz

It was not accepted today June 3, 2019

June 4, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fedor-A-learner

G A T O

July 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peter802775

No. The animal in the picture is a P A T O

December 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MBH3691

You forgot hyphens. G-A-T-O

August 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mojavejeeper

Or accept the alternative sentence "Cómo se escribe gato en ingles." as the answer flipping everything.

July 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dugggg
  • 1388

Great comments! I always thought the verb was deletrear, but I just learned that it is only used when spelling a word out loud---not written. Learn something new every day!

August 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xboy-Hodub

BRUH YOU JUST SAID IT

June 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KelliF

Is this escribe instead of escribes because we are assuming usted rather than tú?

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dugggg
  • 1388

In the passive voice ("is written", in this example) the verb is always conjugated to match the subject---gato escribe. "How is cat written in Spanish?" is a much more accurate translation than "How do you write..."

So "How is dog said in Spanish?" would be ¿Cómo se dice dog en español?

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lesaken

Dugggg is correct. This particular Spanish wording using the reflexive pronoun se is in the active voice but accomplishes the same result as the English passive voice construction - it avoids naming the person or thing that performs or does the action of the verb (in grammatical terms, the agent).

So there is no , no Usted, no Ustedes, no agent, who is actually asked to do the writing - in the Spanish wording. Naming an agent is unimportant to the meaning of the sentence.

I believe DLs interpretation into English active voice "How do you write cat in Spanish?", where "you" is the agent, simply reflects a colloquial or everyday English way of asking such a question.

You is really meant generally, so it is a question to anyone or to no one in particular.


Spanish also has a passive voice construction similar to the English passive voice, but it is not common in everyday speech. It is used in writing though, for example in newspapers.

But note that this Spanish construction using se completely omits naming any agent, and Dugggg's translation into the English passive voice is the better although less colloquial equivalent of the Spanish wording.

Grammatically, the pronoun se acts reflexively to make the object of the verb, gato in this case, to also be the subject. So the Spanish says literally, "how does gato write itself?"

October 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bruce768614

OR "How does one write cat in Spanish?" or "How does one say dog in Spanish?" "Se" plus the third person singular of a verb can also be the impersonal "one does..."

November 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kbrady49

Gato can also be translated as jack, as in car jack...

October 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lesaken

??? "Jack" has lots of meanings too in English, but I'm not sure of the relevance here?

October 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JimFry3

A lawyer would opine, "Don't ask a question that you don't already know the answer to". Oh, yeah. I think...What?

November 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/quegar

Why translation como se dice and como se escribe. In the midwest I've heard this a lot as being. (How does a guy say) or (how does a guy spell or write). But I don't believe that I should report that as to confuse other people. I am merely commenting here as to maybe help others understand. The more proper way is accepted. That is ( how does one say )or (how does one write or spell.). Cheers

February 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/quegar

Oh boy *my translation. Once again I should have proof read.

February 28, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zai5qOEg

It is not accepting "cat" with quotation marks. My thought is that "cat" needs the quotation marks because it is being used as a word, and that they (or italics) are mandatory in English.

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dogstatue

Why is third person verb form used?

July 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Norman11127

I thoght they were looking for an English word to write in Spanish and used "gateau", to be written as "pastel"

September 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ben51198

If you hit the "done" button you get a full screen to write your answer on. This would be great information to share with users. Maybe on a loading screen?

September 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doug168331

I kept hearing "come se escrive UN gato en espanol" no matter how many times I listened to it.

September 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roland682750

It would be 'gato'.

October 12, 2019
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