"You are looking at the pictures of my birthday."
Translation:Tú miras las fotos de mi cumpleaños.
It carries a similar meaning, but "images" and "photos" are no more precisely the same in Spanish than they are in English. I have trouble picturing any English speaker talking about "images" from an event, unless s/he is a fine artist or an academic. The rest of us just say photos.
Some Spanish verbs take a preposition, some do not. Some English verbs take a preposition, some do not. Sometimes both languages are in sync, sometimes they are not.
Think of mirar as either "to look at" (English preposition built in) or "to watch" (preposition not needed in English either).
The same is true of buscar, "to look for", and pedir, "to ask for". In English they may require a preposition, in Spanish they do not. There is no simple rule about this; we just have to learn it verb by verb.
The good news is that with drilling, the wrong answers comes to "feel wrong" even though all the choices are essentially random, in the sense they have no reason we can discern. I find it helps to learn an English equivalent that works like the Spanish, so I think of pedir as "to request", so I'm not tempted to stick in the "for".
I'm sorry. The answer here is actually obvious. En la tele is a prepositional phrase describing where the object (Qué) resides. La tele is not the direct object of estás miranda.
Compare to this sentence in English: "to seek" does not take a preposition before its object. "I am seeking employment." "I am looking on the internet." "On the internet" is a prepositional phrase describing where I am looking, but it is NOT the direct object of the verb.
Likewise, en la tele in the prompt is a prepositional phrase describing where the object of estás mirando resides, but it isn't the d.o. The d.o. would be el programa or whatever content you are watching.
I AM VERY SORRY I wasn't more helpful several months ago.
Laine, I was corrected by another poster who wrote that mirar does sometimes take a (and I'm not counting the "personal a", which can come into play). IIRC, mirar a--when it isn't talking about looking at a person or pet--means "to look toward", not just "to look at". It is a much rarer usage of mirar. Your post was accurate on the whole.
Theo, I'm not sure what your question is because of the convoluted array of posts above us, but the bottom line is that some verbs in Spanish don't take a preposition (mirar most of the time, buscar, pedir, etc.) because the preposition is built into the meaning of the verb (respectively, "to look at", "to look for", "to ask for").
To my knowledge, there is no simple pattern. We just have to learn it verb by verb. This is the benefit of practice.
There's no strict schedule as to when course contributors get to those suggested changes. Some of them are paid, but many are also volunteers. They will get to it when they can.
(The other possibility is that whoever read the complaint doesn't agree with the change. If so, it just won't be changed. There is no notification system for this.)
i don't think that has been addressed here, but two sentences from this lesson were basically "looking at pictures" and "watching the television." "estas mirando a las fotos" seems to require the "a" while "estas mirando la tele" does not. In both instances, we're looking at something. is it simply because in English, we "look at the pictures" while "we watch the television" (without the preposition)? i muddled through the lesson, but i'm not certain that i understand the difference yet.
me ayudas, por favor
It's probably simplest to not use a with mirar at all. (Except for when you're looking at people, of course.) "Mirar las fotos" is good, and so is "mirar la tele". The phrase "mirar a algo" rather has a connotation of "looking towards something" or "looking to something", caring about the direction rather than the concrete object.
It's not plural, it just ends on '-s'. The few verb-noun compounds that exist in Spanish tend to do that.
- el cumpleaños (birthday) - cumple (fulfils) + año (year)
- el paraguas (umbrella) - para (stops) + agua (water)
- el limpiacristales (window cleaner) - limpia (cleans) + cristal (glass)
- el quitanieves (snow plower) - quita (removes) + nieve (snow)
I have seen around ten so far, and I don't think they are as numerous as in English. How many can you name?
EDIT: I say "they are", but English compounds are something different. English has noun-noun compounds, like "teacup" from the noun "tea" and the noun "cup". Spanish doesn't have that type as far as I'm aware, it's just "taza de té" there. Just as a side note. (Nov '19)
As I (non-native speaker) understand it, it's a matter of emphasis in Spanish. The present progressive--estás mirando--is used for actions that are occurring right at this very moment, while the simple present--tú miras--is used for current actions without emphasizing immediacy.
Bottom line: either may be correct depending on your intention. Spanish uses the present progressive far less than we do in English (where we use it for almost all current, ongoing actions).
On second thought and while the above is correct, I fear I have oversimplified Spanish usage. The present progressive is also used to contrast an ongoing action with a finite action, as in Yo estoy leyendo cuando ella viene en la sala. "I am reading when she comes into the room." The reading began in the past and continues in the present; her coming in is a finite action in the middle of my ongoing reading. I hope this makes sense, or as we often say in English, "I am hoping this makes sense."
Thanks! I kind of understand. I think it's one of those things you have to get a feeling for over time. I find the present progressive is overused in English. I'd like to know, without any more info than Duo generally provides, what would make one or the other form in Spanish wrong.
Drskaiser, I don't think there are situations where either the simple or the progressive form isn't permittable. Remember that the progressive present form ("estás mirando") is just a subset of the simple present form ("miras"). Their relationship isn't as complicated as in English.
The question is always just: do you want to put focus on the progress of the event? Do you want to turn your eye towards the goal (simple) or towards the way there (progressive)?
There are some situations where it's unlikely to use the progressive form, though. As Guillermo already said, if you're mentioning a specific timeframe for the action (especially something as restrictive as ahora), you probably won't use the progressive form. Similarly, if the event is happening in the future (mañana), it's rather unlikely that you'll focus on the progress, but not out of the question:
- Mañana estamos trabajando todo el día. - Tomorrow we will be working all day.
Even when talking about habitual actions, you can use either form, just like in English. It again depends on the focus on the progression:
- Juego al ajedrez todos los días. - I play chess every day.
- Estoy juegando al ajedrez todos los días. - I am (in the middle of) playing chess every day.
As usual, Ryagon is right. But I would add that it's often a matter of emphasis. As many, many users have noted, the "s" at the end of Spanish words is sometimes dropped carelessly in informal conversations. Check out the female prompter in the exercises; she drops final consonants quite often. When that happens with a regular verb, second person informal, it may sound like the speaker is talking about the third person singular (he or she). Adding "Tú" solves the problem.
There are also cases, as in English, where you want to distinguish clearly between "you" and "he": Tú seas derecho pero él sea jefe. Using the pronouns is useful in such cases.
That's just not true, Josh. Lots of people use "pictures" and "photos" interchangeably--in English--unless they are comparing photography to painting. As others have pointed out, there is no word picturas in correct Spanish, so one has to default to fotos. No trap, just a lesson in what word is available in Spanish.
Miguel, I hope I didn't give you the impression that your question was inconvenient or inappropriate. You didn't know and so you asked. That's what these pages are for! I'm not discouraging anyone from reading other sites, but I don't know how you'd phrase a search to answer that last question of yours.
Not to worry, Guillermo, your answer was just what I needed and not at all discouraging. I have always used usted after the verb and was surprised to hear that sometimes it can come before the verb in a simple declaratory sentence. I wanted to know more. The answers on these pages don't usually go into a "deep dive" on a subject. That's for us students of the language to do on our own. You have set me off on that track and for that I am grateful. And, you're right, deciding what words to put into a grammar site's search box has been tricky, but I'll get it.
Thanks, Miguel. Spanish word order is a little more flexible than that of English (I assume because verb conjugations are more specific), but Spanish is still technically an SVO (subject/verb/object) language, like English and French.
The most common exceptions in my experience are questions--where verb and subject may be reversed, as in English--and "verbs like gustar", which start with the object and put the subject after the verb. (These are not the only exceptions, just the most common.) Examples:
¿Conoce usted ese chico guapo?
A Luis le gusta esta música.
Otherwise, SVO is the standard:
Usted conoce ese chico guapo.
Luis disfruta esta música.
Ian, I want to be clear that I am not 100% sure. Assuming you correctly retyped your response here, I think it may have been marked wrong because the direct object (fotos, in this case) often doesn't take an article (los) in Spanish. Unless you were specifying the photos of my birthday as opposed to the photos of my soccer game, you drop the los. I think.
Try it in English and notice how odd "images" sounds. I'm not sure that's true in Spanish, but it seems DL was looking for las fotos.
There are dozens, even hundreds of synonyms, for most words. DL can't possibly keep up with every possible choice. But report it at the response prompt if you feel strongly about it.
Yes, you may, Annie, but by inverting Miran and ustedes you seem to be commanding "you all" to look at the photos. The command form of 2nd person plural, formal, mirar is Miren.
But I think this prompt wants a simple narrative sentence, so you would word it Ustedes miran las fotos de mi cumpleaños.
I assume "foots" was Spell Check's contribution and you had fotos originally. Your original sentence was fine. DL seems to prefer questions that have the same structure as statements, but there's nothing wrong with reversing the noun and the verb in a question, just as in English.
Guillermo8330 I think this comment is somewhat contradictory to several of your previous comments.
"...your word order is that of a question. ¿Miran ustedes...? v. Ustedes miran...."
"...by inverting Miran and ustedes you seem to be commanding "you all" to look at the photos..."
"...I think this prompt wants a simple narrative sentence, so you would word it Ustedes miran..."
I don't have enough knowledge to say with any certainty whether the inversion (VSO) order (miran ustedes) is correct or incorrect Spanish grammar here.
What I do know is that the SVO order (ustedes miran) is correct in a simple declarative statement and that the SVO order is the only one that Duo accepts for this sentence.
If you could clarify at all, I think it might help both Mary & myself.
Meanwhile, I will be sticking to SVO (and dropping the S if it's a pronoun) as that method seems foolproof 🙂
If one is translating the prompt at the top of this discussion, then the subject goes before the verb: Ustedes miran... You are correct that this is an SVO sentence.
You are quoting posts of mine from a period of 8 months. In each case I was responding to the post as I understood it. The prompt at the top of the discussion may not be the actual prompt users have encountered, because discussions of similar prompts are lumped together.
Assuming Mary was working with the prompt above, then she should have written Ustedes miran... and not the reverse. I simply replied to her post without rereading the entire thread.
I apologize for any confusion I caused.
Duo only displays one possible answer, but many others are accepted.
In most cases, when there's ambiguity Duo does accept all the various forms, but the rest of the sentence must be correct.
Answers using all Spanish forms of "you" are accepted here.
If your answer was marked as incorrect, the reason was elsewhere.
It's not uncommon that people complain about Duo not accepting a different translation for a certain word when the real error is elsewhere in the sentence.
It is always best to share your full answer in the forum so it can be completely checked.
The English simple present ("you look") and the English present progressive ("you are looking") can both be translated into the Spanish simple present ("tú miras")
The English present progressive ("you are looking") can also be translated into the Spanish present progressive ("tú estás mirando" - note the requirement to include a form of "estar" when forming the present progressive) but the Spanish only use this form to talk about something that is happening right now
To complete the picture, the Spanish simple present ("tú miras") can be translated as the English simple present ("you look") or English present progressive ("you are looking") but the Spanish present progressive ("tú estás mirando") can only be translated as the English present progressive ("you are looking")
What Jim says is true, as far as it goes, but we should note that in Spanish, the present progressive is used far more sparingly and only when the speaker wants to emphasize the present nature of the action. In English we use it more often than the simple present.
Ella no puede ir al cine. Ahora está haciendo su tarea.
Sue, I'm not positive what DL marked wrong. It may be the fact that you have misspelled fotos.
But speaking in general, the present tense in Spanish is translated as the simple present in English ("I look") OR the present progressive ("I am looking"). Spanish has its own present progressive--as you point out--but it is used only to emphasize that the action is immediately ongoing.
So most of the time, a prompt in English that uses present progressive will be translated into the simple present tense in Spanish.
This is just one example where word-for-word translation is problematic.
In other languages (German especially) there is a strong difference between how you speak and how you write something. For example articles are often left out. So I always wondered if this obsession with Spanish articles (las fotos) is also just a written thing? Can anyone explain?
In my experience there are differences when Spanish is spoken, but nothing as dramatic as the omission of articles. But just as speakers in English, Spanish speakers often talk in incomplete sentences, throw in interjections, etc. I can't think of any parts of speech, however, that aren't required in speaking as well as writing.