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  5. "You are looking at the pictu…

"You are looking at the pictures of my birthday."

Translation:Tú miras las fotos de mi cumpleaños.

June 8, 2018



What's wrong with "Estás mirando a las fotos de mi cumpleaños"?


Don't think you need the a.


Estás mirando los fotos de mi cumpleaños...marked wrong. I kinda feel like this should be legit


It would have to be las fotos. La foto is one of those rare words that ends in os but is feminine. (Because it is short for fotografía, I think. La bici and La moto are similar.)


Yeah you’re right. Those always screw me up. Thanks for clearing that up! I’m sure that might help someone else too


What about "tú miras las imágenes.."? Doesn't that work also?


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.


Carmen, that's a grammatical expression as well, but imagen isn't a very useful word. It's a very general term for a visual representation of something, like "image" in English.


The same sentence


Same here, i guess becasue we used los instead of las fotos


I dont understand why the 'a' is not needed. I got it wrong for adding the 'a'. In this sentence, one is looking at the photos, hence 'mira a las fotos'; at leaat that's what I thought. Can anyone explain why that is incorrect?


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".


But I am confused because 'en' is used for it is "qué estas mirando en la tele?"


I gave this as a correct answer in the same lesson (but different question.)


Where did you see that, Giola? I'm not doubting you, I'm just not familiar with the construction. Perhaps the usage changes when the present progressive is employed.


Thanks, Gioia. I don't know what to tell you. I'll keep a look out for that usage of en.


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.


That's what tripped me up.


I think you have to just learn which verbs require the 'a' to complete their function in the present tense. I haven't noticed a pattern yet. I would think "mirando a" would apply but it doesn't. This one takes repetition I guess?


Mirar means to look or to look AT. The at is already there so you don't need an extra a.


The same is true of buscar, by the way. It means "to look for" and the preposition is built in.

For me, it helps to think of mirar as "to watch" and buscar as "to seek"; neither English verb requires a preposition.


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.


The list of Spanish verbs requiring "a" is relatively short. Google is your friend.


Yes, Doctor, but you have to know you are making an error before you can know to google it to figure out why.


My question too.


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.


My question too. The lesson before it should be this.


Same. The lesson before it should be this. The only difference was flowers instead of pictures.


Another solution: "Estás mirando las fotos de mi cumpleaños"


Which I entered and it was marked wrong...


Me, too: Está mirando la fotos de mi cumpleaños.


Oops! Me equivoqué. It was the "a las fotos" that got me. Todo está bien


I use "mirando" and "las fotos" and still was marked wrong


SharonRaqu4 Me too...


Still being marked wrong today


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 think "estás mirando a" or "miras a" should be accepted because the person is looking "at" something. It's like "mirar al cielo". To me "miras las fotos" sounds more like "you're watching the pictures". In my opinion both answers seem correct, with and without "a".


Don't equate a and "at". They are usually two very different concepts. "Mirar a" means "to look to" or "towards" something. Usually used as in "Let's put our attention to something else."


Coincidence: there's a documentary on TV as I type this and I just saw a billboard that reads Mírame a los ojos. I assume the a is being used as we would use "in" in English, in "Look me in the eyes."


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.


I got zinged for "cumpleaño". Is it always plural?


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 wish you could be my personal tutor, RyagonIV. I always learn so much from your comments. Si no eres profesor de español, deberías serlo.


I agree with you sisterspeedfly...ryagonIV and Kenhi are great teachers


Ha! So "the year-completer," "the water-stopper," "the window-cleaner," "the snow plower."


I wouldn't say a few, though. Spanish has a ton of these compounds.


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)


Yes- it's like paraguas (umbrella).


Imagen just means "image", a usually visual representation of something. It doesn't really fit in with the meaning of "picture".


why do you have to add tu - can't you just say miras?


You're free to leave out the here.


I did leave it out and Duo didn't accept it


It's a good sentence, though. Report it if it's not accepted.


How do I know whether to use "tu miras" or "estas mirando"?


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.


Bottom line: I don't think Spanish uses present progressive with the defining hoy (or mañana or el fin de semana or any other adverb or prepositional phrase specifying time).


Why is "Mira" wrong. Is it assumed to be personal?


You should report that if the rest of your answer is correct. I see no reason why, given the prompt, the translation must be formal or familiar.


miran ustedes las fotos de mi cumpleaños - could this also be correct?


why can't I use, Estan Mirando...?


You can use that, no issue.


I'm never sure when to use tu before the action. Miras means ,you are looking, so why add the tu in this instance. Please help.


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.


You don't have to use here. is a subject pronoun, and they are generally optional to use.


Should "Usted mira las fotos de mi cumpleaños". be counted correct?


is it wrong to omit the "tu" here? as "Miras la fotos de mi cumpleanos,"


No, you aren't wrong to omit the . But here you wrote la when it should be las. Las fotos.


The bottom half of the sentence got caught up, which happens from time to time, on my phone. Can you, please, fix it?


Keri, what do you mean by "caught up"?


Like Ryagon, I don't know what you mean by "caught up". But in most cases, reporting an error here doesn't get it communicated to the DL program writers.


Why not los fotos?


Laila, foto is a feminine noun. It's a short form for fotografía.


I could not tead the whole sentence


Why not "Usted miran las fotos..."? There is no indication if "you are" is singular you or a plural.


You are correct, if the prompt at the top of this discussion is the same as the one you saw. You can report the error by checking "My answer should be accepted" in the Report menu at the prompt. DL writers don't read our discussions here.


Deborah, if you want to use the plural form, you need to use the plural form in every aspect: "ustedes miran". The pronoun usted is only singular and only goes with the conjugation mira.


I put - ustedes miran a las fotos de mi cumpleanos- just one sentence earlier it assumed the 'you' was plural.


You don't use a with mirar UNLESS the subject is watching a person and then the "personal a" comes into effect. I translate mirar as "to look at" in my head so I'll remember not to add a preposition.


Guillermo, you can use "mirar a algo", which has a meaning of "looking towards something" or "looking in the direction of something".


Thank you, Ryagon, for the correction. So the English-language song "Look to the Rainbow" might be translated Mira al arco iris? (I don't mean literally, since a Spanish translation of the song would have to fit the notes of the music.)


Guillermo, yes, that would be appropriate. You can also say "Mira hacia el arco iris" with the same meaning.


Thank you very much, Ryagon! AND I also learned the Spanish for "rainbow". LOL.


What's wrong with ustedes miran.......? Can someone enlighten me please.


Nothing wrong (assuming the rest of your answer was correct). Report it at the Report menu at the prompt. DL writers don't always think of every possible correct answer when they write an exercise.


I don't think it is wrong to say: Miras a las fotos de mi cumpleaños


I believe mirar means "to look at" (just as buscar means "to look for") so it doesn't take the preposition a. Miras las fotos de mi cumpleaños = "You are looking at the fotos from my birthday."


What's wrong with "estas mirando"


Franks, nothing wrong with that.

  • 1248

"ves" was accepted. Is there a difference here between "miras" and "ves"?


Dluzer, in this case, mirar is comparable to "looking at" (aiming your vision at something), and ver is closer to "seeing" (something is in your field of vision).


Ryagon is right, of course, but I would only add that in simple sentences the two are sometimes interchangeable, at least to DL. But I wouldn't rely on that being true in general usage. Use Ryagon's definitions; I do.


Why not just write photos then?


I don't know what you are asking. The word in Spanish is fotos, not "photos".


No one would ever translate fotos in this sentence as "pictures" since there's no way anyone isn't talking about photographs. Is this just meant to trap people?


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.


The drop downs don't match the answer word for word.


Vicente, that's not the purpose of the drop-downs.


I typed "Mira usted las fotos de mi cumpleaños" because I wanted to go formal. It was marked wrong. Is there some rule that says I can't use formal in some situations?


Miguel, this isn't one of the Spanish constructions where subject and verb are reversed. For a simple, declarative sentence you want Usted mira las fotos...


Gracias Guillermo. I'll go to one of the spanish grammer/dictionary sites and look up these types of spanish language constructions to find out when to use which. I'm off on an adventure!


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.


Estás mirando las fotos de mi cumpleaños. Marked correct 7/22/2020


Is tu required here?


is not grammatically mandatory, but it is useful because, in practice, many speakers don't punch the s sound at the end of Miras. Which leaves the listener wondering whether the speaker is talking about you, he or she.


Estas viendo fotos de mi cumpleaños - why Is that wrong


I don't know why that would be wrong, Brian. The program seems to want las fotos, but I don't think that's mandatory. Maybe your answer just isn't in the DL database for this prompt. You can report it at the Response Menu at the prompt itself.


Can not see behind the option


Buo, I don't know what you are saying. Can you help me?


What is wrong with "Miran ustedes las fotos de mi cumpleaños"? It seems like the plural here should be fine, though I expect I just messed something else up that I am not seeing.


Were you supposed to be asking a question? Because your word order is that of a question. ¿Miran ustedes...? v. Ustedes miran....


Ugh - I was confusing the lax rules of word order when using usted(es) in a question with just the normal placement in a statement. I knew it was something simple :) Thanks, have a lingot!


I tried "Estas mirando las fotos de mi cumpleanos" and was marked incorrect. After several "we are looking" phrases were "estamos mirando". It seems like an inconsistency to me.


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.


I wrote, " Estas mirando las fotos de mi cumpleanos" and it was marked wrong. Can this not be correct?


My response to someone else lies just above your post on my screen. I don't think Spanish takes an article in from of the direct object (fotos) in this case, unless you were distinguishing birthday photos from other types of photos.


why not los imagenes ?


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.


Why tu mirad en las fotosde mi cumpleanos is not good?

  1. It is miras not "mirad". 2. The verb mirar doesn't take a preposition in most cases. So your en is unnecessary and wrong. (You are also missing accent marks, but I assume you know that. DL doesn't usually mark an answer wrong for missing tildes.)


In American English we use picture and photo interchangeably. Spanish can't do that?


I'm not fluent so I'm not going to say "can't". But I don't know what the Spanish word would be. Pictura isn't a Spanish word; pintura usually means painting.


Oh. That would do it. Thanks. Have a lingot.


Well, thank you. You are so kind.


"Miran ustedes las fotos de mi cumpleanos" Can't I show picture to lots of people at one time?


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.


Should Usted mirar .... should work? Instead of Tú miras ...?


Should Usted mirar .... work, instead of Tú miras?


It would be Usted mira, but, yes, it should work. Mira is the 2nd person singular formal of mirar (and also the 3rd person singular, of course).


Why las and not los fotos


Because fotos is short for las fotografías, which is feminine. It's the same as la moto (i.e., la motocicleta) and la bici (la bicicleta).

I wouldn't assume that every shortened word retains the gender of its "parent", but it does seem a common convention.


What is wrong with "Miran ustedes las foots de mi cumpleanos?"


Two things - I think you have this in the form of a question, so I think it has to be "Ustedes miran". At least that is what a Mod told me when I asked. Also the plural of "foot" is "feet" :) I assume you meant to type "fotos".


Thank you so much - now I just need to remember that - lol!


Yes, Brady is correct, of course. I just read your post and assumed you were forming a question. My bad and I'm sorry if I confused you.


You need fotos not foots and if you are including ustedes put it at the beginning (read the rest of this discussion for the reasoning)


Thank you - I never know which order to put ustedes... before or after - still learning!


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 🙂


I can't reply directly because we reached the lowest level, but hopefully, this works:

Guillermo8330, I appreciate the honest response, and I completely understand and sympathise. I'm just happy to know that my comprehension so far seems to be on target 🙂


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.


I put estas mirando la photos and they said I was wrong


"Las fotos", not "la photos" (plural "las" and proper spelling of "fotos"). Also missing "de mi cumpleaños". Though perhaps that isn't exactly what you entered - it always helps if you copy and paste directly so we can see what you got wrong.


why didn't the hints above give any suggestion for tu? That is not fair. There was no conjugation of mirar agove looking that corresponded with tu.


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.


I struggle with when to say "tu miras" or "tu mirando" for "you are looking". Like wise, I am never sure when to use "Yo miro" or "Yo mirando" for "I am watching". Can anyone help me?


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.


I wrote "Tú estás mirando las photos de mi cumpleaños" and it marked me wrong. If they are asking "you are looking" rather than "you look" I think this is the right answer!


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.


"Tú estás mirando las fotos de mi cumpleaños" was also accepted.


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.

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