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Present participle changed in Duolingo updates?

First things first, I'm not a huge fan of the updates.

But one thing in particular has really thrown me for a loop.

"The women are studying" was taught as "las mujeres están estudiando" in old Duolingo.

But with the updates, I am noticing a ton of verbs ending with -ing being translated as just regular present tense verbs: "Las mujeres estudian."

What is the deal?

Is this a super common way of speaking in Spanish or something funky that Duolingo has picked up.


June 9, 2018



Spanish is more flexible about present. Both sentences are acceptable translations for "The women are studying" depending on context. Continuous present is used for ongoing proccesses or current activities but both can be covered also by simple present tense.


Before the update, the en->es course usually did not accept the Spanish presente as the counterpart of the English present progressive, which was overly restrictive. Now it does.


In addition, Spanish uses the present continuous (están estudiando) much less than does the English.

The Spanish present can be translated either as an English present, or English present progressive (continuous). DL is doing much better (even the older Duo is doing better) than it had been at accepting the English present progressive for the Spanish present.

This is an important point, because many of the comments that I read show that many English learners fail to understand this point.


According to this article, Spanish uses the present progressive to emphasize that something is currently in progress, more than does the simple present. It is a matter of emphasis. Also, that is is happening right now.

This article states: "Students of Spanish students frequently overuse the progressive, partly because it is used in English in ways that it isn't in Spanish."

"For example, the English sentence, "We are leaving tomorrow," would be nonsensical if translated using the Spanish present progressive. Instead, the Spanish "Estamos saliendo" would typically be understood to mean "We are leaving now" or "We are in the process of leaving." [and not "tomorrow"].


This next article also states that English speakers tend to overuse the Spanish present progressive, and it discusses when, and when not to, use the present progressive in Spanish. https://www.fluentu.com/blog/spanish/present-progressive-spanish/


Your explanation is exactly why I asked the question!

And TBH, this conjugation came very easily to me and I had every intention of over using it as you described - now I know better.

Thank you so very much!


De nada. Mucho gusto.

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