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  5. "Habla despacio, por favor."

"Habla despacio, por favor."

Translation:Speak slowly, please.

June 10, 2018



This should be ¡Hable despacio, por favor! since it is a polite command.


Miguel, if I understand your post above, you are misunderstanding the difference between "tú" (familiar) and "usted" (formal). It may be polite to use them correctly, but the choice of usage is not usually dictated by civility; i.e., "formal" in this instance does NOT mean "polite".

In very broad terms, "usted" is "formal" in the sense that it is used with strangers and, sometimes, when addressing one's elders. "Tú" is used with those one knows, those who are one's contemporaries in terms of age, and with children (known or unknown). I was taught that the relative age of the speakers is the greatest factor in determining tú v. usted.

And, of course, in Latin American, "ustedes" is the plural form of both "tú" and "usted".

None of this has anything to do with how civil one is trying to be. To give but one example, Spanish speakers address God and the Virgin Mary as "tú", and no disrespect is intended. (This was once true of English as well, which is why old Bibles are full of "thee, thou and thy", all archaic, "familiar" forms of "you", addressed to God.)

In the prompt above, "Habla" is just the imperative form of "hablas"; it is neither polite nor impolite per se.


Maybe they could tell us if they want formal or informal.


I often have the same feeling, turbo. I assume DL's thinking is that the flow is lost if they have to put a lot of clues into the prompt. It wouldn't just be "form." v. "inform"; it would also be "pl." v. "s." and "masc." v. "fem." The pedagogical thinking is that a prompt such as the following:

Speak slowly, please. (inform., sing.)

...would get in the way of our directly embracing the new language.


There's nothing in Duo's sentence that indicates we have to use a formal (polite) verb form.
You can use the word "please" with a tú (familiar, informal) command, an usted (polite, formal) command, or an ustedes (plural) command.


There is also nothing that says the polite form is incorrect. Hable and habla should both be accepted answers.


yes, they both should be accepted----but then I realized that this is not a translation but rather we are supposed to write what we hear and so apparently the speaker said habla not hable


For you it may have been, but this comment forum is for the sentence, not any one specific activity. Others may have been given a translation, speaking, or word bank exercise.


Thanks, Lynn AND Sarah. I make so many return visits to these discussions to talk about prompts I did months, even years, ago. I have usually forgotten the form of the original question. You two are absolutely right: both formal and informal are usually accepted, but when we are to transcribe a dictation, we have to type what is said, not some other equivalent.


"Please" would indicate this is a request. If so, wouldn't "hablas" be correct? "You speak"


Actually, it's a "command", grammatically speaking. So either habla (informal) or hable (formal).


BTW, this is the most useful sentence in the Spanish language, in my experience.


Underappreciated comment


Duolingo did NOT accept: "Speak slower please" Anyone have any reason for why it is NOT acceptable?


I'm not authorized to speak for DL, but my guess is that you were marked wrong because you used the comparative form of slow, i.e., slowER or MORE slowly. In Spanish that would be "más despacio". "Despacio" alone is just "slowly" and, although one would assume you had been speaking quickly, there is no actual comparison in the prompt.


Yes, before I read the full sentence I thought that would be 'speak more slowly please'. But then I read again… no más!


sleep would be "más despacio", or more slow/slowly.
Slowly would be "despacio".


Why is it not hablas?


Hablas is the tú form of the present tense (You speak, You are speaking)
Habla is the tú command form (Speak)


say what now? a command form?


Yes. You use it in English, too, but it doesn't look any different from the "standard verb form". You use it each time you tell someone to do something, when you leave out the "you" and start with the verb: "Close the door." "Speak louder." "Do it." These things.

It's called "imperative" in the grammarian's language and it has a separate conjugation in Spanish, because of course it has.


Thank you for your explanation of when to use the imperative form. I hadn't thought of it that way before and that explains it so clearly!


The affirmative imperative was introduced for the tú and the usted forms in the "Tips" section for this lesson. At least in the PC version, you reach the "Tips" section by clicking on the "TIPS" button above the "START" button. (Tips are available for all the lessons through the first 5 levels of the lesson tree.)


Yes. Good catch!


"Best catch since Moby Dick!" (Tony Kornheiser)


That is hugely helpful, thanks!


Why is "please speak slowly" incorrect here??


It's not precisely incorrect, but you should keep roughly the same sentence structure when translating.


I was really hoping for despaciamente but no luck.


Despacio is already an adverb, so -mente won't work here.


Ryagon, I swear some Spanish lesson books use despaciadamente instead. This appears correct to me, but it is quite a mouthful. I am content with Habla despacio, por favor.


"Despaciadamente" is not a correct word, probably a misconstruction. There is despaciosamente, though, which has the same meaning as despacio. It derives from the adjective despacioso, which means "slow, with frequent breaks, phlegmatic".


That is what I wrote. Is ¡hable despacio! incorrect?


"Hable (usted) despacio, por favor," should be accepted.


Again, the PROMPT is in Spanish and conjugates "hablar" so as to imply "tú". The ANSWER is in English, where we use "you" to translate either "usted" or "tú". We've all gotten turned around in this thread.


You are talking about the wrong question. Duolingo often gives many versions.


I'm talking about the question and answer at the head of this thread. Yes, I realize there will be other questions with similar content expressed with different syntax. But this isn't my first day here: I assume the thread is here to discuss the Q&A at the top.


Unfortunately, your assumption isn't always valid. It seems that the same discussion thread might be included when the prompt is "Write in English," "Write in Spanish," "Write what you hear," or even multiple choice, as long as the translations are equivalent. This little "Duo quirk" contributes to some baffling discussions, sometimes!


It doesn't have to be baffling, if we use the actual question and "correct" response as our guide. I swear I'm not a thread Nazi and I don't feel a need to control what everyone posts. But the other options you mention all have their own questions where correct responses could be discussed.


I wasn't aware that discussions cross over or combine themselves. (Sounds like a manual change by a moderator.) But we always have the prompt and "correct answer" at the top as our guide. I readily admit I sometimes write a post and then check back at the top and realize I've confused the given prompt with something similar. So I correct what I have written. It's not so hard.

NOTE from 2 weeks later: I have been thinking about your notes to me and I think I finally get it: each discussion is centered on the grammatical issue illuminated, NOT just the specific prompt/response at the top of the page.

I think this is an error on DL's part. If they want to keep each grammar issue on its own page (a wise choice), then the top of the page should show us more than just one prompt/ response related to that grammatical issue.


True, each "discuss" button goes to a discussion. But, sometimes all of the discussions about one example end up in one thread. (For example, comments on Habla despacio, por favor are mixed with those on Speak slowly, please.) Not sure how that happens, but it has more than once, and has led to misunderstandings among us learners/discussers. Sometimes it takes a LOT of confusion before people figure out some are talking about one "Q&A at the top" and others are talking about another one. If I had to guess, it would be that you are talking about Q in Spanish, A in English and (e.g.), Renata Q in English and A in Spanish. That's how we get "turned around" in a thread!


Good thought, Guillermo! Your suggestion would certainly cut down on some misunderstandings and controversy. Now, how to transmit your idea to DL course personnel???


Guillermo8330, when you advocate for multiple prompts at the top of the discussion pages, please also advocate for displaying the preferred translation along with the machine generated attempt at fixing our errors on the exercise pages.


Why does the question say habla despacio and not hable despacio ?


The answer provided assumes the speaker is speaking informally, i.e., to someone the speaker would address as "tú". When used with "tú", the imperative form is the same as 3rd person singular.

If the speaker had been addressing someone formally, as "usted", then the verb form would be "hable", as you suggest.

There is nothing in the prompt to suggest formal v. familiar, so I hope you told DL it should accept your answer.


This is a command. Shouldn't it be "hable".


Either is fine. Habla is the -command form, and hable is used when you're giving orders to an usted.


Ohhhhhh man, I'm gonna use this one so much.


:) The first sentence I learned in Spanish (on the first day of class, about 50 years ago). Only, back then everything was Ud., so it's forever in my head: Hable más despacio, por favor.


I wrote Speak slower please ! ....Duo says no dice !!! Anyone know why ? Cheers


Yes, I know why. You can find this explained in different ways in this thread.

But basically, if you are reporting what you did precisely, you used the comparative form ("slower") when the prompt only wanted the simple adjective ("slowly").

If the prompt had asked for the comparative ("slower"), you would have used más despacio instead.

(And, yes, I can see why the two (despacio and más despacio) seem the same, but they are different usages, just as in English. It isn't just the basic thought for which DL is asking, in most cases, but the precise equivalent in English or Spanish.)


If the common ending for (tú) is -as, then how come it's 'habla' here, seeing as the sentence is directed at a person? Is it usted? All the comments suggesting it's not...


This sentence uses the imperative form since we're commanding someone to do something. The imperative uses a different conjugation than the indicative that is used for statements. For regular verbs, the imperative form looks just like the él/ella/usted present indicative form. The usted imperative would look like:

  • Hable despacio, por favor.


Why isn't the command enclosed in "¡ !" as in other sentences of this type?


Commands do not need to be accompanied by exclamation marks. As the name already suggests, exclamation marks are used for exclamations, which is generally loud and/or emotional speech. If your command is said in an undemanding, calm manner, you're good to go with just a full stop ( . ).


And if you are asking someone to speak "dispassionately" (i.e., more slowly), it's probably not a good idea to shout at him.


Can one use lentamente here? Hable lentamente por favor?


Krizzards, that works as well, but lentamente isn't used as much when referring to a moving speed you can control. So if you're talking about the movement of a human, you'll mostly use despacio.


Why not despaciTo?


despacito is also correct according to the on-line dictionary I consulted. I would expect it to mean "a little slower", since the ito ending usually indicates a diminutive in Spanish; but the dictionary didn't say so. It translated both despacio and despacito as "slowly".


That's exactly what I wrote, and Duo marked it wrong


Susan, try copying and pasting your answer here. We all make tiny errors without realizing we have done so. (I more than most, I suspect!)


Everybody must have a different version from me. I was presented with "hablasmásdespacio". I know that it seems like true Spanish speakers seem to make a single word of a sentence without breathing, lol, but shouldn't they at least write it as individual words? Or are there instances when things myst be written as a single word. This is not the first occurence in this section


I'm not sure why you got that. Yes, Hablás más despacio is three words. But it means "You speak more slowly" and isn't as likely as:

Habla más despacio, por favor. "Speak more slowly, please." (familiar)

Hable más despacio, por favor. Or Hábleme más despacio... (formal)

One uses the phrase mostly in the command form.

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