i said we had coffee with breakfast. with, at, for , Without using word bank I get tripped up on this kind of thing a lot. Should I say it this way? Or should I say what I think Duo wants me to say? Increasingly I find myself not trying to understand the meaning and type an English equivalent, but battling in my mind with what the I perceive the owl as wanting me to say.
All of the newer exercises will take more time to be fleshed out with a wider range of acceptable translations. So, it's impossible to say what Duo will eventually accept as valid.
That said, some prepositions and prepositional phrases seem to translate more readily between particular Spanish and English expressions. It's good to be able to recognize them even if you personally would say it a little differently. As just an example, if the intent was to say "coffee with breakfast," the closest Spanish phrase would use con and not en. Obviously, either would communicate the same idea and both are perfectly understandable. But one is a closer translation than the other.
Many people are frustrated by Duo's tendency to reject reasonable translations that either change the sentence structure or alter the phrasing, while preserving the meaning. If you find yourself in that camp, I'd suggest sticking to what you think is closest rather than what ostensibly means the same, but takes more creative license.
If you try something that you think is perfectly good and Duo disagrees, you can always flag yours as correct and wait for it to be added. Indeed, those of you who are more fluent can help the rest of us by submitting alternative translations. I also find the comments to be invaluable for understanding why Duo rejected something that I thought was perfectly fine. In the end, I guess it all depends on your tolerance for pain (or gain?).
OMG. 5 months later going through level five to finish the tree I did it again. It's like I don't know how to speak my own language.
How do you know what makes this past tense
I tried "with" and was told the correct answer is "at" breakfast. I understood the sentence to be saying that coffee was being drunk at the same time that breakfast was being eaten, so the word "with" would be correct here in English. Would "con desayuno" really convey a different meaning?
It would convey a different meaning in Spanish the same way that "at" and "with" also convey a different meaning in English.
When using "with" you are saying you did it (drank coffee) alongside something (breakfast) but it is not really an integral part of it.
When using "at" you are indicating that it occurred as an integral part of the event.
Silly me, "We drank coffee at (the) breakfast. I should have read Duo's mind and I would have known the sentence wasn't referring to a particular breakfast.
En points out the time when the action happened, you could use a, although is not the most common, but not por.
That would imply that all they had for breakfast was coffee. To have something "at" breakfast, is to have something as part of your breakfast.
You could say, "...para el desayuno," but that would be different. That would mean "for breakfast," which is a little different.
There are good comments about using "with" and "for" rather than "at." Please read them if you still have doubts.