Tony, I think that the three sentences you gave could all imply the same meaning in English and could be acceptable translations - especially since we don't have a context in which to interpret the original Spanish sentence. Just remember that some human being has to input all possible translations into the program. When you think your answer is correct, you should report it and eventually the Duo staff will review the report and add more acceptable answers. This is the only way they will build a complete database of all possible translations. They don't read these posts, so you must use the button to report an error. It is a good feeling when you get an email saying that the translation you reported has been added to the database!
If you are concerned about getting a wrong answer, the safest translation will be the one that most closely matches the original sentence, unless it would sound unnatural or incorrect in English. Literal, precise translations are almost always accepted. The most direct, word-for-word translation for "Ella solo trabaja dos semanas" would be "She only works two weeks." I don't know if that is accepted or not. I entered "She is working only two weeks" which was accepted.
While I was taking an English writing class in college, the instructor advised to put adverbs and adjectives as close as possible to the words they modify. This is not an English grammar rule, but rather a suggestion for more effective writing. I put "only" before the "two weeks" because I thought the sentence was referring to the period worked - two weeks as opposed to two years or something. If we put "only" before the verb, it could imply that for two weeks she only worked - e.g., she did not play or sleep or eat. This has nothing to do with this exercise, but I hope that someone might find it helpful when writing in English.
According to the following article, this Duolingo sentence contains an error. They meant "sólo" with an accent mark. https://spanish.yabla.com/lesson-Sólo-solo-Only-alone-90
If the meaning of the sentence is that she works alone, I think it would have been Ella trabaja solo por dos semanas. But I am not native Spanish speaker. Maybe it would need to be "sola" in this case to agree with Ella, but to my thinking this would be an adverb qualifying how she works, not an adjective for "ella." In any case, I think the reference is clear that to mean only, it must be "sólo."
It is true that solo here is functioning as an adverb, and in the old days, you were right.
But these days, the RAE says to spell it sólo only when there might be confusion with the adjective. However there is no such confusion here---because of ella.
Now with él there would be, because then it could also mean "He alone is working two weeks."
Personally I try to use solamente instead of sólo wherever possible.
The Real Academia Española is the official keeper of the Spanish language.
Does anyone have a clue what this sentence is actually trying to tell us? Is she only working two weeks here? Or only doing this particular job for two weeks? This is meaningless in its current form & sounds a lot like when a non-native speaker is trying to tell me something in English, for which I usually have some context. This time I don't.
Ella, I agree: as this sentence stands, it doesn't really make sense when you're thinking about it. If you're talking about a particular job, you'd add something more clarifying, at least "here" or "there". If you're talking about some task or hobby, you'd add what she's working on.
The same is true for Spanish, as far as I can see. The sentence is not quite complete enough to be entirely useful. But we can say that she's doing some kind of work for no more than two weeks.
OK - good. I suppose that was my frustration -- ie: if this is a typical Spanish sentence, what does it mean. Good to know that both languages would require more context.
(Apropos of nothing: It's kind of fun to go back and fix my broken gold units b/c w/ more info, I feel more clear about lots of things like this one, whereas before I just sort of accepted & moved along.)
Gracias, Ryagon, once again!
I think there are subtle differences between
- is only working
- only is working
- is working only
When I see solo before a verb, I translate it as just or merely. Indeed, She is just working two weeks is accepted. It's all about her work ethic---put up with her for the two weeks, then she'll be gone!
The second example is the polar opposite: working is all she is doing, day in and day out, with no time for sightseeing, partying, etc.
Your third example is subtly different than the first in that it implies her time here is too short. Perhaps she is a visiting expert, and we need to take advantage of her presence during those two weeks. In Spanish I would not rely on solo to get this point across---maybe únicamente?
Normally if you use an adverb together with a verb construction that uses an auxiliary (like "is buying", "has helped", "can do", etc.), you place the adverb after that auxiliary (so "is really buying", "has occasionally helped", "can only do").
If you say "She only is working", it makes it sound like you're putting focus on the "is", usually to contrast it to another verb. That doesn't work too well with "to be", though. "She only is working, never was."
There is an English grammar issue around the word "only" that many native English speakers struggle with, without necessarily even being able to articulate the problem. It helps to try them as questions, rather than as statements to understand the differences. The Duolingo translation "She is only working two weeks" is not traditionally grammatical. It would require the word "for": "She is only working for two weeks", which means "She is not doing anything but working for two weeks". It is becoming acceptable (I think) to take this to mean "She is working for a mere two weeks" but traditionally that needed to be phrased "She is working for only two weeks". "She only is working two weeks" and "She is only working two weeks" would be used in a jargon way: "Of the weeks that are available to be worked, she is working two of them". This would be used, for example, if you were running a resort where people worked weeks casually and intermittently, for a week at a time. ("She is working two weeks only" and "Only she is working for two weeks" are pretty clear in their meanings.) I have no idea which is the true translation of the Spanish sentence, it's Spanish that I'm learning. But many English speakers get this wrong about "only" and so using this example will frustrate English speakers. So maybe this needs more scrutiny, or should be retired.