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"¿Tú tomas un taxi o el autobús?"

Translation:Are you taking a taxi or the bus?

June 11, 2018



Why is it incorrect to omit 'the'? Also, shouldn't the transition be 'Do you take..."?


English simply requires an article in this construction. You could say Are you taking a taxi or a bus, but not usually are you taking taxi or bus. It just sounds incomplete.


Klgregonis, one of the things that good native English speakers do is omit as many words as possible. For example, think of the sentence "I'm as good as you." Strictly speaking, the full sentence could be stretched out to "I'm as good as you are." Similarly, omitting the second article is all right as long as they are the same article. Thus, "Are you taking a bus or taxi?" has long been acceptable and optional.

For additional information, see my answer to marcy65brown.


I am a native English speaker and when I read the sentence ¨are you taking taxi or bus¨ it sounds like you don't know what a taxi is called and are trying to correct yourself. It makes more sense to use ´a´ or ´the´on Duolingo. I agree that we do tend to omit words and this is one where you can do so but could be misunderstood in WRITING. On the other hand, when speaking that is a whole different story. Maybe I am completely wrong but that's my understanding of it.


Duo puts different articles together here: "a taxi or the bus". Do you have an idea why? Does it make sense for you? I would expect "the taxi or the bus" / "a taxi or a bus"


Oxygen, that's simply how English handles it. Taxis are considered individual cars, while "the bus" is a system of public transport. You might have to use multiple buses (or trains or whatever) to get somewhere, but you still say "I take the bus (or "the train") to work."

The same is true for Spanish and I assume for most European languages as well. (At least for those that have articles.)


What you all miss is that it is not the same article . For me, we should not omit any article in that sentence.


In English the first article used on the taxi also applies to the bus so you can say it are you taking a taxi or bus.


Saying "Do you take a taxi or bus?" sounds a bit odd to me. "Taxi or bus" seems to form a unit there. It's like you're talking about a vehicle where you aren't sure whether it's a taxi or a bus.


In writing I'd include the article, but when the same article would be repeated for the second noun you'll often hear it dropped in common usage.

There is an alternative interpretation of "Do you take a taxi or bus?" too. "Bus" could be understood as a verb instead of a noun. It wouldn't be a precise translation of DL's sentence, but arguably it would be an accurate one.


In English, we can often omit the "the" when using two or more nouns joined by "and" or "or," as the article is understood to apply to both. That's not so in Spanish. El hermano y la hermana están tristes. (The brother and sister are sad.) Vendemos la casa y la silla. (We're selling the house and chair.)



I put "Are you taking a taxi or a bus?" but I got it wrong


Your translation was not accepted because you used the indefinite article for both nouns. See my response below to marcy65brown.


ya because in the spanish version they say "EL autobus" not un, thats why you got it wrong as you are supposed to translate it and not put what is also socially acceptable in the english language


I'm not sure if strictly speaking it is correct grammar in English, however as a native English speaker to me it sounds fine without the article. That being said I can see some other native speakers think think this sounds odd so it's likely down to regional variances or possibly American English vs British English etc.


"Do you take a taxi or the bus" accepted 7/21/18.


To some people, it is a matter of style to use "parallel construction" in English. Parallel construction is defined by Google thusly: In grammar, parallelism, also known as parallel structure or parallel construction, is a balance within one or more sentences of similar phrases or clauses that have the same grammatical structure.

Example from Google: I burned the dinner, but not the cake. In this sentence, both nouns have the same article. This parallelism sounds euphonious to native English speakers, but is not mandatory. Consequently, "I burned dinner, but not the cake" is still grammatically correct. A sentence like "Are you taking a taxi or the bus?" is also technically correct, but most native English speakers intuitively dislike it even though they may not immediately be able to articulate why. Sometimes, a deliberate contrast of articles like this is a literary device used to make a point or stress a difference. Indefinite and definite articles are used for a reason, NotIJyy7's translation was not accepted because he used the indefinite article for both nouns.

In Spanish, as far as I can tell, parallel construction is mandatory much more frequently.


"Dinner" is a noun that's usually used without an article in English. You couldn't do the same with "I burned the bread but not the cake."


Not for me, 28 sept 2018....;-(. Reported it..


Rejected 12/9/18. DL is schizophrenic about accepting or rejecting the present tense when they "want" the answer to be the present continuous (progressive). It's a guessing game. If they want to equate them, then both answers should be accepted.,

  1. Klgregonis is right, technically both noun articles are necessary, but colloquially you could easily drop the second article so long as the first article can be applied to both nouns.

  2. "Do you take" is correct, and probably more accurate out of context than "Are you taking", but Spanish, like English, often uses the present tense to refer to the near future.


Why "a taxi or the bus"? This just doesn't make any sense. Should be the same article for both.


We say a taxi because is unspecific, any taxi would do. On the contrary buses operate along a prescribed route according to a fixed schedule, so you can't take any bus but the the one that stops at your destination.

[deactivated user]

    Agreed. "the bus" is specific. It could be the company bus that takes workers to and from work for all we know. If the articles were the same the other article could probably be omitted. un taxi o un autobús - a taxi or bus

    [deactivated user]

      I'm thinking about why I say it this way... I guess it's because "the bus" is like a fixture or utility, and I have to accommodate its schedule? But "a taxi" and "a bus" should be accepted.


      Do you take the taxi or a bus?


      It's a bit unconventional, and doesn't match the Spanish sentence.


      Since the Spanish present tense has three English translations (I take, I am taking, I do take), I think your question formation should have been accepted if there were no other mistakes. Your translation was not unconventional and was a match for the Spanish sentence (again, barring any other mistakes).


      First, I agree that most the other translations including the one provided by Dúo is better than the one that I provided which is "you take a taxi or the bus?"

      I omitted "are you taking..." I suppose my answer is a little bit to direct and to the point for Dúo. Reported it, because I know I'm right.

      I guess you can say there's more than one way to correctly translate this sentence (as well as of course many others). Dialects and customs are certainly different as one's interpretation or context of a sentence. Sometimes it's not always black and white but gray (gris).


      do you take a taxi or a bus declines...Enero 2019...reportado


      The meaning is the same, but literally (and a little more commonly) "the bus".


      To catch a taxi may be a direct translation from Afrikaans but here in South Africa we often hear that version as alternative for taking a taxi.


      It's fine in English too. I think you can use "coger" in (Peninsula, but maybe not Lat. Am.?) Spanish as a more direct translation, but DL should still accept "catch" for "tomar" in this context.


      How do I know when the question is asking "Are you...?" or "Do you...?"


      Context alone. Textually it could be either.


      Why is "Do you take a taxi or the bus?" not accepted?


      It shouldn't be. It's a fine translation.


      I answered 'will you take a taxi or the bus'
      Why was it wrong?


      It's not exactly wrong, but Duo prefers not using a future-tense translation for a Spanish present-tense sentence when there's no context for the timeframe.


      What's wrong with " do you take a taxi or the bus" ?


      Nothing wrong with that.

      [deactivated user]

        Do you take / are you taking should be accepted ( tu tomas a taxi etc )


        Does anyone else besides me have a big issue with the speakers pronunciation of the word "tomas"? She puts the accent on the last syllable which is very wrong.


        I have issues with at least half of her examples and I click the Report/Problem with Audio EVERY TIME I have to use turtle mode just to be able to figure out what she is saying. Her pronunciations are terrible.


        why is "you take a taxi or the bus" not accepted? normally a question written in affirmative form is accepted, why not in this sentence? is it because of the tense (present simple/continuous)? that wouldn't make any sense.


        apparently it is not about the tense, I've just tried "you are taking a taxi or the bus" and it is also incorrect.


        Statement form questions are acceptable when seeking a yes/no answer, which is not the case with this DL sentence.


        Llevo vs toma can be confusing at times!


        Tomar - you take something for yourself
        Llevar - you take someone or something along


        "Do you take a taxi or bus" ..... how can be that for taxi you need an article but for bus you don't?

        [deactivated user]

          It's not unusual to leave the second article off--it's an abbreviation that assumes the second article. But it may be slang (?).


          I find this a bit confusing. While I know that it says "are you taking" using the present tense seems wrong. It should be painfully obvious what type of vehicle you are in at present. This sentence should be in the future tense. "Will you be taking" or "Are you going to be taking" In English it is wrong, perhaps a native Spanish speaker could chime in on this one. Sept. 24, 2018


          Yep, this is one sentence that is really open to interpretation, and DL's choice of the present participle in English doesn't help. That said, it is not incorrect.

          Keep in mind that within context the question asker could be remote from the person being asked the question (a phone call for example), in which case the present continuous can work for the present. The present continuous can also be used to refer to the near future in English, so again it is OK in this sense. However, in this case Spanish uses the simple present, which of course could also be translated into English as such.

          So it all gets a bit messy, but without context that's often the case. Here are the basic possible variations:

          Spanish simple present and English simple present referring to habitual action:

          ¿Tomas un taxi o el autobús? - Do you take a taxi or the bus?

          Spanish simple present and English continuous present referring to the future:

          ¿Tomas un taxi o el autobús? - Are you taking a taxi or the bus?

          These are pretty much interchangeable with the Spanish formal and informal future and the English versions of it:

          ¿Tomarás un taxi o el autobús? - Will you take a taxi or the bus?

          ¿Vas a tomar un taxi o el autobús? - Are you going to take a taxi or the bus?

          Then you have the possible phone call context using Spanish and English present participles for the continuous present:

          ¿Estás tomando un taxi o el autobús? - Are you taking a taxi or the bus?


          Do Spanish speakers ever shorten "autobus" to "bus"? In English, bus became a shortened form of "omnibus." Just curious if anyone has heard "Tu tomas un bus?"


          I have heard hispanohablantes use bus and buses instead of autobus. and autobuses.


          Thank you, Klgregonis


          I get that they have a specific meaning they are going for, but is "Do you take a taxi or a bus" actually an incorrect translation?


          Not super-incorrect, but the Spanish sentence does say "un taxi o el autobús". It's more natural to make the bus, or public transportation in general, definite.


          when do I use the accent on the letter u in Tu


          'tú' (with the accent) means 'you' (it is a subject pronoun). Use this when 'you' (informal) is the subject of the sentence performing the action.

          Tú bailas. = You dance.

          'tu' (without the accent) means 'your' (it is a possessive adjective). Use this when assigning ownership of something.

          tus zapatos de baile = your dancing shoes


          tienes tus zapatos de baile = You have your dancing shoes.


          A couple of typos Michael:

          Tú bailas = You dance.

          Tus zapatos de baile is correct, tu zapatos de bailes isn't.

          Also, "tu" is a possessive adjective because it describes the noun. "Tuyo" is the possessive pronoun because it replaces the noun.


          Absolutely correct. I was pretty tired when I wrote that. I'll correct them. Thanks for catching that. I should have proofed it a bit better. lol... or at all I guess.


          "You're taking a taxi or the bus?" seems perfectly reasonable to me, but was marked wrong on 10/13/19.


          In what situation would you use that sentence? Using the order "you're taking" sounds like you're susprised about something, but then listing multiple options makes it a bit odd.


          I agree with Ryagon. Statement form questions are perfectly valid, but they are normally used to express surprise or seek confirmation. As in:

          Really? You're taking a taxi?
          Just to be clear, you're taking the bus?

          The problem with using this structure in this DL sentence is the "or". Having two options clashes somewhat with questions showing surprise or seeking confirmation, because they expect yes / no answers. It's still plausible, just unlikely.


          In practical American English - at least everywhere I've lived - it's perfectly normal to take what appears to be a statement and use intonation to make it a question. For example, this morning I asked "We're taking your car or my car?" for the same purpose as the question here. It's asking for someone to select between two options, and does not reflect surprise. It's casual but completely proper in American English.

          Furthermore, if you look at the Spanish example, they've chosen "¿Tú tomas un taxi o el autobús?" which is a declarative turned into an question without the use of an interrogative, just using intonation to make it a question, exactly like the sentence I gave. They could have reversed the subject and verb to phrase it like a question, but since it's not formal (usted), there's no ambiguity regarding the subject and I'm guessing they'd leave "tú" out completely. Anyway, the bigger point is there's nothing wrong with my answer, either in the grammatical sense or in practical usage.


          Fair enough. I can see the intention now, but it sounds very informal like that.

          Please note that the Spanish sentence uses the default word order for a yes-or-no question. This type of question normally looks just like a statement, with a SVO order. Spanish doesn't do a subject-verb inversion when forming a yes-or-no question, unlike English.

          • ¿El jefe estaba aquí hoy? - Was the boss here today?


          Appreciate the feedback and the additional info on Spanish interrogatives. Fun place to learn!


          Yep, but they haven't "chosen" this form in the Spanish example: That's just the way Spanish asks questions.

          In English we can use different forms, and although many people (on DL at least) argue against statement form questions, they are perfectly valid.

          The only issue with your usage of one here is the option selection. Grammarians who rightly defend statement form questions will tell you that their usage is acceptable when seeking a yes / no answer. That isn't the case here, or at least, if it were, a taxi or the bus would not be two options but one.

          But, hey, if it's common usage where you are then your version is fine. I just wouldn't expect DL to accept it.


          Understood, thanks!

          [deactivated user]

            Now it has to stop : 'they take the bus at 8 'was just accepted as ' ellos toman el autobus a las ocho' and now for the tenth time only ' are you taking a taxi etc ' is accepted !?!? Duolingo, please have a look at all the comments and prealize that ' to take a taxi or a bus ' is just as understandable and correct as ' are taking a taxi or a bus '


            I said : " do you take the taxi or the bus"? Show me, please, how this answer of mine is not the same.


            Katharina, the Spanish sentence uses "un taxi", so the English translation should read "a taxi".

            It's more common to talk about "a taxi" and "the bus", probably since buses are used in a fixed system, while taxis are used on-demand.


            In English I would casually ask someone this way -- but DuoLingo said it's wrong. Can someone explain why?

            You take a taxi or a bus?


            Janet, that might be a bit too casual for Duo. Also it should be "the bus", to match the Spanish "el autobús".


            so you can take a taxi but not take a bus? How do you catch a taxi but I must catch a bus?


            Graham, you can take "a bus", but we're talking about more than one bus here - we're talking about the entire public transport bus system. That is commonly called "the bus" in English.


            Why not do you take a taxi or a bus


            Eirinn, that sounds like we're asking what the person is going to choose for one specific trip. But the Spanish sentence has a more general scope, talking about "the bus system", rather than some random bus.


            Yeah should have been a taxi or the bus, but still I'm not convinced it can't be interpreted in a generic way.


            Is Duolingo guiding us to the more common articles here? Is "el autobus" more common than "un autobus"? "El taxi" and "un taxi"? I would always say "a taxi" and "the bus" in this phrase as an English speaker (US, Midwest), even if both might be correct.


            Rcsaver, it's like in English here: you say "el autobús" because you're talking about the bus system, and you say "un taxi" because there isn't a "taxi system", just a bunch of individual taxis working separately from each other.


            whats wrong with "do you take a taxi or a bus?


            Eamon, there's nothing wrong with that sentence in principle, but in this sentence we're talking about the method of arriving somewhere on a regular basis. Instead of just one bus, we want to talk about the entire bus system.


            Could "Do you take a taxi or a bus?" be an accurate translation?

            In the sense of when you go to work.... "Do you take a taxi or a bus?" If not how would you say "Do you take a taxi or bus" in spanish?


            William, the Spanish sentence is essentially saying that, but with slightly different words: what do you choose to go to work every day, a taxi or the bus system? Normally you'll say "a taxi or the bus" in English, just like you say "un taxi o el autobús" in Spanish, but the distinction is weak and many people will go for a more parallel expression: "a taxi or a bus", "un taxi o un autobús".


            Isn't "do you take a taxi or bus?" correct also?


            Rhorn, it's doubtful. The bus needs some article, too. Otherwise it sounds like you're talking about a vehicle where it's not clear if it's a taxi or a bus.


            What is wrong with "are you taking the taxi or a bus"?


            It needs to be a taxi or the bus. Read through the other posts to find out more.


            Do you take a taxi or a bus should be cool.. in thought..


            See the post from marcy65brown https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27608808?comment_id=28107563

            So, "Do you take" is OK, but it must be "a taxi or the bus"


            I answered "Do you take ..." but that was marked incorrect. As far as I can tell there is no difference in Spanish between the usual situation (do you take ...) and the present progressive in English (are you taking ...?)


            It depends on the present progressive usage. If you were asking somebody what they would be doing in the near future then "Are you taking..." = "¿Tú tomas..." However, if you were asking somebody, say over the phone, what they were doing at that moment, then "Are you taking..." = "¿Estás tomando..."

            But in the former circumstance, yes, "¿Tú tomas..." could be "Are you taking..." or "Do you take..." Either is correct, so I'd check what you wrote after the "...": "Do you take a taxi or the bus?" should be marked correct.


            In English we would say are you taking the taxi or a bus - unfair to lose a heart!!


            Completely fair - translate the sentence presented, and you won't lose a heart


            In English we could say are you taking a taxi or the bus also. And in Spanish you can say tu tomas un taxi o el autobus. So, translate what's given you, in this case. The difference is subtle perhaps, but it's there in BOTH languages, unlike some other sentences that can be translated more than one way in English but only one way in Spanish.

            • 1001

            I don't think that's true either, you would likely say 'a taxi' as in: any taxi. 'the taxi' seems to specify a particular car. Also, the Spanish sentence presented is 'A taxi' (un taxi) and 'THE bus' (el autobús). Translate it directly as it is and you will get the answer right.


            Why doesn't "tu" come at the end? An earlier comment said that with questions, the subject comes after the verb.


            Arnie, I am learning right along with you. At this point, this is what I understand about many—not all—questions in Spanish. First, let’s look at this type of question in English. This bus is usually on time? You are walking for exercise? You are happy here? Notice that these are all written in normal English sentence order. Read those questions aloud. What are you doing differently with your voice? It’s rising at the end of the question, isn’t it? That’s the way that many questions in Spanish work— especially the ones that we are working with right now. That’s why tú is not moving in this sentence; they are using intonation to create the question. I have seen this pattern break, but intonation does seem to be a very common pattern for creating questions—just use the sound of your voice and question marks to make these questions.


            Keep in mind that subject placement in Spanish is quite flexible, and verb-subject questions are common, especially when interrogatives are used. With a pronoun and non-interrogative you'd probably maintain subject-verb order, but you wouldn't be breaking grammar rules by saying "¿Tomas tú un taxi o el autobús?" or "¿Tomas un taxi o el autobús tú?"

            Of course, the most natural way to ask this question would be to drop the pronoun all together: "¿Tomas un taxi o el autobús?"


            Why is this translation wrong? Did you take a taxi or a bus?

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