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.
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.)
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'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.
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.
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.
"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.
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
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.
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 / are you taking should be accepted ( tu tomas a taxi etc )
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?
'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
Tú tienes tus zapatos de baile = You have your dancing shoes.
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?
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.
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 '
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".
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
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 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.
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.
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?"