"The girls are a little sad."
Translation:Las chicas están un poco tristes.
LOL! I'm no "kid," but Ahora soy una anciana! I use the app because I can squeeze in a lesson wherever I am, to do more per day. I was taking the "casual level" so slowly, I realized I would never be able to converse before I died if I didn't do 5-6 lessons a day, at least, so am attempting that pace. It is helping to do more at a time; my brain needs a lot of repetition. Hats off to seniors who want to keep learning!
There are a surprising number of seniors taking this course of study. I seem to remember that this is one of the changes futurists predicted 20 or 30 years ago: that because seniors are living longer, we won't be content to just sit in front of the TV, but will be looking for new challenges to fill the extra decades.
Full disclaimer: I am not a native speaker and I can only speculate here: In Yo estoy un poco triste, un poco triste is a phrase using the indefinite article un and such a phrase (at least with poco) puts the adverb un poco before the adjective it modifies. It's really the same as in English: we would normally say, "I am a little sad." We might say, "I am sad a little", but most of us would recognize that as a peculiar and individual form of expression, not the norm.
Because that isn't the convention.
If I understand it correctly and when both verbs are the equivalent of the English "to be", "ser" usually indicates permanence while "estar" indicates "at the moment".
To wit: "Yo estoy en California" (because although I've lived here for 35 years, I could be in Arizona in a couple of hours). But "Yo soy de Florida" (because no matter where I roam, I will always be from Florida).
A lot of these usages become matters of convention; so even if I somehow know I will remain in California forever (let's say I'm locked up for life without parole), the verb for current location remains "estar".
IIRC, it's the same with adjectives. Some have come to use estar or ser according to custom and we just have to memorize them (which is why it is GREAT that DL now gives us so many more drills).
I don't like the way I worded some of the above. In sentences regarding location, forget about permanent v. temporary.
"Estar" is always used to indicate current location, even in a question where that location is unknown. "Yo estoy en California. Tú estás en tu habitación. Él está en la clase. Nosotros estamos en el sótano. El ratón está sobre la mesa. ¿Dónde están ustedes?" Etc.
"Ser" is used for place of origin. "Yo soy de la Florida." (The "la" seems to be optional now.) "Ella es de España." And so forth.
Well, for one thing, since una is modifying pocas, it must also be plural, i.e., unas. (Emphasis added.)
NOTE: I really led you astray here, Michelle. Un poco is an adverb and doesn't change in number or gender to agree with the subject, Las niñas. And tristes is one of those adjectives that doesn't change its gender, just its number.
I am really sorry. Early onset dementia is my only excuse. What you wanted was Las niñas están un poco tristes.
Because poco and tristes--in the prompt sentence--are different parts of speech (or "kinds" of words).
tristes is an adjective, which in Spanish must agree in number and gender. So tristes becomes plural to agree with chicas. (tristes happens to be an adjective that doesn't change gender; if it were like most adjectives, you are right that it would have to be feminine in the prompt.)
un poco is an adverb here. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives (including tristes) and other adverbs. Adverbs do NOT change to agree in number or gender; they generally remain in the masculine/singular form.
(To make matters more confusing--feel free to stop reading now--poco, like mucho, is the rare word that can be an adjective or adverb, depending on context. In the prompt, we know it is an adverb because it modifies the adjective tristes.
A lot of adverbs end with the suffix mente. E.g., Las chicas cantan tristemente. "The girls sang sadly." Poco and mucho obviously do not.)
Tristes is one of those verbs--like interesantes and emocionantes--where there is only one form each of singular and plural and no distinction by gender. (Interestingly, the examples that occur to me have to do with feelings. That may just be a coincidence.)
- words not verbs. See skepticalways' correction below. Thank you, skeptical!
In my experience (on the app, at least, the desktop experience may be different), DL gives a pretty basic explanation of the grammar, leaving out useful exceptions & intricacies. It also likes to throw examples of those exceptions at you without warning, so those who aren't aware of them get them wrong, & then either have to hope the discussion explains it, or have to find an external source (which I'd recommend to serious learners anyway). Just yesterday I met one of those exceptions in the French course, & it gave me a tip as if it had presented it to me already. However, upon searching every tips section prior to that module I found no such instance of that exception/rule. This is where the frustration commonly lies in DL, especially in courses that are less developed (e.g. Polish has tips & notes sections on the desktop version, but does not have them in the app yet).
No, it's not a noun. It's an adverb modifying the adjective tristes. Un poco is standard form in both Spanish and English ("a little" in the latter). Adverbs don't change in number or gender. The adjective tristes only changes in number.
Yours is a good question. We don't say "a very sad" or un mucho tristes. I don't know why, but it's curious that it's true in both languages.
Chicos/as and Niños/as overlap, but they are not precisely the same. Niños/as can be any group of juveniles before the age of adulthood, but is particularly used for preteens. Chicos/as is used for teens (and by teens) and young adults (early to mid-20s).
Muchachos/as is a third choice; my gut response is that it is more analogous to chicos/as, but I don't have any proof of the matter.
The above may not be true in every Spanish-speaking country; but it is true for DL, Cuba, Puerto Rico and México, the cultures with which I am most familiar.
If you are just sharing, fine. But if you want to fix the error (and I agree "girls" can be translated as niñas o chicas, depending on context), you have to do so at the response menu available at the prompt itself. DL writers don't read these discussions.
ETA obviously some of we mods DO read these discussions. The point is that the program writers don't necessarily do so, and they rely on all users to report additional correct responses.
What Guillermo8330 said, but I'd like to expand a bit on this notion of "context" in terms of what goes through my head when I make the decision to type either "niño(s)/-a(s)" or "chico(s)/-a(s)." Basically, I ask myself if the context would be more appropriate for a little boy or little girl ("little" meaning "very young") . If it is ambiguous, I just use chico(s)/-a(s) simply because it is faster for me to type. I'll give you some examples:
Who's that girl?
Ambiguous, so I'd simply type:
¿Quién es esa chica?
With this sentence:
The girls play in the garden every day.
I'd write this:
Las niñas juegan en el jardín cada día.
Why? Because it just seems to me like something younger girls would do rather than older ones.
Some sentences for practice:
When we were boys, we used to have a lot of toys.
Cuando éramos [niños / chicos] teníamos muchos juguetes.
Boys, did you already brush your teeth?
¿[Niños / Chicos] ya se cepillaron los dientes?
That boy is only 17.
Ese [niño / chico] solo tiene diecisiete años.
Lots of Duolingo discussion threads on this topic, but I thought the following were some of the better ones:
My unsolicited advice on the topic:
Since a lot of school-aged children use Duolingo, I've noticed that a lot of sentences are ones that might appeal to that age range. So, if in doubt, choose niño or niña over chico or chica and you'll probably get it right.
Pequeña means small in physical size, not limited in intensity.
Or to put it another way, pequeño/a is an adjective; poco is an adverb. Adverbs modify adjectives, as a rule. So it's un poco tristes. Adverbs don't change to match the number or gender of the adjectives they modify.
You should probably google that, myczxr. Try "Spanish estar v. ser". There are too many examples to list.
In VERY broad terms, "ser" is used for fixed qualities, while "estar" is used for location and temporary states. There's a little rhyme that goes, "For how you feel and where you are, always use the verb estar."
But what Spanish considers permanent v. temporary isn't always what one expects, so this is a topic that is really worth a google explanation.
How are we supposed to know when to use "niña" and when to use "chica"? If I use "niña," the answer demands the use of "chica"; if I use "chica," the only acceptable answer seems to be "niña." There seems to be absolutely no predictable pattern to the word choices in the answers. August 9, 2020
I can't tell you what DL wants in any particular exercise, but you do get another chance to get it right before you finish with that prompt.
In general, niña is a girl up to her mid-teens; chica is a girl from mid-teens to early 20s. But as in English, where frat brothers call each other "boys" until they are retirement age--and we call a group of middle-aged women at a bar, "Girls' Night Out"--there's a lot of crossover. In my experience, muchacha is a rough synonym of chica. But there may also be regional differences, so I'd try not to get too frustrated over this. If DL wants a different answer, give it one.
Estar (including están) is used with temporary feelings. Las chicas están un poco tristes would be used if the girls are sad at this time, because their grandmother died or their favorite sports team lost a game.
Las chicas son un poco tristes means they are always sad, i.e., they are chronically depressed, or, as we used to say, they have melancholy characters.
Good question! This is the sort of thing most of us didn't learn in English class.
Tristes is an adjective, so it is plural to agree with the noun it modifies: las chicas. (Triste happens to be one of the adjectives that doesn't have different masculine and feminine forms, so it doesn't change to match the gender of the noun, only the number.)
Poco, on the other hand, is an adverb. Adverbs modify verbs and adjectives, and though there are exceptions (e.g., juntos), most adverbs do NOT change to match the adjective they modify.
Un is an article and, like all articles, changes to match the adverb it modifies.
So you have article (matches adverb) adverb (unchanged) adjective (changes to match number), or:
un poco tristes.
I believe you are thinking of the many Spanish adjectives that go after the word they modify. Poco is an exception. There is a skill and tip on the subject of adjectives that precede nouns. IIRC, the mnemonic device DL uses is:
Beauty, Age, Goodness, Size
The point is that adjectives describing those four qualifies usually go before the noun.
Fair enough. I grew up in Southern NM, everything was Spanglished like crazy. The deeper I get with Duo, the more I realize that the localized dialect there has some serious deviation from 'proper' Spanish. In conversation, I'm still understood, which is the most important thing. I hate that I lose a heart over it though when using the app.
Sorry about the lost heart. I don't use that app and don't really understand the consequences of losing hearts.
But I, too, live near the border (So. CA). The "Mexican" Spanish I hear bears little resemblance to the Cuban and Puerto Rican versions I learned as a kid.
It's not just you, so, please, give yourself a break on that score.
In general, as you know, muy means "very", and mucho means "much" or "a lot of".
It's basically the same in both English and Spanish. Where the two languages do NOT use muy y mucho the same, it's usually because of how each language thinks of the word being modified.
Muy and "very" deal with intensity. Mucho and "a lot of" deal with quantity. Just as in English.