"How many students are studying in the library?"
Translation:¿Cuántos estudiantes estudian en la biblioteca?
Esudian = (they) study
If you read it literally, it says "how many students study in the library", but because of the oddness of spanish tenses, it kind of also means "how many students are studying in the library". If you want to imply that they are studying at this very moment, i think there's a different tense for that.
...which is only used if you are actually in the library at this moment studying. We use the English present continous for ongoing things that we are doing even if we are not doing them at this moment and even for the near future - both of which uses require the Spanish simple present. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-spanish-english-verb-tenses-differ-3079929
They use the Spanish simple present much more often then we use our English simple present. So there is not a one-to-one correspondence. This translation is correct. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-spanish-english-verb-tenses-differ-3079929
That would be “están estudiendo” and it is one possible translation to Spanish for something that is happening right at this moment. If you wanted to count everyone, including those who just walked into the library and are still getting their books out, then you would use the simple present in Spanish even though we would prefer the English continuous form. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-spanish-english-verb-tenses-differ-3079929
The verb form “son” which is a form of “ser” is not used to form the Spanish progressive tense. The form you are probably looking for is “están estudiendo”, but it is used less than the present continuous in English, only for something currently in progress at this moment. More often our English present continuous will translate to the Spanish simple present. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-spanish-english-verb-tenses-differ-3079929
The hints are the same for the word for all sentences. There is probably a different sentence that it might work for, just like a dictionary will have more than one meaning for a word, but you have to pick the best fit for the sentence. Which word were you talking about?
No, we cannot translate word by word. We translate the use of the English present continuous tense here with the use of the Spanish simple present. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-spanish-english-verb-tenses-differ-3079929
The English present continuous “They are studying “ can be translated most of the time as the Spanish simple present “Ellos estudian” or “Estudian” and only if the activity is actually at this moment in progress then it can be translated as “Ellos están estudiando” or “Están estudiando”.
Thank you for so much info. If i were to use the verb incorrectly to a native spanish speaker, would they understand what I'm trying to say enough that I could be corrected or is the verb missused in a way it would confuse them? I'm just wondering how much I should worry about improperly conjugating a verb. Thanks.
Both “son” and “están” mean “are” for use by “ellos”, “ellas” or “ustedes”, but they are not interchangeable. There are rules for when to use each.
“Están estudiando” would be the Spanish progressive form of the verb if they were actually studying right at this very moment, otherwise the other uses of “are studying” would be translated by the Spanish simple present “estudian”.
Forms of “estar” are used to give locations of people and places, forms of ”ser” are used for the location of an event or to give identifying information about someone or something. Who you are uses “ser” and how you are uses “estar”.