"How many students are studying in the library?"
Translation:¿Cuántos estudiantes estudian en la biblioteca?
...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
that's not what I'm talking about. as far as I know it's either el presente del indicativo "estudian" or el presente continuo "están estudiando". Brandon asking for "están estudian" is a mix of them both.
Yes, but I added for Brandon why the Spanish present progressive is not necessarily used to replace the English present continuous.
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
"estudian," means, "they study" and "they are studying." Both. See, the deal is the Spanish mind likes to think these two ways of saying it mean the same thing which is the case. It is the English we are used to which is weird.
Incidentally, "Cuántos estudiantes" reminds me ---
¿Cuántos estudiantes científicos de la computación necesitas para cambiar una bombilla?
Cinco. Uno para sostener la bombilla, uno para buscar el método en Google, y tres para rotar la escalera de tijera.
¿Cuántos profesores de TI necesitas para cambiar una bombilla?
Solo uno. Él sube la escalera, sostiene la bombilla, y luego él espera pacientemente a que el Mundo gire alrededor de él.
How a continuous tense is converted means what do we have to add in the root verb?
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”.
I understand that this aspect of Spanish is changing, particularly in the USA. For example "están estudiando" can be used in the English way to indicate that something is happening and continues to happen (in English it is called the progressive or continuous mood). However this use is still colloquial; it hasn't yet been adopted officially.
So ALLintolearning3 is correct in what they say - that standard Spanish grammar is still that the "-ando / -endo" construction only means what is happening right now. I'm sure the RAE and the other academies will eventually recognise the change. Watch this space...
Not if the change is only in the US, isn’t that a form of Spanglish in reverse?
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.
Since they often omit subjects, conjugation can be very important for you to understand Spanish. Maybe someone will understand you if they also know English and are used to dealing with English speakers trying to speak Spanish.
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”.