That's how it's said in Spanish. I think that the idea is that each one of them is washing his or her own face. Each person has only one face, so they don't make it plural. Teeth on the other hand would be plural since each person has multiple teeth. It's different than how we think of it in English.
If you had "se lavan las caras" plural, it might imply that they were washing each other's faces.
The se (and all other object pronouns) has to go immediately before a conjugated verb: yo me lavo, tú te lavas, ustedes se lavan.
UNLESS your sentence also contains an infinitive or a present participle. Then you have the choice of putting the object pronoun immediately before the conjugated verb OR attaching it to the end of the second form.
Se van a lavar la cara. OR Van a lavarse la cara.
Se están lavando la cara. OR Están lavándose la cara.
No pudieron lavarse ustedes la cara No se lavaron ustedes la cara Lavarse is a reflexive verb with se me te nos as objects that would be yourself, themselves, ourselves, myself. Look up "se" through any search engine as that is the tricky one. In English, Native speakers always say their pronouns most of the time and is the reason why they don't say "We already showered ourselves" the pronoun we implys the reflexive action, but in Spanish, pronouns are optional. And for that reason the reflexive objects were born as a means of being able to distinguish between reflexive actions and direct actions. Therefore whenever you have a verb where the subject performs the action upon itself use one of the appropriate reflexive objects. To wash one's self Lavarse; me lavo, te lavas, Él /ella /usted (ellos /ellas/ustedes) se lava (se lavan), nos lavamos.
The Spanish sentence is grammatically correct; the English translation is not.
The singular, 'la cara', is used in the Spanish sentence because 'they' are a group, a singular entity.
The problem English speakers are cuing into is that while plurality is properly indicated by the verb tense in the Spanish sentence, it is not properly indicated in the English sentence. One could say: "Why don't you - all - wash your face?" or "Why don't you - children - wash your face?" The people in this sentence belong to a group, a singular entity, and cannot be referenced by the plural 'faces'. If the plural noun were used in this instance, group members could turn to one another and joke, "Hey! Why don't you go wash your faces!" Ha ha. The plural noun requires a different sentence structure, e.g., "Why are your faces not washed?"
No. It seems it's the rule in Spanish to say 'the' for body part(s), like 'la cara', 'las manos', 'los pies', etc.
BTW, here we assume talking to plural of you, so your question should be 'Not su cara?', because plural-your/their is 'su' for singlar noun (and sus for plural noun), which is the same as singular-respected-your (I mean, possessive case of usted)/his/her.
Hi, GrayNathan. Here's part of my post from a long time ago (easier than again thinking of how to say what I want to say :) )-- "I've finally succumbed to Spanish convention. 'They' [or 'you all'] each wash one face so the verb is plural but the object is singular. (Unless, of course, you happen to have two of the object, like hands!)"
That's talking about speaking Spanish--in English, when we're talking about more than one person washing, we still say "faces"!
in another lesson Duo marked me wrong for putting las caras. insisting that every child has only one face. so it needed to be singular. learning from that exercise, I put la cara on this one. even though its STILL referencing a group of people as one. and got it marked wrong. what gives
Wonderful sentence, When presented to the English Speaker the word face is confusing when not pluralised, but that's not the case here with Spanish as logic flows one way and LA cara as such would be applied as each person's face. Explains why as of late, I have been hearing "Everyone in the room picks up his coat".