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  5. "¿Por qué no se lavan ustedes…

"¿Por qué no se lavan ustedes la cara?"

Translation:Why don't you wash your faces?

June 14, 2018



Ustedes plural. Faces plural. La cara singular. Am I missing something here?


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.


Why is it not "las caras"?? I understand each person has one face but you're talking about several people and several faces.


Because that is how it's done. It is understood that each has one face, if everyone had several dresses to wash, they would be plural.

This is like saying, "would everyone wash their face?" You don't need to say, "Would everyone wash their faces?"


Why sometimes it's lavarSE and others SE lava...? Are they interchangeables?

Lavarse la cara o/y se lavar la cara ?


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.
Present participle:
Se están lavando la cara. OR Están lavándose la cara.


Marcy, I wish I had a collection of all your posts! You are one of a few commentators here that have been very valuable to my education. Thank you!


por que no.....why don't you wash all your faces? after all, we're speaking to more than one face, aren't we? please give me another way to look at this, thx in advance


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.


'Por qué ustedes no se lavan la cara' means the same thing, and is easier to understand...but DUO...sigh!


Why is "do you not" not equivalent to "don't you"? I was marked wrong for using this equivalent phrase.


Each person has only one face, thus "face" in English should be singular too.


I agree with that


Wouldn't se lavan mean they wash? I think this should be 'Why don't they wash their faces?'


Se lavan can be they wash or you (guys) wash.
Se lavan ustedes can only be you (guys) wash.


So the sentence here would be: Ustedes se lavan...?


Se lavan can also mean (in southern USA terms) ya'll wash.


How many faces doe one of them have? Well, "wash all of them, please!" I wash my face / You wash your face // they wash their face ... Now did I get it wrong?


The answer to your question (Now did I get it wrong?) is "no, in Spanish but yes, in English." (Spanish = la cara, English = their faces)


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?"


If it is la cara then it can't become plural and mean faces!


I need help here... or should i report a mistake?... ustedes is they, for you usted should have been used... la cara is face not las caras as in faces!


Ustedes is NOT they. Ellos or Ellas means they (or them). Ustedes is 'you' plural. As in 'you guys' or 'you all'.


Ustedes is plural you not they but is conjugated like they. La cara is one face as they say in spanish. In english we say faces. So not a literal translation but rather correct in each language.


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.




This is not a natural english sentence


Why not? I don't see anything "unnatural" about "Why don't you [all/guys] wash your faces? That is Duo's translation.


It should be las caras.


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


iSugar, you must have had some other error. Duo's prompt is ¿Por qué no se lavan ustedes la cara? For more than one person's face, still la cara in Spanish, "your/their faces" in English.


each of us washes his face? and not their faces?


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".


Why not caras?


por que no.....why don't you wash all your faces? after all, we're speaking to more than one face, aren't we?


You can speak to more than one thing or person (or about more than one thing person etc) without using the word "all" in English. Not sure about any other languages, but all would be an extra word that is not indicated here.


why is "ustedes" needed since "se lavan " indicates third person plural?


Otherwise, the sentence can mean 'Why don't they wash their faces'.


I only have ONE face thank you!!!


Yes, Cynthia, but . . . . I've finally succumbed to Spanish convention. "They" 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!)

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