"They are eating rice with chicken."
Translation:Ellas comen arroz con pollo.
Why are you asking about using "coman"?
Perhaps you're thinking verbs are conjugated to agree with the subject's gender? Fortunately, that's one thing you never have to worry about when conjugating verbs. On the other hand, you do need to pay attention to number, person, aspect, mood, and tense. :)
To go into more detail for other people reading this, verb conjugation patterns depend on what their infinitive suffixes are. Regular verbs conjugate like this:
Since comer is a regular -er verb, the stem vowel is E in the present indicative. "Coman" exists, but it's the subjunctive and imperative form.
"Estan comiendo arroz con pollo" should be accepted, no? I'd assume since this is from the revamped skill tree, the present progressive tense in spanish isn't introduced yet so these answers are marked incorrect? From people who are recompleting the tree this should have been addressed.
This is a good question and many people have had translations with the present progressive rejected here. Given the lack of context, it isn't technically wrong to translate with "están comiendo," but it isn't as commonly used in Spanish as it is in English.
It's possible Duo has not added these to the database for this drill, but it's also possible they never will. It seems the wise owl is trying to break our English speaking habit of using the progressive when it isn't called for in Spanish.
In Spanish, the use of the progressive aspect is usually reserved for describing actions that are happening in the moment and even then, you use the progressive only to emphasize that fact. It's also sometimes used to describe the present instance of routine, habitual behaviors. Otherwise, the simple present is sufficient.
Remember that the present tense (indicative) in Spanish means three things.
"Ellas comen arroz con pollo" can be correctly translated three ways.
1. "They eat rice with chicken."
2. "They do eat rice with chicken."
3. They are eating rice with chicken."
Number 3 can also be translated as "Ellas están comienzo arroz con pollo" if they are eating it right now.
That isn't quite right.
To form the progressive, you need to conjugate the verb "estar" and add the relevant gerundio (the verb form ending in -ndo). The thing is that Spanish uses the progressive tenses in a lot fewer situations than English. For example, it's never used to talk about the near future. Instead, Spanish often uses the simple present. So, it only looks like "comen" = "are eating" because we've substituted our present progressive for their simple present.
In addition, you can use "ser" with the past participle of the relevant verb for passive voice constructions. So, for example, "was written" = "fue escrito." Although Spanish tends to avoid the passive voice compared to English, that's not because the "to be" part is built-in.
Spanish does not use the progressive the same way we do in English. 95% of the time, "comen" can be either "they eat" or "they are eating" and vice-versa. In Spanish, "están comiendo" is reserved for highlighting that they are in the middle of eating right now. It can never be used to suggest a future activity the way it can in English.
One, the verb comen by itself can mean "they eat" or "they are eating". Spanish is more flexible in this sense in that the regular present tense can translate to multiple ways to say it in English; you don't need to translate the "are" as well.
Two, if you DO want to use a progressive form like the English "are eating", you have to use the "to be" verb estar, not the "to be" verb ser, which means this verb has to be están and not son. And you have to use the equivalent of the "-ing" form in English, making this "Ellos están comiendo...".
The subject of when and when not to use the article can get very complex in Spanish and a full discussion of it can run into multiple pages in grammar books. However, in this case it's simply for the same reason that we don't use it in English: We are not talking about a specific "rice with chicken", but rather "some" rice with chicken.
No, it's to test whether you recognize the difference between conjugations in different moods. Sometimes it's easy to simply guess the correct words without having a good understanding of them. Presenting you with closer choices forces you to exercise your knowledge of the language.
I don't think Duo does anything intentionally to confuse us. Learning a new language can be confusing enough without that. :)