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  5. "¿Usted usa el teléfono?"

"¿Usted usa el teléfono?"

Translation:Are you using the telephone?

June 15, 2018



How do you tell the difference between "are you using the phone" and "do you use the phone"? Are the Spanish sentences for both the same?


Yes and not exactly. If you want to ask "Are you using the phone (at this precise moment)?", then you can say, ¿Está usando el teléfono?, but the present continuous in English is used in more situations that that. I might say: "I'm studying Italian on Duolingo", but it doesn't mean I'm doing it at the moment. Or I might say: "I'm seeing my friends later" (future). In both these cases, you would use the presente in Spanish, as you would for "I study every day" or "I often meet my friends on Fridays".


So in this case, is it equivalent to saying 'Do you use the phone'.


There is no context so it is difficult to tell.


Both should be accepted as correct, but you should always go with the more likely answer.


Yes, but Duo marked me wrong for that. It said "Are you using the phone?"


That could also be accepted as correct, but it would be an odd question, because who doesn’t?

In this case, I would more likely ask the way Duolingo did “Are you using the phone?” which can be about the near future.


You wouldn't say "I'm studying Italian on Duolingo" , if you weren't referring to this exact moment though. "I study Italian on Duolingo" would be correct, because it doesn't specify the time of the action, rather states a fact. It should be the same in this case. Either way it should be "usando" for the translation to be correct.


But "Do you use the phone?" implies on a regular basis.


Yes, but the Spanish simple present is not limited to that and very often it is the correct translation for the present continuous as well. Their present progressive is the one that is extremely limited to only currently using at this moment. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-spanish-english-verb-tenses-differ-3079929

Who doesn’t use the phone on a regular basis?


This translation is wrong, though. "Usted usa el teléfono" translates to "Do you use the telephone".

"Are you using the telephone" is talking about right now (gerundium), in the middle of an action, and would translate to "Está usando el teléfono".

So DL is wrong here.


In English, I might ask this even if I see you are not on the phone at the moment. We also use the present continuous for the near future. I want to know if you were going to use the phone or if I can use it. So, no, Duolingo is not necessarily wrong.


In my opinion you are wrong. While in english we might ask someone "Are you using the phone?" even if they are not using it at the moment, you are still referring to that moment in the present. In spanish there is a specific way to translate this verb ending with "-ing" by adding "-ando" Therefore, it will be correct to use "-ando" added to the verb. The sentence is constructed to ask "Do you use the phone?"


I agree. If there was a pencil on a desk near someone, we ask "are you using that?". We don't say "do you use that?". I feel like this representation from DL is very clunky and incorrect.


That's a serious stretch to clear DL of any mistake here. There are only 3 obvious answers to the question of "Are you using the phone?" for the purpose of this debate: Yes, No, and No, but i will be soon. All three assume the question is being asked in present tense. If somebody told me no, and i used the phone, but they got upset with me because they needed the phone in the near future, i would tell them that they gave me incomplete information.


Woow! Ive been noticing that some sentences seem wrong but took duolingos word for it. I'll stick with it but Id be better off learning from Ricky Walls or spanish butterfly on youtube. Smh


I believe the difference is when writing the phrase, you denote it as a question by the question marks. In verbal form, your voice goes up higher on the end to show that its a question. Same string of words, but with different puctuation or inflection of speech. So Duolingo is correct.


"usted is used during an formal coversation, which translates to "are you", tu translates to "do you".(ignore my accent).I hope this makes sense.


No, both translate to both. We used to have a familiar form "thou" which corresponded to "tú", but now we use "you" for familiar, formal, singular and plural.

"Are you using...? is our present continuous form and it is not more formal than "Do you use...?" The second question would seem strange, because who doesn't use the phone if they have one? The first question is are you currently using or about to use the phone and if you are not then maybe I could use it?


Ok, my bad Thanks for clarifying


It is gonna be a longgggggg time before I can listen to native speakers talk and understand the individual words they are saying. Is this how people learn languages? They read and write it first, then later they are able to speak it, and then they are able to listen and interpret?


Tyler....I find that it is taking a longer time to learn this language......and that's ok...because there is a lot to learn...like....spelling... Pronouncing words ...sentence contruction.....getting familiar with accents.. etc. Etc.....and u know what ?...i am very proud of my self that I am sticking with it......now it's getting eaiser.....if u are surrounded by Spanish speaking people or listen to spanish channels it helps......so just hang in there and consistently work at it..... ..it's worth it !!!


Consider how long it takes a child to be able to have a meaningful conversation while completely immersed in their native language... 4-5 years? Look at infants. They can usually pick out bits, point and repeat a word or two, maybe a short phrase. That's where you will inevitably be at some point learning a new language. I think this format will get you so far. At some point if you want to continue to advance, you probably have to find someone you can speak the language with regularly.


Find yourself someone that you can sit and speak to, even the little bit of Spanish that you know. At first you may just be making up funny sentences out of the few words that you know and laughing together but not actually really communicating about anything in particular. This will help you learn to listen to the words that they are saying. To begin with my conversations consisted of sentences such as "My hands do not work so I drink with my feet.". Just start using the few words that you have and getting comfortable with them.

You can also try doing your Duolingo without looking at the written transcript. I find that the new Crown system is great for this, doing repetition and lessons without having the exact same lesson over and over again.


Well, yes. It takes a loong time to master Spanish anyway.


No, it's not the best way, but for most of us it's the only option available. If you can afford it, go live for at least a year ina a country where the target language is spoken. Take classes, but get involved in local activities ... even helping a local student with his English. You'll have to use the local language a lot to explain things to the student. Most colleges and universities are not equipt to teach foreign languages that way. They typically have minimum class sizes of 25 or more. The only option is to teach reading and writing before (or in conjunction with) listening and speaking. Role playing doesn't work well, because neither of the role playing students is a native speaker.

A practical alternative it to take short, intensive courses in the country. For Spanish there are many economical programs in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and other countries. DO select the option of living with a local family, rather than in a dorm where you'll be tempted to use English.


In this question we are seeing "¿Usted usa......?" But in another question i saw "¿Quiere usted.....?" Is it that there are rules with these verbs separately when using "usted" with them? And honestly i do not see a problem addressing a stranger using the "tú" form. I think it is formal enough if i use words like "seńor" or "seńora".


The opposite is true: you must use “usted” form with “señor” or “señora”. Inverted order is much more common for questions. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24109329/Tú-usted-or-vos-A-guide-for-which-to-use-and-why



I also translated "do you use the phone". I learned in Spainish class theing -ing word were supposed to end in -ando or -iendo and start with a estar conjugation


Not always, scroll up.


Estas usando el teléfono?=are you using the phone? Usted usa el teléfono litterally means do you use the phone but it can be taking as either "are you using the phone" or "do you use the phone"


I am confused, in class I was taught that 'usted' or 'ustedes' meant 'they' or 'he' or 'she'. Why is it used in the sense of 'you' here? What about 'tú' ?


You were taught that “usted” uses the same verb form as “él” and “ella” and “ustedes” uses the same verb form as “ellos” and “ellas”, but you misunderstood, because they are two formal forms of “you”.

“tú” is the familiar singular form of you used in Spain, “vosotros” with “vosotras” for an all feminine group make the second kind of you which is familiar and plural in Spain. Familiar forms are used with children, family and friends, people with whom you are on a first name basis.

So “usted” is the standard singular form of “you” in Latin America and the formal singular form for Spain, while “ustedes” is the standard plural form of “you” in Latin America and the formal plural form in Spain.

These forms come from a time when you wouldn’t dare talk to the king or nobles directly and had to use “vuestra merced” or “your grace” and so they use the third person forms of the verbs. “Has your royal highness decided what should be served for dinner?” rather than “Have you decided what you want to eat for dinner?” So these are respectful forms, that you would use with people older than you or in positions above you or with people you don’t know that are not younger than you.

Somehow in English we no longer use our familiar form which used to be “thou” and our polite form “you” is the one we use for everyone now. In Latin America, the familiar form is not used everywhere anymore, though it is still used in some places. There is also another familiar version “vos” which is used in some countries, including Argentina. https://www.thoughtco.com/formal-and-informal-you-spanish-3079379


Seriously why no -ando


There is nothing in the sentence to indicate that it is at this very moment. No “ahora” or “now”! If you have the English sentence to translate, the progressive form might also be accepted. Why are you complaining that Duolingo is using the Spanish simple present when that is what they use most and since English mostly uses the present continuous that is how it is usually translated, but the English simple present is also accepted as correct here.


How do you know if it's "do you" or "are you" becuz there are words that mean "are"in Spanish


i dont understnad why: usted = tu but usted usa... tu usas... ❤❤❤?


The word “tú” is the singular familiar form of “you” used in Spain for family, friends and children (and God, our father).

The word “usted” is the formal form of “you” in Spain used with people that you are not on a first name basis with, but in Latin America “usted” is also used with family and friends, etc.

This reminds me of how English no longer uses “thou art” in favor of “you are”. So, English used to have a familiar form and the last place it was used was in prayer and old literature.

Some countries use another form “vos”.

Just wait, there are more forms for plural “you” and they each have their own verb conjugation.


“Usted” comes from a form “ vuestra merced” which means “ your mercy” from a time when you could not directly address royalty or even the nobility, so it uses the third person form of the verb.


I translated "¿Usted usa el teléfono?" to "Are you using the telephone?"

It was marked incorrect, so I came here to find out why. I accepted that it was not in the present tense (even though Duolingo has not covered 'present tense' at this point in their lessons), and thus should have been "Do you use the telephone?"

Later in the lesson the same question was presented, and so I entered in "Do you use the telephone?" This was marked as correct, but then it gave the alternative of "Are you using the telephone?" -- exactly what I entered the first time!

Yes, I typed it correctly the first time. This lesson question just needs to be updated one way or another. [August 2, 2021]


Why did it correct me for writing phone insted of telephone?


It should accept “phone”. What was your complete answer?


A prior question had us translate, "Sir, are you using the telephone?" as "Señor, usar usted un telefóno?"

Now, "Are you using the telephone?" is "USTED USAR un teléfono." What makes the difference?


Why isnt this usas?


I thought that usa would come before usted in a question. How come "Usa usted el teléfono" is wrong?


It should not be wrong if you had the exercise to translate English to Spanish.


I am confused because I thought "use" is the third person form of the verb usar and "uses" is the second person form of the verb.


Did not compute!!


Is usa always used with usted? You would think I would know this by now


Yes, that is the only correct form for “usted” for Spanish simple present tense. The plural “ustedes” requires “usan”. http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-spanish-verb-usar.html Scroll down for a link about the different forms of you in Spanish and when to use them.


Why is Usted necessary? I thought Usted was used in formal situations (senor & senora)


The informal “tú usas”should also be correct for only the exercise of translating from English to Spanish. The form “usted” is not capitalized when it is not at the beginning of a sentence and it is formal in Spain, but in Latin America it is used for both formal and informal in places that don’t use “tú” form. Scroll down for a link with more information.


Esta usando is correct.


Only if you had the exercise to translate to Spanish from English, then it could be reported as also correct.


“Usas” is specifically for the familiar pronoun “tú”. “Usa” is required by “usted” the formal form in Spain, which is used for both familiar and formal in countries that don’t use “tú”. Using the wrong form would be like using the old form for “thou” with “you”.


But isn't usa used for he/she? Él usa teléfono. I always saw it like that, and now suddenly it is used for formal "you".


Yes, it is the 3rd person singular form of the verb, originally used for "él" and "ella", but it is also used for "usted", the "formal you".

[deactivated user]

    I don't understand how to hear the difference between usar and usa etc..


    What does "usted" mean exacly. Because I really don't get why its used before "usa" and not after


    usted = you (singular, formal in Spain)

    In English this would come after the verb in a regular question, but you can use a statement form question in Spanish for a general question as well as the inverted form.


    I thought "usa" was in relation to él/ella not tú. So my response used the "you" form of the word which is "usas"... Why is this wrong?


    The "formal you" uses the 3rd person singular as well. So it is "usted usa", but "tú usas".

    [deactivated user]

      "Do you use the phone "should be accepted as "are you using the phone" ,, lighten up a bit ... ?


      What is the difference in usar and usa? When should each be used?


      "usar" is the infinitive ("(to) use").
      "usa" is a conjugated form, meaning "(he/she/it) uses / (you (formal)) use".


      I said it correctly 3 times


      When are the main times when using Usted for "You, are you, etc"?


      You use "usted" for all people that are not children, members of your family or very close friends.


      Why is it not "usas" since you are asking someone "are YOU using"...


      "usas" is only for the "informal you" "tú". The "formal you" "usted" uses the verb form for 3rd person singular, which is "usa".


      I'm confused because I thought for verbs where the subject is "you," they ended in an s, so I thought it should be "Usted usas..." instead of "usted usa..." Could someone help me understand please? Thank you!


      What you say holds for the "informal you", "tú". The "formal you", "usted", takes the verb form of 3rd person.


      What's the difference between tú and usted?


      I think that has already been answered numerous times.
      "tú" is "you" for one person informal, and it uses a 2nd person singular verb form.
      "usted" is "you" for one person formal and takes a 3rd person singular verb form.


      Any help , when do i use the word usted in the sentence


      Can you say ''tu usas el telefono?"


      If you speak to a child, a family member or a very close friend, yes.
      But it is "tú", not "tu".


      Shouldn't "usa" be "usando"?


      I dont understand. Two separate questions both asking "are you using" One answer is Usas One answer is Usa Why is there a difference. I am really struggling with the number of variables. Any advice for easy memory?


      Without any context it could be both. It depends on whether you use the "formal" address by "usted" or the "collegial" one by "tú". "usa" is for "usted" and "usas" is for "tú" (the words themselves need not necessarily show up, because subject pronouns are usually optional in Spanish).
      If the sentence contains context hints, like "Mr. Miller", "Sir" or "Pedro", only one should work. For the first two examples it is "usa", for the last one "usas".


      Sometimes i get confused Too many ways to make a sentence with one meaning in Spanish


      Do you use the telephone? Not correct?


      Someone: are you using the telephone? Me: no I have a phone


      are you usng the telephone


      Straight up sounds like she said "¿Ustedes el teléfono?".


      "Do you use the phone" is not accepted


      Usted and Tú what is the difference?


      "tú" is informal. You use it for children, family members and close friends. "usted" is informal and used for everyone else.


      different usas and usa.. i dont understand


      "usas" is 2nd person singular, "usa" is 3rd person singular. "usted" takes the 3rd person form, "tú" takes the 2nd person form.


      Why is "Usted" used in this sentence when there is no formal language used such as " senor or senora"


      It becomes "formal" by using "usted" and the matching verb form "usa". You can talk formally to someone without using "Mr." or "Mrs.". And you do so in many languages (e.g. Spanish, French, German, Czech ...), when you talk to people who are neither children nor your family members or close friends.


      It sounds like the computer is pronouncing "ustair" not usted.


      ANOTHER sentence with 2 possible meanings but one is always wrong. I'm getting tired of Duolingo


      Shouldn't it be: ¿Usa usted el teléfono?

      What's the difference between ¿Usted usa el teléfono? and ¿Usa usted el teléfono?


      Audio isnt clear. Shouldz like uso, not usa


      Usted usa el telefono? Why "usa" though? I thought it would be "usas".


      No."usas" is only for "tú". "usted" uses the 3rd person singular form, which is "usa".


      Usted esta usando el teléfono this is the right question


      Would ustar work is place of usa here?


      "ustar" is not an existing word. Did you mean "usar"?

      And, no, "usar" is an infinitive form ("to use"). You can't use it here.


      I'd like some explanation on usage of 'usted'


      What do you want to know?
      "usted" is one of the four Spanish translations of the ambiguous English word "you".
      It is used to formally speaking to one person. It uses the verb form for 3rd person singular.


      Shouldn't the verb for you use be tu usas?


      No. "usas" is the verb for for the informal 2nd person singular ("tú"). The formal "usted" uses the 3rd person singular verb form.


      Why usa, why not Usar?


      "usar" is an infinitive ("(to) use"). That does not fit here.
      You need the 3rd person singular form, which matches "usted". That is "usa".


      Whats wrong with "did you use the telephone"? Also, is "do you use the telephone" correct?


      Of course "do you use" is correct. "did you use" is the wrong tense (past tense). That would be "usó" in Spanish.


      May I write 'Usa usted el teléfono'? Will it be correct?


      When do you use usted vs tu?


      You probably meant "tú" (with an accent), because "tu" (without accent) means "youre".
      You use "tú" for a person that is a close friend, a family member or a child.
      For all the others you use "usted".

      But note they use different verb forms! It is "usted usa" but "tú usas".


      Why is it usa and not usas?


      Because "usted" takes the 3rd person singular verb form.


      I'm confused... when asking a question with "usted", does it come b4 or after the verb? In this instance, it is being used before, but in another exercise, it said, "Quiere usted..."


      I am not fluent, however my understanding is that it can go either before or after the verb. If you are addressing someone formally it is better to place it before. Maybe someone can expand upon that for us.


      How often do native speakers use "usted"? I'm sure nobody would be offended when reffered to as "tù", right?

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