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  5. "¿Cómo se escribe esta palabr…

"¿Cómo se escribe esta palabra?"

Translation:How do you write this word?

June 15, 2018



Why is it "se escribe"? Shouldn't it only be "escribe" or "escribes"?


A more formal translation is "How does one write this word" or "How is this word written". The Duo translation is how English speakers often say the same thing but is not a word for word translation.


The best answer here.


without the se it would translate to "how does he write this word".


without the se it could also translate to "how do you(usted) write this word.

the difference is the original question is asking how does one write the word( as in how do people generally do it) but the sentence without the se is more like "how do you(specifically you) write it.


It is being used in passive voice or impersonal (the word doesn't really do the writing). You can also translate this as 'spell', but I'm not sure if Duolingo accepts that.


Spell works for me. The meaning remains essentially the same, but I doubt Duo would accept it.


Because escribirse means "to spell"


This answer makes sense to me, escribir is a reflexive verb ie escribir se, so se escribe or he/she writes himself/herself is better grammar.


DL is introducing us here to the way Spanish commonly uses the passive voice construction, as has been noted here in the discussion. Literally, the sentence is "How is this word written?" // ¿Cómo se deletrea esta palabra? "How is this word spelled?" When translated into English, we often remake the sentence in the active voice, hence "How do you write this word?" but in Spanish it is a passive voice construction. Incredibly common.


Would "how is this word written" be an accurate translation?


Yes, that would be a good and literal translation.


"How is this word written?" should be Duo's preferred translation. Or perhaps "How does one write this word?".


In Spanish, the translation of "How do you write this word?", is: "¿Cómo escribes esta palabra?" Where is "tú" in the first Spanish sentence. Who the question is for? The subject is indefinite. Besides, "Se escribe" = "It is written" and "¿Se escribe?" = "Is it written?"; then, "How is it written this word?" or "How this word is written? The meaning of the sentence of Dúo's answer is not the same.


The literal translation of the Spanish sentence is "How is this word written?" Remember that you need the word order "question word - conjugated verb - subject - full verb" in English.

Duo's English sentence is using the "impersonal you". It is not asking about how you, personally, write that word, but how "you", the general population, writes that word.

"If there is a crime happening, you have to call the police." Not only you, but everyone needs to do this.


What word? Given the context I can only assume the person is showing the listener a word already written down.


why isn't this "como te escribes esta palabra"?


The meaning of the question is slightly different. In English, we say "how do you write this word" but we are using the word "you" as the general you. It is more correct to say how does one write this word. If you use "te escribes" you are asking how one specific person writes a word, not how the word in general should be written. I hope that makes sense.


The "te" is not needed. "Cómo escribes esta palabra?" restates Duo's English translation, but it is not the same as the initial Spanish version.


The "you" of the English sentence is an impersonal "you". That means it's not about how you, specifically, write the word, but how the general public writes it; how the word is written. Spanish uses a passive form here, which includes the pronoun se.

  • Esta palabra se escribe así. - This word is written like this.
  • (Esta palabra te escribe así. - This word is writing you like this.)


Just out of interest, coloquially, would one say this for "How do you spell this word"? Or would you use 'deletreas'? Anyone know?


Es lo mismo: ¿Cómo se deletrea esta palabra? // ¿Cómo se escribe esta palabra? Here's a video of a guy using deletrear to talk about spelling abecedario: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7g30kg0sts


Personally I would use escribir here. Deletrear sounds a bit formal, and it specifically means that you want to know the spelling letter by letter.


That makes sense that it's more collequial to use escribir for the reason you give. Gracias


I thought that se was for I (yo)


You're probably mixing it up with the accented , which is the present yo form of the verb saber, meaning "I know".

Se (without an accent) is commonly a 3rd-person reflexive pronoun, so it means something like "himself, herself, themselves", and a few more things. Se is also used in passive constructions like in the sentence above. Literally "¿Cómo se escribe esta palabra?" would mean "How does this word write itself?", but it's better represented in English as "How is this word written?"


Oh thank you so much I was mixing the two up!!


Why is it "Como se escribe" and "Como se dice" for "How do you" instead of " Como sabes..."? The question is "how do you..."? not "how do I..."?????


They are using the "Impersonal 'Se'".

"Se" is the generic pronoun.
It has many uses.
This one is to make "Impersonal" statements.

"¿Cómo se dice?" is the classic version.
It can be translated several different ways:
1-"How does one say?"

2-"How is it said?"

3-"How do you say?" (The "You" is not any specific person but the general "you")



An utterly nonsensical sentence! The speaker does not SAY the word. How does the one being asked know which word? It can only be that the questioner points at a place where it is written, printed, etc. In that case he doesn't need to ask how to write it.

Rules for examiners: Engage brain before posting questions.

  • "La palabra es 'acuacultura'. Tú has escrito 'agua cultura'."
  • "¿Qué?"
  • "Acuacultura."
  • "¿Cómo se escribe esto?"


your example helped me tremendously, thanks


Either you didn't get my point, or I don't get yours. My comment is about the sentence that is on top of this page, not about some dialogue you invented.


If I interpreted your comment right, you said that the Spanish sentence is illogical because the word that it's asking about isn't mentioned. The goal of my dialogue was to show that the word doesn't have to be mentioned in the same sentence or even by the same speaker.


Peter, there are many situations where people might be discussing a word (where it is NOT written down) and they round the group asking this question.

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