"The boy doesn't want to have soup."
Translation:El niño no quiere tomar la sopa.
tomar(toh-mahr) TRANSITIVE VERB 1. (to grab) a. to take Tomó el dinero y se lo metió en el bolsillo.He took the money and put it in his pocket. 2. (to consume) a. to take (medication) Él tiene que tomar sus medicamentos dos veces al día.He has to take his medication twice a day. b. to have Tomé atún para el almuerzo.I had tuna fish for lunch.
I would love to have someone explain this. Answer is accepted with or without "la" for this sentence, but some places require an article or won't allow a gratuitous one. Even with my outside research, I can't find rules that cover all examples (there are always Duolingo sentences that fall outside the rules), and very few people on the discussion forum have provided good (or any) explanations.
I don't know if you'll like my answer. For starters, I don't have any rules for you because it seems every time I try to come up with one, I find something that contradicts it. Instead, I've just resigned myself to the fact that some things simply must be learned as you go and the more exposure to the language I get, the more I'll learn.
One of the things I do when trying to understand a language pattern that differs from my native tongue — English — is look for trends. The Google Ngram and general web searches with Google are great for such a task (albeit, not a perfect science). The phrase "quiere tomar la sopa" was a bit too infrequent to be found with a Google Ngram, but a simple Google search did produce some interesting results. I experimented with the article and without as well as with negation and without. You can see the results in the chart below:
To enlarge the image, bring it up in Chrome, right click the image, and open the image in a new tab.
That the phrase was more common with an article did not surprise me. What surprised me is that the ratio of phrase with article to phrase without was larger when the phrase was negated — 18:1 versus 13:1. Had I not taken a look at this, I would have assumed the opposite.
Another thing I'd like to comment on is the way I think of this phrase:
tomar la sopa
I imagine myself seated at a table in a restaurant. The server comes to take my order. I'm feeling like soup that day, so I tell him, "I'll take the soup, please." I would never just say "I'll take soup, please." It sounds really odd to me. Perhaps something similar is going on with Spanish.
If, instead, you translate tomar as have, it's a different story because both "I'll have the soup," sounds just as natural to me as "I'll have soup.") So, thinking of "tomar" more literally as "take" may help you use the article more like a native Spanish speaker.
Lastly, let's not let it be lost that the article isn't actually required in this context. There's too great a preponderance of usage without the article to tell someone they're wrong in this context if they choose to omit it. Clearly, a lot of people simply say "tomar sopa."
Started reading these comments and I learned a little, but I'm walking away still scratching my head, as I've been doing this for 50 days straight now, I'll pause for the applause...... I've learned quite a bit but I've also learned that Spanish is a lot more confusing than I thought. I work around a lot of Latinos y Latinas whose first language is Spanish, and have always been told that English is a very difficult language to learn and it's Spanish as much more simple. I guess my point is, the Grass is always greener at the dispensary across the street.. Duolingo is a great application, I am slowly learning to structure sentences in Spanish thanks to this genius app. Thank you Duolingo and thank you for everybody on these threads answering and helping everybody out..
it would be beber not bebe, and the ~ can't be omitted (el niño) as omitting it can really change the meaning. But I think the intent here is to show one of the meanings of tomar. (cf. 1 Corintios 11:24: "Tomad, comed: Esto es mi cuerpo que por vosotros es partido: haced esto en memoria de mí.")
I asked the cook at the local deli "¿tiene hamburguesas?" (using tener), so if the answer is in the affirmative I can order one (quisiera una hamburguesa, por favor, con queso y lechuga y tomate y cebollas, y con muchos jalapeños), but when the burger is ready, he could say "puede tomar la hamburguesa ahora" (using tomar).
When you come across something confusing like this, do some internet searching. You'll find the primary translation is "tomar sopa" even though it sounds odd to our American English ears. If you make confusing questions on Duo be a springboard for learning from other sites, you'll learn and understand things much better than simply sticking with what Duo gives you.
Check out lisa4duolingo's great answer above on whether it's appropriate for this sentence. Also there is not any single soup that he wants, so it's pretty safe to say that "all soup" is not something he wants to have. When I can put "all" in front of the noun, I've been pretty safe using the article. (It's a little convoluted here, since it's a negation, but the idea is still there.)
Definitely a good idea to try to make some of your own rules based on the examples provided (as lisa4duolingo mentions and see which ones hold up, or at least hold up most of the time. I know I have my own ever-growing list, including exceptions.
Pretty sure it's just one of those phrases that doesn't translate 1 for 1 ... I'm sure we have plenty of English phrases that confound learners.
But if you think about it, don't you take a drink at a water fountain? Or when the waiter asks what you'll have, some people say, "I'll take the spaghetti with meat sauce."
There are some connections, but sometimes you just have to accept each language on its own and learn how it works. It's not like we're going to change it by disagreeing with how it's structured.