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"¿Cuándo limpiaron ellos los dormitorios?"

Translation:When did they clean the bedrooms?

June 17, 2018



Why "ellos" follows the verb "limpiaron" instead of before? Why is "ellos" required at all?


Ellos should follow the verb here because normally you can't put anything between a question word and the conjugated verb. It's like in English, with "they" coming after "did".

Including ellos here is not required.


Is this a scenario where "ellos" either can or cannot be used and still be grammatically correct? I ask because the subject of the verb is implied with the verb conjugation so I don't know if "ellos" is actually required or not unless it helps with emphasis.


The subject pronoun can be left out in almost any case. It'll only be included for emphasis ("When did they clean? Not you, I know you cleaned this morning.") or for clarification (ellos instead of ellas or ustedes). The pronouns usted and ustedes will also often be included for additional politeness.


I took a chance on the following, knowing that it
should be accepted, but not sure it would be:

when did they clean the dormitories accepted May 2020


But we can say in english "did they?"


Yes, in English you say "When did they clean?" with the conjugated verb "did" between the question word and the subject.

In Spanish you say "¿Cuándo limpiaron ellos?" with the conjugated verb limpiaron between the question word and the subject.


Spanish Dict gives "¿Cuándo limpiaron las habitaciones?" as a translation to "when did they clean the bedrooms?" and seems far more logical to me.


Yes, i want to know too. Is it used to mean "they">? Or 'them' as in the bedrooms, in this context?


It cannot be "them". "Them" is an object pronoun and would appear as los in front of the verb. Ellos here refers to the people (or animals) that do the cleaning.


The pronunciation of "ellos" in the normal-speed recording is quite bad. It sounds like "hechos". The slow recording is fine.


Just click on the flag to report it. That is where action will be taken regarding your concerns, not in this forum.


There's nothing wtong with the recording. This is actually how the language is spoken. A lot of spanish speakers tend to do this. Its also where the trope/stereotype of Spanish speakers saying english words with the letter "J" as a "Y" comes from as in "Yoke" when trying to say "joke" or Yennifer when saying "Jennifer"

Growing up i heard a lot of Puerto ricans and Mexicans speak like this. Its not something that really made its way i to my speech. Depending on who you ask its "proper Spanish" to speak like this. And even native bilinguals may or may not have this type of speech. I don't do this (or ive never heard myself do this) but some of my friends do.


There are regional variations y j and ch sounds for the ll


I took a Spanish class years ago at a community college and the teacher, who was from Mexico, emphatically corrected a student's pronunciation of the 'y' sound, for example in 'yo'. She insisted it should be pronounced 'jo'. It seemed odd to me that she didn't bother on discussing accent differences among native Spanish speakers.


Interesting. I learned my early Spanish along the Mexican border (in southern Arizona and west Texas) and it was always 'y'.


Its not even a regional thing. It really depends on the person. Some people from CD Juarez do it. Some dont. Some people from DF do it. Some dont. I haven't met anyone from any place where it seems to be consistent as to whether or not they speak this way.


Its not even a regional thing. It really depends on the person. Some people from CD Juarez do it. Some dont. Some people from DF do it. Some dont. I haven't met anyone from any place where it seems to be consistent as to whether or not they speak this way. I have noticed it seems to be pretty consistent with faster speakers they will pronounce the "j" sound.


Absolutely and also within countries, of course.

I listen to a Mexican station in Mexicali almost all day, the local announcers pronounce their y like j and it is "Meh He Co". It just sounds "wrong" to me when it's said otherwise. But what do I know, I'm originally from New Jersey.

Mexico and their states put out a lot of public service announcements on radio (in comparison to here in Florida) and they do say it both ways.


What . . . just an "ellos" this time? No caballos o vacas o perros o gatos?
Yes, Duolingo, overdoing something can get old too. (Farm Animals category)


This woman slurs os and as endings so bad it is near impossible to figure which she is saying.


why isn't this "a ellos"?


"ellos" is the subject of the sentence, even if it stands after the main verb here. the personal "a" only comes infront of direct objects


ps: direct objects that "are persons"


Where in the sentence can "ellos" be correctly placed? Please rank the placements by commonality.


I'd say from most common to least it'd go like:

  • ¿Cuándo limpiaron ellos los dormitorios?
  • ¿Ellos cuándo limpiaron los dormitorios?
  • ¿Cuándo limpiaron los dormitorios ellos?
  • ¿Cuándo ellos limpiaron los dormitorios?

The latter two might have their places switched, but to me personally it sounds grating to have the subject between the question word and the verb.


So ellos can be anywhere? Wow. Does the meaning/emphasis/tone/context change depending on the placement? If it does, could you provide it for each placement, please?


The different placements of the subject pronoun change the focus of the sentence a bit, but it also heavily depends on how you pronounce the sentence, which word you put emphasis on.

  • ¿Cuándo limpiaron ellos los dormitorios? - Mostly clarifying; ellos is added here to specify exactly whom you're talking about.

  • ¿Ellos cuándo limpiaron los dormitorios? - Changing the topic; we've talked about someone else before, and now we're focusing on ellos instead: "And they, when did they clean?"

  • ¿Cuándo limpiaron los dormitorios ellos? - As I said before, this is more of an afterthought. I want to make sure you understand that I'm talking about ellos and not ustedes.

  • ¿Cuándo ellos limpiaron los dormitorios? - Sounds weird, rather like a relative clause than a question: "When they cleaned the rooms..."


You seem like a native :)


That would be naive. :)

I have experience, though.


On slow speed it sounds like dormitorias, which is what I typed and it was accepted. On slow speed it could go either way. I reported that audio didn't sound correct.


Ok so I put clean, and was told it was wrong and I should have put tidy. Now it says Clean was right, you just can’t win


Cuando limpiaron los dormitorios ellos not ok ?


It's alright, but the ellos wants to be more in the front.


well.. I know many times we put usted on the end. why not ellos?


That might be due to how ustedes and ellos are used. With ustedes, you're directly addressing the people that are supposed to do the thing. You can place the addressing ustedes at the end as a kind of call for confirmation. A bit like "alright?" at the end of an English sentence, "did you get that?"

With ellos you're not calling for attention like that because the people you're talking about are not involved in the dialogue. So putting ellos at the end sounds a lot more like an afterthought. But it could also be used as a clarifier to make sure that you're not saying that ustedes should clean the rooms, but ellos. In case there might be an ambiguity when just the verb conjugation is used.


I translated los dormitorios as their bedrooms and it was accepted. Not enough context to say whether it should be the or their (they could just as easily be cleaning other people's bedrooms)


I understand adding ellos for emphasis or using it before the conjugated verb but i dont understand why it's placed after.


Monae, in this case we're facing a question with a question word, and the basic rule for these is that the question word is immediately followed by the conjugated verb. So if you have a subject like ellos, it will usually get displaced and put behind the verb.


That is the first time I have seen that rule explained that way. I now have a better understanding of why it doesn't flip when there is no question word.


I listened to this 3 times...It ALWAYS sounds like the speaker is saying "ellos dormitorios"


Why los comes after the verb?


Los dormitorios - the bedrooms.

Is the "ellos" really necessary? Seems redundant.

SD translates it as "¿cuándo limpiaron los dormitorios?"

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