"Ellos tocan la guitarra en el concierto."

Translation:They are playing the guitar at the concert.

June 20, 2018

116 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nosirrahelocin

a better translation would be "they play the guitar at the concert" tocan is present indicative not present progressive


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sguthrie1

I disagree.

The English present progressive is a standard translation of the Spanish simple present (indicative); and it is better here.


[deactivated user]

    Why? There is no context here. Both answers should be considered correct.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    Both are correct, indeed. One is just much more likely.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dirk248111

    But how can you tell whether you talk about which instrument they play or indeed are in the act of doing so. Or is there no way of telling in Spanish


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George_Gibson_77

    If they are in the act of doing it, you can use the present progressive tense. Ellos están tocando la guitarra en el concierto = they are playing the guitar at the concert (as we speak).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Allison642418

    I noticed this too, this could also be an answer to "what instrument do they play at the concert?" I'm not sure I completely understand the rational behind some of the translations here and I'm also a beginner so it's even more confusing at times :/


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Johngt44

    You dont have to invent scenarios! The basic Spanish present tense can be translated as they play, they are playing, or they do play (the last typically used to form a question or a negative, do they play?). It is correct the auxiliary verbs used in the English progressve tenses do not appear in the Spanish. Tbe nuances of meaning in English are lost. cf amigo/amiga or tu/usted the other way round.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MMarquez19

    I've noticed a few of the phrases in Spanish are lacking the use of auxiliary verbs. The Spanish translations don't seem to match the syntax in English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sguthrie1

    !Good observation! This is because Spanish doesn't use helper verbs (auxiliary verbs) the same as English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SallyAnne709034

    As a native English speaker I would always say "they are playing the guitar at the concert" . This is assuming we are referring to some specific people ( the "they"). I would not make guitars plural as that implies that they are each playing more than one guitar! I also agree that it would be "in" a concert, in preference to "at".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sylvia12664

    I agree! If they are part of the concert, they play in it. If they play at the concert, that implies to me that they are busking in the queue or the foyer.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SherylHohman

    I would leave off the 2nd "the": They are playing guitar at the concert.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyBlackm1

    If you are 'at' the concert then you are attending, if you 'in' the concert you are taking part


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/I-Am-Phil

    I really disagree with the translation: "at the concert" is wrong. I would not say that. "In the concert" implies they are part of the concert. "At the concert" implies they are being incredibly rude and playing a guitar in opposition to the concert. Very poor translation. Bad! Bad Duo!!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ann410259

    Agreed. Definately misses the translation to English. Both should be accepted.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tazz759722

    But not the same guitar, they all have another, i think


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SGuthrie0

    "They are playing guitar at the concert" is accepted.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nEjh0qr4

    So is "They are playing guitar in the concert."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kern540963

    "In" was not accepted 10/11/19.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Walker98552

    I realize that the 'at the concert' vs 'in the concert' favors 'in the concert' as the preferred English usage. However, I have considered that Spanish speakers may think of the 'at' vs 'in' with a thought pattern that is different from English, more analogous to 1) I am shopping '...at the store' or '...in the store'. 2) I am '...at the school' or '...in the school'. 3) They are playing '...at the park' or '...in the park'. Perhaps Spanish speakers understanding is more like 'They are the entertainment AT the concert.' --which is probably better English than-- 'They are the entertainment IN the concert'. Any Spanish native speakers who can enlighten on this line of thought will be appreciated. I am just trying to make sense of the whole thing.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    I'm not exactly sure what you want here, because Spanish speakers aren't usually thinking about how prepositions are handled in English. English just likes to make things complicated.

    The Spanish sentence uses en, and en just means that something is happening at that place. How exactly the object is positioned relative to the place is not important. For example, "Espero en la estación de tren" can translate as "I am waiting in/on/at/by the train station", but it all means the same: "I am somewhere at the train station". So to find me you have to go to that station, which is the whole purpose of the sentence.

    If you want to be specific, you can use different prepositions, like "delante de" or "dentro de", but in most cases you don't need to be specific.

    Regarding "Ellos tocan en el concierto", it just means "They were somewhere at the concert and they played". The most immediate conclusion is that they were part of the performance, so the English translation reads "in the concert". But if there's context saying otherwise, the translation might change.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Walker98552

    Thanks for the thoughtful answer. I believe you are confirming my belief that "en" does not convey quite the same information in Spanish as "at and "in" convey in English. "En" conveys place but not action without context while "at" and "in" convey both action and place. Correct?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    Yes, something like that. It's about the relationship between the object and the place. En only says that the object is within the perimeter of the place, so to say. A purely spatial relationship.

    What exactly "in" and "at" convey probably depends on the circumstances, but I'll take a stab. "In" is also purely spatial and says that the object is within the borders of the place. "At" additionally carries a meaning of interaction. If you're "at a specific place", you're not only there, but also make use of that place's purpose. For instance, if you're "in the store", you're in the store, but with "at the store" you're also shopping there.

    But please note that this isn't a super general thing about English. I don't think there's much difference between "at the park" and "in the park". You can be "in the kitchen" but not "at the kitchen". And when you go to institutions, "in the school" and "in school" can mean very different things. Languages are very chaotic.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jellonz

    Agreed, and I'd add that prepositions in particular are too chaotic to try and strictly define their usage. Contexts can alter their meaning considerably:

    "In the concert" would normally be taken as inclusion: Part of the concert. Whereas "at the concert" would be taken as location: Inside the concert area.

    However:

    "In the stadium" would be taken as location: Inside the stadium area. Whereas "at the stadium" could be taken as "just outside the stadium area."

    The variations are many and sometimes very specific, which makes trying to pin firm usages on prepositions difficult at best.

    I will say regarding "in" and "en" that two key usage nuances are "inside" versus "included in":

    Estoy en el equipo - I am (included) in the team.

    Estoy en el estadio - I am in(side) the stadium.

    In this specific DL sentence the Spanish "en" could translate as either meaning, but in English we would use "in" for "included in" and "at" for "inside".

    But, that's just this specific case, the next may be different, so it really is impossible to fix blanket usages on these prepositions.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ann410259

    Agreed! Both should be acceptef


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lets_learn_team.

    This means multiple people play ONE guitar, ¿verdad?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alezzzix

    Tocar la guitarra Can refer to either a specific guitar, or guitar in general, basically this sentence says IMO that they are guitar players.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Majklo_Blic

    They're each playing one guitar apiece; that's why the singular is used in this case.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LonzCat

    No. "They play guitar" (or trumpet or piccolo) is normal English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesLefor1

    I don't know why "they play the guitar at the concert" can be incorrect. It's literally word for word translation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TerricitaM

    I wish they would bring back the floating answers app i can see where I made my mistake.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Addison_Chapala

    In English the action of working together is expressed by saying 'in concert.' I don't know anyone who would say 'they are playing guitar at the concert.' Yes, a concert is a performance, but the term 'in concert' is more common in my area (Chicago, USA).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    The Spanish sentence is talking about an event, "the concert", and a certain concert at that. So only "in the concert" or "at the concert" would be proper translations here.

    The adverbial "in concert", referring to acting together harmoniously, would be expressed in Spanish with concertadamente ("concertedly") or "en común acuerdo" ("in mutual agreement").


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShannonOwnbyT

    I think the english should be " they play guitar". Just sounds better


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MinombreesDJ

    "They" would not play "the guitar" but "guitars".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    "Playing the guitar" (or any other instrument) is not talking about a single guitar. It's a more generalised phrase, saying that you know how to play a guitar in principle.

    • Many children my age wanted to play the violin.

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/awkwardbirdart

    I wish the correct answer didn't cover up my answer so I could see where I went wrong. I have reported it, but I was hoping to garner some support amongst my peers. Will you please report it? Maybe collectively we can have them fix that. Gracias.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LynneWebb1

    My issue is with "at the concert" because I assumed they were taking part in the concert. I, therefore, put "in the concert." Can someone tell me why this was marked as wrong?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LynneWebb1

    Oops didn't notice my own typo! Instead of in I typed en. I have arthritis in my fingers and they wander all over the keyboard, which is too small for me because I am also a little sight impaired. It would be fine if I could use the app horizontally but, on my tablet, vertical is the knly option. I get more things wrong because of the keyboard than Ibdo from a lack of knowledge! Very frustrating. I have complained but none of the updates have allowed me to rotate the screen (which wouls make the keyboard much larger).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GerardKiek

    Why don't you attach a Bluetooth keyboard to you phone? It would make life much easier for you and they are very cheap. (Less than 20 Euros here in Holland)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Helenn720407

    During the concert should be accepted...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matt284406

    Am I correct in saying that there's no singular pronoun in Spanish corresponding to the English singular 'they'? Ellos/ellas are the only translations I can find for 'they' but these are plural


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jellonz

    The singular "they" is employed in English because we don't have a gender neutral singular personal subject pronoun. Using "he" can sound archaic, "she" political, and "he or she" cumbersome. The alternative impersonal "one" construction can sound elitist, hence the popularity of the singular "they".

    Spanish has no such problem, because subject pronouns are generally not even employed: "He or she plays [they play] the guitar" is simply "Toca la guitarra". There is no need to define gender to the subject, and the verb remains singular.

    Alternatively, to stress that no specific person is being referred to, the impersonal "se" could be used: "Se toca la guitarra" - "One plays the guitar".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stuart506453

    Is tocando used when playing/ performing and jugando used only when playing?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jellonz

    If you're referring to instruments, then no, "jugando" is not used at all. "Jugar" is used for playing games, not instruments. "Play" is a verb with multiple uses in English, and non-English speakers must find it weird that we play both games and instruments.

    Regarding playing / performing, "tocar" could be interpreted as either for instruments. Also "interpretar" could be used, or if you're referring to performing a piece of music "ejecutar". But in all cases there is no strict distinction between "play" and "perform".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nEjh0qr4

    Oops, jellonz! Didn't see your reply to stuart when I was typing mine.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jellonz

    It's all good nEjh0qr4. Two replies are much better than none :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nEjh0qr4

    stuart, not exactly. Tocar is a verb that means "to touch" or "to play an instrument" or "to play music." See https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/tocar

    Jugar [a] is a verb that means "to play a game," "to play a sport" or just "to play" (anything but a musical instrument). See https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/jugar


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tazz759722

    Yes it's more then one person playing the guitar


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Isabel303668

    Unless this is a line for a comic strip, 'plural people playing one guitar' it should be: They are playing guitars in the concert.

    'The' is used when it refers to something specific, the second mention of something or something all know about in nature etc.

    1- I'm hungry. Let's go to the new restaurant downtown. {specific} 2- I just saw a girl run across the road. See, the girl over there. {second mention} 3- The sun is already up. Let's get out of bed!! The temperature is supposed to be great today. {common words}


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sguthrie1

    As a former musician in a band/orchestra, I would say "I am playing the guitar" or "am playing guitar" (or even "I play....:)-- Both are OK.

    However, in addition I would say "IN the concert", not "At the concert."

    An audience person might sneak an instrument into the concert and play it, or they might play it outside AT the concert (as some kind of protest?); but band/orchestra members play "IN" concerts, not "AT" concerts.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatriciaJH

    If you walk up to the string section when they're having a snack together before the concert, and ask what they play, the viola folks would say, "oh, we play viola" and the violin section will say "We play violin."

    We typically speak about the type of instrument we play -- not, say, my actual physical maple-backed fiddle or 80-year-old ukulele. My partner has three guitars sitting around his desk, but he plays guitar, not guitars.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    First off: have you forgotten about this wonderful cover by Walk off the Earth?

    Second, the definite article is not only used when you're talking about one specific object. In rare cases it's also used for concepts - just like Spanish does it. "Can you feel the love?" does not refer to a specific love, "in the morning" mostly doesn't talk about a specific morning, but is more general. The same accounts for "playing the [instrument]": it doesn't say that you are currently playing this one specific instrument, but that you - more generally - know how to play that type of instrument.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/George_Gibson_77

    RyagonIV, thank you for the link. That was interesting.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnieBroon

    At the concert suggests that - they are not part of the official concert. On or in is better


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Williamson34

    'In the concerto' should also be an acceptable translation. Vivaldi, for one, wrote a concerto for 2 guitars and orchestra, it seems.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosa235487

    What is meant by this sentence? It is unclear whether it is saying that they play the guitar as part of the performance OR that they took their guitar/guitars along to play at the place of the concert. If part of the peformance it would be "in" concert. If just on the premises somewhere it would be "at" the concert.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    The sentence most likely refers to the people playing guitar as part of the concert (but you can interpret it the other way as well). I wouldn't say "in concert", though, since the sentence is talking about one specific concert. Either "in the concert or "at the concert", I'd suggest.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nEjh0qr4

    Thanks, Ryagon! That's what I came here to say.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rosa235487

    And to answer the guitar/guitars question: In Spanish when you refer to the whole subject of guitars you say la guitarra. But in English you can do both and mean the whole subject of playing guitar/the guitar. See both ways mean my instument is the guitar. It works that way when you use it with play/playing? Hope that's clear.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WayneCarlA

    You guys are all smarter then me. I mean, than I.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sguthrie1

    '"concierto" also = "concerto" (a symphonic form of music.)

    https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/el%20concierto


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Williamson34

    Indeed it is. Take a look at my post of 14 December.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mary366852

    How can they play one guitar. Should guitar be plural


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    "Playing the guitar" (or any instrument) doesn't refer to a single specific guitar. Instead, it talks just about the ability to play that instrument.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/racheljulia

    I put 'they play guitar at the concert' and it wasn't correct. What is wrong about this (I'm not a native English speaker).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    That should also be okay. But usually when you're saying that you're able to play a certain instrument, you express it as "playing the [instrument]". I can play the piano. They play the violin in their orchestra.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heather259272

    Why did it mark "They are playing the guitar in the concert" as wrong. It forced me to put "at the concert "


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    It shouldn't be wrong. Please report if it's not accepted.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnNewton602848

    Wouldn't it be "in the concert" instead of "at"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    Both are fine.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LynneFrods

    Why am I marked wrong for translating it as "in" the concert? It is far better English AND it is offered as one of the translations in the run-over help. Unhappy!"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jack574312

    How do you know it's not referring to several women? (ellas)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jellonz

    If you're translating from the English there's no way to know, so "ellas" should be valid.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pmurray77

    Jugar and toca? Are they the same


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LonzCat

    It is my understanding that they both can mean "play," but only because we English speakers use "play" to mean two different things. "Jugar" is for games, while "tocar", which actually means "to touch," applies to what we do with musical instruments.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/artiealf

    I have no problem with tocar, but the English translations are tough to understand. Playing a guitar at or in the concert, are 2 different things, and guitars are not usually instruments in concerts. Duolingo to do a better job with its sentences, some of which are awkward in English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/artiealf

    How about ellos tocan la guitarra con amigos,? that would translate very well in English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    Did you just skip over entire genres of music?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/artiealf

    I wrote usually, I know that guitars are sometimes parts of concerts, but that just reinforces my point. Duolingo does 1 sentence at a time and we lose context, that way.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LadyBrana

    No. Jugar refers to games and sports, tocar refers to instruments.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dojoco

    I find the English sentence strange. Guitar is an instrument played by only one person.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LonzCat

    You might want to check some of the previous entries in this thread.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    I personally know like three people who play the guitar, so I don't think that claim is realistic. :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sguthrie1

    I assume you mean: "Only one person at a time on the instrument"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/l8UJejtS

    i wrote it rightv3 tmes and it still says it's wrong


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LonzCat

    Next time this happens, take a closer look at your answer. Somewhere there's an error lurking.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sguthrie1

    Based on what you just wrote, I suspect you were indeed wrong.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LynneWebb1

    In the concert was not accepted today: Sept. 29, 2019.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/artiealf

    Not sure this makes sense; you can do a lot at a concert, but you don't play an instrument at a concert, you may play an instrument in the concert.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/catalina602680

    Why aren't both considered correct since i would be saying it in Spanish or listening and in context id understand


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/catalina602680

    Accepted they play when i used at and not in although both should be accepted


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john860809

    The continue button is gone


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoelBerman1

    Why is this wrong? The are playing the guitar in the concert


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyagonIV

    Joel, it's not a wrong translation. It just sounds somewhat odd for some reason.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoelBerman1

    People certainly can sing along at a concert, but i have never seen people in the audience bring a guitar and play along with the performers. At means to me to be in the area of the concert while in means to perform. But no matter, if Spanish prefers playing at a concert instead of playing in a concert of course i will use at instead of in.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael307373

    In English you can use either 'at' or 'in' when referring to the individuals performing the concert. In this context 'at the concert' means the same thing as 'in the concert'.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElisabethM340381

    Wouldn't it be tocando?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jellonz

    From the English to the Spanish it could definitely be "Están tocando la guitarra en el concierto", but we are translating from the Spanish to the English here, and for "Ellos tocan" either "They play" or "They are playing" is acceptable.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LonzCat

    And I would add that estan tocando would be used only if they were on stage and playing their guitars right now, at this very moment.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lise574882

    i had it right-spelling and all and it said it was wrong?!?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eRQf31

    Shouldn't get it wrong for a amall spelling mistake


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/4p3ch1ld

    The sounds become garbled and words are lost, meaning hearts are lost.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PrakrutiVara

    What's difference between jugar and tocar.. both means play ?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hey145152

    they are playing the guitar, an alternate solution, is a clown act... singular guitar and plural they. on the other hand "They" can play "guitar" leaving the numbers vague. in canada anyway.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sonia732465

    Can't see what I'm typing


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jovi54

    eatán jugando. .....???


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nayshunda

    Why not a la concerto but en la concerto?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jellonz

    First off, it's "el concierto", so your question should be: Why not "al concierto" but "en el concierto" (with "al" being the necessary contraction of "a + el").

    Generally, with regards to a location or event, the preposition "a" refers to direction or movement. You might say "Van al concierto" - "They are going to the concert".

    The preposition "en" on the other hand, normally refers to inclusion in, or placement at, an event or location. So the difference, in general, is "en"=placement, "a"=movement.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sharonsampon

    why can't I say " they play the guitar in concert". It is the same meaning?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jellonz

    It doesn't work, because the Spanish has a definite article that tells us it is a specific concert. It's "en el concierto", so it needs to be "in the concert".

    Also, if you were talking about non-specific habitual action it would be more common to say "in concerts" in English, to avoid the meaning generally applied to "in concert", which is "together".

    As a side note, there are many Spanish terms for this meaning of "in concert": de consuno; en conjunto; de común acuerdo; concertadamente etc.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/clara90849

    They are playing guitar at the concert .....apparently is wrong. In english we normally dont use a difinitive article for an instrument. We can say i love playing piano meaning the same as i love playing THE piano. The pedantics of the translations is driving me crazy as im having to second guess what they want me to write versus what is gramatically acceptable in american engish (not english uk).

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