"How do you write cat in Spanish?"

Translation:¿Cómo se escribe gato en español?

5 months ago



What is the purpose of se?

4 months ago

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This question is in the passive voice, and is apparently a frequent way of asking questions in Spanish. This particular Spanish wording using the reflexive se is an impersonal construction because the agent or "doer" who performs the action of the verb is NOT named. The equivalent way of asking this in English would be "How is cat written in Spanish?" The person/s asked to perform the action (of writing) is then not named.

The English translation given here, "How do you write cat in Spanish?" is more colloquial. The question is not directed to "you" as a specific individual but is meant generally, so to "anyone". It is not the literal translation from the Spanish wording because, again, the Spanish does NOT name an agent, but this an interpretation into a common way of asking things in English.

The Spanish construction uses the pronoun se followed by the THIRD person of the verb, singular or plural. The verb agrees with the subject that receives the action and no agent is named.


Se habla inglés. "English is spoken (here)."

Se hablan inglés y francés. "English and French are spoken (here)."

Note that there are also other ways of constructing impersonal questions in Spanish.

2 months ago


Best explanation of this construction I have come across.

1 month ago

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Thank you very much! I would not even know where to look for this explanation!

1 month ago


I wrote "escribe" and was told I used the wrong word and it should be "escribes." Isn't it our choice when it's not indicated that we should use the familiar or not?

4 months ago

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Did you say "Como te escribe"? If you used "te" you have to use escribes, and with se you use escribe.

If that's not the problem, then please use the "Report" button to notify the course creators of the oversight. Thanks!

4 months ago

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I reported it 7/31/18

4 months ago

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I tried the answer "como escribes cat en espanol' and was marked wrong.. but why would anyone ask how do you write gato in espanol????

4 months ago


One of the many Duolingo mysteries.... ;)

2 months ago


what is the purpose of "se"?

2 months ago


I think that this could also be "Como escribes gato en espanol".

I understand how the reflexive works, but I'm struggling with why and when; why is it necessary and when is it required?

1 month ago


I wrote Como se escribe el gato en español?

21 hours ago
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