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  5. "Ellas siguen a su hermano."

"Ellas siguen a su hermano."

Translation:They follow their brother.

March 26, 2013



Could you explain why we add "a" in this sentence?


A definite animate direct object is always preceded by ‘a’ in Spanish.


Does it matter that I don't have a clue what a definite animate direct object is? Does one need to know rules to this kind of detail to be able to speak conversationally/fluently?


To make it short. When you have an action verb, with the action directed toward a person, you always use the "a" particle. Ex: mirar a alguien (to look at someone) VS. mirar la puerta (to look at the door).


Not just toward a person, but toward any definite animate object, such as any non-human animal or a group of people or other animals.


Yes, you're right, I will correct it with "living being".


Is this different than "personal a?" You kinda stressed on living beings (human or not) while what I know about the former is that it's used when referring to persons or pets people wanna personify.


@RaviOnline: Yes, this is often misleadingly referred to as the “personal a”, even though it's not at all restricted to persons or personified objects.


Not all animals, but animals who you have a personal relationship with, such as pets.


How would this work for a non-personal/personified animal? "Mirar la vaca" or "Mirar a vaca"? What about inanimate proper nouns? "Mirar Cuba" or "Mirar a Cuba"?


Learning analytical rules like this can be a shortcut alternative to learning them intuitively.


Its funny. I am a native English speaker who took Spanish from kindergarten through college. I was fortunate to have skipped dreaded courses in English like sentence diagramming and the like, but I have learned so much about the English language from Spanish grammar courses


I'm right there with you. It's nice to know the grammatical terminology but at the same time, none of us needed to know such things to learn our native tongue instead it came with years of practice and experience. Same goes for any other language.


can you please explain what this means ? A definite animate direct object


Why does that matter?


hey Bunny, it's often called the "personal a" and it drives us (English speakers learning Spanish) crazy because, to us, it's just "extra" and doesn't make sense. But it is necessary if we want to speak the Spanish good. :-)

Here are a couple of links about the "personal a":




Yes it does drive me crazy but i suppose there are difficult rules in the english language as well


I think you mean if we want to speak Spanish well.


You are stepping on his joke Speaking "the Spanish good" is common type of grammatical error that à Spanish speaker might make when speaking English, which is why he included the smile He was just pointing out there are things that cause problems on both ends.


I don't really understand why it's not "sus hermano" since "they" are following him.


Like all Spanish adjectives, the Spanish pronominal adjectives ‘mi(s)’, ‘tu(s)’, ‘su(s)’, ‘nuestro(s)|nuestra(s)’, and ‘vuestro(s)|vuestra(s)’ agree in number with the noun they modify. And like all Spanish adjectives that end in ‘-o(s)|-a(s)’, the Spanish pronominal adjectives ‘nuestro(s)|nuestra(s)’ and ‘vuestro(s)|vuestra(s)’ also agree in gender with the noun they modify:

{mi|tu|su|nuestro|vuestro} hermano

{mi|tu|su|nuestra|vuestra} hermana

{mis|tus|sus|nuestros|vuestros} hermanos

{mis|tus|sus|nuestras|vuestras} hermanas


"They are following their brother" got rejected. Is there a way to say that in Spanish?


Yours is a correct and more likely translation because ‘follow’ is an action verb. Please report it. Spanish also has a progressive present form, ‘Ellas están siguiendo a su hermano’, but only uses it to emphasize that the action is currently progress, typically as a background for another event or action occurring while it is in progress. In contrast, English always uses the present progressive except for a habitual action and for the historical present.


I always, alway hear "ella sigue"... And always make the same mistake


I keep hearing Ella not Ellas


I lost my final heart because of this. Frustrating, since I thought that was easy to hear I did not try the slow version. It must be because of the s sound flowing into siguen.


How would you say "They follow his brother."?


«Ellas siguen a su hermano.» can mean “their”, “his”, “her”, or “your [formal]”.

If the referent isn't clear from the context, you can say «Ellas siguen al hermano de él.».


So when usins sus it isnt in reference how many following but how many they follow? I would have thought they would be sus


Spanish adjectives agree in number with the noun the modify. For possessive adjectives, that means they agree in number with the thing they possess.

English has different words for third-person masculine singular (“his”), feminine singular (“her”), neuter singular (“its”), and plural (“their”) possessors. Spanish does not.

‘su hermano’ = “{his | her | its | their} brother”

‘su hermana’ = “{his | her | its | their} sister”

‘sus hermanos’ = “{his | her | its | their} {brothers | siblings}”

‘sus hermanas’ = “{his | her | its | their} sisters


the people who are following their brother seem to be feminine since it is Ellas and not Ellos.. would the girls follow their brother not be acceptable? i want some points :(


In English, we have a masculine "he" and a feminine "she", and an "it", but "they" is the plural for all of those in English. Spanish has a masculine "they" (ellos) and a feminine "they" (ellas). When we translate from the Spanish to the English here, we "lose" some information. Just the way it is.


They're not necessarily “girls”, as in “young women”; they might be elderly women.


How can "they follow their brother" and "they follow your brother" both be correct?


The word ‘su’ can mean “their”, “his”, “her”, “its”, “your [formal singular]”, or “your [formal plural]”.


They are following (progressive present) is the same as they follow in Spanish. Once again, we need an English speaker in the back room.


Can someone explain why the 'g' in siguen is pronounced like that instead like the 'g' in "agua"?


How do you distinguish between "They follow their brother" and "They follow her brother", referring to a specific female separate from or part of the group? Is this something that just come from context of the situation?


Is a su even neccessary?


Is it possible to translate "seguir" with the verb "to take care"? In Italian we may use "to follow" with such meaning ( of taking care)


Cuidar is the verb in spanish that means "to take care of." Another way to say take care of is "ocuparse de." I don't think seguir can be used in this way.


They are following his brother SHOULD have been accepted.


Estan sigiendo a su hermano. I'm no grammar guru so i cannot remember the tense of this. Present participle? But definitly not plain present tense


@SamuelOrr: Correct. Please see the reply to TCAC2.


Since it specifies the feminine "ellas," I think that "The girls follow their brother" should be correct. If they were looking for "They" follow, and count answers specifying that the followers are female as incorrect, they should have used "ellos".


See the reply to Judith_Iris.


Pfft... It says type what you hear so I typed "Ella siguen a su hermano" because thats what I heard... I shouldn't have to use the tortise mode to make out words in learning software...


I made the same mistake. But 'siguen' indicates more than one person is following, so that's a clue we should have picked up on. If it had been the singular ella, the verb would have been modified as sigue. Poco a poco...;)


Can't find a way to report using the app, but it should also be correct to translate ellas as they all to differentiate from the singular they


Tough to keep track of all these irregular conjugations in one lesson


A related question: If they were following in his footsteps, would that be "ellas siguen sus pasos", or could "seguir pasos de alguien" also mean to follow step-by-step instructions given by that person? Is there another (better) way to say follow in someone's footsteps in Spanish?


Yes, ‘seguir sus pasos’ = “to follow in {his|her|your} footsteps, and that's the most idiomatic way to say it in Spanish.

Yes, ‘seguir los pasos de alguien’ = “to follow someone's [literal|figurative] steps”.

The expression ‘to follow the instructions step by step” = ‘seguir las instrucciones paso a paso”; and the phrase “step-by-step instructions” = ‘instrucciones paso a paso’.


Thank you for the quick answer! I might not have been clear about the second question. Googling seguir and pasos returned primarily a bunch of results about steps to take to get back to health, to get a visa, and so on. I was wondering if there was a possibility to say something like "Debo seguir a pasos de mi doctor" to express that meaning, or would that sound as clumsy in Spanish as it does in English? I'm aware there are better ways to phrase that, just wondering if this one's possible or not.


First, replace the preposition ‘a’ with the definite article ‘los’: «Debo seguir los pasos de mi doctor.» = “I must follow my doctor's steps.”, which only makes sense if the doctor is also taking, or also took, those steps. Otherwise, also replace ‘de’ with ‘recomendados por’: «Debo seguir los pasos recomendados por mi doctor.» = “I must follow the steps recommended by my doctor.”.


I'll take that as a "no" ^^



Ellas also translates as the girls?


‘Ellas’=“They [feminine]” is a pronoun, while ‘Las niñas | Las muchachas’ = “The girls” is a full noun phrase. See the reply to Judith_Iris.


So "a" follows an action verb that precedes a definite animate direct object. However, how would one translate this: "They follow him"? Will it be, "Ellas siguen a él"?


Precisely; or «Ellas lo siguen a él.».


Me too But I think you were the only one that the teacher hated


Couldn't "Ellas siguen a su hermano" mean "They continue to their brother"? Or how would you say this sentence in spanish?


Yes, it could, but only in a context where it clearly doesn't mean “follow”, which is the chief meaning of ‘seguir’. If you really want to use ‘seguir’, you could say «Ellas siguen {hacia|hasta} a su hermano.» = “They continue {towards|as far as} their brother.”. But more commonly, you'd use ‘continuar’: «Ellas continúan a su hermano.».


I translated it as "The girls follow their brother" but it was rejected.


I wasn't looking what i was doing and i accidentally put they open their brother ew


Why doesn't "the girls follow their brother" work?


How can I tell when it's her/she or they??


I am confused about the way siguen is pronounced by the DL system. Then when I sought some information about this I found conflicting answers on how to pronounce ue in Spanish. Here are examples of what I found:

"One such vowel combination, "ue", has no real English equivalent, but can be reproduced by combining the "oo" of the word "boot" with the "a" of the word "paper." Be sure to combine these two sounds into a single sound."

Span¡shD¡ct.com notes that ue is pronounced like the e in the English word "wet".

Can anyone please help?


The u here only serves to make the g hard. Normally a g before e or i is soft like in gente. It has what we would think of as an h sound in English. In order to make that g hard before those two vowels, you add a u. If the ue were a diphthong then your quote would be correct, but here it should sound like sigen (with a hard g like "gate").

Learning this sort of pronunciation is very helpful when learning subjunctive because the verb root usually keeps its sounds and a becomes e or vice versa. Take for example pagar:

Pago mi cuenta.

Quiero que Dave pague mi cuenta.

One final thing for bonus points: if the u has an umlaut, then it pronounced, so vergüenza sounds roughly like "ber-gwen-sa." (Very roughly.)



But for bonus-bonus points: Umlauts are for German; la diéresis is the same symbol in the Spanish language. ; )


Does su has meaning as his, her, and their? Because in other translation, it's correct to use his/her other than their....


What is the root for siguen?


The root word is "seguir", derived from the Latin word "sequi".


Why isnt it this 'sus'


Because: su hermano / sus hermanos


I think the point here is that you have two or more sisters following one brother, not that each is following their own brother or several brothers.


How is it not "The girls"? Isn't that still right?


So "a su" is "their"? Is it always a su?


What's with the a? I got it wrong...


That is the Spanish "personal a" While the rules for its use are not hard to learn, remembering to use it and sometimes recognizing it can be difficult for learners. The personal a is used before a direct object when the direct object is a person or a pet.



Why is it 'su hermano' and not 'sus hermanos' if its THEIR brother?


There is only one brother. This has to be about two or more sisters following their one brother. Su is for his, her, your or their for only one object. If there are more than one object possessed (like shoes for example) then su becomes sus. But it has exactly the same set of possible English translations.


Why does this use "su" instead of "sus?" Su is usually used as his/hers and sus is usually their.


That's not quite right. Su and sus can both mean either his/her or their. Possessive pronouns agree in number with the thing possessed. So what that means here is that two or more girls or women are following one brother, which would probably mean that they are sisters, unless the previous context meant that the su was somebody else. This actually functions the same as mi and mis, as there is never really two of you. Here are some other examples.

Él vende sus libros. He sells his books. Ellos venden su casa. They sell their house. Ella ayuda a sus amigas. She helps her friends.

Of course su/sus also apply to both usted and ustedes.

Usted hace sus tareas. You do your homework. Ustedes tienen sus boletas. You (all) have your tickets Ustedes toman sus cafés. You drink your coffees. Usted se pone su abrigo. You put on your coat.


"Their", in this case is used as a plural so why not "sus"?


That is an important thing to learn. Su becomes sus not based on the owner(s), but based on the number of things owned. So su hermano can mean his/her/your brother or their/y'all's brother and sus hermanos can mean his/her/your brothers or their/y'all's brothers. Su is a demonstrative adjective. It modifies and agrees with the noun.


Why is it su and not sus. Arent ellos plural?


Ellos is plural, but it is the subject pronoun. Su is a possessive ADJECTIVE that modifies hermano which is singular. So you would also have the same issue with essentially the opposite Él sigue a sus hermanos.

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