"How many dolls is your grandfather buying you?"
Translation:¿Cuántas muñecas te compra tu abuelo?
I've been trying to understand this too. Here's what I've found based on a couple of different websites. (If I'm mistaken, corrections welcome!)
With yes/no questions, the rules for word order seem to be a little flexible. But for questions that start with interrogative pronouns (qué, por qué, cuándo, dónde, cómo, cuál, quién, cuánto/a, cuántos/as) the rules for word order appear to be more strict:
Interrogative word(s) + verb + subject (if stated) + rest of sentence
So for example:
¿Qué es eso? (What is that?) Int. word = Qué Verb = es Subject = eso (stated)
¿Cuándo sale el tren? (When does the train leave?) Int. word = Cuándo Verb = sale Subject = el tren (stated)
¿Por qué fue a la ciudad? (Why did he go to the city?) Int. words = Por qué Verb = fue Subect = he (not stated, implied by the verb) Rest of sentence = a la ciudad
And finally, our sentence. ¿Cuántas muñecas te compra tu abuelo? (How many dolls is your grandfather buying you?) Int. words = Cuántas muñecas Verb = te compra (the indirect object has to go in front of the verb) Subject = tu abuelo
For more details and for the word order for yes/no questions, I found this ThoughtCo article very helpful: https://www.thoughtco.com/asking-questions-spanish-3079427
And this SpanishDict article helped too: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/asking-questions-in-spanish
The sentence suggested here seems fine, but the one on the lesson page is really strange: ¿Cuántas muñecas te adquiere tu abu?
Adquirir is a Spanish verb meaning "to acquire" which can be used to mean "to purchase." Abu is a common short form for grandma/pa. The entire sentence is a valid translation, but a less common one. It was shown to you as a suggested correct answer because Duolingo parsed your answer and decided this was the closest acceptable answer to what you submitted.
How do we know this doesn't mean " How many dolls are you buying your grandfather? "?
We know it doesn't mean that because the "te" before compra (or adquiere) is the indirect object, being 'you' and "compra is conjugated that way to indicate it is your grandfather doing the buying. So your grandfather is buying them for you. If you were buying them for him you would use "le" referring to him, and "compro" would be the correct conjugation meaning I buy or I am buying.
Yeah... so after I tried "¿Cuántas muñecas te compra tu abuelo?", got it "wrong", cut and pasted in the weird Duo answer... it suggested another answer is "¿Cuántas muñecas te compra tu abuelo?"...?!
I have read that when a direct object pronoun and an indirect object pronoun are both used in the same sentence, the indirect object pronoun always comes first. Therefore, "te" would have to come before "tu". It all looks very confusing to me, but this is the only thing I've come across which would explain why "Cuántas muñecas tu abuelo te compra?" was marked as incorrect for me. Any explanation from someone who actually knows would be greatly appreciated.
The "tu" in this sentence (or any other) is not an object pronoun. It's the informal possessive adjective in the second person singular form. It belongs before the noun it's modifying. The "tu abuelo" belongs after the verb because it's clarifying or emphasizing who is performing the action ("compra").
Thank you for helping me to understand why I got it wrong. Usually I can figure out where I made my mistake, but this one really had me stumped.
When I did this the first time I used the translation above (cuantas munecas te compra tu abuelo) and the answer came up as "Cuántas muñecas te adquiere tu abu. But I still want to understand why the following is incorrect:
cuantas munecas tu abuelo te compra
Similar to english actually.
Statement "You are happy" subject (you) first then the verb (are).
Question "Why are you happy?" Question word (why) verb (are) first then the subject (you). So some english sentences have the subject after the verb with a question. In Spanish for yes or no questions you can write it similar to a statement but for all other questions you need to put the verb first then the subject.