Spanish is simply a language that puts the question or quotation mark at both ends of a phrase. As for why, this is because it is easier to read. The reader knows when to switch from a normal tone to a questioning tone, and switching between the two in a sentence is a surprisingly common occurrence.
English doesn't have them because it believes the changes are already implied, but Spanish believes it best to have that clarification regardless. The evolution of the two languages simply turned out this way.
Also, if you're wondering why it's upside-down, that's because the generation that came up with this practice decided to flip the first one over because it looked odd, and the following generations agreed it looks better this way and kept the change.
Just to inform people here:
Do not confuse the 2 singular "you" in Spanish.
¿Tú bebes agua? Uses the informal "you".
¿Usted bebe agua? Uses the formal "you".
¿Tú comes pan? uses the informal you.
¿Usted comen pan? use the formal you.
The informal "Tú" uses the 2nd person conjugation, singular.
The formal "Usted" (sometimes abbreviated Ud.) uses the 3 person conjugation, singular.
but they both mean "you".
Be careful to write "Tú" and not "Tu". Because it is 2 different word in Spanish, very different meaning.
Tu = your. Tú = you, (informal, singular)
As far as I am aware, "do" is never used as an auxiliary verb, such as when forming questions.
And no, forming questions does not change the order of the sentence. Carwile is correct, forming questions can change the order, though you're usually okay just omitting 'do' and keeping the sentence structure.
It may feel strange at first, but think of it this way: Sometimes when speaking English we will drop the "do" at the beginning of a phrase, as well. For example, "Do you want to go outside?" can be shortened to "You want to go outside?" which can be further shortened to "Want to go outside?" It's the same deal in Spanish, the difference is that this shortening is required, not optional.
Actually. . .what you said about questions not changing the word order is in many cases wrong. Questions CAN and OFTEN WILL change the word order of the sentence.
For example, you could say:
El muchacho tiene cinco dólares ---> The boy has five dollars.
However, if you wanted to ask how many dollars the boy has, you would say: ¿Cuántos dólares tiene el muchacho? ---> How many dollars does the boy have? (Literal: How many dollars has the boy).
Spanish is pretty flexible with its word order, so please do not fall into the trap of thinking it is the same as English!
If you dont understand, i will try to help.
"¿Bebes agua?" is just simply asking "Do you drink water?" Bebes means drink and agua means water. "Tu bebes agua" sounds wrong to me but maybe i'm wrong. Also us spanish people most of the time put an upside down question mark in our questions if you are confused by that.
Spanish does not use 'do' as an auxiliary verb, or in other words, to form questions.
It may seem strange at first, but remember that we do the same thing in English: "You go to the movie last night?" "You and your friends drop by the arcade recently?" "He enjoy Paris while he was there?"
The difference is that in English this is optional, while in Spanish it is required.
It's "Tú", not "Tu".
As "tu" means "your".
And "Tú" means you (singular, informal)
The way to make questions in English, is by using an auxiliary at the beginning of the sentence, like "Does.....?"
In Spanish, you don't do it, you simply put the ¿...? marks, and you rise your intonation.
Having an 's' at the end of a word does not always make it plural. For example, "advantageous", "hazardous", "process", "possess", "copious", etc. are not plural in English. It does not seem so much of a stretch for a foreign language to have a similar occurrence, but for its conjugations.
Also, to answer your question, having an 's' in "bebes" does not make it plural because its translation in English is "you drink," with the "you" being informal and singular.
No, they are not the same. While 'Tú' and 'Usted' both mean 'you' in the singular, they are used in different contexts.
'Tú' is considered informal, which means it is used among friends, family, peers, that sort of thing. It is also sometimes referred to as the familiar form, since that is when it is most commonly used. 'Usted' however is considered formal, which means its use is among people you don't know, individuals older than you (outside the family), business associates, your boss, etc. It is essentially a form used to indicate a degree of respect or formality.
In Spanish the verb changes depending on the person, number and tense. "Bebes" is just the correct conjugation of the verb "Beber" for the informal singular second person "Tú". Unlike English, in Spanish we don't need to say the subject because all the conjugations are different and you can assume it just by its conjugation. For example:
SIMPLE PRESENT, INDICATIVE.
1s) Yo bebo
2s) Tú bebes (Informal) / Usted bebe (Formal) / Vos bebés (Very informal) / Vos bebéis (No longer used, only in books)
3s) Él/Ella bebe
1p) Nosotros/Nosotras bebemos
2p) Ustedes beben / Vosotros/Vosotras bebéis
3p) Ellos/Ellas beben
Would "¿Bebes agua?" Be acceptable as well? Would it be "¿Bebe agua?" instead? I had seen another question here that was "¿Come pan?" Which was "Do you eat bread?" Im having trouble understanding why the question form dropped the -s, indicating "you" from the verb. Is this always the case?
Both answers are correct. Actually, there a lot of correct answers for sentences with "You":
¿Bebes agua? (When "You" is translated as the informal "Tú", which a singular pronoun)
¿Bebe agua? (When "You" is translated as the formal "Usted", which is a singular pronoun)
¿Bebés agua? (When "You" is translated as the very informal "Vos", which is a singular pronoun)
¿Bebéis agua? (When "You" is translated as the formal and no longer used "Vos", which is a singular pronoun)
¿Beben agua? (When "You" is translated as "Ustedes", wich is a plural pronoun)
¿Bebéis agua? (When "You" is translated as "Vosotros", which is a plural pronoun)
I have understood that it's no longer in use, even in Spain, read these article about it RAE:
- Voseo reverencial. Consiste en el uso de vos para dirigirse con especial reverencia a la segunda persona gramatical, tanto del singular como del plural. Esta fórmula de tratamiento de tono elevado, común en épocas pasadas, solo se emplea hoy con algunos grados y títulos, en actos solemnes, o en textos literarios que reflejan el lenguaje de otras épocas.
I've only heard it in series portraying old times and I've also seen it a lot in old books.
Yes. In fact, you need to add the upside-down question mark at the start of a question, even if this is in the middle of a sentence.
"Did you see the movie?" = "¿Tú viste la película?"
"I'm thirsty, do you have some water?" = "Yo tengo sed, ¿tú tienes algo de agua?"
I read a comment saying that in spanish you dont really distinguish between a b or a v sound but which is right or is it regional? The soumd clips are all over the place with it. Sometimes its bebe, them veve, then beve, im really lost. If there is no 'right' way then why cant duolingo just pick one? Im getting things wrong because its not consistent at all.
For us (Spanish speakers) there is no difference, I personally can't even hear the difference between all of them. If you were talking to me and you pronounced it in those three ways I wouldn't even notice that you did so. Maybe Duo doesn't have an established way of pronouncing it because nobody has. If you want to know how you should pronounce it, I think you should continue to pronounce "B"s like English "B"s and "V"s like english "V"s.
In the present tense the (regular) verb forms are:
yo bebo (I drink)
tú bebes (you drink)
él/ella/usted bebe (he drinks, she drinks, you [formal] drink)
nosotros bebemos (we drink)
vosotros bebéis (ya'll drink)
ellos/ellas/ustedes beben (they drink, you all drink)
For future questions like this a great resource is SpanishDict, which offers help pages on all the possible verb forms and conjugations.
bebe is for third person (he/she) bebo is for first person (I)
an extra note bebes is for second person (you) and also...
bebemos is for first person plural (we) bebéis is for second person plural (you all, you guys) beben is for third person plural (they, those guys)
Here is a chart to help: https://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/beber
Spanish does not natively make any distinction between "v" and "b" when spoken. The "b" sound we use in English is not normally used in Spanish, and is only really used when saying a word that originally came from a Germanic language.
As for the odd pronunciation of "agua", that's because she is speaking quickly and slurring the word, a common phenomenon that happens with any language. For example, many English speakers do not pronounce "kitten" as "kit-ten", like it is spelled. Many pronounce it as "kid-den" or "kih-en", due to slurring.
If the word is a noun, then the additional 's' is included to indicate something is plural (aka there is more than one of it). If the word is an adjective or adverb, then it depends on the plurality of the noun it follows, with them getting an 's' if the parent noun is plural. If the word is a verb, then it depends on the conjugation (which also depends on the gender and number of the subject noun).
I always get confused on sentences like this. "Tu bebes agua?" is "Do you drink water?" But "Tu bebes agua" is "You drink water". Seems like it would be confusing unless it's on paper because without the question mark, it relies solely on the inflection of the voice. Is there are way to clarify that you are asking a question and not making a statement when talking verbally?
No, adding an 's' to the end of a verb does not make it plural. "Bebes" is a verb conjugation, in this case, "tú bebes," meaning, "you drink".
The plural forms are:
Nosotros bebemos | We drink
Vosotros bebéis | Ya'll drink (only used in Spain)
Ellos/ellas/ustedes beben | They drink, you all drink
There's no reason for that. In my personal opinion I think that it might because in Spanish we do not change the word order in questions so in writen Spanish we wouldn't know that something is a question until we reach the end of it, so the ¿ helps us know where the question starts.
The upside-down question mark is an artificial addition to the Spanish language. In reality it is only here because some people at The Royal Spanish Academy thought it was a good idea.
But, it is theorized the inverted question mark was eventually adopted by the populace at large because of there being no change in the word order, like you said, making it a useful addition to the Spanish language.
Sure. In most cases the question will begin with an interrogative (quién, qué, dónde, cuándo, por qué). If it does not, then the only way to tell is with a tonal variation, either going up or down on the final sound (which is known as "inflection").
For example, I could say, "Toast," which would be a statement. But if I said, "Toast?" it would sound different because of the inflection, and you would know I was asking about toast. It works the same way in Spanish.
Some words don't follow the rules - words that end in a have the la or una article. Agua is one of those words :)
Feminine nouns that begin with a stressed "a-" or "ha-" sound in Spanish use the articles "el" and “un” in the singular.
No, that would use a different conjugation. "Tú bebes" is in the present tense, while statements with "would" are in the conditional. In this case the conjugation would be, "Te gustaría".
Also, if we were saying, "Would you like to have water?" that would actually be, "¿Te gustaría hacer agua?"
"Would you like water?" would just be, "¿Te gustaría agua?"