"Yo motivo a mis alumnos."
Translation:I motivate my students.
In the dictionary I have, the def. of motivo is (1)reason, cause and motive and (2) motif. No where does it mention motivate. Because the french translation for motivate is very similar to motivo I was able to come up with the correct term. Is this something wit duo translation or an omission in my dictionary?
The problem is that in this sentence motivo is the conjugated form of the verb "motivar" (to motivate) in the 1st person of the present. You should have looked for the word motivar in your dictionary.
Found motivar in my dict. I forgot one reason for my problem, I didn't look quite hard enough. Many thanks for your assistance there buds.
Why is it "motivo a mis alumnos" and not just "motivo mis alumnos"? When do I need to add "a"?
When the direct object is a person or domestic animal/pet, you must use the personal 'a'. This personal 'a' is only to be used in this sense. Since he/she was talking about HIS students, you need the personal 'a'. If instead he was generally talking about motivating students, it would be "Motivo los/las estudiantes."
This link explains it better than me talking in circles: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/persa.htm