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  5. "Tú no comías ni bebías ese d…

" no comías ni bebías ese día."

Translation:You were not eating nor drinking that day.

April 15, 2013



Why is "you neither ate nor drank that day" incorrect, or is it incorrect?


That was also my answer and still marked wrong, 3 Nov 14


The owl obviously hasn't got round to sorting this one out yet. Your answer is correct, Duo's is not.


Thankfully right today but there is no explanation for this tense or how to form it or what to expect and what's going to be irregular or needs learning. Also, I rarely see a moderator on this forum so it is a different and a less secure learning space than the French website where there are a number of regulars and a moderator to answer very very clearly. We have that on the Spanish forum but not enough....and not for the last few exercises that I found tho I did them late at night....not to be crabby over a wonderful free service but there are SEVENTY-FIVE comments to read on this one sentence, it was SLOW to load, and there is no explanation. it's wing it in deep water and yet demands SO much time keeping the bars gold...so it's hard to go to the places I KNOW I need work. Why they are gold at all is a wonder... I had a chance to speak to a spanish-only person but found myself speechless. Just could say gracias. Dah.


Marie282520, be nice to yourself; next time you will say "muchas gracias", and later on "muchissimas gracias" and so on...once you break the barrier...things will get much easier. :-)


Marked correct as of 2017-05-04.


this section is torture


It really is torture, because the rules seem to be so unclear, or at least applied inconsistently. Sometimes, "used to" seems to be acceptable, sometimes the continuous -ing form, sometimes simple past tense. How are we to know? "You did not use to eat ..." Was not accepted. Why not?


I agree that it can be confusing. In this case though I do not think that you would use "used to eat" because you are talking only about on "that day", so you would not use "used to" as the time period is too short to establish a habit or pattern of repeated action.


Thanks for your help, roman2095. I was thinking about a situation where the person had a habit of fasting on that particular day of the year, perhaps as a religious ritual, or in memory of someone or some event.


Yes I think that would work, but the problem is that you would not normally interpret the sentence as written that way. You would need to add something like " .....every year" at the end of the sentence, then "did not use to..." would be fine because the idea of a habitual or repeated action is conveyed. When it comes to which of the range of translations of the imperfect to use in a given situation, it just depends on the context and what sounds right in English. Duolingo often does not have all the correct answers listed, so you need to report your answer if you think it is correct.


Spanish present tense (for example, Corro/I run) and Spanish preterite/past tense (for example, Corré/I ran) are both used for fixed points of time (I run on Tuesdays; I ran on Tuesdays) and/or for an eternal state of being (I run; I ran; I will have always run at that particular point in time).

Spanish present progressive tense, which conjugates a present tense form of "estar" + an "ando" or "iendo" (-ing participle), indicates an ongoing or presently happening action that could foreseeably continue to happen in the future but also might stop at some time in the future. For example, Estoy corriendo = I am running. The time duration is indefinite.

Spanish past progressive tense conjugates a past tense form of "estar" + a present participle ending in "-ando" or "iendo." For example, Él estaba corriendo = He was running/He used to run. Spanish past progressive tense indicates an ongoing action that occurred over a period of time and then finished or ended. The action was progressive in the past but now is ended.

In conclusion, I believe that context dictates whether the translation should be "was running" or "used to run." Kind of like deciding to translate as "neither _ nor " or "not _ or _ ."

Note: went back to add the examples in paragraph one.


Thank you very much, Linda, for taking the time to explain these rather tricky tenses. It'll take me a while to internalize your explanations, but they certainly help. Here's a lingot for you! Muchas gracias!


¡De nada y buena suerte con sus estudios! I wanted to add that the imperfect preterite tense is in contrast to the Spanish perfect tenses because the Spanish perfect tenses indicate definite endings as opposed to permanent states of being. Here is one of the most succinct websites that I have ever found for explaining Spanish perfect tenses: http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/perfect1.htm


Once again Gracias, Linda! I'll definitely look up that website.


If you could supply some examples and endings to hook it to, that would help. it's so much white noise without those examples with translations. the conjugation tables do not even give the meaning in English of the main verb much less the conjugation meanings. I think you have a clear grasp and we seem to have no further explanations from our friends at DUO. It is a good way to learn by doing....best for me...but it needs some nutshelling people to visit like you with such explanations and examples. Maybe the French site has spoiled me. I began to get lost with the modal verbs that were in all tenses and i think some we had not had.. So many irrigular ones...perhaps Spanish is just messing up my French. But right now, it seems worth knowing...to make that effort.


Used to is usually used to indicate that it was a previous custom or habit of yours.


I'm really late, so you probably figured out how to use the imperfect correctly. However, for the people that are seeing this, read up on some of SpanishDict's explanations of the tenses and moods. It's really helpful.


it gave me "you did not eat or drink that day." Help!! Moderator, it grows to 75 comments that are confusion multiplied.


"you did not eat nor drink that day", shouldn´t that be correct as well? not sure though


Well. no. "You were not eating nor drinking that day" is marked as correct, but if you use "nor" it should be "neither...nor." As far as I know.


I wrote "You were neither drinking nor eating that day" and was marked incorrect.


You are correct. I was counted wrong for using nor instead of or. Totally wrong.


Same here, maybe I need the learn English!


03/02/2014 "You were not eating nor drinking that day" was accepted.


I'm amazed because that sounds totally wrong to me as a native English speaker. "You were neither eating nor drinking" or "You weren't eating or drinking" sound better. Will take this over to the English grammarians for clarification!


Yeah. I'm not entirely sure what "Da Rules" say when it comes to this, but I tend to think that when you use "nor," you have to use it in conjunction with "neither."


DL probably accepts the contraction; I just chose not to use it.


Wasn't accepted by my count.


Shouldn't have been.


Current English grammarians: is "neither/nor" no longer in vogue?


"not" + "nor" in English = a positive. I use to write nor and spell check would always ding me in Word and I finally learned to start using "or". I'm shocked that DL is now accepting "nor" in combination with another negative in an english sentence that is supposed to carry a negative meaning. Spanish allows double negatives to carry a negative meaning but English does not. Weird.


To those reading, this advice is incorrect. "Nor" is the exception to the double negative rule in English. "Not/nor" is fine. Don't trust Word for grammar advice. It's sometimes helpful, but other times it just doesn't understand the nuances. Here's a helpful link on the topic.



As a native speaker, I state with authority: "I neither needed nor wanted ..." is the negative and the word "nor" is used for euphony with the word "neither." Another way to put it is "I did not want or need ... ." Quite simply, when "did not" is used, then "or" is used. Conversely, when "neither" is used, "nor" should always be used with it. What is incorrect is to use "neither" with "or," as in "I neither want or need," although many English speaker break this rule because of sloppiness or a lack or knowledge.

Also, in response to LadyGlutter, "not/nor" is used less and less. In the US, "not/or" is standard, as in "I did not want or need." The idea here is that you are making a distinction between the "wanting" and the "needing," and the "or" is the conjunction-out connector rather than the conjunction-in connector. An example of a conjunction-in connector: I didn't know whether I wanted and needed ... ." An example of a conjunction-out connector: I didn't know whether I wanted or needed ... ."


Same here. I'm wondering if there's some subtle rule in English that I'm not tuned into.


"Not" and "neither" are used with "nor" in English, so I do believe Duo has it wrong about "or" instead of "nor"....I had used "nor" and was told "or"


THat's exactly what I wrote, and still not correct...


Yes that should have veen correct. I put the same and was told it should have been or. However, i have always known 'ni' to mean nor. And DLs dropdown translation on the word agrees with that. Or was not in the list. I have reported it.


You are talking about the difference between how Spanish uses the word "ni" (which translates as both "nor" and "neither") and how English uses the word "or" (which translates as "o"). Spanish does not use the word "o" in the same way that English uses the positive pairing of "either_ or _" and the negative pairing of "not or _." However, Spanish DOES use the "neither nor ____" pairing in much the same way that English does.

In English, the PAIRINGS of either/or and neither/nor are considered to be parallel construction. Parallel construction can be compared to a mathematical operation, such as adding a negative sign to each side of an equation or adding brackets in order to keep the proper order of operation.

Spanish does not have exactly the same parallel constructions. Rather, the closest I know about are "ni _ tampoco_, as in "ni zapatos tampoco calcetines"/("neither shoes nor socks") and "ni siquiera _ tampoco ____"/"not even shoes or socks." The literal translation to English is "neither shoes also (not) socks" or "not shoes also (not) socks." (The "not" in these examples is elliptical.)

Following are colloquial English translations: "neither shoes nor socks," "not shoes or socks," "not even shoes and socks," and "nor shoes nor socks." This is where the confusion starts because even native English speakers can get confused about when the words "neither," "nor," and "not" are preferable. Kind of like the difference between the Boolean statements "Nobody has no ideas" and "somebody has an idea." Again, it's like mathematics because order of operation and parallel construction are key so that proper negation is maintained, whether that negation is mathematical or verbal.


As you answered would translate: no comiste ni bebiste ese dia.


if this is the translation, what would "no estuviste comido ni bebido ese día" mean? is it even a legit sentence? I understand that DL wants to emphasize the duration but I'm getting really confused with their standards: sometimes it wants the super exact translation disregarding any possible implications, sometimes it doesn't...


Your sentence is odd, since you used past participles instead of present participles (comiendo, bebiendo). But at least "estuviste" is preterite, which I would have expected to be the right tense from the inclusion of "ese dia".


Based on what namayani and MannyOD wrote, I just learned/remembered that "etuviste" is preterite for "you were." Accordingly, .I don't think namayani's translation is legit because use of the past participle makes the sentence comparable to English passive voice, and English passive voice makes the subject of the sentence the receiver of the action rather than the initiator of the action. That is why I would translate "No estuviste comido ni bebido est día" as "You were not eaten or drunk that day.."

The use of the past participles eaten/comido and drunk/bebido make the translation odd because this is passive voice construction in English, but "estuviste" is not used as a Spanish equivalent of English passive voice. Rather, use of a pronoun is what makes a Spanish sentence the equivalent of a present progressive tense in the passive voice: El vino se eatá bebiendo/The wine is being drunk. In this case, the English word "being" indicates passive voice and the past participle "drunk" is used because the concatenation already has one "ing" form, which is "being."


on that day = that day. Why is| on that day not accepted, just as a detective interrogating a suspect would say!


The English translation should be, "You were neither eating nor drinking that day"

Nor is used incorrectly in the answer they gave. Further, I responded with the answer Duolingo offered as correct and it was marked wrong.


You did not eat or drink that day.

Why doesn't this work.


Hola nathanlanza: I am no expert here, just another learner. But here is the way I am sorting out these tenses in my head. I am trying to imagine scenarios in which each tense makes most sense to me. Here are a couple of examples:

You did not eat or drink that day you were so sick. But now you are fine and we can go go to the movies. (the period of time is finished and we have moved on to other things)

You were not eating nor drinking that day so I brought you some chicken soup and it seemed to help. (the period of time I am talking about in the narrative is not finished even though in real time it has finished)


Because the imperfect tense doesn't mean something so definite. Read up on the tense a bit over at studyspanish.com, it will help you out


But if you refer to a specific or finite time period, like "ese día", shouldn't the sentence be in the preterite form? This seems like a bad Spanish sentence to me.


It still seems like 'that day' should trigger the preterite because it makes it a specific moment in the past, not ongoing or habitual. I went with " you didn't eat or drink that day" and it was accepted on 11/27/13 - but to me, that's the translation for the preterite.


Though it's a specific time period in this case, the concept of "you weren't eating that day" and "you didn't eat that day" are different, so Spanish expresses them differently as well.


Maybe in Spanish. But English doesn't make that subtle a distinction. Both of those translations would be correct idiomatic English. It's a pain to figure out when to give a tortured English translation to try to imitate the Spanish form (i.e., I wasn't eating) or when to give a more natural English translation. I've gotten dinged both ways by Duolingo.


And Spanish is the language you are learning, so adjust to it, and try not to force Spanish to fit English. You'll be happier and more productive. That is not to say that DL doesn't have mistakes. Roll with the punches...I fought it early on too.


Those would use the preterite, "no comiste ni bebiste ese día."


It does now (17.2.14). I think they've had a lot of reports on this section so their database of correct answers has been expanded.


This was just accepted for me so DL might have changed its mind.


"You neither ate nor drank that day" - I thought ni counted as nor, or do you need two? (Tu ni comias ni bebias ese dia."


The slow audio sounded like "thia" instead of día. Reporting.


Wouldn't "No estabas comiendo ni bebiendo ese día" better to express it in progressive imperfect tense?


"Nor" shouldn't be used without "neither", and no other negation should be used in the neither/nor format. E.g., "He is neither tall nor handsome", NOT "He is not tall nor handsome."


"Nor " is not appropriate in this sentence. "Or" is more appropriate. "Nor" would invariably be preceded in the sentence by " neither ".


First I wrote "you did not eat OR drink that day". And it was wrong. The computer said it should be "nor" not "or". So I changed it to "nor" the next time, then the computer said it should be "or". Very frustrating.


Nor should not be used without neither.


Right! Either...or, neither...nor.


Were you eating.... i thought this was a question structure....


On that day is incorrect in english?


"On that day" is perfectly fine in English. It could be argued it is not the closest possible translation for the Spanish sentence, but I wouldn't say it's an error.


Thanks. What is the difference of the two? on that day and that day?


Proper english grammar is wrong?


"You were not eating nor drinking that day." Should be right nor and ni is the same thing.


Why is "you were not eating and drinking that day" not allowed?


Why was that not in the preterite? Does "ese día" not specify a specific time?


Sometimes it is difficult to understand what the computer-generated voice is saying, like now.


does the word "ni" not translate to "nor"? Then why is duolingo translating it as "or"?


"on that day" is wrong?


I said "You would not eat nor drink that day". The variety of answers on this prompt should be accepted.


"Nor" now that's a word you do not see often.


To me, the audio sounds like "eso" not "ese". Anyone else?

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