"La policía local debe participar."

Translation:The local police have to participate.

April 16, 2013



Should this not read " The local police have to participate"

April 16, 2013


"Police" can refer, in English, to the plural group of all the police workers, or to the singular legal construct/entity. You could use either in English (though in most cases I'd prefer the plural, like you). In Spanish, if a word is gramatically singular, whether or not it refers to a plural, must take singular verb forms.

April 18, 2013


As a native English speaker I have never heard anyone use the term police to refer to a singular police officer. Typically we would say "the local police officer has to participate" or "the local cop has to participate."

July 5, 2013


in English we don't use the word this way, what I was saying is that when you say 'the police' in English, you can be referring to the institution of law enforcement, or to the personnel. in Spanish un policía refers to a single officer, in this case the Spanish can be translated as referring to the police in general or to one local female cop.

fun side fact, the Spanish equivalent of cop is paco.

July 6, 2013


Never heard "paco" for a cop... perhaps Chile specific?

In Spanish cop can be "madero", in Spain, police can be "pasma" (la). Due to their blue uniforms (in Spain) sometimes they can be referred as "smurfs" (pìtufos). Don't hold your breath for some friendly clapping if you use that with them though :P

that use might have originated during the Spanish war in Africa at the beginning of 20th Century. Subsonic ammunition was used, so when the troops were fired upon, they could both hear the incoming and (lucky) the passing bullet. Due to Doppler effect, the sound they heard was something like paaaaaa cooooooooo.

Else, paco is short for Francisco (Francis), but I am not aware if that's the name of choice for policemen... :

July 7, 2013


Or tombo, or chapa. Depends on the country.

March 12, 2018


cop is an acronym meaning, constable on patrol.

September 28, 2015


In the US cop is short for copper which was what the first patrolling police were called in the 19th century - copper being short for copper star which is what each wore on his coat to identify him as an official peace officer.

January 5, 2018


Well the OED is the OED and who can argue with that-thanks ThePhilipWhite (love the name). All I know is that when I was growing up back in the 50's and 60's. Cop had a slight pejorative association. If you were to call a police officer a cop, you risked a meeting with the business end of a night stick or later having something planted on you and landing in jail. Maybe times have changed but using Paco or Cop probably won't get you any friends so beware.

January 24, 2016


Thanks, I learnt something.

January 16, 2016


Are you sure, that sounds to good to be true.

January 20, 2016


OED attributes it to an abbreviated form of "copper" the agent noun form of the verb "cop" as in "to seize".

January 22, 2016


We might say "The local police department has to participate." It's important to note that la policía in Spanish usually refers to the police department as a whole BUT is conjugated as a singular collective verb.

Note: A police woman might also be called "La policía" but it usually means police department.

March 1, 2019


you might also say the policeman/woman

May 11, 2019


I understand what you are saying about it being a single entity, but that doesn't mean it should use a singular verb. I've never read in the paper that "the police has no suspect". Similarly, we say "the people" for a collective noun of all peoples, but we don't say "the people has". It's not an issue with Spanish usage. One of the translations is "The police has to participate", which is incorrect English.

July 8, 2013


You appear to be following British usage. In American English, we can sometimes treat "the people" as singular, if we are referring to "the people" as a collective. "The American people has risen up and rejected this undemocratic law." It's relatively uncommon to do this, because "people" is more often perceived as an irregular plural of "person" (even though in fact "persons" and "peoples" are also both real words). But we definitely treat collectives as singular way more often than the Brits. "The Congress has voted" vs "The Parliament have voted".

September 16, 2014


No, even in American usage, we would absolutely not say 'The people has rejected'. That is wildly improper. While we might have had a President who said things like that on television, his grasp of English was tenuous at best.

It absolutely should be have. While it might be a collective noun, it's never treated as a singular in terms of verb usage.

October 22, 2015


And yet, in this grammar article, they say:

[T]he SINGULAR sense of people is used to refer to ALL the men, women, and children of a particular tribe, nation, country or ethnic group, speaking of them as a UNIT, and so the phrase a great people is indeed singular. It is a singular count noun. You can say:

(e) They are a great people. (Quirk)

(f) The Japanese are an industrious people. (Quirk)

(g) The English people are a great people. (The second occurrence of people in Left's sentence.)


They also discuss the plural version of that singular noun, "peoples". ("All the peoples of the world desire peace.")

They don't give an example using this singular sense of people in the subject, and personally I find it to sound uncomfortable and can't think of a good example where it would fit with my personal dialect. But there are definitely communities of American English speakers who would use the version I gave above. Languages evolve over time, and in this case, the use of the singular "people" seems to be expanding, in some areas.

October 22, 2015


In this case, in English it would either be (singular) "the local police department/police(wo)man/police officer HAS to participate" or (plural) "the local police/police(wo)men/police officers HAVE to participate." The English translation given uses the plural noun "police" with the singular verb "has," which is obviously wrong. Reported.

February 19, 2014


Reported, but ignored. Well done, DL.

April 26, 2014


I would say "The local police have to participate.". But it's strange, because I would also say "The local family has to participate." Duolingo has taught me just has difficult English must be for non-native speakers.

July 27, 2013


Yes. Reporting.

February 4, 2014


Support! And I've reported it, so hopefully they allow this in the future. 4/29/14

April 29, 2014


In this age of austerity I know the cut backs have been severe but I don't think that "the police" is a singular noun yet

July 11, 2015


Absolutely I agree

May 24, 2016


This is incorrect English grammar. You would never say: "The local police have to participate." Using proper English, you would say: "The local police has to participate."

May 12, 2017


Yes you would and it is certainly not incorrect grammar. "The local police have to participate" would be the more usual way of saying it, as police refers to more than one police officer and is usually regarded as a plural noun. Would be 'has' if the noun were 'police force' or 'policeman'

September 28, 2017


I translated this as "The local police ought to participate" and was dinged. Is that really wrong?

April 26, 2014


this should be right. I was dinged for this too. "ought" and "should" are synonyms. This is an issue of English, not Spanish. Also, in Baltimore, we say "a police" for what most Americans say "a policeman" or "a police officer" FYI

August 25, 2014


I'd say that "should" is significantly weaker than "ought", though the distinction between them has been fading over time in casual speech.

September 16, 2014


"The local police ought to participate" is more "la policía local debería participar"

i'm a native speaker

July 12, 2014


Mm, I think you misunderstand "ought" in English. "Ought" is a quite strong term. It says that action is owed, in some kind of moral sense. Debería is more like how we used "should" as a modal.

September 16, 2014


I agree that debo is a stronger sense of obligation than debería.

March 1, 2019


That sounds correct, and it may be dinged simply because it isn't in the database yet.

May 14, 2014


I specifically remember being taught in school (more than one teacher) telling us "ought" was what it meant. "Should" was probably an alternate definition as well, m Must, may have been.

Oh well.....sometimes you have to play to your audience - in this case, duolingo.

February 23, 2016


Debe vs debería? Don't they both mean "should"?

April 17, 2015


I also had the same question, and after looking at a spanish forum I found that debe may have more weight to it, signifying more of an obligation rather than just a piece of advice. In that sense, it is similar to "tener + que + infitive"

Summary: debe/tiene: I must/have to (obligation) debería: I should (advice)

Here is the link to the thread: http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/deberia-vs-debe.349642/

I hope this helps :)

August 2, 2016


Why is "needs to" wrong and "has to" right_ DL usually links "tener que" with "have to"

December 20, 2015


They allow "need to". I also used "needs". This is the way we say it in my area so I am wondering if we are saying it incorrectly or if they need to add it. In the sentence I just used, you would never say "they needs", so it really makes me wonder.

January 12, 2017


I wrote needs and it was rejected, in the uk we would definitely say "the local police needs to ..... "

May 31, 2017


Yes, I wrote needs to that seems more correct (US speaker).

August 28, 2017


I put 'The local police should take part' - this is surely the same as 'The local police should participate' ? It was not accepted.

April 25, 2016


I am frustrated. It seems like sometimes "deber" is conjugated as should and sometimes conjugated as "must" or "have to" but I cannot tell when. Can someone help? I think I'm missing something about the conditionality.

May 21, 2018


Can 'debe' be replaced with 'tiene que'?

June 23, 2013


"Deber" is like "to have a duty to." So it's a bit more serious that "tener que" I think. If you're translating from English I don't see why you couldn't use "tiene que", but maybe "The police have a duty to participate" is a better translation from Spanish.

July 24, 2013


Weird. In English I'd call "have a duty to" weaker than "Have to" not stronger.Or rather, I'd say they're equivalent in some cases and "have to" is stronger in other cases. "You have to eat" for instance implies something much more serious than duty or obligation.

September 7, 2013


Great! That helps! Thanks!

July 24, 2013


good question! Don't know the answer, but before this section, i would have translated the english as 'la policia local tiene que participar'. Maybe rspreng has the answer! Help!

July 24, 2013


I put 'the local police have to take part' and it was rejected. The verb 'participar' means 'to take part' as well as to 'participate (though this is not in my dictionary, only 'take part'). The verb should obviously be 'have' not 'has'.

June 30, 2014


If you're referring to "the local police" as an institution, not as a group of people, then "has" is correct. But I agree that "have" should also be accepted.

September 16, 2014


The best translation of "deber" into English is "ought". The concept behind deber is something like "to owe a duty to do something". In fact, "deber" comes from the same Latin root as the English word "debt". Meanwhile, "ought" is a form of "to owe". Thus, we're talking about the same semantic root.

Yet "ought to participate" is not currently accepted, and the canonical answer is "has to", which is much closer to "tener que". Not good.

September 16, 2014


Like others in the comments below, I tried "ought to", and had it marked as being wrong. My understanding is that in modern English, "should" (which was accepted), and "ought to" can be used interchangeably. I am Canadian, and everyone I know who went to school is comfortable using "ought to" in everyday speech.

March 20, 2016


'The local police must take part.' was marked as incorrect. Can anyone help with explaining the difference between 'to participate' and 'to take part'? Confused.

April 22, 2016


"the locale police"; singular The verb should be :"needs"!!!

October 13, 2016


The local policeman/woman, or the the local police force needs... but the local police need. Police is a plural noun.

October 26, 2017


Why I can't say 'needs' for debe? instead of have to? its the same.

November 2, 2016


I thought the use of deber indicated that the sentence should read as follows "The police should participate."

March 17, 2017


'Should' = debería

October 26, 2017


Duolingo is entirely unclear and inconsistent on this point and they SHOULD fix it.

May 27, 2018


why did it say needs, and the correct answer is have.

May 24, 2017


'Debe' is not 'have', it's 'must'.

October 26, 2017


It would not accept "The local police needs to participate", but it would accept "need" as if police is plural. Very stange, and also annoying since I am here to learn Spanish and not English.

August 1, 2017


I see nothing wrong with referring to a people in the singular. I used "needs" and was marked as incorrect. In English there is certainly nothing incorrect about referring to a group as a singular entity, depending upon the usage and the speaker's intent.

August 31, 2017


As you say, it is a matter of usage. However, if you say 'The local police needs to participate' then logically you would have to follow that by saying, 'Itneeds to arrive on the scene quickly.' I think you would naturally say 'they need to....' , plural.

October 26, 2017


that is because in the second case you are actually refering to persons and not to the institution.

February 16, 2018


I put "The local police needs to participate" and it was marked wrong. I think the meaning is the same and it should have been accepted.

February 9, 2018


Let's see, how does one determine when the verb deber means must, should, or ought to. Like every freakin' thing else, it boils down to the whims of this freakin' translator, I guess.

November 3, 2014


It depends on the tense of the verb.

Present tense = "must" - Debo ir (I must go)

Conditional tense = "should" (yo debería ir = I should go)

"Ought to" isn't used very much in English anymore, most of the time you can use "should"

November 3, 2014


Ought is still used in the southeast of the US commonly.

December 6, 2015


The discussion about police in UK English being a plural is correct. 'Police' is a plural noun, not a singular collective. With regard to deontic modality, 'should', 'ought', 'must', 'has a duty to', might be ordered, but ultimately it is a connotative decision about the relative 'strength' of 'duty'

July 7, 2015


To indicate a singular in Amer. Eng. you have to use "policeman". Police refers to all police.

August 21, 2015


My understanding is that deber has several possible meanings; to owe, to have to, should, must. "The local police has to participate" is not the same as "The local police should participate" is not the same as "The local police must participate". So how is one to know what is being said? If you really are saying the local police has to participate, why not use "tiene que" to make it clear?

November 20, 2015


I completely agree with you. This is well worded.

April 7, 2019


You could also use "must" in stead of have to

May 3, 2016


Why can't La policia be the police? Why does it have to be the local police?

June 18, 2016


This sentence is being specific and referring to the police in a given area, that is to say, the local police.

October 26, 2017


La policia no tierrn,

August 11, 2017


If police and cops are the same then I should get credit for using either of these words.

December 19, 2017


Ought to instead of have to

March 12, 2018


Deber doesn't mean "Have to" it means "Should" or "Aught" or "to Owe" not to have to

April 28, 2018


I'm quite sick of Duolingo either not fixing this or clarifying why they SHOULD NOT (MUST NOT) fix this.

"The local police should participate" should be accepted.

If I'm wrong, please don't split hairs about "should", "ought to", "have to" and "must" all of which are closely related in meaning though not exactly the same.

Clearly state the rule which makes this clear.

May 27, 2018


I need to know when to say "should" and "must".

June 22, 2018


Still, after 5 years "ought to" is not accepted by DL. I have read many good arguments from various DL students, all saying that ought to is very close to have to/must to. I subscribe to this view and find it very strange DL does not allow this translation.

July 25, 2018


must vs should ---- is it a tense thing. Must in the present and should in the future?

August 31, 2018


Why not accept "ought to" as a translation of "debe" ???

October 9, 2018


i thought deber means both 'must' and 'ought.' .

Isn't 'The local police ought to participate' a perfectly legitimate translation?

October 29, 2018


I agree with you 100%. I made the same complaint to Duolingo when I first encountered this particular lesson. My personal opinion is that there are some nuances in English meaning that have been missed by Duolingo. However, at the end of the day, we are getting free language lessons, and it probably is not unreasonable to expect a few problems.

October 29, 2018


This lesson is totally jacked up and filled with incorrect responses and correct answers that should be accepted. For example, from how I was taught by competent, native speakers, "The local police ought to participate" should be accepted. Deber inherently carries the sense of "ought/should/must"...

December 11, 2018


Can this also be translated as The local police should participate.

May 4, 2019


In my opinion, that should be an acceptable answer. I agree with KermitRainman's comment, that Deber has a definite sense of "ought". I would go further to suggest that the better translation would be: "The local police ought to participate."

May 5, 2019


the local police ought to take part - should be accepted

May 11, 2019
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