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"La policía culpa al actor."

Translation:The police blame the actor.

5 years ago

123 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/i.price
i.pricePlus
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"La policía" refers to the group "the police," not "the policeman," so in English the verb conjugates to the plural, not the singular.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rjw78741

In the U.S. a group is often treated as singular, whereas in the U.K. it is treated as plural.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JMBarnes
JMBarnes
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This is correct as a general principle, but police is one of a handful of collective nouns that are almost always treated as plural even in American English.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kcmurphy
kcmurphyPlus
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I don't know why someone downvoted you; I agree that "police" is often (usually?) treated as plural in the US.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AviAdventure
AviAdventure
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The word police on dictionary.com states one definition for police as being any body of people officially maintained or employed to keep order, enforce regulations, etc. We wouldn't say a police stopped me. We would say an officer stopped me. More and more people are also using gender neutral words so you wouldn't hear policeman or policewoman as much either.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/police?s=t

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TylerHooks

It's more correct to say "the police are..." rather than "the police is..."

This is the same for bands or groups of musicians where it's technically correct to use the plural form. "Iron Maiden are..." is more correct than "Iron Maiden is"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anaraneta

Isn't the band thing just because of the name, though? Like I'd say "Green Day is..." or "Panic at the Disco is..." because the words Day and Panic are singular, while I'd say "The Kooks are..." or "The Undertones are..." because Kooks and Undertones are plural. The form I use for the band is dependent on the name and not on the fact that they're a band.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/theguy07

do the police blame the actor in the movie?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ArrigoC
ArrigoC
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La policía culpa Juan Wilkes Booth

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/osmosiphobe

The singular form of the verb is used, so it should be translated as a singular. Otherwise, one would imagine the verb culpan would have been used.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jocelyn-H
Jocelyn-H
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Actually, while "the police" is made of many people, it is still singular. It is the same for the word "family." A family is made of multiple people, but it is still considered singular. If you are referring to a bunch of people, you would use plural. If you are talking about the group, you use singular.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Drumknott
Drumknott
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"There are a few collective nouns (in both British and American English) that are always used with a plural verb, the most common of which are police and people: √ She's happy with the way the police have handled the case. X She's happy with the way the police has handled the case. √ It's been my experience that people are generally forgiving. X It's been my experience that people is generally forgiving. If you aren't sure whether to use a singular or a plural verb with a collective noun, look it up. Most dictionaries will tell you which is correct."

Here is the source of the above, which also gives some examples of collective nouns which are treated differently in American and British English. Hope this helps.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/words/matching-verbs-to-collective-nouns-american

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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If you want to use the singular form in English, then the noun needs to be "police officer" or something like that. I tried "police officer", and it was accepted.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Drumknott
Drumknott
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In Spanish, it is singular. In English, it is different:

"There are a few collective nouns (in both British and American English) that are always used with a plural verb, the most common of which are police and people: √ She's happy with the way the police have handled the case. X She's happy with the way the police has handled the case. √ It's been my experience that people are generally forgiving. X It's been my experience that people is generally forgiving. If you aren't sure whether to use a singular or a plural verb with a collective noun, look it up. Most dictionaries will tell you which is correct."

Here is the source of the above quote, which also gives some examples of collective nouns which are treated differently in American and British English. Hope this helps.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/words/matching-verbs-to-collective-nouns-american

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kazmax1

Osmosiphobe, you need to read i.price's comment, above.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/osmosiphobe

I did. This is a response to that comment...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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‘La policía’ can also mean “the policewoman”.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/inhumanbookworm
inhumanbookworm
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Can police refer to the institution? Is it still plural then?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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See the discussion started by Rainbowwoman.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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It is always plural.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tecunumanjohn

nah, policia is a collective noun....singular: you're right A (1) group.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ves_McVoid

I wrote "the policeman", only for it to tell me i was wrong and that "the policewoman" was correct.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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'The policeman' would be 'el policia'

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Puppalicious

In American English, we would say either "the police officer blames" or "the police blame" I've never heard anyone say "the police blames".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WillRossma1

We might say "the police department blames" though.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SanaBau
SanaBau
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"The police officer blames the actor" should be accepted.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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The gender-neutral “the police officer” would be ‘el policía’. However, ‘la policía’ can also mean “the policewoman”.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kazmax1

I used "policewoman" and it was not accepted.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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It is now.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sakasiru
sakasiru
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Does "culpa" need "a" as a preposition or is this a personal a?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bcwarne

yes, culpar requires the preposition, regardless of personal a. culpar a = to blame on, culpar de = to blame for.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackherbach12

Could you please expound on this? I really don't understand how these two would be used practically. I would very much appreciate it, comrade ;).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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‘La policía culpa del accidente a la lluvia.’ = “The police blame the accident on the rain.”.

‘La policía culpa a la lluvía del accidente.’ = “The police blame the rain for the accident.”.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sakasiru
sakasiru
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Thank you!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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Both: Yes, the verb always takes the preposition ‘a’ for the thing being blamed as the cause; and yes, it's the accusative ‘a’, sometimes misleadingly called the “personal ‘a’”.

Since the object being blamed takes the ‘a’ preposition even if it's an evidently inanimate object such as a lamp or the rain, it would seem that the ‘a’ is marking an indirect object rather than a specific animate direct object. However, clitic doubling proves that the object being blamed is a direct object: One says ‘la culpan a ella’ = “They're blaming her”, not (except in leísmo dialects) *‘le culpan a ella’, where ‘la’ agrees with a direct object, while ‘le’ would agree with an indirect object. In other words, the ‘a’ is definitely the accusative preposition marking a specific animate direct object, not the dative preposition marking an indirect object. So why is there an ‘a’ when the object being blamed, even if it's specific and direct, is as inanimate as a lamp or the rain? Presumably, an object can be blamed for an outcome only if the object could be responsible for that outcome, and only if the object could cause the outcome; and responsibility and agency are indisputably characteristics of animacy.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MASiemer

I'm suprised no one is talking about the fact that "actor" had a mouse over that said "plaintiff" which I thought made more sense, so I wrote that. Then they marked it wrong.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ikagudo

Simply as a learning tool, the mouse-over should list only appropriate synonyms for the sentence given. It doesn't matter if "plaintiff" is another use for " actor" if "plaintiff" is not a correct choice. That muddies the lesson. Now we know that Spanish for "plaintiff" is "actor" but have no idea when it's appropriate to use it in a sentence.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chazaloe

couldn't 'culpa' mean 'fault' as in 'the police fault the actor'. this is something i hear in English all the time. Or is there a better way to translate that English sentence?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/melissambwilkins

This is what I thought, as well, and my answer was marked wrong. It is the more literal translation, and it is correct in English, though I suppose it IS more common to hear someone say "blame." It's hard for people to think of all possible correct translations when programming, I guess, because I put forth correct translations that are shot down all the time in this program (I check with native speakers when I'm unsure).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Musicislifebug

A good way to remember "culpa" is to think of blaming a culprit. That at least helps me.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xhmko

Or to think of who is culpable...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jestings

Yep, 'culpa' comes directly from the latin for blame, guilt, or fault. So words like culprit, culpable, and the spanish culpa are simply latin derivatives of the word. Learning some latin roots is helpful for all the romance languages, like french, italian, and spanish- Especially since there are tons of english derivatives.

Ex. Latin: Amo, amare, amor (love)
English: Amorous (relating to sexual desire)
Spanish: Amor, amar (love, passion)
French: Aimer, Amour (love)
Italian: Amare, amore (love)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RaguVinaya

They say he acted alone.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/E128k

If only horrible acting were a crime

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JewishPolyglot
JewishPolyglot
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Hey, actors can be criminals. And many do get arrested for doing crazy stuff. Just look through any issue of people mag and you'll read about some celebrity wrecking his or her life. Ever wonder why they do that so often?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/toggitang
toggitang
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You both are right. Horrible acting is quite awful (if you paid money and time to watch, that is) and JewishPolyglot you are right they do ruin themselves quite often, poor people.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthewOSh6

Culpa's english equivalent is inculpate.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/smontoya
smontoya
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Peccavo is correct; la policía requires a plural verb in English.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sachabaptista

Please, can someone explain "a el actor" vs "al actor" ?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JMBarnes
JMBarnes
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“Al” is just a contraction of “a el”. Anytime you would write “a el” in Spanish, you must contract it to “al” instead. (However, note that “a él”, meaning “to him”, does not contract; “el” and “él” are different words.)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sachabaptista

Oh ok, thank you.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/skeltopp

Why do you give plaintiff as a choice and then reject it?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaHill

See my reply above.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JayDub1984

Sting was good in the group police!! Lol

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fedor-A-learner

only in latin america can the police blame the actor for staging a murder jajaja

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lahav862043

"Al actor" is a shortcut for "a el actor". Isn't it?

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nacho_haller

Yes.... it's an obligatory contraction.

Greetings.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainbowwoman

the police is both is both plural and singular - so both can be chosen

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaHill

"Police" is a word that always takes a third person plural verb, whether it is being used as a collective noun (singular in form but plural in meaning) or a singular noun (singular in form and also referring to many policemen as a singular set). An example of "police" used as a collective noun: "Police are busy during the weekends because many people have more time to get in trouble." In this sentence, many police everywhere are doing things that policemen do with other people. An example of "police" used with a possible singular meaning: "The police knocked on my door in order to tell me to evacuate because of rising floodwater." In this sentence, it is possible that only one policeman was knocking. North American English speakers use this construction because that individual is a member of a class that is being referred to in a generic way. A better example of a plural meaning with a singular form is when English speakers say "Mathematics is one of my favorite subjects." This is another collective meaning in which the plural form of the noun is viewed as a set with a singular meaning. Because this plural form has a singular meaning, the word takes a singular third person verb.

If this is still confusing, compare this with "History is one of my favorite subjects" or with "Gymnastics is not my favorite subject." In all of these examples, the subject noun of the sentence takes a singular verb because the subject is singular in meaning.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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Right now, Google gives me 689,000 hits for “The police is working” and 1,380,000 for “The police are working”, and similar ratios for other singular versus plural verb agreement. The context of the top several hits in each case reveals that the singular almost always refers to the institution, not to an individual police officer.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaHill

I did a little research and discovered that "police" is a unique noun. United States English ALWAYS treats "police" as a collective plural noun. British English treats "police" as both singular and plural. I gave the United States explanation above. I didn't give an example of a verb other than "is." In United States English, "The police blame …" is again third person plural. For more information about U.S. usage, see:

http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/101751-A-Unique-Collective-and-Uncountable-Noun-Police

http://www.languageusage.com/q/answers-collective-noun-police-singular-or-plural-79654.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_American_and_British_English#Formal_and_notional_agreement

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PablitoNogales

In American English, saying, the police knocked on my door implies that were multiple cops on your doorstep. One would say, a policeman, to indicate one.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Johngt44
Johngt44
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This is a good full explanation Linda but i think one of your examples is false. You use "the police knocked...." As example of a singular verb but in fact this exemplifies nothing as it ducks the issue! Say instead " the police WERE knocking...." Yes? You wouldn't use "was" would you? The single officer is a red herring, the institution is - plurally - knocking. But you are right, it is the only example that comes readily to mind of a singular noun with which a plural verb seems correct.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jeff.suter

Since the verb "culpa"(el,ella,usted) is used aren't we given to know that La policia in this particular sentence is a singular person?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sakasiru
sakasiru
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The way I understand it, it's considered a "single" institution. In German at least, "die Polizei" means the institution and gets a 3rd person singular verb as well.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dan176028

See LindaHill above. In American English no single police officer would accuse.He/she would be acting on behalf of the entire force.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaHill

Thank you, dotool. Again, that is correct syntax in a Spanish sentence, but not in an English one.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynnecover

But why the personal "a" - a plus el - al, actor is certainly not personal.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/i.price
i.pricePlus
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To my understanding the "personal" a is not so personal. It simply refers to the object being a person (or pet) rather than a thing. For example, you use it for "the actor" since that's a person-- but not with "the lamp" since that's a thing.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bcwarne

i believe in this case, with culpar, the personal a is not relevant. culpar requires the preposition, regardless of personal a. culpar a = to blame on, culpar de = to blame for. culpar la lámpara is not correct .... culpar a la lámpara is correct.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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‘culpar’ does indeed require the preposition ‘a’, and ‘culpar a la lámpara’ is indeed correct; however, it is the accusative ‘a’, not the dative ‘a’. See the discussion under sakasiru's question.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

lynnecover- actor is a person, it's an animated noun, it needs the personal A.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/darynholdswoth.

Isn't "culpa" 3rd person singular?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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Yes, it is.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/poppyizzie1

anyone else getting slightly disheartened by this section?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JewishPolyglot
JewishPolyglot
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It's not surprising

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vashishvip

"accuses" is wrong. Why ?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xhmko

What would be a translation for cop?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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‘poli’

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GreenWolfGo

why isn't "the police blame it on the actor" correct?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndreasWitnstein
AndreasWitnstein
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There's no “it” in the Spanish original. That would be «La policía culpa al actor de ello.».

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GaelBeal
GaelBeal
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In Spanish does "actor" always mean someone who works on stage/screen or can it also just mean someone who does something, as in performs an act?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dogy89

Why " The Police blames on the actor" is invalid? it says "al" is "a+ el" which means on the or to the.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sitotato1847

True, I would like an answer to that question!

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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You can't translate literally on most occasions from one language to another. In this case, you can't translate 'al actor' totally literally. The 'a' here is what is called the 'personal a', because it is used when the object of the sentence is a person, or perhaps a pet. So you just have to omit it in English. 'The police blame (not blames) the actor.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sue91707
sue91707
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why is it not culpan ?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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'La policía' is a singular word so it requires a singular verb, unlike in English, where we use a plural verb.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Juan993342

I've scrolled the page a bit searching for an answer. Would the word "culpa" be more likely used for "blame" or to "charge" someone of breaking a law? Would that term be used in either sense?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmorgan456

Why not "The police are blaming the actor"? This was rejected.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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'Are blaming' is a continuous tense, whereas 'culpa' is the simple present tense, 'blame'.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobJoe353653

I do not understand that when I clicked on the la policia it did not say the, for some reason

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VickyFerbert

Why can't "actor" be translated "plaintiff" in this sentence? Plaintiff was the alternate meaning, and certainly makes sense.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/geneven
genevenPlus
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Somebody marked an awful lot of comments with negative votes, which I think is inappropriate, so I upvoted them to cancel them out. Negative votes should be used sparingly.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NurseBear11

Question: If police is to be treated as plural, then why is "policewomAn" an acceptable translation?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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If you translate 'La policía' as 'the police', then it will require a plural verb in English; if you translate if as 'the policewoman', then it will require a singular verb.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eunjooLee5
eunjooLee5
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is "la policia" both plural and singular?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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In Spanish, 'la policía' is singular, because it is a singular word. In English we use the plural with 'the police'.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_chosen_one1710
_chosen_one1710
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why al ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nacho_haller

Because "to blame" is "culpar a". So "blame the..." would be "culpar a el...". However, in Spanish "a el" or "de el" are wrong. They are obligatory contractions "al" and "del".

Greetings.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AhmedMetwa547013

Blames

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Deb492139

So, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sassy113

Why is it 'al' and not 'las'?

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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'Las' does indeed mean 'the', but it is feminine plural, so would not apply to 'the actor', 'el actor', which is masculine singular. 'Al' is formed by contracting a + el and usually means 'to the', but here the 'a' is what is called the 'personal a', because an actor is a person. It must be included, but is not translated into English.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PhillipFra3

It be like that sometimes

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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'It is like that sometimes.'

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/donny57

Why al and not la

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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'Al' = a + el. The 'a' is added because an actor is a person. It is called the 'personal a'. 'Actor' is a masculine word, so it's 'el actor', not 'la actor'.

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/c.g.silver
c.g.silver
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Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dospescados
dospescados
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how do you say policeman?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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El policía.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ScratchSlash

Yep, they new it was him especially since he was playing a criminal and he didn't have an alibi.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mischka361610

I guess blame and blames are both correct, aren't they?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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Although the endings on English present tense verbs are easier than Spanish ones, you still need to take care. I/you/we they blame; he/she/it blames. So no, they are not both correct.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/joshua214481

Why would it not be "las" policía?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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'Policia' is a singular word, so it has to be 'la' policia. You have to think of the grammar of a particular word rather than the concept of 'police' being a number of people.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fcoolbeans

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Deepika217849

The police blames the actor is showing as incorrect

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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'Police' is considered to be plural in English so take a plural verb: 'blame'.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CandySpani1

police blames is better grammer

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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No, it's not better grammar (note spelling!). In English the word 'police' is considered a plural word so uses a plural verb. 'The police blame the actor'.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DarshAgarw2

Why it cannot be the police blames the actor or blamed the actor

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andreaja69
Andreaja69
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If you read my many comments in this forum you'll discover the answer to your question!

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/av223119

Congrats. Instead of teaching Spanish, you pick nits. Many of the learners are not native English speakers, so insisting on some peculiarities of one English dialect is counter-productive.

2 months ago