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  5. "Los coches fueron detenidos."

"Los coches fueron detenidos."

Translation:The cars were stopped.

May 20, 2013



"Stopped" and "detained" have slightly different meanings in English. "Stopped" means that they are not moving now, but it could be due to a number of reasons.. "Detained" means that they were prevented from moving (held) by some action, usually the action of some authority.


"The cars were held up (in traffic)" is also an accepted answer here. This is probably the most natural. We must remember however, that DL doesn't serve to create 'naturally sounding' sentences for learners of Spanish who want to sound like a native. It helps if you remember that DL serves to instruct us how to create 'grammatically' correct sentences. If people are interested in learning colloquial expressions, they're better off using a different app. Hope this helps! I too, felt frustrated at the beginning of using this app, but since I realized that the sentences are compiled to give us a sense of the structure of the language, rather than getting us chatting away in Spanish, it has made learning the learning experience much more enjoyable. Buena suerte!


Totally agree. I supplement my learning by reading Spanish articles. I don't use it but a site called verbling lets you speak with people learning your language over voice chat. So combining the three would probably be the best "free" way to learn a language.


I add watching tv, listening to radio, reading newspapers, all I can find to better understanding and getting accustom my ear to the sound of the new language too.


Yep! And Spanish podcasts and Audio books from the library!



"all I can find for getting my ear accustomed to.." o "can find to better understand and (to) get my ear...:" saludos


I felt the same at first. It took me a while to adapt to DL's corrections. Gracias


I put detailed and DL just counted it as a typo


these are line or my planned driving trip to Mexico


Wouldn't "The cars were impounded" be a better translation than detained?


I don't know detenido well, but in general impounded is far more specific. Detained covers a cop pulling you over, being held up at a check point, or even stuck in traffic. Impounded means your car has been towed away.


To impound = incautar , retener , confiscar http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/impounded

Detener = to stop, to arrest, detain, delay

"delay" = retrasar , demorar, aplazar, entretener, tardar


As usual, including the link as a reference is genuinely helpful.


How about 'delayed'?


People are detained, and property is impounded. A car fits better into the second class.


"Impounded" is not what this sentence means though. Perhaps "were held up" (in traffic) would be a better fit. http://dictionary.reverso.net/spanish-english/detenido Maybe it was a road block by the police. http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-spanish/detained

By saying the cars were detained, you are simply using a passive version to avoid saying who was detained. As obviously the reason for the cars being detained, was that the people in the cars were detained. This also prevents the misunderstanding that the people in the car were arrested, because in this case they were merely detained and not arrested which would be your first thought with that word when it applies to people.

http://dle.rae.es/?id=DZpMxS1 type in "detener" which is the verb from which "detenido" comes from.


I'd like to know as well. That's the first thing that came to my mind.


That's what I put and it was marked wrong.


I made the same mistake two years later!


Just a second ago I lost a heart for having translated "La manzana no era cocinada." Duo said I should have used estar. Okay, got it. But then why do they say "FUERON detenidos" instead of ESTUVIERON detenidos? I hope there are some advanced lessons on ser vs. estar.


Comments here do not appear to be date-stamped, but since I'm taking this while at level 9 and you are showing as level 23, I'm guessing your comment is quite old and you likely know the answer to this by now (passive voice)... if you want further explanation, please let me know.


Old questions are just as valid as new ones. This comment section is not just for people to get their own questions answered, but for others to learn. If I see an unanswered question that's 2 or 3 years old and it's relevant to the learning process, I answer it when I'm sure I'm right, even though I'm just as sure the person already know the answer. I'm not doing that for him or her, I'm doing it for others who are going through the comments for the 1st time.


I agree with you Jeffrey, sometimes i realize i'm responding to a really old question and then think, this person won't go back and see my answer, but your comment reminds me I should respond anyway. I read over many older discussions looking for answers to my questions, so I don't have to waste others' time by asking the same question again.


Thanks jmmye. I still think a couple of advanced lessons on estar vs. ser in all tenses (subjunctive included) would be beneficial. P.S. Levels don't tell all: I have been plugging away at my Spanish for over half a year, but my Italian is better. Go figure.


jairapetyan, your question made me wonder, so I just researched it and found: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/pastpart.htm. When the past participle is used as an adjective, use estar. When the past participle is used with ser, it implies passive voice. I don’t know if there are other rules, but this seems like a good start. So "los coches fueron detenido" is passive voice: the cars were detained by something or someone. In your example, "the apple was not cooked", there is no action, so cooked is just an adjective and it should be: "La manzana no estaba cocinada". Thanks for asking the question.


Oh, that's an ah-ha moment. Thanks very much. Here, have some lingots.


Yes, k-kayak is correct: passive voice as I said in my original response - and I would have been happy to have provided the same explanation a week ago if you had indicated you still were not clear on this! And one slight correction to k-kayak's comment: the past participle must match the subject in gender and number when the passive voice is used (note the original sentence is "detenidos", not "detenido"... it would have been "detenidas" if the original subject was "las mujeres").


Yes yes yes, this is an extremely helpful distinction, concisely explained. It's a subtle point and hard to grasp for English speakers who grew up with only one "be" verb, but that's what makes learning fun. Thank you so much, k-kayak!


You're welcome. Only half a year? I've been living in Spain for nearly 2 years, and L9 is what I tested into when I started duo a few days ago! I still have a number of difficulties with Spanish, but I do find ser and estar fairly straightforward and I'd be happy to explain this sentence or their usage in general further if you think it might be helpful. (Lessons in duo could be helpful, too, but that's not something I have any control over!)


I'm not sure if this might help or not : http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/41 (Basic rules of ser vs estar) if not there are 3 more categories for help with ser and 2 more for estar in the topics menu: http://www.spanishdict.com/grammar Thanks for the suggestion on how to discuss having your car detailed.


They should have "detained" in the hints. Detailed has nothing to do with cars.



Auto detailing (British English: Car valeting), is the performance of thorough cleaning, restoration, and finishing of an automobile, both inside and out, to produce a show-quality level of detail.


My first guess was detained, but I made the mistake of looking at the hints. Then I thought, well, people do get their cars detailed, i.e.cleaned very thoroughly, and perhaps that's what it means. BAH. Derailed by hints again! :(


"The cats were detained." Darn auto-spell!


Nah! I think these cars were used to transport drogas and were seized by the policia.

  • 1919

That sure is the way I've heard it used.


"The vehicles were stopped" is also correct, no?

  • 1919

I think the usual meaning is "Traffic was jammed", but I put the cars were delayed, which did not work.


The cars were delayed. was not accepted. Should it have been?


DL will need to provide some source for this definition of "held up". Most of the context-related sentences I've looked up have used it to mean "stopped, arrested, detained, pulled over". "held up" just doesn't mean the same thing. You can be "held up" in traffic without actually being stopped or detained by anyone - you can be inching forward at 5 MPH (8 KPH) and still be "held up", i.e., not stopped, moving very slowed and thus delayed, "retrasado".


I put "pulled over," since that seemed to make the most sense to me as a common context of what would happen to a car on the road. I'm reporting it to Duolingo.

Wednesday February 8th 5:23 PM

Edit (5:26 PM):

I received the question again and put "stopped" instead of "held up" or "pulled over," and Duolingo accepted it. I think the phrasal verb "pulled over" is just giving it a bit of trouble as a translation for "detenidos."

I still feel like "pulled over" is a valid answer, and if enough people report it, maybe Duo will start accepting it.


Perhaps "pulled over" is too specific to driving, and "held up" can be used in many contexts besides driving, like being held up in a grocery line by the person who didn't bother to fill out his/her check while the clerk was toting up the bill - you know, waiting until everything is sacked and the clerk hands the bill to the person before they even pull their check-book out of their pocket or purse.


I agree in this case, knowing more about the situation would help. I was thinking "held back" or "detained" as, for example "The cars were detained in customs until the taxes were raised by an executive order".


So how do you say "The cars were halted"?

  • 1919

Los coches fueron parados. But I think that's the correct way to pose the question above.


"Detener" means "to stop." The cars were stopped. This is just as acceptable as saying detained, an is accepted by DL. The cars were stopped at a traffic light. The cars were stopped by the police. "Detained" is no MORE acceptable than "stopped" for this sentence.


I thought "estar" was used with participles, not "ser?"


I think the same rules apply as to use of estar/ser - estar for location, state of being, etc.
fui detenido - "I was stopped"
estaba cansado - "I was tired"

I wonder also if passive voice has something to do with it, but I don't have an answer to that.


Thanks to tessbee for the two articles. Also, have another lingot.

There is one thing I find quite interesting and remarkable in the comments from Spanishdict.com: the fact that the adjectival use of the past participle (a kind of faux passive voice - looks passive but isn't) uses estar. In most other instances of adjectives linked to the subject through "to be", the verb used is ser, not estar. "Kermit la rana es verde" but Kermit la rana está cansada.

I had a short discussion in the English-Italian course on Duo about why you use "to be" with past participles of verbs that are ordinarily conjugated with to have. (This is much more of an issue in both Italian and French, where some verbs in normal voice are conjugated with "to be" rather than "to have"; it's just something you have to remember.)

Past participles acting as adjectives are only partially adjectival. Like adjectives, they are descriptive of the words they modify and they agree in gender and number with those words, but they are not the same because they are still partially verb-actions. They are quasi-verbs as well as quasi-adjectives, hybrid grammatical objects. Part participles conjugated with "to have" do not agree with the subject.

Anyway, it seems to me that the verb-action quality of adjectival past participles transports the conjugation from ser to estar.


Ahhh..."ser" describes "what happened," and "estar" describes "what's it like" in passive constructions. Good tip! Lingot for you!


Could you translate this as "The cars were stalled", or would you use a different word for that?


Native American English speaker. The word STALL usually implies a mechanical problem with an engine.


When I put "The cars were stalled in traffic" into a translator, I got "Los coches se estancaron en el tráfico". I'm not certain but this leads me to believe that the correct translation of detenidos is detained (they even sound alike), and "stalled" is a different word in Spanish. Fluent speakers, correct me if this is wrong.


Should be los criminales fueron detenidos, because a car can,t be held


A car can be held if it is impounded, right?


Held up can mean 'detained' as in stopped completely (a mechanical failure, perhaps) or temporarily as in a traffic jam/bottleneck/slowdown. It doesn't always mean there is a crime (I found three forms of this term when used in this way -a hold-up, hold up or holdup) involved.


delayed = retrasado


Does Duolingo accept retrasado for this sentence?


Those cars were taken was wrong?


In English, HELD UP has two meanings: robbed and delayed. The bank was held up yesterday. The cars were held up by the sudden snow storm.


How would you say the cars were towed?


The cars were late shouls be avceptable, if anyone in power is reading this


Why don't you use the method given for reporting things or suggesting changes? It is located below the question to the left side of the screen on my laptop view. I have reported quite a few and have received responses for some to say that they will now accept my suggested change.


The cars were delayed. Delayed = retrasados (it is not a synonymous of detained. It can be checked in: http://dle.rae.es).


detenidos in spanish doesn't mean "delayed" but arrested, catched, but a better translation would be "the cars were impounded" or sth similar


the cars were stained ... accepted


In the hints it has 'held up' for detenidos, and it is accepted. In english, 'held up' is often, though not always, used to mean one was robbed. So could this mean the cars were robbed?


No; "held up" means "delayed" in this context. "Detenido" does not translate to "robbed".


Would "The cars were delayed." convey the meaning of this sentence? Thank you.


"The cars were backed up" should be accepted too right?


... after being put in handcuffs...


Pulled over and held up are synonyms, are they not?


Not necessarily - pulled over usually means that for some reason the police have signalled you to come to a stop at the side of the road, possibly due to some infraction like speeding or going through a stop sign. On the other hand, held up could mean that there has been a traffic tie up for some reason and you are delayed from getting to your destination on time, BUT without necessarily coming to a stop at any time and only having to drive more slowly than otherwise. I think of another situation from my own life - we were travelling on a main highway but it had been washed out ahead of us so we were diverted to secondary roads which twisted through several small villages. It took hours longer than it should have to get to our destination. In that context we had been held up.


Can some one do a breakdown on the estaba vs fueron I thought it was the difference was "was" and "went"


Thanks from me also for the question and the researched answer. I learn things in these discussions that I have not considered on my own.


Did they went to prison ?


Hi, Your question should be, 'Did they GO to prison?' Using Did already puts it into the past tense which is why you use 'go' instead of 'went'. I'm just trying to help. :-)


Pardon my French !


Certainement, copain! lol


...For speeding.


could you use this to say the cars were towed?


I don't think so. Towing is the action of taking a car away not under its own power. "Detenido" means held up or, for people, arrested. It doesn't imply moving the car somewhere else.


Wouldnt "se detuvieron los coches" be better as we dont know who/what caused the cars to stop


i accidentally put the cars were help up, only one letter off but still marked wrong : /


i don't understand why this is wrong because i put the same thing as the answer said except for the capital in The and it called it wrong. Please fix this


What is wrong with "The autos were detained."? Is not auto a synonym for car?


Since 'coches' can mean cars or coaches, why was I judged wrong to translate it as coaches? I visualized a bus tour being held up. Frequently it says my word is wrong when it is defined that way in under the word and the meaning fits.


Kinda frustrating that the narrator hit the D of detenidos that hard, it sounded to me like a T. Also this was the first time I encountered the word, so doubly annoying.


Wouldn't "The cars were upheld." be correct as well? It was not accepted.


"Upheld" has a completely different meaning than "held up". To quote Google for "uphold" : "confirm or support (something that has been questioned)."


Could was instead og where be accepted?

The car was detained?


In this case no, as los coches is plural so were (not where) is the correct verb form. In your sentence, where 'the car' is singular, was would be the right word to use but not for this particular Duo translation practice.


ok so i'm having a problem with the word coche because i was raised in a cuban household which speaks cuban spanish more than half the time and my mother says coche for stroller, where does this variation come from?


It's just another regional difference, like camarones for shrimp in the Americas and gambas in Spain. Coche can also mean a railroad car. It's interesting that "carriage" in English can also mean a baby carriage (stroller) as well as a railroad car (although a bit old-fashioned).


The cars were detonated.. Bienvenido a Colombia


Funny! But it actually means “detained”


"The cars were halted" not acceted. Reported


Halted not accepted


If you press I don't know give you a bigger green bar


If detailed isn't correct it should be in the translation.


Detailed is sometimes a correct translation of "detenido" so it absolutely should be in the dictionary hints. These are hints as to what the word can mean (but this can change depending on the context), they are not going to work in every situation. For example, the word "detenido" used in the phrase "un examen detenido" means "a detailed examination".


do you mean detaiLed or detaiNed? I was wondering if it meant held up (ie by traffic) or if it could mean "impounded"?


I was not sure for a moment, as I wrote this a long time ago, but I definitely meant "detailed". I was responding to timney when they said that if detailed isn't correct it shouldn't show in the hints, I was saying that it should because sometimes it is the right translation.


This link proves your point. However, it seems the idea here is that something is done with great care, which means to do it SLOWLY. When I lived in Mexico I think we usually used detallada commonly for detailed.


detenido adj (meticuloso) thorough, detailed adj La policía llevó a cabo un examen muy detenido de las pruebas.


Thanks for your input kenaxo, nothing beats real world experience! So you are saying that detenido used as detailed, is more like the word 'meticulous' or 'thorough' in English?

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