"What is the book about?"

Translation:¿Acerca de qué es el libro?

5 years ago

50 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Shelbyb11

When do you use "sobre" and when do you use "acerca de"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vicki.kura

"Acerca de" is "about" as in "the book is about a cat" and "sobre" is "on top of" as in "the cat is on top of the book".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kasshiiee

"Sobre" can also be used to say "about". For example, "El examen es sobre Shakespeare" means "The exam is about Shakespeare"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RichWeber

It's a different kind of "about." When you are using it in regards to the subject of a book, or a story "acerca de" is used to mean "about," or "concerning the" (more exact). When talking about an exam sobre means "covers" or "goes over." Which is what the word means. The exam goes over Shakespeare would be a more exact English translation, when using sobre. Not all translators are created equal, and they don't always translate word for word. Sometimes it translates the concept as a whole which is not always great if you are trying to learn the language. That's why there is an "improve this translation." feature.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/brojohnsmith

And everyone say english is difficult because of multi meanings of words.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/joyceluna3

everyone says...

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KevinJarre1

Sobre means on. So think of it just like English. "The cat is on the book," or "the book is on cats."

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/The_Rope

I'm not sure how closely related TinyCards is to Duolingo but the only translation that TinyCards gives for sobre is "about". However, it seems Duolingo tends to only use sobre to mean on, atop, above, etc. It's a bit frustrating.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/beantorrent

Both a test and a book being about a subject use the same definition of the word "about". Also, "sobre" is applied to books. Real world example "Un Libro Ilustrado Sobre Martin Luther King, Hijo / An Illustrated Book about Martin Luther King, Jr."

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/edrib1
edrib1
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Your explanation is very helpful. I had noticed if you look at some words in the more exact meaning it helps to understand the way a language "thinks" when composing a sentance. Thank you. Ed

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/keylababee94

So can you also use 'acerca de' in regards to the exam being that the exam could 'concern' Shakespeare? el examen acerca de Shakespeare?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/menotq

mucho gracias, explica muy claro

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vicki.kura

Thank you for the heads up. When you type "The exam is about Shakespeare" in a translator it does come up with "sobre". Guess I'll have to try Spanish Dictionary later since it won't come up now.

Someone should report this to duolingo.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/novantiqua

I think that "sobre" in this sense is equivalent to "cover" in English. So: "The test covers Shakespeare"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stevenpboyer

or the test is "on Shakespeare" would make more sense

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/c.g.silver
c.g.silver
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Todo sobre mi madre (Almodovar movie)

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thephotogod

I believe sobre is "on top of" meaning the physical sense. He is on top of the car.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bsimmo14
bsimmo14
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I've seen examples on DL that used sobre. Like el libro es sobre los monos. The book is about monkeys. Something like that

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wcpd

From Google Translate:

encima de: above, over, up, on top of, on, atop

sobre: on, about, upon, above, concerning, on top of

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Erwin_Rommel
Erwin_Rommel
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Almodovar's "Todo sobre mi madre" is translated as "All about my mother"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Doctor-John
Doctor-John
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The Oxford Spanish Dictionary offers three translations of "What is the book about?"

  1. ¿Acerca de qué es el libro?

  2. ¿Sobre qué es el libro?

  3. ¿De qué trata el libro?

Duolingo accepts the first two. If it doesn't accept the third, it should.

None of these sentences is about a physical relationship such as "on top of."

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/trincowski
trincowski
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"Sobre" has several meanings. One of them is "about" as in "This is a book about cats." In this case, "acerca de" is a synonym of "sobre" and you can use whichever you like the most. http://es.thefreedictionary.com/acerca+de

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gladius_Austin

Why ¿qué acerca del libro is wrong?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johnowens22

First let's understand the root of "acerca". Cerco/cerca means "close to or near something". In some countries, a fence is called a "cerco" because it draws the boundary between what is near from that which is outside or far. "A" means to approach, to go towards. So, acerca literally means either a) close to; or b) to go toward or get closer to something. The word "about" in English means to be "nearby". Here are some examples: i) "He is up and about" implies he is not traveling around the world but is relatively close compared to far away places. ii) Or, "in a round about way" means you got somewhere, but you didn't go straight. You traveled paths close to, but not on the shortest route. iii) We use it in time as well when we say it is "about 5pm", meaning it is near, but probably not exactly, 5pm. Your sentence says literally, "What close to (or about) the book?" Notice, you have no verb. The correct way to state it in English is either: 1) "What is the book about?" or 2) "About what (topic) is the book", or 3) "Tell me something close to the text, but not every single word in the book. That would take too long". (notice all of these have a verb) The second is the correct way to phrase the question in Spanish. "¿Acerca de qué es el libro?", literally means, " 'close to' what is (the meaning or content of) the book?", or more loosely "give me an account that is "close" to the story-line or subject matter of the book." Another way you could say it is, "¿De qué trata el libro?" which would literally mean, "of what or about what (subject) does the book treat (meaning of what subject is it a treatise). Notice treat and treatise are from the same root as the Spanish verb "tratar".

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdorlon

Thanks for the lengthy discussion. That will help me remember both acerca and tratar.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/McGhee34

So, I put "que es el libro acerca de". Why can't I put acerca de at the end? When I put it in google translate it reads "what is the book about". Am I incorrect or is that sentence structure acceptable?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr_Roboto96

That is just incorrect sentence structure. I think a much more common translation (at least among Mexican and Mexican-American spanish speakers) would be, "¿De qué es el libro?" Literally, "Of what is the book?" But that's beside the point. Whenever you ask a question in spanish, the root of your question (quién, qué, cuándo, dónde, por qué, and cuánto) should be at or very near the beginning of the sentence.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jestings

Well, in "que es..." que is at the beginning of the sentence. Why is it wrong? Wouldn't that be a more direct translation? I'm sorry, I just don't understand spanish sentence structure very well, and It always helps me to understand WHY.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/johnowens22

In your example, you have separated the prepositional phrase, and put half at the beginning and half at the end. You must keep the "acerca de" preposition and the object of that preposition "que" together. In English we started originally by doing this too, but have strayed. If you think back, you can probably remember your English teacher telling you the correct English formation is never to put the preposition at the end: we should say "About what is the book?" not, "What is the book about?" We should say, "To where is she headed?", not "Where is she headed to?" Our deviance in English is making many have a harder time in Spanish where this "laziness" is not (yet) tolerated.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jestings

Ah, thank you very much, john. That makes sense. I never really thought of it that way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Drumknott
Drumknott
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Google translate doesn't really know grammar, it just translates individual words, so putting in a phrase or sentence will often result in something which makes no sense.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kristalzir

This is the best answer, gracias

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/n.shomik

Thanks. It clears up things. Should "qué es acerca de el libro" be correct?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maitlin

I wrote: "¿El libro es acerca de qué?" Could this be correct as well? The direct English translation would be slightly clunky (The book is about what?"), but it still seems like it should work technically in Spanish, if not as naturally.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GuitarGreen

In Spanish, you aren't allowed to end a sentence with a preposition. It's actually a rule in English, but no one follows it anymore.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/weichwieschnee
weichwieschnee
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Actually the "rule" in English is a prescriptive rule made to make English act more like Latin. Historically (and descriptively), it's actually more like German, with separable prefixes ("come with," "wake up," etc).

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dclukens

I thought that word order wasn't as important in Spanish as in English. And yet, when I wrote: 'Qué es el libro acerca de?' it was not accepted. I used Google Translate and it translated to the same response, 'what is the book about?', so I am a bit confused.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roger_Burke

I am not certain, but I think Google translate is programed to get you some usable translation even if the input is chopped up into poor or at least less frequently used Spanish. Duolingo, on the other hand is programmed to teach a polite middle to upper class Spanish. Word order is often the reverse order to what we expect in English, but it is not arbitrary.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talulah

Try reverso.net instead. Over the years, I've learned that google translate is a bit... "special" :D

In general though, I use google translate, reverso, and spanishdict. The latter two offer a more in depth explanation as opposed to just an answer.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yogibear42

De que va el libro is what you are given if you get this question wrong yet here it gives something totally different as the answer why?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KANABLE
KANABLE
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I got it wrong with "Que acerca del libro" but the correct answer that came up in the red bubble was "De que va el libro". Now the answer at the top of this thread i can understand, but cann someone please explane how "Of what goes the book" makes since?? I completely understand that not every statment or frase is a literal translation but we have not gone over the breakdown of this frase and it has left me with questions....

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mangobird

What is wrong with: "Cual es el libro acerca de?"

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bawallish
bawallish
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It let me use "¿De qué trata el libro?" I'm not even sure where I picked up the "tratar de" construction. I don't think it was in school. It just felt like the most natural way to translate this sentence.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Queen_Ree

"que es el libro acerca de?" .. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Dont care what duolingo says lol.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mangobird

Why is "El libro es acerca de que?" an incorrect translation?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Matt533566
Matt533566
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You can't end a sentence with a preposition (like qué) in Spanish.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mohan67679

CouFUSEd

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JamesYourk

When do you use de?

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JeanneMarie2

De qué va? Why use va? Wouldn't that imply "going to be about" vs "is about" ?

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Clevvie

What is the correct way to write questions in Spanish?

6 days ago
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