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"Él pensaba que él era doctor."

Translation:He used to think he was a doctor.

5 years ago

55 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/rebotica

.....before they took him away!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danielinform

Is this also correct? "He used to think that he was the doctor."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mumblemee
Mumblemee
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I think it would have to say 'el doctor'.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Charley-Farley

Oh for crying out loud! I have just lost a heart for writing 'used to' and being told it should be 'use to' - so, against my better judgement, but so as not to lose another heart, I put 'use to' on this one and - guess what - lost a heart and had 'use' crossed out and replaced with 'used' - I despair!!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HolyT
HolyT
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The rule is not positive versus negative. It's simply a matter of where the conjugation of use appears in the syntax. In "I did not use to be . . . ," use is the infinitive form because it's preceded by the auxiliary verb did. In "I used to be . . . ," used is conjugated in its past tense form. It works just like any other verb in English. People are confused by this simply because "use to" and "used to" sound identical. They use their ears instead of analyzing why words fit together as they do. They're not educated in English grammar.

You wouldn't say "I didn't cried"; you'd say "I didn't cry."

You wouldn't say, "Did he ate?"; you'd say "Did he eat?"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/benmjt

You act like the english language is logical.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wazzie
wazzie
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I used to be a doctor.
I did not use to be a doctor.

Positive statements use used to.
Negative statements use use to.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Yerrick
Yerrick
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Actually, it's whether the verb is preceded by a form of "did" or not. Negative statements usually use "did", but not always, and positive statements rarely do, but they may.

  • I used to go there.
  • Right, so you did use to take Spanish classes.
  • He didn't use to like chocolate.
  • I never used to bake in the morning.

http://www.5minuteenglish.com/mar20.htm http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/usedtotext.html

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aly.vidal11

Thank you,Yerrick.Good link! Saludos.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KyleFenorme

And good luck hearing the distinction in everyday speech. The phoentic difference between "use to" and "used to" is frequently lost in the fusion of the stops (d and t), and further complicated by the fact that either may be either dental or aveolar in various regional dialects of English.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sojournerbliss

I do not think that is correct even for the negative. Im pretty sure you would still say 'used to'. If you were even going to express it this way, it sounds a little odd. I think one would be more likely to say. "I was not always a doctor" or "i have not always been a doctor".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lphoenix

I have no trouble with the straightforward "used to" - where it gets into pure craziness here is with a negative for "used to" so stick to "used to" when no negative is involved and at least you'll get that part right -- I can't keep straight what DL has chosen on the various instances so far, but because they are using the vernacular for which there really are no rules, complete frustration is guaranteed. Have a heart. I just had the identical experience to yours in my previous sentence and it was all I could do not to get up and walk out of the house and go to a bar. Sheesh!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Charley-Farley

Have one for me, while you're at it!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/geneven
genevenPlus
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Used to is correct. I looked it up in Garner's American Usage, the best and most contemporary usage book.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sojournerbliss

That's ridiculous. I'm pretty sure it's never grammatically correct to say, 'use to' in this sense.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alfalfa2
alfalfa2
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DId you use to think otherwise, or did you always think this way? "Used to" is past tense. "Did use to" is also past tense. "Did used to" is simply incorrect.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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Lol Can't believe what I'm reading above your post, Alfalfa. Please, have a lingot on me :).

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrankFox0

Duolingo is like that; it is a problem for me, too.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ajl4j
ajl4j
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Why isn't this 'que el fuera doctor'? Isn't there uncertainty which suggests the subjunctive should be used?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Melita2

aj, pensar in the affirmative takes the indicative, in the negative it takes the subjunctive.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louisa_smith03

Why " . . era doctor" and not "era un doctor" or "era uno doctor"? it the "a" just implied?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gmalcolm77

The indefinite article is omitted before an unmodified predicate noun denoting nationality, occupation, or rank. As in: " Es general ". But with an adjective modifier it is:. ' Es un buen general".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AshleyBlackwood

Could this also be a different él?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpell
MissSpell
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That's how i understood this sentence to be: one man's previous conception of another man. However, it works for both a different man or the same man, depending on the context.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AchyuthanS

I have another question. Does this sentence mean the same if the second el (accented) is removed?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpell
MissSpell
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AchyuthanS, yes, it has the same meaning if you eliminate the second él, but then the subject of the second clause opens up to even more possibilities since era is used for yo, él, ella, usted, and pretty much all singular nouns. (Before the medication, he used to think the dog was a doctor.) I suspect, without context, if the second pronoun isn't stated, that the first and second subjects are assumed to be the same. (That's a working theory which probably relies too much on English) However, without context, all 4 of those pronouns are correct possibilities.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AchyuthanS

Thanks MissSpell. These last 5 topics in Spanish are driving me crazy! :^)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jubilada95

Why not "He thought that he used to be a doctor."?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zoeaka
Zoeaka
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That's my question too. It failed me on "He was thinking that he used to be a doctor." and it says it should be "was" instead of "used to be". Not that the clues are always trustworthy, but it also gives "used to be" as the first suggestion for "era". Does anyone know if this is for a reason, or if it's just an alternative they haven't gotten around to accepting?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rjhatch

I submitted the same translation as Zoeaka, and it was also marked wrong even though, to my knowledge, it's just as "correct".

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neogerot
neogerot
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What is the context of this sentence.. He used to think himself as doctor or he used to think someone other than himself as doctor ?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sjoerd244

Perhaps the gentleman in question is suffering from dementia. He used to think he was a doctor. Now he thinks he used to be a lawyer and tomorrow he will think he used to be an astronaut.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Fluent2B

Hoy él cree que es Blackbeard el pirata.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JGarrick62

For once one of these non-sensical Duo sentences worked for me. A few years ago I did a community theatre comic farce where the patients took over the asylum. I played the real doctor while a patient who thought he was me was running around causing mayhem.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/axl.c

I guess it is more like he used to think someone else was a doctor, maybe because otherwise the pronoun 'él' would not be used twice. But it is only an assumption...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Scottie92

what about subjunctive? i mean, he wasn't a doctor in reality. why not using subjunctive

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gmalcolm77

I believe the subjunctive is used with 'pensar when in the negative as it then expresses uncertainty or doubt. As in " No pense que el fuera doctor".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Scottie92

Gracias, here's a lingot

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BoredWithDuoNow

I heard, "Él pensaba que leer a doctor". Which doesn't make sense. I can't ever imagine hearing the correct words at full speed. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel people?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/teesalsa8
teesalsa8
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Sí. Escucha al radio en español. Los anuncios repita y repita. ¡Entienda más con cada día pasando!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeoAvk
LeoAvk
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Why not "he thought he was a physician" ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lars-ErikM

"Trust me, I'm the doctor"

For all you DrWho fans....
:-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaDhyan
MaDhyan
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This controversy over the verb 'to use' seems to be distracting everyone in translating the past tense verb from Spanish to English. Saying 'used to think', in this instance, is merely the only way to distinguish between the continuous action of thought as opposed to a single, momentary thought. The verb in question here, and the action being described by it, is 'to think', not 'to use'. I translated this sentence as 'He thought he was a doctor'. Which, in English, is correct, and distinguishable as either a continuous state of mind, or a momentary thought by context. We would rarely say 'He used to think that he was a doctor', as it would probably have been expressed as in the examples 'In the past, he thought he was a doctor', or, 'When he was suffering from delusions, he thought he was a doctor'. DL did not accept my translation as a correct one, which I understand, because we have to show that we understand the difference between the two forms of past tense in Spanish and when it is appropriate to use them. So, please, can we stop arguing over whether we should say 'use' or 'used', because, in my opinion, it's irrelevant. (As far as these exercises in past tense translation are concerned.)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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why not used to be a doctor?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/keref
keref
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half of the time put the "a" article is required, half of the time it's forbidden, is there some rule? like "he has a depression" is wrong, but "he's doctor" is wrong as well?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TajhmaCarr

I typed it correctly

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aly.vidal11

*Robert used to think that Tom was a doctor!!?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaryMcC
MaryMcCPlus
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How come when I translated doctor as doctor in another question it was marked wrong. It would only accept medico

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AngelaOddi

Believe has the same meanibg as think so should be allowed

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/irene121212

Could you also say "Solia pensar que era un medicó"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sojournerbliss

Irene121212 yes the more appropriate translation of -used to- is solia pensar. Él pensaba could mean -he was thinking -he thought or -he used to think. Duo should be accepting all of those translations. In this unfortunately it is not accepting -he thought.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jizzy321154

This is enough duolingo

U r to

Dark!!!?!

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CaptainAmirica

Is he delusional

3 months ago