1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Portuguese
  4. >
  5. "O homem é responsável por se…

"O homem é responsável por seus atos."

Translation:The man is responsible for his acts.

June 10, 2013



Should it also accept "Man is responsible for his actions"? I'm sure that's what it means although Duolingo often insists on a more literal translation and it's a 50/50 choice whether I should translate the definite article or not!


This sentence takes the "humanity" meaning, indeed. And actions is accepted.
Ato is sinonym of ação.


I'm not a hundred percent sure, but...I know in English it's still acceptable (Although outdated in my personal opinion :P) to use "man" to represent "humanity" or people in general, but I don't think it goes the same way for Portuguese, at least not in the singular form, as I've heard "Homens são..." used in a way to mean people in general.


It is a very old quote, the English saying "Man is responsible for his actions" is attributed to the 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant. Armed with this piece of information I used Google to search for Kant along with the Portuguese sentence and my first hit (surprisingly from the Kennel Club of Brazil: http://www.kennelclub.com.br/obediencia/cao_cidada_02.htm) mentions this:

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), filósofo da razão já ponderou: "O homem é responsável pelos seus atos e tem consciência do seu dever".

As this is a very old quote what you say could still be correct in modern Portuguese.


Kant wrote, "Der Mensch ist für seine Taten verantwortlich," with the definite article, required in German as in Portuguese. In English there is no exact equivalent. "Man" means "mankind," a collective. Der Mensch can mean "Mankind" but also "The human being," which is the literal sense here. "The man" distorts the sense of the dictum. Simply "Man is responsible . . " is possible, but sounds awkward.

So the Duo translation above is not accurate, if grammatically correct. The most natural way to say it in English would be "A man is responsible for his actions."


Philosophically correct English - the person - would probably be most true to the original Kant quotation. Fortunately, for the engineer in me, we are trying to learn Portuguese (and a lot of English that I did not learn in school).

Kant might have said: No easy answer to understanding people!


In modern terms, I'd say, "A human being is/Human beings/People....are responsible.....


Good point, I think it should, but don't take my word for it.


"People" should be accepted too. Reporting....


Thank you for this post, I agree with you Davu.

[deactivated user]

    Could it be: "The man is responsible for his DEEDS" ?


    They accept "The man is responsible for his acts" and, at least to me, your version sounds like an improvement on that (I'm probably showing my age).

    [deactivated user]

      "... showing my age" No, no. It really sounds better, I've heard (or read) this phrase before.


      As Kant's original quote is: "Der Mensch ist für seine Taten verantwortlich." , deed would indeed be the best translation .


      Is 'the man is responsible for their actions' not a correct translation?


      To a native speaker this would definitely mean this man is repsonsible for someone else's actions, so it's an okay translation, but not of Kant's apothegm. We know the man is a "he." The "their" and "they" creep in when the antecedent is not gender-specific. In speech most people now would say something like "Every teacher is responsible for THEIR own syllabus." This is still offensive to my ears, and I would prefer, "Every teacher is responsible for his or her own syllabus." "If a teacher sees someone cheating, they have to report them" is colloquial English, but sounds awful. In writing we'd find some way to avoid the plural pronoun representing a singular noun. I hope.

      "The man is responsible for her acts" is also good, but only if it means the man is responsible for what the woman did. Without the Kantian context, I think both have to be accepted because they do convey meaning in a grammatically correct way.

      [I'm sorry, I first left out the word THEIR above and totally botched my meaning.]


      Although strict grammarians might wring their hands, the use of "they", "their", etc. as a gender-indeterminate pronouns actually has a long history in English, going as far back as Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Chaucer.



      I think I was in error above in allowing for a translation that makes a man responsible for someone else's actions. "Seu" has to refer to the subject of the clause. So "Men are responsible for their acts/actions" or "A man is resonsible for his acts." "The man" would mean a specific man, which I suppose is a possible intention here, but I take the sentence as a statement of a moral principle.


      I have often found that Duolingo does not accept "their". In this instance it is clear the subject is male, but I recently had a case where it was impossible to tell what gender the subject was. Acceptable answers included the words "his" or "her" but not "their"! Go figure :s


      It accepts 'The man is responsible for her acts.', but not their. I realize it's referring to the man, but the actions could be done by more than just the man. I agree, it's often hard to know which answers duolingo is going to accept :s


      Well, knowing that, their should be accepted too.


      Since DL requires the definite article here I suppose they are speaking of 'one man' and not the human race, they could have said ' that man' and no one would be confused


      It's still not good written style to use "their" when the antecedent is singular. In speech it's used almost universally and very carelessly when the antecedent is singular but could be masculine or feminine.


      I'd say that "their" is an excellent way to address the "his/her" split. I'm a supporter for advancing that usage!


      Is this sentence correct: "O homem é responsável pelos atos dele"?


      Yes, it is also right!


      If we are trying to learn a new word, why does Duolingo provide "actions" as a translation and then mark it wrong?

      Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.