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  5. "Él se cayó de rodillas."

"Él se cayó de rodillas."

Translation:He fell on his knees.

June 12, 2013



I put "He fell to his knees," and it was marked correct, but the "de" makes no sense to me here. As far as I know it has only ever meant "from" something, not "to."


You have to learn "de rodillas" as an idiomatic expression for "on one's knees" or "kneeling" - just as "de pie" means "on one's feet" or "standing."


I see what you did there . . . continuing the lesson.


One of the best reasons to check out the discussions!


But how can you learn the expression when Duolingo doesn't give you the right translation?


get a real grammar book or dictionary


Literal translation, word for word, from Spanish to English does not always work. You (IMHO) need to start thinking in Spanish for the Spanish translation, and in English for the English translation, and then it will all come together. At least it has for me.


I don`t see any translation given at the top of this page! Is this my computer or is it simply missing?

Please tell me someone, as I have been questioning the absence of all the translations and been met by a deaf ear.


The translations are very often missing for me.


For everyone. They're probably improving it.


I get the error message duolingo stopped working every so often, if it doesn't kick me to the beginning of the excercise, I can't see translations of words


"Él se cayó de rodillas."

Translation:He fell on his knees.

I don't have any missing translations.


It's missing on this one for me. But it's not a general problem for me - usually the translation is there.

Edit: I checked a few more, and now I'm not seeing the translations at all. I found this in the Troubleshooting Discussions, http://www.duolingo.com/comment/805215. Looks like a recent DL update caused the translations not to show up. (But I'm almost positive I saw a translation on a discussion page just last night ...)


Oh, I see that you are already in that discussion ... :)


Hola Sallyann: You could go to "Support" on the Home Page.


I always figured that translation was missing on some because they have not agreed on the best sentence but they accept others like the one i gave.


He fell to his knees is accepted.


And what about "he fell on the knees", is it correct?


No, English always uses a possessive pronoun (my, his, your) for body parts.


Not always. Take "He got hit on the head" for example.


Seems redundant to me, thanks Barbara.


Using the definite article for body parts sounds very weird to English-speaking ears. Without the possessive pronoun, I want to say "whose knees?" Maybe he fell and landed on his friend's knees.


In that case, you would use a possessive pronoun! :)

If the body part referred to belongs to the person referred to, you use the article. (She placed her hand on her leg = la mano, la pierna)

If there is a change of person (i.e. "she placed his hand on her leg") you would use possessives. (su mano, la pierna)


De rodillas refers back to the subject, never to other people, if you want to say "He fell on his friend's knees" it would be "Él cayó en las rodillas del amigo", or to have a better example:

  • He fell on your knees = Él te cayó en las rodillas (te + las = your).

@JuevesHueves We would not use possessives in those cases:

  • She placed her hand on her leg = Ella se puso la mano en el hombro.
  • She placed his hand on her leg = Ella le puso la mano en la pierna.

Context would tell you whose hand and whose shoulder it is, if not, we would restructure the whole sentence to be more specific without using possessive adjectives.


@alezzix needs small correction ?shoulder not leg...


Because this example is not in context there is a valid though less likely usage. He could have fallen on the knees of a tree. " A cypress knee is a distinctive structure forming above the roots of a cypresstree "


But that wouldn't be "se cayó de rodillas", it would be "se cayó en las rodillas" or "sobre las rodillas".

I was wondering whether Spanish used "rodilla" for cypress knees, and it looks like it does. A google image search for "rodillas de cípres" looks similar to the one for "cypress knees".

Ha! I tried removing the S from "rodillas", not sure why I did that. It completely changed to what looks like wooden Santa dolls. I also tried removing the S from "knees", and there are a few pictures of dolls there too, and in context of the tree pictures, it's clear that the dolls are indeed carved from cypress knees. (I've never heard of cypress knees before. Very cool.)


Also, he fell on his knees, was posted like another translation for me


Could it mean "He proposed"? :)


I'd say that "he fell to his knees" as an idiom, and then followed by "and proposed", would make the most sense grammatically in spanish


He fell onto his knees should be acceptable English as well.


I agree, it still hasnt been accepetd


Can anyone answer why "se" is in this sentence? It would be greatly appreciated. (:


It is the reflexive form of the verb, which among other things can refer to a thing done accidently, such as falling or spilling. Therefore it is used almost always with caer unless it is something that is supposed to fall, like leaves or rain. Even then I think most Spanish speakers use se out of habit.


Because whoever created the sentence didn't know it was wrong to add it. I have already sent a report.

  • 133

"He dropped to his knees" is that also a possible translation?


or "he fell to his knees?"


Yeah, I'm also curious if "to his knees" is acceptable.

Also, why "de"? Is this one of those phrases where that's just how it's said, or is there a grammatical reason?


it seems that "de rodillas" is in geneal expressing the state of being on ones knees: http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/rodilla. So I feel that saying "he fell to his knees" would be a very natural translation of this sentence into English.


To me 'fell to his knees' is kneeling, but as BarbaraMorris says kneeling is a calmer action. 'Fell on his knees' is more an act of falling and then landing on your knees, without necessarily kneeling.


He was kneeling as he was falling...

  • 1873

It's very interesting that in the slow version of the Android app, she pronounces the y in cayó differently than the ll in rodillas.

Is this an error---or a consistent practice in regions where the English j sound is used?

I have always pronounced both letters identically, but there are words like haya and halla where I was wondering if there might be a difference in pronunciation.


They both sound the same to me, but I think there are sometimes different recordings in Duolingo depending on where we hear them (in this discussion vs in a lesson, browser vs mobile).

This wikipedia page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ll, says that most Spanish speakers outside of Spain pronounce LL like Y, but it also says that some Spanish-speaking parts of the Americas pronounce it differently. It has links to pages where we can hear the sounds.

  • 1873

Yes, even in this very lesson, the fast version seems to pronounce them both the same. But in the slow version, they are noticeably different.


why not " El cayo a sus rodillas?"


Hola Amigo Gosuka: In Spanish, when referring to a body part, the article (a, an, the) is used instead of the personal possessive pronoun (his, hers,theirs). Or in this case, no article or pronoun at all. It is assumed that he fell to HIS knees, not somebody else's. Ciao.


Why "his" there is no his in the original sentence. in previous question it was correct to translate "he hit me with the elbow." if that is not "his elbow" that must not be translated as his knees


Basically it's because of the "se".

In most cases in Spanish, when you have a body part in an object position, you'll add an object clitic to define whose it is.

Ella me tocó la mejilla. She touched my cheek. (She touched me on the cheek.)

Ella se tocó la mejilla. She touched her own cheek. (She touched herself on the cheek.)


Not in this case, de rodillas always refers to the subject, the se is wrong in fact, it should be "Él cayó de rodillas".


No. "se cayó" is refexive, in this case indicates that he didn't mean to. You almost always see caer used this way unless it is rain or something that is supposed to fall. Me caí, te caíste, se cayó, nos caímos, se cayeron.


Duolingo doesn't really put much effort into explaining pronominal verbs, but that's not how it works, at least not in this case. Caer has a lot of meanings, depending on those meanings it can be pronominal or not.

First, when it refers to an object moving down due to the action of its own weight, it can be pronominal or not with no difference in meaning, your choice. For example:

  • Un globo aerostático cayó.
  • Un globo aerostático se cayó.

Second, when it means to lose balance until hitting the ground or whatever that can stop the fall, it can be pronominal or not, and again, there is no difference in meaning. For example:

  • Caíste por las escaleras.
  • Te caíste por las escaleras.

Third, when it means something falls because it separated from another object it was attached to, it can also be pronominal or not, the meaning does not change, but the structure of the sentence can. For example:

  • Las hojas caen de los árboles.
  • Las hojas se caen de los árboles.
  • A los árboles se les caen las hojas.

With that same meaning it can only be pronominal if it refers to humans or living creatures. For example:

  • Se me cayó un diente.
  • A él se le está cayendo el cabello.

Fourth, when it means to fall hitting the ground with a body part, it's only intransitive, never pronominal. For example:

  • Él cayó de espaldas.
  • Caí de cabeza.

The hint is that de + body part does not use object pronouns. I guess there might be some people who would use a pronoun there, but that would be considered a colloquialism.


I suppose it's possible the Duo course authors have it wrong, but it's also possible this is a regional dialect thing...


For the previous sentence, it would have been better to translate it as "He hit me with his elbow". In Spanish, they don't use possessives for body parts.

As LydiaSande already said in this discussion, "de rodillas" is an idiomatic expression meaning "on one's knees". Since it's about "he", the English version uses "on his knees" or "to his knees".


He fell on the knees should be acceptable


In English, that would mean he fell on some other knees, not his own. But in Spanish, they use "the" rather than "his" or "my" when talking about body parts.


LydiaSands is correct. "On to" (separate words required in British English) an "to" are both correct. On to is used where the destination is emphasized.


I have just got it into my head that in Spanish el or la is used for personal body parts (instead of his/her as in English) when this sentence uses de instead. Confused now.


It's not using "de" instead of "el"or "la", or "su". "De rodillas" is an idiom that means "kneeling", so it's not directly referring to his/her knees.


Where is the word "his" in the Spanish sentence? I'm worried when to translate freely the sense or word by word. Google translates: "he fell to his knees". Like I did. It was marked wrong. I'm not a native English speaker, so is this really the wrong preposition?


AurosHarman isn't mejilla JAW and cacheta CHEEK?

TO:All, could this sentence also belong to the flirting category?! (hehe).


He fell onto his knees should be ok


I'm glad I could check the discussion because I was confused as well


He was probably listening to "oh holy night"

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