"Yo no tengo jabón."
Translation:I do not have soap.
You can say:
"I don't have soap." (meaning any soap, soap in general)
"I don't have any soap," is also correct in English, and a common way to say it, (but I think the first translation is a more literal translation of the Spanish sentence.)
"I don't have the soap." (referring to some specific soap)
or "I don't have a bar of soap" (because "bar" is a count noun, whereas "soap" by itself is not - in other words, I can say "three bars of soap," but I can't say "three soaps")
But you really wouldn't say, "I have a soap," in English.
Hope this helps.
To make things slightly more complicated, you can actually say "three soaps" depending on the context. For example, "We offer three soaps in our shop." This would refer to three different kinds of soap, such as three different scents.
Also in Spanish, when an unknown quantity of something is described, the indefinite articles are not used. For example:
¿Hay calabaza en la sopa? - Is there a (any) squash in the soap?
Por favor, ¿tiene jabón para lavar ropa? - Please, do you have laundry soap?
While a legitimate construction, "have not" is more likely to be found in a more literary or poetic context, but nowadays for everyday written or spoken standard English, it would not really be used.
If someone is learning English, I think it might serve them better to use a more generally recognized construction, such as "I don't have soap," "I have no soap," or "I don't have any soap." That way they'll be understood, and no one will think they're speaking poor English.
Just a suggestion.
@duo comment community - re: inconsistent answers.
Hola michaelfri. Thanks for posting your answer experience. "I have NOT soap." is not even grammatical. And having duo suggest that as an answer must have been simultaneously preplexing and infuriating.
I take it that this must have happened awhile back, as the suggested and preferred answers are now both "I don't have soap."
However, this is still a sore point with me because I recently left lengthy comments defending the logic of certain translations only to have duo yank the carpet out from under me.
It's one thing losing a heart to some wacky nonsense like that. But it's another thing entirely when duo leaves you standing out in the cold, looking like a fool.
Here's my two cases in point.
In the last two Household Items Skill Sets, duo caused a big uproar in the comment section with two sentences in particular:
- Yo no tengo espejo.
- Yo no tengo lavadora.
In the first case, duo's preferred and suggested answers were "I have no mirror." A few commenters argued against the majority that this was a more accurate translation than the more "natural sounding" English sentence "I don't have a mirror."
The explanation offered by commenters familiar with the nuances of Spanish suggested that this translation captured the essence of a "total lack of" mirrors which was a bit deeper than just not having "a mirror."
This argument sounded pretty compelling to me given that the root sentence did not have the indirect article "un" when it easily could have. So I bought into the idea.
Enter the exercise sentence, "Yo no tengo lavadora." This time duo does a complete flip-flop.
Duolingo's preferred answer to this was "I do not have a washing machines." Now the indefinite article was arbitrarily put back in.
Now here we are and for this exercise sentence it seems that both the preferred and suggested answers are "I don't have soap." as opposed to "I have no soup."
Here's a case where there is no indefinite article in the root sentence and no there is no need for one in the target language sentence as soap is a "no-count" noun.
It seems like a minor detail, but how is Spanish "no" actually functioning here?
In the root language sentence, is Spanish "no" an adverb negating the verb "tengo"?
Or (because Spanish doesn't rely on word order) is Spanish "no" hanging out in front of the verb "tengo", but in actually it's functioning as an adjective modifying the noun "jabón" (soap)?
I'm at the point now, where I think of languages like Japanese (Nihongo).
Japanese is a verb last language with no plural inflections and not articles. When necessary postposition particles mark the topic and subject (when necessary). Postposition particles also mark objects and indirect objects. Uttering the personal pronoun for "I" is taboo.
You can't get any different from Spanish or English grammar (except with the possible exception of German.)
Subtleties and nuances would simply be lost in translation.
(Watashi wa) sekken o motteinai.
(Yo) jabón tengo, no.
I ain't got no soap.
Given duo's inconsistencies, I have to ask my "Why bother?"
And in the end, what difference does it make? Because duo crowd sources the the target language translations, all it take is a wave of people reporting their answers as correct with no other concern besides "that's not the way people talk where I'm from."
When the magic number of reports has been reached, then these low grade translations that disregard the grammatical structure of the root language and nuances due to emphases which have no parallels in the target language all get ditched while parochial English phrases become canon.
It's very frustrating.
Proper translation simply is not the same thing as understanding correct grammar in a target language. You seem to want to understand another language's grammar via the grammatical construction of your own language, which simply is not possible.
If "I have no soap", "I don't have soap", "I don't have any soap", "I do not have soap", and "I do not have any soap" are all completely interchangeable in English, it would be wrong to mark some of them as incorrect translations. The meaning is just as fully conveyed by "I don't have soap" as it is by "I have no soap". You cannot discern proper word order in one language from proper word order in another, or else you would be translating "Yo no tengo jabón." as "I no have soap," or "I not have soap" which would be ridiculous. The main thing is simply to understand that the construction for negating a verb in Spanish is no+verb, and the construction for negating a verb in English is to do+not+verb, or in the case of a target noun with no article, it can be verb+no. In English, there is no hierarchy of value or difference in meaning between "do not have" and "have no", only that "have no" cannot be used with a definite article. Therefor, both constructions for the translation are equally correct. They may chose to suggest these different English constructions with different sentences in order to demonstrate that these different constructions are equivalent and accepted in English for the same construction in Spanish.
(LittleWing) Boy, I can't believe I read the whole comment. But like a bad movie, when I think it has to improve, but doesn't, and I'm too tired to change the channel. :(
Seriously, it's awesome you take this so seriously.
(...and apparently hold a grudge too,..Lol).
There's no reference to "any", however, for Americans it just sounds more natural to say "I don't have any soap" instead of "I have no soap" and they both mean exactly the same thing.
When used along with the negative, “any” means “none”:
“No, I don't have any money.” (I have no money.)
“No, there aren't any apples in the fridge.” (There are no apples in the fridge.)
Why it can't be "I do not have a soap".? Because in last lesson, there was a ques, "Yo no tengo secadora". I answered "I do not have a dryer" and it was termed as correct. (Read the top comment in that question, it is explained well) But here, adding "a" is termed as incorrect. Can anyone tell me why.?
I'm at the very beginning stages of learning Spanish, and sometimes I am able to use word association or context clues to help memorize words. So, would someone share how to get the word "soap" out of jabón for memorization purposes? For example, "paraguas" is umbrella, and that makes complete sense to me, i.e. root word "agua" or water, and "para" or "for", so one uses an umbrella "for water," or at least to cover oneself from water. Thanks!