"Tú nunca bebías cerveza."
Translation:You never used to drink beer.
The imperfect can be structured in many ways in English and your example is one of them. I too put "You were never drinking beer" and was corrected with "You used to never drink beer." For me the DL correction is the worst of the possible translations because in English it implies that something has changed (ie now you do drink beer) which is not necessarily the case.
I noticed several people here say "You used to never...", whereas my natural way is a slightly different order of words: "You never used to...". And I would use this phrase when I am with someone who is doing or planning to do something I have always believed they would not do.
Again, it is an implication that is not necessarily represented by the imperfect. Our English use of "used to," structured either way, normally implies change. This is not necessarily representative of the Spanish imperfect. Things may have changed, or they may not. It doesn't matter which. The Spanish imperfect is merely telling a story of what has occurred and using "used to" to recreate this in English can be misleading because we naturally assume change.
I just don't have the problem you and several others seem to be having. While "you never used to drink beer" definitely implies "you" now drinks it, "you never drank beer" also carries the implication, less strong, that "you" is now drinking beer. Why else remark on past behavior like that, except as a counterpoint to current behavior?
It would be very clear if the word "before/antes" were in the sentence.
Why else remark on past behavior like that, except as a counterpoint to current behavior?
Because with the imperfect change does not have to have occurred. This is the point I am trying to make regarding the overuse of "used to" by DL because this translation nearly always triggers "used to but no longer" in our minds, whereas this is only one usage of the imperfect in Spanish.
I agree with you that this particular sentence is far from ideal to be promoting the above, because the topic matter leans strongly towards change, but structurally there is nothing to suggest it is the only translation. If we change the topic we can see that change is not a necessity:
Tú nunca jugabas con nosotros - You never played with us / You never were playing with us / You never used to play with us.
With this topic there is no natural assumption that things must have changed and we now play together. It is merely expressing an ongoing situation in the past, which I think should be the principal usage DL promotes for the imperfect.
Again, this was not the ideal sentence to stress my objection of "used to" for the reason you have highlighted :)
Context is sorely lacking in most of these exercises, so I just take it on faith that the instructor pretty much knows what's going on. We agree that this is not the ideal sentence to be discussing these issue - so why discuss them? Literally, when I see a discussion topic with more than say 25 comments, I usually skip it, because I know there will be a lot of chaff which I'm just not willing to winnow out.
It's very helpful to know that there are other ways of saying things, but to get into discussions about the relative merits of each in a contextual vacuum seems self-defeating. We really don't have enough context to make the determination. I just let it stop there, because I don't see any point in trying to arrive at any concrete answer(s).
Most people really don't like being in that state of intellectual limbo, I suppose, so there's a need to get some sort of definitive answer, even when there's no such answer to be had. To me that's a waste of time and mental effort, so I just move on, with certainty that the clouds will be dispelled later.
This quandary does present a question for Duo developers: Why don't the exercise have better contexts to demonstrate clear instances of usage? (But Duo is free, and terrific as is, and I don't look gift horses in the mouth.)
If I were developing a module, I'd be inclined to put grammar in clear and precise contexts, to give a solid foundation, while variations from the norm would be shown later. That's the way kids are taught to read and write, isn't it? And immersion is supposed to mimic that experience. So, why doesn't it?
"Tú nunca estuviste bebiendo cerveza" wouldn't be used, it would be "Tú nunca estabas bebiendo cerveza" with the imperfect form.
"You were never drinking beer" would be unlikely in English. It specifically means that there was never a moment in which you were drinking beer, perhaps an example would be "Every day when I came into the bar you were never drinking beer".
The Spanish preterite (bebiste) doesn't work with "never" because "never" of course refers to the entirety of a time period. "You never drank beer" and "you never used to drink beer" are effectively synonyms in English and both translate best as "Tú nunca bebias cerveza" (or the versions substituted with usted/vos).
Following DL's primary answer "You never used to drink beer," yes, it does imply a change has occurred, but only by convention in English. In Spanish the same is not necessarily true, which is why DL's use of the "used to" form in imperfect translation can be misleading. When you see "used to" employed in translating the imperfect, think of the Mitch Hedburg joke: "I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to too." That meaning is just as plausible.
The original sentence is saying that situated around a point in the past there was not a time when "you" drank habitually or were in the process of drinking. Your sentence shifts the events to the present, saying that at this present moment, "you" have never drunk beer in your life. Those two sentences are very different!
It seems you're confused by using "never" in the past tense but there's nothing wrong with that, it just means that "never" is interpreted to be as of that moment in time, not all the subsequent moments.
Sorry but no. The first meaning of "You would never drink beer" is that in a hypothetical situation you wouldn't drink - so moving away from the past to a hypothetical completely changes the meaning.
The second is the tricky future-of-the-past tense. In the past you said to your friend "You will never drink beer" and now you are recalling that moment - "I said you would never drink beer". It's still clearly referring to a different time frame than the Duo translation. I believe Spanish also uses the conditional form of the verb to express future-of-the-past.
Nope. "You had never drunk beer" is past perfect in both languages, however, the English version of the preterite "You never drank beer" can be used for the Spanish imperfect. There are many other options too, some of which DL probably still doesn't accept (and some of which other people don't accept either - my following list will probably provoke them :). It can cause confusion when the English sentence has alternate meanings, but the easiest way to think of the imperfect is that it is telling a story about the past. So:
You never drank beer. You never did drink beer. You were never drinking beer. You never were drinking beer. You would never drink beer. You never would drink beer. You used to never drink beer. You never used to drink beer.