"Whose pens are these?"
Translation:¿De quién son estos bolígrafos?
I selected the two right answers, But I want to make sure I understand the grammar point. "?De quienes son estos boligrafos?" would be used if you were addressing several people? "?De quien son estos boilgrafos?" if you are talking to one person? The subtlety has me a little lost...
Check this entry in the "Diccionario de la lengua Española" of the "Real Academia Española": http://lema.rae.es/drae/?val=cuyo There you can find 2 different words: cuyo=pronombre relativo and cúyo=pronombre interrogativo.(note the acute accent) I think that if we use the second form (cúyo), it would be correct, because it is an interrogative pronoun and that is what should be used in an interrogative sentence. The other form (cuyo) is a relative pronoun and can't be used to begin an interrogative sentence. Although the words are very similar, cuyo and cúyo aren't interchangeable.
Because the verb "ser" is used for possession, not "estar." Here is a popular memory device: DOCTOR D = description O = occupation C = characteristic T = time (and dates) O = origin R = relationship (including possession). Need examples? En Puerto Rico el be'isbal es popular. (description) Mi vecina es doctora (occupation) Ella es rubia. (characteristic) La fiesta es a las siete. (time) Soy de Canada. (origin) Ella es mi hermana menor. (relationship). Hope this helps you, oletange.
well, the difference is between "ser" and "estar": when you use the verb "ser" reffers about belong to or be something... example: The pens are mine ( Los lapiceros/ Bolígrafos son míos); "estar" reffers to be in a place, situation.... example: Te pens are on that table (los Lapiceros/ Bolígrafos están en esa mesa). I hope you understand me.
You did the following:
Whose -> de quién /
pens -> plumas /
are -> son /
these -> estos.
What you have to bare in mind is that the translation of "whose" is "cúyo", which is deprecated in Spanish and should be replaced by "de quién" = "of which person".. So you could translate like this: Of which person -> De quién / are -> son / these -> estas (plumas is feminine, hence estas) / pens -> plumas. / Hope this helps.
In the Merriam Webster dictionary, I found 2 definitions of PEN of interest for this exercise:
- fountain pen = PLUMA
- ballpoint pen = BOLÍGRAFO
That means that Duolingo should accept your translation as well because - without any further context- you cannot know which type of pen is meant.
Your frustration stems from the assumption that the literal equivalent of "de quién" is "whose", which it is not. Actually the translation of "de quién" is: "of which person". So you could rephrase the English sentence like this: "Of which person are these pens?" If you see it this way, the Spanish sentence structure isn't stupid at all, isn't it? By the way, the translation of "whose" in Spanish is "cúyo" ,but this is deprecated in modern Spanish. Otherwise the Spanish translation were: "Cúyos boligrafos son estos" which has the same structure as the english equivalent. Spanish isn't stupid, just different.
For your convenience, I've copied the entry of cuyo from "El Diccionario de la Lengua Española". There you can find the following:
cuyo1, ya. (Del lat. cuius, -a, -um). 1. pron. relat. U. con valor posesivo, concierta no con su antecedente, que es el nombre del poseedor, sino con el nombre de la persona o cosa poseída. En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme. Una obra cuyas fuentes son harto conocidas. 2. pron. interrog. desus. ORTOGR. Escr. con acento. ¿Cúyo es este libro? 3. m. coloq. desus. Galán o amante de una mujer.
So it has 3 meanings, of which the first 2 are of interrest for us: 1. cuyo used as a pron(ombre) relate(ivo). Hence this can't be used to start a question. 2. cuyo pron(ombre) interrog(ativo) desus(ado), followed by the remark: ORTOGR(AFIA) Escr(ito) con acento, that means it has to be written as 'cúyo' ! But the remark 'desus' warns us that it is in disuse in modern Spanish..
I hope this is what you have learned in school. ;-)