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  5. "Ellos no importan."

"Ellos no importan."

Translation:They do not matter.

July 25, 2013

128 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/surascoot

how would you tell the difference between "they do not matter" and "they do not import"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

"to import" is a transitive verb (requires a direct object), and "to matter" is an intransitive verb (no direct object).

"Ellos no importan" has no direct object, so it is the intransitive verb, "matter".

"Ellos no importan comida" (with "comida" being the direct object) would use the transitive verb: They do not import food.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/surascoot

that makes enough sense, thank you. But for the sake of knowledge, if you were discussing a company with a friend and wanted to say "they don't import" would it make sense because it's situational? I know it wouldn't be that hard to just add "no importan cosas", but I'm picky :P thanks for your help


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

Yes, that would be fine since there's a context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mortisimago

I think you would say "Ellos no importan nada". "nothing" could be the direct object.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/megan5marie

"Import" is transitive, but that does not mean that the object must literally be in the sentence. "They do not import" is a perfectly grammatical sentence in English; in that case, the object is understood. (If "they" is a mattress company, the object is probably mattresses.) It's called an "implied object", and from what I've read--though I am a beginner--implied objects are used in Spanish as well. So ceaer's answer is actually irrelevant to surascoot's original question.

The answer to surascoot's question, I think, is that it's purely based on context and that "They do not import" should be an acceptable answer here. I may be wrong, and if I am, I hope someone tells me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sherry575663

I answered 'they do not import' and it was accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mitaine56

sherry, probably because importar has 2 significations, to matter and also for those who workn in import export


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClassiDuo

I wonder why there is no "se" in the "(don't) matter" sense of "(no) importar"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EugeneTiffany

What does the English word, "import," have to do with this Spanish sentence and why is it under discusion here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

The Spanish verb "importar" means both "to matter" and "to import". So Surascoot wanted to know how she could tell which meaning was the correct one and which translation Duolingo would accept.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EugeneTiffany

There is no "correct" one. There is no context which would define it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EugeneTiffany

My question was a legitimate question and gained a good answer. Did you see that?

No question on Duolingo is a stupid question.

I recomnend you give some thought to that. So should all those that gave me a thumbs down.

I see you have a thumbs down as I write this. While warranted​, I did not give you one.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ndreon

I’m working on an old but very nice, large screen computer with multiple open tabs. It took me just about 8 seconds using http://www.spanishdict.com/translation to discover the connection between “import”, “importan” and “importar”. I recommend it, it is faster, produces a more reliable result, reduces visual clutter and avoids pushing the buttons of people with little tolerance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Neil-VA5WX

DL allowed my translation, "They are not important."

"Import" can have another meaning in English: something that is important can have import. Listen to the beginning of Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" for an example of that use of "import."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Itayau

this sentence makes me sad :*(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lisaandtim

Maybe they were talking about their lost keys, and they had another set. So they said, "Lo siento mucho, pero ellos no importan." I'm not sure if you ever refer to things as "ellos"....probably not...just thinking....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarlosIII

It is very strange to use the pronoun "ellos" for things. Normally it used only for people or animals.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DailyGrace

Does this indicate that there is no plural pronoun for "things"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarlosIII

They exist, but their use is not common. (Although it would be correct. Normally the name is used, or if we know what we mean, it is removed and you're done. E.g. Las manzanas son rojas. Ellas son rojas (odd). Son rojas, (regular). Yes, I know it, my English is very bad, i'm sorry.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FAFSA

Off topic, but your English is better then most natural speakers I know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/waffles38

Wouldnt that be "son no importan" because keys are things and you would use "ellos no important" for people?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

No - "son" is a verb, "ellos" is a pronoun. You can't say "son no importan" - it's like saying "(they) are not matter" - two conjugated verbs together.

If you want to leave off the pronoun since you're talking about objects, it would just be "no importan".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiovanniSantucci

But you could use the present participle with son, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiovanniSantucci

@ceaer - I had in mind "no son importantes," but from what I can tell, -ante isn't actually considered a "present participle" the way it is in Italian (or even in English when an -ing verb is used as an adjective, e.g. "The weeping angels"). I took Italian in college and expected Spanish to be just a little more like Italian than it actually is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

@GiovanniSantucci, that's just considered an adjective in Spanish AFAIK. "no son importantes" = "they are not important"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

Can you give me an example?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiovanniSantucci

@ceaer - So I gathered. I'm curious though: do all verbs have such adjectives in Spanish? If so, it seems to work the exact same way as in Italian except for their name. In Italian, any verb can have the -are, -ere, or -ire (equivalent to the Spanish -ar, -er, and -ir) replaced with -ante for -are or -ente for -ere and -ire, and it functions exactly like an adjective but they call it the "present participle" of the verb (as opposed to the past participle which in Spanish is just the participle--and apparently Latin has a "future participle" but I never got that far in Latin).

There are two reasons I ask this. One is that I want to know whether I can simply do that with Spanish any time I would do it with Italian (which is any time in English that I would use an -ing as an adjective, as in the running river or the weeping angel or frustrating task or the belittling remark or whatever--can be done with virtually any verb, though some are way more common than others). The other reason is that I want to know whether I can think of it the same way as I do with Italian even though we don't use the term "present participle" in Spanish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

No, I don't believe Spanish has that feature, or at least not always.

Ex: weeping = lloroso or llorando (verb llorar)

But frustrating = frustrante (verb frustrar)

I'm not sure if there's a general rule about which verbs use the -ante ending and which have different adjectival forms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ManalAbu

I believe you could also say "they do not care"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aditina

I don't think 'they do not care' would be correct, 'ellos no importan' means they aren't relevant or important for something. They do not care=A ellos no les importa, which means they don't consider something important.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrManATL

I have found that most Spanish speakers I have encountered would reply, "No me importa" in the context of they don't care. However, using a strict interpretation, they would be saying they don't matter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SandyBridge

They are using the third person singular, with the implied subject. "ES no me importa", IT does not matter to me. If they were speaking of themselves they would say "no me importo", with the implied subject "yo".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Duomail

The implied subject for "it" would be "ello". Otherwise, eso/esto for "that/this".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zinjan

I think Duolingo should accept "they do not import". I'm in international trade and this kind of sentence is very common. I think many users of Duolingo are learning a language for business so this should be considered.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/megan5marie

I agree. Both should be accepted. It could easily be "They do not import" with an implied object.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/el-montunero

Kind of stupid situation. In the last lesson we encountered the word "importar" for the first time and now in this example it suddenly represents the meaning important, while when you hover over the word with the mouse it says that it can be "matter" or "import", it even offers the conjugation of the verb. And of course, the answer "they do not import" is wrong, while both answers shoud be correct. Why didn't they write "ellos no son importante" instead then... duolingo is cool for learning but they always give examples with stupid context so you can never know what is correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rmcgwn

Ceaer really explained it well. DL is showing us that import can be distinquished by context. To do so we need to understand transitive and intransitive verbs.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/megan5marie

I believe that ceaer was incorrect. "They do not import" is perfectly grammatical in English, and--I am fairly certain--also in Spanish. Just because a verb is transitive does not mean that its object must literally be included in the sentence. It can be what is called an "implied object". For example, if we're talking about a used car lot, and I say, "They do not import," you know that the object is "cars".

For another example we can use subjects. If I say, "Go take out the trash," you know that the subject is "you", and it's grammatical sentence even though there's no subject spelled out in it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

Hey now, I didn't say "They do not import" was wrong and I even specifically said that it would be fine not to include an object in context! It's a little harsh to call my response "incorrect" and "irrelevant"...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/megan5marie

I don't think I was harsh--only factual. I meant no offense and stand by what I said.

You said:


"to import" is a transitive verb (requires a direct object), and "to matter" is an intransitive verb (no direct object).

"Ellos no importan" has no direct object, so it is the intransitive verb, "matter".


I disagree with you, because I think that "They do not import" should be an acceptable answer here, as there could be an implied object. And I believe that your answer was irrelevant, since it dealt with the subject of transitive/intransitive verbs and the "missing" object that isn't really even missing. Her question was about how to tell the difference between "import" and "matter", which I believe has only to do with context and nothing to do with transitive and intransitive verbs, at least in this sentence.

It doesn't mean we can't be pals.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

The parenthetical asides were to indicate the definition of transitive and intransitive verbs, since not everyone is familiar with the grammatical terms.

I also said that with context, you could certainly translate "Ellos no importan" as "They don't import" - which seems to be the point you're making - I believe we're actually in agreement here.

Since there is no context for this phrase, the simplest interpretation is that "importan" is being used as a standard intransitive verb, rather than a transitive verb with an implied object. And as an intransitive verb, the translation would be "They don't matter".

Having said that, since there is no context, you could also make the argument for it being a transitive verb with an implied object... so if Duolingo doesn't accept that, the best thing to do is "report a problem" and bring it to the attention of the course contributors, who maintain the database of accepted answers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/megan5marie

I realize that since your original post you've changed your mind and now say that it could be "import". This doesn't change the fact that you said, "It is the intransitive verb, 'matter'" in your first post above. It was your first post that I called incorrect and irrelevant, because rmcgwn referenced it specifically. It is your first post that I still believe to be incorrect and irrelevant. I don't think this is a personal insult.

I also think that determining the simplest translation is irrelevant. It doesn't mean that all other answers are incorrect.

Finally, thank you for telling me how to report a problem. I am aware of that short process and have used it on occasion, but I don't feel like re-taking this lesson multiple times until I happen to get this particular question just so that I can enter an "incorrect" answer and report it. If I come across it again during practice, I'll try to remember to use "import" and report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Neil-VA5WX

Duolingo isn't perfect. A Dutch-speaking friend said that while looking at the Dutch language in DL, the phrase "I open the door" actually means "I crash through the door."

Importar might be one of those slippery words with many meanings, or it might occasionally be used wrong here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sharinap

what about: <they do not count> ?it should be right


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/david.godfrey

Can "cuentan" be used here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gabspasant

what i do not understand is the difference between ''they do not mind'' and ''they do not matter''. because i wrote mind i got it wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/UikZ7

"They do not mind" means that they do not care. "They do not matter" means that they are not important.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WesleyVeiga

Can it be they don't matter also?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gulmer

Why is it not "they don't care?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hejmsdz

This sentence means that you don't care about them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mapache009

I was thinking what hejmsdz said. Although, I did learn that the reflexive verb is used for care. Por ejemplo, "no me importa" would mean "I don't care". Right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CMcV1

I think that your translation is close but not exactly

A better translation would be "not important to me" or "it is not important to me"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/michaell.kh

Why not 'ellos no som importan'? Why do they leave the 'son' out?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ceaer

"Ellos no son importan" isn't a grammatical sentence because you have two conjugated verbs together. It would be like saying "They are not matter" instead of "They do not matter". I think you were thinking of "Ellos no son importantes" = "They are not important", where "son" is the verb and "importantes" is the adjective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michela19707

Why is wrong traslating this sentence like: "they don't care "? Because you need the object?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/edaf1246

why would not "ellas" wrong? Maybe "they" are female.


[deactivated user]

    If you think it's wrong, you should report it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kenny_Stewart

    There is a problem with the answer "They are not important". In English, 'important' is an adjective but in this sentence it is derived from the verb 'importar' and used as 'importan', in the original sentence. I am struggling to work out how a verb can be translated as an adjective.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/waiyu2014

    I think there is an implied "being", So it could be They are not being important


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SebastianBlu

    Nothing really matters... to meee


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarcoLator3

    any way the wind blows...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SW4GG3R42

    i forgot the "y" i think it does nit matter


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Legalize.Me

    I have reported an error. The audio sounds as 'ellos no /importA/; without /N/. On my PC. 10 June 2017.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bobdebreet

    They do not count is correct English as far as I know


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeltemYeter

    I said "they do not mind" and it was wrong. What is the difference between "they do not matter" and "they do not mind"? As I know they are the same


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SandyBridge

    "They do not mind" implies that there is some situation which they are indifferent to.

    "Sorry, the soup for the workers is cold"

    "They do not mind" = "The coldness of the soup is not very important to them".


    "They do not matter" means that they, the people in question, are not important.

    "Sorry, the soup for the workers is cold"

    "They do not matter" = "The workers are unimportant [and thus presumably it is not interesting to know if they like cold soup]."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/catsil99

    This should also be able to be translated as "they do not mind,,". But why is this wrong?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiovanniSantucci

    I don't agree. "To mind" and "to matter (to)" are sometimes like "to like" and "to be pleasing (to)". The statement "Rachel likes Jack" is roughly equivalent to the statement "Jack is pleasing to Rachel", but it is not at all equivalent to the statement "Rachel is pleasing to Jack." Similarly, the statement "Rachel doesn't mind the snow" can be very roughly equivalent to "The snow doesn't matter to Rachel," but "The snow doesn't matter to Rachel" is never equivalent to "The snow doesn't mind Rachel."

    Even then, without the prepositional phrase "to [someone or something]", I can't think of a single example where "to matter" can ever be replaced by "to mind" (even if which object is the subject is changed).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniel513800

    Duolingo erased my progress because i tried to comment. wtf dl?!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aaron605021

    the story of my life...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/McCreee

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    YOU´RE RIGHT


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrandonBea10

    Is "They do not care" also correct? If not, how would you say that? If "No me importa" means "I don't care", shouldn't "Ellos no importan" mean they do not care? Please and thank you.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexanderF313078

    Ellos no importan should be They do not care, not They do not matter.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Redblob48

    Rude! I'm offended. >:O-( rar ill kill duo)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/C3POinTraining
    <h1>SavageDuo</h1>

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jane995471

    A bit harsh, don't you think?


    [deactivated user]

      "You can do this, they don't matter". - Duolingo 2018


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ebabbs

      "they matter not" should be accepted


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gabriel21484

      "Thry don't care"?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hans-Peter570205

      They are of no importance was not accepted


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uberslayer

      All lives matter ;)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/serenasimson122

      hahahahaha im the joker, of course I matter!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WilhelmJuan16

      You heartless computer


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iron_Man_fan

      you talk'n to yourself


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Clayton509126

      "they matter not" shouldve worked


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

      Not very idiomatic. Not standard English word order.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/notalexf

      Present Verbs 2 has so many mean sentences, it should be renamed "Insults".
      You do not count.
      They do not matter.
      You do not fit.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/missy_raja

      Is They are not important correct too


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bryanderthal

      No lives matter.

      (Tell 'em Ice)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiovanniSantucci

      Because eventually the whole universe will be in heat death at which point nothing anyone does makes any difference?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bryanderthal

      Es verdad... but I was referring to Ice-T's new song. ;P


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wordsmorph

      Why not 'Ellos no importantes'? as ellos is a plural.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WesleyVeiga

      THEY DO MATTER ;)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iron_Man_fan

      just like cats don't matter


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarcoLator3

      why is "they don't mind" wrong?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/senathesquid

      They don't matter. None of the matter, Duolingo user. All that matters is you... and your Spanish.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Espeonage24

      So first they don't give food, then they take wine, and now this?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2fast_2

      isn't it They aren't important or they don't matter


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SGeer1234

      I feel bad for the person they are saying this to.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RealMemeLord

      what i say to me freidns about my parents


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wingo87

      Care to repeat that comment?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wingo87

      i didn't mean that to you catsil99, duo just put my comment down here.


      [deactivated user]

        Shouldn't government sentences be under the politics section?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/reynamoniz

        Trump when asked about those depwndant on medicaid


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizziemerrill

        Yeah. No boys are important :) Only us girls are <3


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiovanniSantucci

        Be careful, though!! There may very well be girls in "ellos," since mixed groups use the masculine plural even if girls make a majority!!


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iron_Man_fan

        keep telling yourself that


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EpicNougat

        Is that why so many of you voluntarily choose to spend the rest of your lives with us?


        [deactivated user]

          They are merely cannon fodder and should be expended at will.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iron_Man_fan

          you know loki got beat up by the avengers so you better watch what you say


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iron_Man_fan

          and I also don't know what you just said


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KillerCasseroll

          llllllllllllllloooooooooooooolllllllll

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