"Eu volto em um instante."
Translation:I will be right back.
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Yes, that's what I put, but I only did that because I was afraid it wouldn't accept the natural way to express this idea I'll be back in an instant/moment/second.
You are right. This is, for once, a non-literal translation from Duolingo, a more idiomatically expressive translation. Where in Portuguese, it is common to use the present tense for near-future events like «voltar» («já volto»/«volto num instante»), the English equivalent tends to use the actual future tense "I will be right back." Notice, if it were "I return in an instant," that would sound weird. That is not to say that English never uses the present tense for near-future events; that simply is not true, but it is less common in English. One example would be "The bus leaves in two minutes." The "leaving" is occurring in the future, but it is quite commonplace to use the present tense.
If we look at it logically, "The bus leaves in two minutes" is indeed the present in that in the future the bus leaves in less than two minutes or, to marry the future-past in, will have left already.
It is kind of like how a day in Portuguese is still "ser" instead of "estar" because that moment in time does not change even by a new day happening.
Yeah, it was kind of a stretch which probably only made sense to me as I understood what I meant. :D
Basically, if something happens on Sunday, July 9 it is still "ser" rather than "estar" even though days are fleeting because the day becoming Monday, July 10 does not change what happens/ed on the 9th.
Do not know if that helped any.
It was one of the imponderable language logic problems that came up in another lesson exercise here on DL but I do not think you were involved in that one. =]
I'll return in one instant. I mistook um - to mean "one" instead of "A" but actually don't they pretty much mean the same thing...? I literally make no progress in duolingo because I have to redo lessons over and over... until I memorize exactly what duolingo wants me to write
Yes, «um» can translate to both "one" and "a"/"an." I would say that, although "I will be right back" is the most common, it is certainly correct to say "I will return in an instant" and even "I will return in one instant." Sometimes, Duolingo does not have all possible answers recorded in the database, so reporting will help. This is the problem with learning languages by machines; humans are so creative that we can invent so many different ways of saying the same thing. This process, in linguistics, is called "recursion." Either way you say it, you would be understood. :D
From the Tips & Notes of the Prepositions lesson:
Indefinite articles (mainly in speech or in European Portuguese)
All the previous contractions are mandatory.
The following however are considered informal in Brazil, but well accepted in European Portuguese:
Em + um/uma/uns/umas = num/numa/nuns/numas
De + um/uma/uns/umas = dum/duma/duns/dumas
So, since Duo does accept Euro Portuguese answers, if the contracted forms above are not accepted then report. Otherwise this language version will not encourage their use, nor use them in construction of exercises (another reason it would be great if there was a Euro version of this language available, or at least several optional lesson modules).
You can use "eu vou voltar em um instante." The present tense can be used as the future tense if and only if the time is specified. "I fly to Europe tomorrow" note that i used the present tense but 'tomorrow' is neccasary to signify the future. "I will fly to Europe tomorrow" is equally correct but now i can omit 'tomorrow' to mean the future. This principle is the same in Portuguese.
You have to say both because you do not "come back an instant;" you "come back in an instant." However, at least in European Portuguese, it is much more common to contract «em» and «um» together → «num» (because «em um» right after one another is hard to say). So, it would be «Volto num instante.».
In English, the general rule goes something like "use the future tense for events that are going to occur at a time after the statement has been made".
Notwithstanding this general rule, we do not use the future tense in statements that include a time clause (e.g. When, before, after, etc.)
Read more about the future tense here.