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"The president would have written about her life before dying."

Translation:La presidenta habría escrito sobre su vida antes de morir.

5 years ago

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Jtozer9
Jtozer9
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I guess potentially the president could have been wanting to write about someone else's life prior to them dying; but it seemed like a trick question that they explicitly said "her life," leading you to believe it should be "la presidente." That would have been a better learning opportunity.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcwPlus
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Yes, but la presidenta is also accepted and is shown as the correct answer above this stream. His or her does not need a referrant in the sentence, but it will have a referrant somewhere, so in real life it shouldn't be ambiguous.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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Was the ambiguity deliberate (to make us think about it) or was it just careless? Perhaps it is a hangover from DL's original clunky attempt to make it seem like a game. Not such a great game when it leaves so many beginners befuddled.

Yes, in real life it would either be written with more care and less scare, or it would have appropriate context to indicate who is "the President" and who is "her" and which one of them died. As it is, it is unnecessarily confusing. It was the exercise that died! Too many like this dampens the enthusiasm and drives keen students elsewhere.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcwPlus
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I think that it is probably unintended. The translation listed above is the one most would expect. But actually in this case the only problem would be not accepting all translations. In the Spanish, both his and her are su, so it is only the gender of the President that can change. But I do think we know that it is the president who died in this case, whether the president was the same as she or not.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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Well sure enough, Lynette, you and I might think the implied alternative of the male president writing about the life she led after  she died sounds somewhat strange, but we both know that DL has given us weirder sentences than that!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcwPlus
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Absolutely. But actually I like some of the weird ones. My mother was a grammar nerd who loved to diagram sentences. I always thought that was silly until I learned Chomsky's method. I would love to diagram some of these sentences because ambiguous sentences can have different diagrams based on meaning. Unfortunately I find I have absolutely forgotten how to do it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dcrand
dcrand
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Why "de morir" and not "muriendo?"

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mucket
Mucket
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In English we use "-ing" to make both participles/adjectives ("she was dying.") and gerunds/nouns ("dying is sad.") In Spanish the "-endo" form is only for the participle, and the infinitive is used if it is functioning as a noun. Hopefully that makes sense.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rogercchristie
rogercchristie
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Thank you Mucket. That is an excellent explanation of a potentially confusing subject.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RSvanKeure
RSvanKeure
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Right -- "dying" here is a gerund, not a present participle.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorraine404945

My understanding was that the president was female

11 months ago