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"It's a bird? It's a Plane? It's Superman!". Would you say "He is Superman!" is the same here? "É o Superman" = "It's Superman!" = "It's a woman". Maybe it sounds weird for you in English, but in Portuguese "É uma mulher" is not the same as "Ela é uma mulher".
We don't have a "neuter subject pronoun" like "it", so usually "Ela é" = "She is" / "É" = "It is".
"Who is it?" = "Quem é?". "It's easy." = "É fácil". "It's a ghost!" = "É um fantasma!". "He is a ghost." = "Ele é um fantasma.".
If this sentence were preceded by the question, pondering the identity of this "body", the question would have been, "Is this/it a woman (or a man)?. The sex would be unknown so one would not say, Is she a woman?". So the answer could be, "She is a woman." but more likely would repeat, "It" as the subject of the answer- "It is a woman." This establishes that the uncertainty in the question is in actuality a woman.
Would I say "He is Superman!"? Yes, sometimes. Answer this, please: "Wow -- that man just lifted a car! How can he do that?!?" It would be perfectly valid to say "He is Superman!"
If someone knocked at the door and my son asked "Who is it?" I might respond "It's a woman." But if I were to ask "Why is Sally so upset about this?" one politically incorrect but grammatically perfect response would be "She is a woman."
They really should both both be considered correct answers. If the subject's gender is obvious or has already been established, then it is correct to say he/she. Otherwise it is appropriate to say "it."
But be careful. A woman I knew once proudly showed me her newborn baby in a carriage. "Oh, what's its name?" I asked, since I did not know its gender. Horrified, the mother spent the ensuing minute or so SCREAMING at me that her baby was not an "it." I haven't seen her or the baby since.
Are you British? I've seen babies and pets referred to as "it" by Brits; while it seems that in the USA people will either ask the gender or assume one then wait for a correction if necessary. Anyway, it looks like it is not such a bad thing that you have missed out on the opportunity of friendship with that woman. ;)
Not British -- just clueless. Despite being born and raised in the US, I honestly didn't realize that the use of "it" in this fashion could be construed as offensive. I couldn't tell the baby's gender by looking but didn't want to risk offending the mother by having to ask ("she's obviously a girl!"). My too-hastily conceived plan was to ask the baby's name and likely deduce the gender from that. Of course, the plan backfired -- not only did the use of "it" disclose the fact that I couldn't tell the baby's gender, it also implied to the mother, presumably, that her baby was not human. oops!
But as you suggest, perhaps the result was for the best; my life expectancy is probably higher without such volatile friends. :)
High school. Es un término que usan en España (Enseñanza Secundaria Obligatoria). Gracias por los cumplidos; me parece que Ud. habla mejor que yo. Mi italiano es mejor que mi español aunque no se lo puede saber mirando las banderas de Duo. Es que no lo uso para italiano, ya lo sé bien y me aburre.
You could. There's that picture that looks like a young woman if you look at it one way and an old lady if you look at it differently. Some people say it's a (young) woman some say it's an old lady.
Maybe you could come up with different examples, e.g. if someone looked at an abstract painting and asked what it is you wouldn't say, "She's a woman", and saying, "it depicts a woman", sounds awkward. You'd probably just say that it's a woman.
Please note: With English there are exceptions. It can be a perfectly valid choice to say "It is a woman", especially if the person saying it has only just recognised her as a woman. For example, a person recognising a painting with an abstract figure to be a woman points out to another person, "It is a woman". Another example is a person being rude or careless such as a reference to an androgynous female with the appearance of a male, that upon recognising the gender exclaims "It is a woman" instead of a polite form, "She is a woman".
A woman is always she. If the Subject is ommited it's not ok to consider "it" as a choice. "It" should be considered if we really don't know the sex of the subject or if it's not a person; neither apply here, this cannot be taken so directly. And if "it" is a choice, "she" should be there as a valid choice as well, better than "it".
If Portuguese native told us it's not the way they use this sentence, if they use this sentence to say "it's a woman", how could I teach them their own language by saying, "hey guys, you're wrong, this sentence doesn't mean this.! So, I trust all the natives Portuguese guys who spoke on this page, the first meaning of this sentence, the choice of word of a Portuguese speaker would need "it's a woman".
I am a native Portuguese speaker, so let's see if I can be of some help.
It seems to me that "It is a woman" is the only correct translation. I explain.
Imagine the following situation: Joan of Arc attempts to "pass" as a man in order to get into the army; everyone in the troop is presumedly a man. Then one realizes that that particular soldier is not a man. Would that person exclaim "It is a woman!" ("É uma mulher!") or "She is a woman!" ("Ela é uma mulher!")?
Another situation: a body washes up ashore. Fishermen who are nearby run towards the corpse. When they realize that it is a woman, what would they exclaim: "It is a woman!" ("É uma mulher!") or "She is a woman!" ("Ela é uma mulher!")?
In Portuguese (at least in Brazil) we would probably never say "Ela é uma mulher" in such situations, but rather "É uma mulher".
Don't know if the same applies to English, though.
Or, as another "Deactivated user" who also claims to be a Portuguese native speaker said here before me:
"As a native Portuguese speaker, I must disagree with you, Duolingo is right. "é uma mulher", as in "it's a woman", says that something that was previously unknown is now acknowledged to be a woman. To say "ela é uma mulher", as in "she is a woman", shows that you already knew that the 'thing' was a woman, and you are just reiterating it."
I think, as the Portuguese native said, even if the pronoun is often skipped, when you told them this sentence, they understand it first as "it's a woman", (as Dieman said), so, as we are learning Portuguese, they're right, and it's the main meaning of the sentence (only English users supposed the main meaning is "she is a woman", because they used their brain, their logic, and are not used to the real Portuguese) I trust all the native who spoke on this page, even if the sentence could also mean logically "she is a woman", the interesting thing for me is to learn Portuguese, and to know how my sentences would be understood if I speak to a Portuguese, not to know what it can possibly say... (even if it's interesting, it doesn't come first.)
Another thing: in Portuguese, there is a clear difference between "é uma mulher" and "ela é uma mulher". The contexts in which you use one form or the other are different. You just can't translate "É uma mulher" as "She is a woman"; because when you say "É uma mulher", it means that you just realized that the "thing" or the "person" is a woman, and not a man or something else you could have thought that the "thing" or the "person" was. A "thing" or a "person" whose sex/gender you are not sure of can never be indicated by "she" or "he", only by "it" - since "it" does not exist in Portuguese, you just say "É uma mulher", which translates to "It is a woman".
Of course, as with any language, the statement or sentence depends upon context. For example:
A couple wanders into a nightclub, in an unfamiliar part of town. They take a seat and do some people watching while they enjoy a drink.
The woman smiles as she observes a couple in an animated discussion. The man notices and says, "E ai meu bem, porque voce esta sorrindo?" "Estou olhando pra aquele casal." "Qual casal, do homem alto com chapeu de cowboy?" (Laughing) "Sim! Mas nao e um homem. E uma mulher."
And you could translate that final statement using either he or she or it.
In Spanish we could say either "Ella es una mujer" or "Es una mujer". Both are correct, but one less cumbersome, less words. In English we could say "it's a woman" if we are trying to identify something, like maybe we see a green bush in the distance, but when we approach we are surprised because "it's a woman in a green coat!". We also can say "she is a woman" not so much to identify her sex, but also her characteristics (sexy, talkative, motherly, etc.). However, neither is Portuguese and I'm not sure I understand the explanations given. I have trouble wondering why "she is a woman" in incorrect rather than less used as is in Spanish.
The linguistic opacity of some of the experts on this page offends me. Letting Portuguese native speakers decide what is the correct English usage is as offensive as letting English native speakers decide what is correct Portuguese usage. The fact of the matter is She or It is equally correct depending on the situation, and don't all the Brazilians get their tidies in a knot saying they "Never" say "É uma mulher," about a known antecedent. They do. I've heard them. We do it in Spanish as well, and at times it simply acknowledges a fact. The absence of a spoken subject simply indicates that: the subject is not spoken. It does not mean that the particle "It" (which, as they acknowledge, does not exist in Portuguese --it does in Spanish, but would never refer to a living being) is meant or is the best or only translation. Translation is not a simple encoding process of plugging one word in for its equivalent in another language. If the authors and trainers on this site are this simplistic, perhaps i shall go to another site to recommend...
Thank you, Pablo. At last someone talking sense. If "É uma mulher" is not proper Brazilian Portuguese, why is there a Brazilian song called "Já é uma mulher"??? "É uma mulher" seems to me to cover both "It is a woman" or "she is a woman" in English (in my humble opinion as a native speaker of English). And "Ela é uma mulher" translates both "she is a woman" and "SHE is a woman" in English.