"La escalera no se va a caer."

Translation:The stepladder is not going to fall.

September 3, 2013



How does "se" function in this sentence? I thought that "se" meant "him" so I was translating the sentence as "The ladder is not going to fall on him." Is this wrong? Please help, I am so confused!

November 2, 2013


"se" makes caer reflexive.
caer = fall, caerse = fall down

November 23, 2013


Jim9 is 100% correct. The 3rd person reflexive pronoun belonging to caer moves in front of the first verb. The sentence could also be written La escalera no va a caerse. The meaning is identical. Using the "ir + a + infinitive" is a short cut to express potential and future actions.

March 25, 2014


How is fall down more reflexive than fall? I assume this is a distinction in Spanish they are trying to express in English but the English doesn't really convey it.

July 30, 2014


It's just how the language works - "reflexive verbs have oneself as a direct object" is only an approximation. More examples of reflexiveness changing the meaning can be found here (ctrl+f for "meaning changes"): http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/85

An interesting one, I think, is that "to confess" is the reflexive form of "to accuse" - i.e., to confess is to accuse oneself.

September 21, 2014


i'm with you on this one, joe. Except for the obvious ones - levantarse, ducharse, etc. - I feel like reflexive pronouns often get inserted arbitrarily and/or without adhering to any firm rules.

July 26, 2016


I too have always been confused as to the difference between "fall" and "fall down".
How else is someone supposed to fall?

However, in Spanish, the reflexive form of this verb is generally used for people or accidents.
It is also interesting to note that, the reflexive pronouns are sometimes omitted in conversation, depending on the desired emphasis.

Here are some links that support this: http://study.com/academy/lesson/caer-vs-caerse.html https://www.thoughtco.com/caer-vs-caerse-3079885

December 1, 2017


I think the 'se' refers back to the ladder itself

November 8, 2013


Yes, it does. "se," here, means, "itself." So the meaning of the entire Spanish sentence is, " The ladder, itself, is not going to fall"

Note, I did not say that is the translation. I said that is the Spaniush sentence's meaning.

It is far more important to understand the meaning of the Spanish sentences mean than coming up with good translations.

What a Spanish sentence means and what it can translate to are two entirely different things, while some times they can be exactly alike with simple sentences, such as "Tu perror es naraña."

January 4, 2016


Good point Eugene, Meaning vs Translation. I often wonder how a Spanish speaker is hearing a sentence. For example Él nos quiere dar un perro. He us wants to give a dog or He wants to give us a dog. I once asked a Spanish friend of mine how a sentence like that is thought of or formed in his mind. He said they were both right which just kind of confused me.

January 23, 2018


According to this: http://spanish.about.com/od/verbs/a/caer-vs-caerse.htm,

caer and caerse are more or less interchangeable, however the reflexive form (with se) adds emphasis, and my indicate that the fall was accidental or surprising.

February 14, 2016


I said the same thing.

September 25, 2014


Why does it have to be a step ladder? I was taught escalera meant ladder

September 7, 2013


I answered "ladder" and it was accepted

October 26, 2013


"Escalera" on its own is an ambiguous term, as it can refer to "Escalera de tijera" = Step ladder, "Escalera de mano" = Ladder, "Escalera mecánica" = escalator or also it can refer to various forms of stairway.


In real life you would have some context, in written form with no pictures it could be any of them, though most likely the first two!

January 23, 2016


they didn't accept "stairway" and corrected it to "staircase"

October 11, 2017


You can use "escalera" for any type of ladder. In this sentence it's telling you that the ladder isn't going to fall so you would normally think of a step ladder.

March 3, 2014


More likely a ladder, methinks, as falling is more of a worrying issue for a regular or extension ladder than for a stepladder.

April 22, 2015


Doesn't mean a step ladder can't fall. But as I said, "escalera" can be used for any type so it doesn't matter. I should accept "ladder" alone too.

April 23, 2015


Yep. If ladders in category A are more likely to fall than ladders in category B, this does NOT mean that ladders in category B CAN'T fall. In fact, semantically, it strongly implies the reverse.

April 23, 2015


me too

September 16, 2013


When I did the exercise, it gave a choice of words to use to make up the sentence, and the only choice was "stepladder"

April 17, 2016


Why cant we say "the stepladder is not going to fall over" doesnt that make more sense than "fall down"?

June 21, 2014


18/11/14 I wrote 'The ladder is going to fall OVER' and it is still not accepted!

November 18, 2014


Sept 23rd 2015 still the same

September 23, 2015


October 28th 2015 - nothing changed.

Also once I did upvote laureannebt's comment, I could not see the date of the first comment anymore, so I could not tell DL when this was first reported in the discussion.
I reported this sentence and this bug.

October 28, 2015


As of the 11th of December, 2015 the above is still marking the answer incorrect. I will report it as well.

December 12, 2015


Ì agree

September 2, 2014


I am not a native english speaker, but this was my naïve first guess as well. It is still not accepted 2015-12-02.

December 2, 2015


LoveForsberg, and the others talking about date format, it is not difficult to write May 5, 2016 - just sayin'! (That is a U.S. idiomatic expression that can mean, "Nobody asked for my opinion, but this is my advice, anyway! HA!) :-)

May 5, 2016


Famous last words...

December 21, 2014


You beat me to this one.

May 2, 2017


I put "the ladder is not going to fall over" - why is that not correct? I thought caer included "to fall over" as a meaning

August 13, 2015


The ladder isn't going to fall

September 3, 2013


Can someone help me explain how this sentence is translated to "The stepladder is not going to fall down.", rather than "The stepladder is not going to fall on him." or "He is not going to fall off the stepladder."?

January 8, 2014

  • 1533

I too am confused. I translated this as "The ladder is not going to fall on him" interpreting the «se» as a pronoun. Where did @angel194462 and I go wrong?

January 18, 2014


The translation is "The ladder is not going to fall down" because you are talking about the "ladder", not about someone else. Who is falling dawn is the ladder. I am going to separate the sentence literally trying to help you: "La escalera"(the ladder, that is the object here) "no se va a"(not - is going to) "caer"(fall down). "se", like Grytr said, is a pronoun, a reflexive pronoun, and it is referencing the ladder. It is reflexive because it is referencing the same object that you have said in first time, that in this case is the ladder.

January 18, 2014

  • 1533

OK. Thank you. I now understand I need to learn more English. This link explains the use of the English reflexive pronoun (RP): http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/pronouns/reflexive-pronouns (Spanish RPs are discussed here:http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/85 ). My issue is in learning when to ignore an RP, as in this case, and when an RP is an important part of the translation, as in the case here: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/179628. I will try to help myself (see my deliberate use of an RP there?) by reconstructing the translation thus: "The stepladder is not itself going to fall down". Of course, we would rarely write that in English but that translation gives me somewhere to put the RP. I can, and in most cases I will, remove such an RP before submitting the translation to her (I mean to DL) for grading.

January 19, 2014


well explained! thx :)

January 23, 2016


It another translate. The stepladder will not fall = La escalera ( de mano) no se caera' (no se va a caer)

December 9, 2014


Grytr, Yes, "se" is a pronoun, but it is a refexive pronoun refering to the action of the ladder not a person (him).

March 25, 2014


In Mexico, the people use "la escalera" when they are speaking of an elevator.

January 3, 2016


'The ladder is not going to fall over' should be accepted.

March 8, 2016


It won't accept steps? Steps and stairs, are they not the same thing?

April 11, 2016


Staircase should be la escaleras, not la escalera.

October 12, 2013


La escalera = The ladder (more often than not). Likewise Las escaleras = The stairs (or staircase)

December 26, 2013


I to have realised that I need to learn more English in order to learn Spanish.... Just can't get my head around all these pronouns, reflexive, non reflexive, direct and indirect objects etc!!

September 16, 2014


What's wrong with the word 'stairway'?

October 28, 2014


Nothing wrong at all. DL should have accepted 'stairway'.

July 9, 2017


Considering that "staircase" is an acceptable translation for "escalera," seems ot me that "stairway" should also be accepted

November 24, 2014


Famous last words.

January 12, 2018


Stairway should be accepted. Escalera has many meanings.

October 4, 2014


Duolingo accepts 'staircase' but not 'stairway'. Someone over there needs to learn a little English.

January 9, 2015


They shouldn't accept either as the Spanish use is "La escalera" = "The ladder" (or stepladder)". Las escaleras = "The stairs" (or staircase, stairway)

January 11, 2015


I got the impression from DL that escalera was ladder and escaleras was a step ladder. I figured it was because the step ladder was made of two sides. According to other's comments, this is wrong?

February 16, 2016


Revisiting this a year later, it is not as clear cut as I believed and had been told by native speakers (from particular regions). I have checked with several dictionaries, linguee.com, google image search etc to get an idea of usage.

Quote: "This is a case where you can't go directly from one word in English to one word in Spanish. In this case you can mix it up and still come out just fine." http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/180098/escaleras-vs.-escalera

The answers in various dictionaries and image search, suggest that escalera is ladder, staircase, stairway and escaleras are stairs and also sometimes ladders, stairways etc.

If you want to be clear you can add descriptive words to define exactly what type of escalera you are talking about. E.g.

  • Escalera espiral or caracol = Spiral staircase

  • Escalera de mano = Stepladder, ladder

  • Escalera de incendio = Fire escape

  • Escalera mecánica = Escalator

February 16, 2016


Thank you for the research!

September 17, 2016


Staircase and stairway mean the same thing in English.

July 9, 2017


Escaleras also mean stairs, but because I said stair because it said escalera singular I thought it would make sense... It said it was staircase.. I think I was right..

January 15, 2015


fall is a strange word in spanish.

April 15, 2016


How is it "stepladder" but not "step ladder"? In English it is the same thing

April 15, 2016


Stairway was rejected, but it gave me staircase as corect.

May 1, 2016


2016-08-05: "The ladder is not going to fall over" is still not accepted, with the correct DL answer given as "... fall down". The definitions for "caer" in the very problem itself include "fall" and "fall over", but not "fall down". I've reported this (again, given the prior comments).

August 6, 2016


".... fall over" - should be accepted. ".... fall down." is rare, it would have to fall down from something, like a table or hillside. A person can fall down a ladder....

August 27, 2016


I said "fall over," and no dice. I do not see the difference btwn fall over and fall down. Right?

September 26, 2016


As the reflexive means to fall over or fall down i think it should figure in the translation. But it doesn't. Strange.

October 2, 2016


Famous last words

February 10, 2017


Famous last words

May 12, 2017


I think I win the prize for the funniest way to get this wrong! I had a typo in "down," so mine said, "The ladder is not going to fall dawn." HA!

May 25, 2017


It was a typo

June 2, 2017


I thought "no se" was, i don't know. I typed "i don't know if the ladder is going to fall"

June 7, 2017


The steps or stepladder are not going to fall would be OK but how can stairs fall? Stairs collapse, they do not fall in English. Anyone understand what DL is trying to say here?

July 1, 2017


DL incorrectly marked this wrong: The stairway is not going to fall.

July 9, 2017


Today on Famous Last Words...

October 26, 2017


Famous last words!

November 3, 2017


Native speakers - how would you say "escalator" in Spanish?

December 8, 2017


Something wrong here!! My answer was "the stair is not going to fall" and DL came back with "stairs". Definitely something wrong!

January 8, 2018


Why is it a stepladder and not just ladder?

January 18, 2018


My translation was "the stairway is not going to fall." Apparently it wanted me to say "the staircase is not going to fall." (No mention whatsoever of "stepladder). Tell me, what is the difference between a stairway and a staircase?????

February 5, 2018


Is there a difference between a ladder and stepladder in spanish.please could a native speaker explain?gracias

October 14, 2018
Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.