Exactly, no less a double agent very clearly implies a human. In Spanish es is gender neutral, therefore the correct translation in English would be "he" which is the standard pronoun when the gender is unknown. (actually the un instead of una seems to imply that it is in fact a male double agent.)
I was thinking chemistry when I translated it to "it".
Agent, a : something that produces or is capable of producing an effect : an active or efficient cause b : a chemically, physically, or biologically active principle "agente químico" = "chemical agent". I'm filing a report if I see this sentence again :)
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jo00130a040 Yeah it seems logical if something has two actions and you wanted to point that out. "agente" also carries the meaning in Spanish of a "chemical agent". So it probably could be used in Spanish the way I was using it. Granted only chemists talking about chemistry would understand it that way.
Taking "Es" as "It is": I agree that it could be something like a soap or detergent molecule which has very different properties at the two ends, enabling oil and water to mix when otherwise they would not do so. However I think this to be quite a specialist translation and most would use "He is" or "She is" (depending on the indefinite article given) in this type of sentence [Es + un/una + Noun + Adjective] if the noun can be a human.
Default ¨he¨reflect the influence that latin and the romance languages, esp french, had in the formation of modern English. No meddling needed. It is only waning now because of the meddling of gender politics despite the use of ´they´ being deceptive (should be possible to indicate plurality) and ´he´(or ´she´, for all I care) being very efficient when used to represent the generic.
I haven't yet encountered it used that way. (But, that doesn't say much. I'm still new to Spanish.) However, I have seen some native speakers using x for certain words, in place of O or A. For example, "Latinx" (pronounced, Latinex.) It is a very controversial matter though (As changes in language often are, especially when concerning changes for the purpose of including minority groups.) For example, English users who felt that a gender neutral pronoun was an important endeavor have already tested over 100 alternatives. But, these did not succeed for various reasons. One of the big ones was pressure from dominant groups against changing the language, another was because many of these forms were "new" and people didn't want to adjust. Since "They" was already part of the popular nomenclature, unlike many of the others, it was easier to adopt into usage. The adjustment was less extreme. Even so, there was a lot of push back for it as well. But, it appears to be succeeding. ^_^)
Yes, referring to the agent of the change or situation you have observed being (politically) a double agent rather than the specific entity that caused it.
If , as an actor, you have an agent who promises to be only and exclusively your agent but puts you in a difficult situation by also being the agent of a rival of yours then is not the agent of the problem your double agent agent? Would this annoy you knowing that that had had impacts that that had not needed to have had, had you not had that double agent agent? (No wonder we all love English!)
US English speaker here. To be funny, clever or witty, I call my own grandchildren "it" but only in jest! If one of the little ones comes up with dirty hands, I might say to their mom, "You clean "it" up!" It's all in good fun! (Winks) But I do hear people refer to animals as "it" all the time. Gracias
Actually there's a history regarding the T-V distinction (in Spanish, tú vs. usted) in early modern English (think Shakespeare, the KJV). If I remember correctly, "ye/you" (I won't swear those are in case order Nom, Obj) was the formal and plural second person pronoun, and "thou/thee" was actually informal.
"La trama se complica." That means, according to google, "the plot thickens". If the agent takes to hiding in bushes, or among them, I would take it as a sign of serious serious problems with his bladder or else....ta dum te dum dum...my may be a double agent. Not conclusive. But it can get worse. WE thought we hit bottom, but La trama se complica. For the newest soap opera of all: Among the bushes. Very ironic name, I think.
The verb is not the issue. The issue is the indefinite article. "Un" is male, yes? If so, why is "HE is a double agent" wrong? If its not wrong then duolingo is wrong, and the correct answer could be any of "He, she or it", then it should be corrected and this discussion closed off.
I would really like a definitive answer. Is "HE is a double agent" wrong and if so why? Specifically, why is the male indefinite article used if the answer is definitely: "SHE is a double agent"?
"He is a double agent" is not wrong. If you wanted to say "She is a double agent" then you would use the indefinite article "una" instead of "un". As I said, earlier, "es" CAN be used for he/she/it, and the translation could have been improved if the pronoun "él" was at the beginning to specify gender, though it is not necessary. I am sorry if my other comment was not clear, does this help?
To develop the concept further:
"Double agent" is a spy craft term. It refers to a spies who has been "turned" to spy back on their "handlers".
For example, if Trump fled to Russia to seek refuge, and the Russians trusted him, he could become a "double agent" and in turn spy on the Russians.
As any good conspiracy theorist knows, the current Trump situation is a plot set up by the CIA to trick Russia into accepting Trump so he would, in turn, be a double agent. As part of this, Trump is working with the CIA, although pretending he believes it is incompetent. And under this theory, Trump is an extremely competent, rational person who is using the Russians..
To make this conspiracy theory even more convoluted, we could make trump into a transgender person.
Aren't conspiracy theories fun?
It's more complicated then that. A female agent can be una agente OR un agente. That is, the profession "agente" which has traditionally been assumed to be male can be filled by a woman but she is still "un agente". It is like the difference between a female actor or a female actress.
Part of your confusion seems to be with how English changes 'it is' etc in statement versus interrogative questions eg 'He is fat.' and 'Is he fat?' Spanish (and most other languages) do not do this the same way English does. If it is a question that you are translating to English then YOU need to do this in your head--eventually, when Spanish becomes 'natural' you wont bother. After all 'he is' and 'is he' refer to exactly the same thing , just with a different use. Next, 'Es' can mean (she) is, (he) is, (it) is as well as (you) are if 'you' is singular and from the formal register. The reason I have put the pronoun in brackets is this, if the sentence is "es doctora.", then 'es' obviously means 'she is'. If it says "ella es doctora?" (with no change from the statement to question: ella es doctora!) then 'es' just means 'is' as far as English allows us.
We need context to fill in 'he, she, it or you'.
Rose, Yes, I agree with you :) ... Es = Is ; It does seem like "Él o Ella" should start the sentence. OK, now let's be imaginative: There are a bunch of spies. Another one enters the scene ... and then, suddenly, comes the realization that the one who just entered causes the others to realize the truth: It is a double agent ( ! )
Just adding to KenecxjoGoldberg's comment.
In Spanish, Es = a gender neutral way of saying it/she/he is. So, "es" can be helpful if you don't know the gender of a subject or if the subject is agender (like me ^_^)
However, you can also still say "Ella es" and "Él es".
In English, "it" is a non-human object pronoun. So, often it is not used to refer to people. There are some exceptions. Babies are often referred to in English as "it". For example, a common question is "Is it a boy or a girl." Or in the case where the cause of origin is unknown at first. For example: "We are experiencing massive data leaks. What is happening?" "It is a double agent" aka "It is [caused by] a double agent."
That's why when learning another language, it is more important to understand the spirit of what is being said, rather than drawing from an exact word for word translation. One language is not simply replaced by another. They follow different rules because of their evolution and the contact they've had with other languages over time.
If you are trying to "memorize" Spanish, you will be very frustrated because there will be exceptions to many rules. But, if you become familiar with Spanish (which is different), things will start to "feel" right or wrong. As a native English speaker, I do this all of the time. I'll know something is correct even if I don't know the rule for why. Familiarity comes with time and contact with the language. So, when studying, if you can say everything out loud, listen to Spanish, read it, write it, sing it, etc. However you can engages your sense with Spanish, do so. You'll start to develop that gut feeling. :)
January 2017. The audio says "Es un doble agente" which clearly means "IT is a double agent" but the correction says "She is a double agent" Dear Duolingo, what happened to the word "Ella"? Has it been banned in spanish?
No, but, at some point you might need to know es, un, doble, and agente. :) Funny, odd, and unexpected sentences often help people retain information and also have a bit more fun which can keep them learning longer. After a certain point of learning, people can mine these silly, spooky, and absurd sentences for grammar, vocabulary, etc. Duolingo is definitely not intended to be a phrase book. :)
Sorry, gibberish. I'm working from the app on my phone and don't have the edit button (plus, I'm a crap typist on a keyboard this size [portrait, too, I can't get landscape for Duo], so pressed send unintentionally - premature etextulation, as I call it.) Anyway, looking at the huge number of comments this has generated, I reckon the sentence was set by an 'agent provocateur'.