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"Es un doble agente."

Translation:He is a double agent.

5 years ago

109 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/rocko2012
rocko2012
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I wrote "It is a double agent" Duolingo says the answer is "He is a double agent" Either "agent" in Spanish cannot be an "it" or maybe the sentence needs to be "Él es un doble agente" I guess "It is a double agent" could be bad English too.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/michisjourdi
michisjourdi
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Well, in English we don't use it anymore when speaking about animals so even if you are talking about a dog it would still be he/she is a double agent. Now you might say about your teddy bear, "It is a double agent." but it still doesn't make a lot of sense.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ryan.fleming

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.)

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rocko2012
rocko2012
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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 :)

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/laurel541478
laurel541478
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So would a double agent in chemistry be a reagent? Lol

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/savourtardis
savourtardis
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But would you refer to a chemical agent as being a "double agent"? (And is this an idiomatic phrase en Español?) I wouldn't question that elsewhere, but double agent generally has the implication "spy" in English.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rocko2012
rocko2012
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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.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ymeagain
Ymeagain
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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.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cordell.au

Merriam Webster's usage guide notes that "they" as third person singular is acceptable in even formal writing and is of long and continuous use. Default "he" was a project of meddling grammarians centuries ago and is waning in popularity and usage.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

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.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JGarrick62

Un doesn't imply anything regarding the gender of the person. It's the gender of the noun agente.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amble2lingo

No, JGarrick62. The noun "agente" can be masculine or feminine - el agente = the male agent, la agente = the female agent. So, un agente = a male agent and una agente = a female agent.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

It is a special case because the word agente does not change to reflect gender and a sound-conflict rule applies The usually masculine form el is used instead of la before feminine nouns that begin with a stressed a sound: el hambre-- the hand

el aguila (pequeña) = "the (small) eagle"

el agua (fresca) = "the (fresh) water"

el hacha (afilada) = "the (sharp) axe" and the same applies to un/una basically it sounds awful to say and runs together. see: http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/genderreversal.htm so they are allowing ¨un agente¨ even for she (the article is tied to the noun agente and not the pronoun). In a example like ¨professor¨ the pronoun ¨she¨ would change the noun to ¨professora¨which would then change the article to una or la.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deaconlyric

In english when it's gender nuetral you use "they". Isn't usted/es for that?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

Deaconlyric--No. ¨Usted¨ is you, ¨ustedes¨ is you all. ¨They¨ would be ellas or ellos but you do not need use pronouns so the basic third person VERBS are gender nuetral (or rather inclusive of all). eg ¨quiere¨ can be ¨he¨ or ¨she¨ or ¨you¨(formal) want....

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

Matt, Entonces, él quiere / ella quiere ......................... ellos quieren / ellas quieren ¿Verdad?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/George_Gibson_77

I'm not sure what you mean by gender-neutral, but ellos can refer to all men or a combination of men and women. Ellas can only refer to all women.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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deaconlyric,

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. ^_^)

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

deaconlyric, about English, of course ( ! ) // usted = you [formal] // It seems that the only way the sentence, as DL originally wrote it, makes sense to some of us is "in a surprised way" : "(Oh my!) ... It's a double agent!

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Ah, I thought they were asking if one person could be referred to 3rd person with "usted" or "ustedes" in place of El/Ella.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Valecia16

Ahhhhh this was a great answer. The UN was the give away it was male. Thanks

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elle760272
Elle760272
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You could also use "they"

3 weeks ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Liedchronism
Liedchronism
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But you could say "It's a double agent!" as in a spy whatever, like the commander or something just realized why all their movements are being read. In this case it's is more referring to 'the reason for this is' and not to the person themself.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/winandfx

-Who's there? -It's a double agent! Open the door, please.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

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!)

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

Matt, This is "good material" ...!

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cordell.au

Livestock are routinely "it", even when the sex is known. It's a mare, it's a ewe, it's a ram, it's a stallion. Beloved household animals are another matter.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amble2lingo

What about birth announcements? "It's a boy!" "It's a girl!"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mimi23
Mimi23
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What about if you don't like babies? "How is it? The baby, I mean?" "Look at it's eyes!" "It has such a big forehead!" ... Only if you don't actually know the gender, of course.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

The ¨human¨ is a fickle animal, it is most devious and obnoxious.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tflores3

"...in English we don't use it anymore..." is a false statement. It is still common and proper in the English language to call animals "it". If you know the gender then you can state him or her, but not necessary.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tx91791
tx91791
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I don't know what english you speak. My english uses "it" for animals.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnieHayd

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

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/realjanuary

"they" can be used as a gender neutral singular pronoun in this instance

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/M.Uijttewaal
M.Uijttewaal
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they is singular??

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/realjanuary

Generally it is plural, but in this case it can mean a single person. The only other exception of a plural pronoun being used in the singular is "the royal we." Members of royalty can refer to themselves in the first person plural, even if there is only one of them!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/savourtardis
savourtardis
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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.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shevin3

I call an animal an it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kate_Holloway

it would be fine with the right context. Say you just realized that there is information leaking from your institution but all of your security measures are intact. there's only one answer "Its a double agent!"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Marie282520

"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.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/inkymeows
inkymeows
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I agree, I can see how that can be confusing. However, when I asked a native speaker he said that 'es' means he/she/it is ('ser' form). Hope that helps!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MatConn
MatConn
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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"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/inkymeows
inkymeows
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"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?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kelly.wolf2

Perhaps duo just needs to place less emphasis on the pronoun if there is no apparent gender.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mortisimago
mortisimago
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probably a dumb question but, since doble is the adjective, why not "agente doble"?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brigid
Brigid
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There are no dumb questions! =)

Limiting adjectives, like numbers, are placed before the noun. This link provides useful general information about adjective placement as well as a couple great lists, e.g. "limiting adjectives". Enjoy!!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlmostLizbian
AlmostLizbian
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One simply does not just say this. You're not supposed to know he's a double agent!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/smiller23
smiller23
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It's telling me that I missed another correct translation which is "she is a double agent". But wouldn't that be "es UNA doble agente"?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pepe0001

'Un doble' suggests that masculinity, If 'una doble' were used then it would be 'she'.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TCdot
TCdot
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isn't the "un" for the masculine word agente regardless of who the subject is? DL accepted "it is a double agent" which was my answer. now it is showing "she is a double agent" at the top of this box. so I imagine, it, he, or she would all be acceptable without context.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pinguino.diablo

Spanish dictionary tells me agente is a masculine or feminine word, so I guess in this case the article would be changed according to gender.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ppaatt

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.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amble2lingo

This may have been true in the past, but "the times they are a'changing." Every current dictionary that I checked listed "agente" as a masculine or feminine noun, differentiated by the article, el/un or la/una.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mgum47
mgum47
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Why not "Es doble agente"? I thought un/una could be left out for professions.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/samarbarrett

Why was "they're a double agent" not accepted? It is singular and gender neutral.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wheredango

this specifies she is a double agent. what indicates female?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Stephen581800

Why isn't it agente doble?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rocko2012
rocko2012
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Limiting adjectives usually come before the nouns they modify. They are often like quantities or numbers. Descriptive adjectives are the ones that often come after the noun.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AchyuthanS

The only word confirming that the agent is male is 'un', right?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ZitaHunyad

I had to pick my translation and "he" wasnt even an option. I guess just a mistake then

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

Zita, We do not see "él" or "ella"; when I see "es", I translate (to English) --- it :) ---Keneĉjo

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nige711938

"Es un" = "is a" "Ella es un" "she is a"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

Nige, "Ella --- (es) --- una .... ---Keneĉjo Ricardo

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

¨es¨ means he is, she is or you(formal) are, Spanish does not really express an it as a pronoun, as I am given to understand as everything is gendered. Spanish just uses just the verb, eg, ¨es¨ or están. ¨lo¨cannot be used as an ¨it¨ pronoun but can function as a direct object. This is a special case ¨same stressed sound¨ rule so maybe DL are allowing ¨un agente¨ even for she, (the article is tied to the noun agente and not the pronoun).

The usually masculine form el is used instead of la before feminine nouns that begin with a stressed a sound: el hambre-- the hand

el aguila (pequeña) = "the (small) eagle"

el agua (fresca) = "the (fresh) water"

el hacha (afilada) = "the (sharp) axe" and the same applies to un/una basically it sounds awful to say and runs together. see: http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/genderreversal.htm

In a normal example like ¨professor¨ the pronoun ¨she¨ would change the noun to ¨professora¨which would then change the article to una or la.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

All right peoples, forget what I said about Spanish not having 'it' as a pronoun. Finally remembered how it goes (and checked it). There is the the pronoun 'ello' (not ellos) that basically mirrors the English 'it' quite closely. It is a dying pronoun because it is neuter and does not match the drive for Spanish to have grammatical gender. It is (comparatively) hard to use because, of course, pronouns are used to 'stand in' for nouns (of the same gender in Spanish) and all Spanish nouns have a gender--so ello cannot be used in this manner. It is only used in very figurative tenses where , usually, no noun is specified such as "its going to get worse before it gets better". However, since no actual noun is being replaced anyway the modern trend is to use just the verb---in this case the verb 'es' as it is always read to assume an it, he she or formal you anyway.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

Matt, Someone in this forum once detailed the influence of ancient Greek, as mentioned in your link: words ending in -ma, -ta, -pa were masculine in ancient Greek, so Latin "kept" them [and on to Spanish].

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SenoraTwite

Es could be used for Ud., El or ella ...why is only ella the only correct answer?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Arsha123
Arsha123
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Mission Impossible?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LanaSubaLanaBaja

"the condor flies low over the cordillera tonight"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EquanimousLingo
EquanimousLingo
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This was done simply to show the neutrality of Es.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elmo_Del_Toro

Why isn't it agente doble instead?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brigid
Brigid
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Limiting adjectives, for example numbers, are an exception--they are ordered before the noun. This link has a thorough explanation.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kgirl92

I tried scrolling through all the comments and i dont think i saw a difinitive answer. Why "El" instead of "Él"?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

el=the ['masculine'] / él=he

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shugesvee

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?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/winandfx

(Él\ella\usted) es un doble agente means He\she\it\you(formal) is a double agent

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

Technically Spanish does not have an ´it´pronoun--everything is he or she with an ´as yet unknown´option we refer to as a gender neutral.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mithra234052

Why does Duolingo use "she" when agente is masculine and has "un" before it????

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Hi, if you scroll down to number 3 On this linked website, it talks about nouns whose gender is fixed, regardless of the gender of the person it is referring to. :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

mithra, Simply referring to the message above -- of Usagiboy : Having 'googled' and downloaded / spanishdict / to my 'favorites' ... has been, I think, a helpful choice! ---Keneĉjo ... P.S. ¡Buena suerte!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rubescube

Doesn't "es" mean it is or is it . and if so this sentence says IT Is a Double Agent. Shouldn't it read El o Ella is a Double agent? Omg Dl stays confusing me on these meanings.will someone answer. I never get a response to my questions. Somebody? Anybody?

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

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 ( ! )

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MattPotter4

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'.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jgardner

The clue list for me only offered 'she' as the subject. Capitalized, I knew that's the answer they wanted but clearly wrong

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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jgardner, the clue list doesn't offer all possibilities. "She is a double agent" is correct. So is "He is a double agent", and "They are a double agent." (Singular They.)

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/linsumcd

why is "es" He is?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

linsumcd, "es" can be for : He / She / It is ...

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Azren3

it is a double agent.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

Azren, ¡Sí y verdad! ---Keneĉjo Ricardo

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheEndless1

¿Por Inglaterra, Señor James?

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gina275820
Gina275820
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007

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aaron-mendonca

I'm curious to know whether this is an acceptable way to express the desired message in spanish :) If I wanted to say this when not talking about actual agents, would it be too literal a translation?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ZaneKaldmo

What even is a double agent?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amble2lingo

In the U.S., a double agent is someone who is working for two competing entities, usually a spy who is working for two hostile countries.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JackSpring6

How the hell is "she" implied?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/micuesmo
micuesmo
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"Ella es un doble agente" NO "Es un doble agente"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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Micuesmo, if we already know "she" is the subject of the sentence, "ella" can be dropped from the sentence.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/George_Gibson_77

You cannot use un with ella. It would have to be (ella) es una doble agente.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/riley2468168

Who Ben???

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/olivercreed13

That sneaky soviet spy!

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dumbledore1237

If you know he is a double agent, then he is failing his job.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kloos366
kloos366
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palabras? WORDS?

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KenecxjoGoldberg

kloos, ¡Verdad! ... palabras = words

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/derek821493

I can honestly say, I'm never going to need to know this phrase

13 hours ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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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. :)

7 hours ago

https://www.duolingo.com/George_Gibson_77

Well said. I just gave you a Lingot.

7 hours ago