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  5. "Ellos están por partir."

"Ellos están por partir."

Translation:They are about to depart.

December 22, 2012



Duolingo should have en explanation showing for this very case of using "por".


If you hover over "estan por", duolingo will tell you that its a phrase for " are about to"


I also like your point


It does also say that por can be used for about or on under the first translation


RAE Dictionay: http://dle.rae.es/?id=GnJiqdL

  1. intr. No haberse ejecutado aún, o haberse dejado de ejecutar algo. Estar POR escribir, POR sazonar.
  2. intr. Dicho de una persona: Hallarse casi determinada a hacer algo. Estoy POR irme a pasear. Estoy POR romperle la cabeza.
  3. intr. estar a favor de alguien o de algo. Estoy POR Antonio. Estoy POR el color blanco.


Why? That just makes more writing. And te sentance is just the same. :0 WHAT A NOVEL THOUGHT!!!


Maybe DL can add this link as a tip or note: http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/por


I don't see this form on that page. Literally translated, the Spanish sentence means "they are for departing". I don't see "about to" anywhere on that site. I'd like to know if there are other examples of using the word "por" in the same way as here.


This spanishdict page for "estar" http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/estar says that "estar por" means "on the verge of", which seems close to the DL translation of "about to".

(I got dinged for "on the verge of leaving", though. Rats.)


Wow! I have an ancient CD software version of Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English dictionary that I installed on my desktop computer. I looked up "estar" and it said that "estar por" means "to be about to"!!!


Interestingly, I was thinking of the 'to cut' meaning of partir and completely forgot about 'to depart'.

I then realised that the English slang, 'split', fits very well with partir, in both senses!


I would hate to look it up in a dictionary and find: Ellos = They - estan = are - por = on - partir = crack


elis, that was the way it was with, also. Partur, cut. Plain as day. Duh.

They are for cutting. Didn't think about, They are cutting out of here.


I agree that on the verge of leaving should have been accepted.


Thanks for posting this, Barbara!


That was helpful thankyou :D


This is the most extensive discussion I have ever seen of "por" versus "para": http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/porpara.htm


The closest example I can find is this meaning of "por" from: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/porpara.htm :
Rule: "estar por" means to be in the mood, or inclined to do something Model: Estoy por tomar café. (I'm in the mood for drinking coffee.)

I think "about to leave" could be construed as being in the mood, or inclined to do something. As well, Google Translate does give "about" as one of the many translation for por, and vice versa, This is the leading reason that "por" is my least favorite word in the whole Spanish language. Hope this helps.


Fixing to, in the southern U.S.


Sounds logical: you could even do a literal translation: "I'm being (as in: existing) for leaving" ... that kinda feels like "I'm going to leave". It may not work for everybody, but I like literal translations because they give a feeling of why language works the way it does and they also make it easier to remember. (hope anybody at all is following me :P)


I'm with you on that last bit. Not to say in English we don't have our own... set, up...


cdntinpusher, My first literal reading was they are for to divide, which made no sense, so I thought of split, like the person above (because of the Eng. word, "Partition"). So, what the heck, I hovered over the por & it said "estar por" was "about to." Still, unless we're talking about two cells under a microscope, I didn't like the sentence with split. I wondered briefly if Duo meant "They are about to divorce!" HA! I never once thought of "leave," which I only remembered as "dejar."Oh, well, hope I remember next time. ... :-/


In Texan you would say "fixin' to". I can't find a Spanish translation for fixin'. :)


I totally understand. I cannot find a translation for "cricks" either....(what "creeks" become in some little towns in Illinois)!


You probably want to use "el arroyo" or "el riachuelo."


I can't beleive this also means they are on crack, this made me hold my tail down for a second.


Same in North Carolina.


RuudHier, it is on that site. Entry 11.b.: "about to Mi papá está por llegar. -> My dad's about to arrive."


Many words that we have not seen in the lesson plan are being thrown into these Verb Infinite lessons. The only way I've been able to learn about the little surprises to do exactly what I'm doing now - GO TO THE DISCUSSION SECTION


That's why we have this invaluable Discussion Page, and equally invaluable people who help others. It's up to us learners to find more ways and/or use other resources to help ourselves in our learning.


What is a verb Infinite? Could you possibly mean Infinitive?

  1. (to depart) a. to leave Partimos hacia Roma a las 7 pm.We leave for Rome at 7 pm.


"for" is not a one-to-one translation for "por". Por often means different things in different scenarios.

"Salgo por la puerta." -> "I leave through the door." "Ella pregunta por el menú." -> "She asks for the menu."

There are even cases where the English translation uses "for" while the Spanish doesn't.

"It has not rained for two weeks." -> "No llovió hace dos semanas."


Estan por=are about to


Even in Italian the English "to be about" is "stare per"


The dictionary is quite helpful! Thanks!


Thanks for this site! I've mostly been using 'word reference'.


Where have you been during all these lessons????? The only way one can get the info you suggest is to go to the website you suggest. As I said before and as another student advised me, "The discussions are where all the 'extra' information can be found coming from DL'ers like cdntinpusher and the ling he/she provides.
It is beyond the scope of Duolingo's programming to add links. Possibly is they started doing that they would also ask for dinero.


Good luck with that.


I really wish that there were lessons specifically for idioms.


I agree. There is no way to see the word "about" in this sentence, until after you've got it wrong once.


But then u remember it for ever....


I believe this is more a preposition issue than idiom. In English, we use several different prepositions and prepositional phrases to indicate relationships in time or space, but Spanish appears a little better once you get used to it. They just use "por." Por has other nifty uses, too. Check out this helpful article :)



Then Duolingo would benefit us all by having more extensive lessons on prepositions, particularly on helping to differentiate between para y por


Super helpful. Thank you!!


There actually is. Visit the Lingot store.


This must be something to buy when you have reached a certain level. I certainly would buy it, but it's not available.


In the lingot store, scroll all the way to the bottom, if you don't have it contact support. I know the Christmas one was available for the Christmas season and if you did not buy it then, than you must wait until the holidays again. There was also one for Valentines day. Those who bought them still have them on their tree to practice as they want. Maybe the idioms was also for just a while to see if people would be interested. Again, those who bought them still have them. I have not seen a set of lessons for para y por.


How about you go to the online lingot store and buy the "idioms" skill.


Whattttt...I didnt know you could do that!


Totally unexplained construction.... very annoying and frustrating.


the downside to immersive-approach education :/


I wish they would stay.


Rule: when followed by an infinitive, to express an action that remains to be completed, use por + infinitive Model: La cena está por cocinar. (Dinner has yet to be cooked.) This information is from http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/porpara.htm


Could this also mean "the dinner is about to be cooked"?


I'm pretty sure that about to be cooked would be closer to the meaning.


Estar para + infinitive = to be about to do something. Estar por + infinitive = to be in favor of doing something.


wow, what a sentence. i was shuffling the words, but i would never ever have come up with that translation... Where is the time reference here?


It's an idiom. "estar por" means "on the verge of". I see from my earlier comment that DL didn't like "on the verge of" - I wonder whether it does now.

  • 1758

Yes it does, and "just about to" should work here, but it doesn't. The computer doesn't like the "just".


my understanding of por is something is in process which should rule out using just with another specific marker for it. This use appears to be in reference to approximate time. I forgot how complex por and estar are before hitting this sentence.


Ok! So, it's for me! ROSI


Ok! Hello CEFE! Rosy


You wouldn't be expected to, because it is an idiomatic phrase - you can't decipher it without either being told the meaning, or seeing it in context, neither of which duolingo provides.


Many users seem very upset about the use of "por" in this sentence. After years of studying Spanish on and off, I have concluded that use of prepositions is somewhat arbitrary. You either have to have enough experience with the language to have a feel for the meaning of the word in context, or you have to have memorized an almost endless list meanings for prepositions in different contexts.

Immersion seems to be the most logical and efficient way of learning to use prepositions effectively along with input from more experienced and/or native speakers in these discussion sections.

The conclusion from Spanish speakers below seems to be that "estar por" means "to be about to" or "to be thinking about doing or considering", although there are variations in different dialects (Que difícil es hablar el español!).


About to depart is "a punto de salir" Your sentence is translated "They are to leave"


No. "estar por" and "estar para" can mean the exact same thing as "a punto de". And in the question of salir/partir, they can both mean depart but it would, in many places, be more common to use partir.



is this link still valid? I could not load it. The link is gone.


"estar por" can also mean "in favor of", but in that case it's followed by a noun.


I thought "depart" and "leave" are synonyms? Also one definition of "por" seems to be "about" but "a punto de salir" is an overwhelming 404 times more common in google searches than "por partir" so at the very least "por partir" is not common usage.


I get so confused with how to use/translate por, para, de, en, etc. I wish I knew the secrets, or how to find them.


They are for cutting

So wrong


In my book "501 Spanish Verbs, they use "para" instead of "por" to mean about to.


It looks like Argentina uses "estar para", but the examples did not include "salir" or "partir". They had "estar para morir" for instance.


Perhaps just like with English, what is considered "proper" is not what is always used and there are differences in English speaking countries. Thanks for the reference.


"por" appears to have a million meanings and uses,and i am struggling to master them.


So estar por can be translated to to be about to


tricky one but about to leave was the only way that made sense to me, not that that's a guarantee of it being right on here;)


Should not "They are to leave." be accepted?


I don't think so.

"They are to leave" means "They are required to leave", but "estar por" just means "are about to", or "are in the mood to" without any sense of obligation.


Thanks Barbara, your explanation makes perfectly sense. Being Norwegian, I´m neither a native English nor native Spanish speaker, so I find input from native speakers regarding meanings and nuances of words and expressions extremely useful.


not quite true, 'they are to (leave)' is also a formal way of expressing what is about to happen, you might use that with a detirmener for context i.e. 'they are to leave soon', but either can be correct. would be used tipically with the contraction 'they're' otherwise the phrasing might seem a little archaic


How am I supposed to know this?


This is another idiom. Duolingo did not introduce this use of "por". There goes a heart,already.


And at what point exactly did you expect DL to introduce the use of "por" this way if not in one of the exercices ? At this point everyone should have pretty much realized that DL is not much for hand-holding, there are no introductory lessons, just contextual/immersion learning. It’s like reading a book or hearing people talk : you hear or read some really weird expression and after encountering it a few times you realize it’s an idiom and you have to use it as a whole. Don’t be too focused on that heart :) The aim here is not just to complete a node but to be capable of redoing that node and not worry about not having enough heart. Cheers.


You're right Duo doesn't do a lot of hand-holding. But some things to just need some explaining. Gotta say the new heartless system makes it a lot easier to just take a chance. Still Duo has some nice one-line explanations in the German course. They'd be really nice in the Spanish course too, if only to get por and para right, and which verbs need a preposition after them, and any thumbrules for gender, and for stress & accents.


I wrote They are just leaving and cannot understand why that won't work?


Model: El tren está para salir. (The train is about to leave.) -http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/porpara.htm


The construction is: estar + por + infinitive. When used with this construction, por is used to indicate ''to be about to do something'' or ''in favor of something or someone''. For example: Estamos por terminar (We are about to finish.) Ellos están por un aumento de sueldo. (They support a pay raise.)

Partir can be translated as both to depart or to leave. To depart is considered more formal.


why not "they are leaving"?


That means something different. 'They are leaving' takes place from when they get up from their chairs until they have driven out of sight. 'They after about to depart' starts some 20 minutes earlier and ends as soon as they open the door to walk through.


In Duo, they would want you to use the present progressive tense. and "leaving" is probably a different verb than "depart"

"ellos se están yendo" would probably be what Duo wants for "they are leaving"


They are leaving. (now accepted)

[deactivated user]

    When to use partir-to cut or partir-to go or am I missin g the spelliong for this word????


    Let's ask Duolingo for a por vs para guide


    My club code is BPER39. It's lots of fun!


    I translated this: ¨They are ready to depart¨ Is it possible solution although not word by word translation?


    I know very few American English speaker who would say "they are about to depart". Most people I know would say "they are leaving", i.e. they are in the process of departing.


    I have been on my cell at the airport and said "Okay, I have to go. We're about to leave." By the way, "They are about to leave." is an accepted answer.


    Absolutely - it would be understood, but "depart" sounds stilted and overly formal to an American ear and is rarely used. The only common uses of the word that come to mind are "departures" referring to planes scheduled to leave an airport and "departure lounge," of which there is one in every American airport (ditto for trains and train stations). We don't have any "leaving lounges." ;)


    They are leaving. (now accepted)


    Can we say "They are going to depart" ?


    "Ellos van a partir" (or: salir) perhaps.


    Or even irse.


    what about.... they are ready to leave? I would say that before I'd say ....about to leave.


    "ready" has to do with being "prepared", but "about to" means "on the verge of". It is going to happen soon whether or not they are ready.


    Shouldn't this be "set off" and not depart? The English is certainly correct


    "set off" and "depart" seem synonymous to me.


    It looks like I am the only one who thought this could mean, "They are for sharing". For example if you brought a plate of cookies to work with you for your fellow workers. Is this totally off the wall?


    I think that would be "Ellos son para compartir". Being for sharing is an attribute, not a condition, so it should be "ser". The DL sentence uses "estar", so I'm guessing that "Ellos están por partir" can't mean "They are for sharing".

    I don't know for sure whether "Ellos son por partir" could mean "They are for sharing", but "son por partir" only gets 5 hits on Google and "están para compartir" gets 5 million hits.


    estar por
    1. to be for, be in favor of 2. - to be about to


    What about, "They are about to PART." as in go their own way? "Separar" may be a better choice but why wouldn`t "partir" work, too?


    More commonly, I think the translation can be put "They are about to split (up)"


    I put they ready to leave which I thought conveyed the same meaning. DL disagreed. Anyone else on my side?


    I was wrong. This question has the most comments of any question that I've seen. This phrase is makes no sense. It definitely deserves an explanation! Unless I'm the only one to miss that "about" was needed to be in the answer. A balloon like for pointing out typos would be great.


    I now understand this above sentence, but I initially translted it as "They are for cutting" I was marked wrong but id like to know how to say my translation in spanish (They are for cutting). Thanks


    I´m asking this because I´m not a native English speaker: Would "They are about to split" have approximately the same meaning? In this context I perceive "partir" as "leave, break up, split".


    When partir is used as a transitive verb, meaning it has a direct object, it means to cut, to split, to break, or to crack, as in 'El río parte la ciudad en dos' (the river splits the city in two. It is only when the verb does not have a direct object and is intransitive, does it mean to depart, to leave or to set off.

    And if it is 'partir de' then it means to start (Partiremos de la teoría más básica) We'll start with the most basic theory.



    yes, but I think Duolingo wouldn't accept that because it is too slangy in English.


    here's another good por/para reference. I like this site because there are tons of practice sentences, with explanations for right or wrong answers.



    strange - the only translations I can find (non exhaustive search) have turned up to be for .... and to be in favor of .... Nothing to indicate being about to do something.


    My brains immediate translation for this was "they are here to party"


    They are going to leave


    They are going to leave


    I put "They have to split" and I was thinking, Duolingo is really hip now. Lol. WRONG!


    DP would not accept " leave" ,only depart?


    estamos "por" partir = we are in favor of leaving; estamos "para partir" = we are about to depart.


    I said "they are leaving" why is that wrong?


    Patir is pronounced portish??? Thank you. Wanted to know if it was my speaker since I listened to it about 10 times. I guess it was.


    That's not what I hear. "Partir" is pronounced "par-TEER."


    This seems like a very clumsy translation?? Spanish Dict uses "están a punto de salir"which is much clearer.


    Why does 'They are on leave' not work here? And how would you say they are on a leave of absence?


    It doesn't work because "partir" is a verb and "leave" is a noun in the phrase "on leave". Spanishdict says that "to be on leave" is "estar de permiso" and "leave of absense" is "permiso para ausentarse". http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/leave


    so, why isn't "going to leave" acceptable?


    Why a with the accent? Estan?


    es-TÁN es una palabra "Aguda" (This word is classified as " Aguda" ) ""1.The word ends in a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or n or s and the stress falls on the last syllable" Examples: A-CÁ ,comi-TË, a-QUÍ, te-LÓN,co-li-BRÍ... 2.*( Agudas) An accent mark is normally NOT required if: "The word ends in a consonant other than n or s or y; and the stress falls on the last syllable". Examples: ma-MUT,ciu-DAD,se-ÑAL, con-VOY, vi-REY... We also have words called: Llanas (ÁR-bol) , esdrújulas (PÁ-gi-na) y sobresdrújulas (DÍ-ga-me-lo) Look on the following links to learn its rules of use of written accent marks:
    1. http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/courses/accents.htm 2. http://hispanoteca.eu/Gram%C3%A1ticas/Gram%C3%A1tica%20espa%C3%B1ola/Ortograf%C3%ADa-%20RAE%202010-Acentuaci%C3%B3n-Tilde.htm


    I don't understand the use of partir here, I thought it means share. In the translated context, I would have used salir.


    Partir can also mean start


    How would one say, "they are for cutting" if not this way?


    the dictionary gives in favor of


    Did anyone get this "hearing only" question before they got the written question with the word: "partir"? I did, and I didn't even know the word "partir" and I've never seen it written. They should change it so you always get a chance to learn the word before you have to write it blind.


    i dont like DUOLINGO


    estar plus por plus infinitive = to be in favor of ....... estar plus para plus infinitive = to be about to .........


    That might not be a rigid rule. http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/4985/estar-por-and-estar-para, http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/estar-por-para.124620/

    This site http://spanish.about.com/od/usingparticularverbs/a/uses_for_estar.htm says

    "estar para — to be about to, to be ready for, to be in the mood for — Estamos para salir. We're about to leave. No estoy para amor. I'm not in the mood for love.

    estar por — to be in favor of — Estaba por la liberación de los esclavos. He was in favor of freedom for the slaves.

    estar por — to be about to, to be on the verge of (This usage is more common in Latin America.) — Estamos por ganar. We're about to win."


    I put (they are about to part) and was marked correct?


    Why "They are to depart" is not right?


    "They are to depart" means that they are required to depart. But "Estan por partir" just means that they are going to depart very soon.


    My club code is BPER39. It's lots of fun!


    how to know that //partir// is to cut or break and //partir // is to leave


    JfGor ha dado una buena explicación. To cut or to break transitive verb Ellos están por partir ( cortar-romper) la manzana. To leave ( partir) intransitive verb. Ellos están por partir.

    1. estar por + infinitivo. En el español general significa, por un lado, ‘estar lo designado por el sujeto pendiente de recibir la acción expresada por el infinitivo’: «La gran biografía de Rodolfo Usigli aún está por escribirse» (Proceso [Méx.] 29.9.96); y, por otro, con sujeto de persona, ‘sentir la tentación, o tener la intención, de realizar la acción designada por el infinitivo’: «Casi estoy por pedirle un autógrafo» (Sierra Regreso [Esp. 1995]); «Hace meses que estoy por venir a verlos, Martín» (Bryce Vida [Perú 1981]). En algunos países de América, además, es frecuente su empleo con el sentido de ‘estar a punto de + infinitivo’: «Su hijo me está enloqueciendo, a veces estoy por perder la calma» (Darío Dama [Ven. 1989]); «En estas tierras —dije—, piensan que quien está por morir prevé lo futuro» (Borges Libro [Arg. 1975]); «Es martes y está por llover» (Clarín [Arg.] 9.10.00); con este sentido es más general el uso de estar para (→ 8). http://lema.rae.es/dpd/srv/search?id=3cIdeGO5ZD6upARqVR


    It ahould be :They are to dwoart


    I got:" They are about to part" sometimes and "depart" sometimes as the correct answer.


    They are going to depart is the same as they are about to depart. Why was I marked wrong?


    Hola Bev. Yes, the meaning of the two sentences is the same. However, as in English, the wording in Spanish would be different. "Ellos van a partir."


    What is the meaning of "ser". Forgive me but I am a slow but dedicated learner.


    "Ser" is another verb meaning "to be," but in a different way than "estar." The first link below is a good site to look up the meaning of verbs. The second link explains the difference between "ser" and "estar."



    how they come up for the translation makes me shake my head


    I put "they are for leaving" which I think is the right literal translation? But also exactly how all the Irish I know would say it. If DL accepts Americanisms like "you all" surely it's reasonable to accept a little irish-english?


    In English "they are for leaving" means that "they agree to leave." "Ellos están por partir"or Están a punto de salir"(the more sophisticated, easier-to-understand Spanishdict choice) translate to "they are about to depart (or to leave) in English. The latter is the act of leaving; the former is the choice to leave. Two completely different meanings.


    I agree that usually that is what it would mean in English. However my point ( and very much tongue-in-cheek) was that when my Irish friends say "they are for leaving" they are actually referring to impending departure.


    Ellos estan por partir


    Esta frase no tiene sentido...Ellos van a partir quizás...


    How does "there for" become "about to"?


    Where is the "there"? "Estar por" means "to be about to" or "to be on the verge of".


    how would you say 'they will be split'? thank you


    So i know "por" means "about", but can you use that in any sentence. for example, is this correct, "They are about to eat", "Ellos están por comer"? because Google translate which I know is a bad translator is giving me something else.


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