"Ellos están por partir."
Translation:They are about to depart.
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 :)
If you want to know then go and look for it; there's plenty of information on the web nowadays (and you are welcome to share here what you find out). DL's exercises should be prompting you to do just that. It is not a complete language course by any means and doesn't promise or try to be that. If we all do a little bit extra and share it, it will help us all - and in particular yourself to learn more and faster and more effectively. Please don't leave it all to someone else.
Rogercchristie, it's kind of scary that I understood all but one word of your post about your dialect from 10 months ago - HA! The only word I didn't "get" was "scran." - like the discussion said, I like to hear regional differences, too, so could you supply the meaning of that word? "Thaink yew," from S.Carolina!
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.
Or just Google* "Spanish idioms" and I'm sure you will find lots of information and related exercises to practice using them. And if you find a particularly good one we would all appreciate your sharing a reference to it here.
* Other search engines are available.
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.
This dictionary carries this idiom. http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/espagnol-anglais/estar%20por
I hope this helps http://spanish.about.com/od/prepositions/a/prepositions.htm http://spanish.about.com/od/prepositions/a/compound_prep.htm http://spanish.about.com/od/prepositions/a/por.htm http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/espagnol-anglais/por
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!).
Only sometimes and some places - see http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1047942
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
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.
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.