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  5. "Esto se tiene que resolver."

"Esto se tiene que resolver."

Translation:This needs to be resolved.

December 26, 2012


Sorted by top post


This has to resolve itself?

January 11, 2013


I put the same... don't understand why that's not correct.

August 7, 2013


The simple reason is that when Engish uses the passive Spanish uses a reflexive pronoun.

October 7, 2014


Why can't it be he has to resolve it

August 14, 2018


There are a couple of problems there. First of all, the subject of the Spanish sentence is esto, this. Also you have the se passive voice here. In the passive voice sentence, the object of active voice sentence becomes the subject of the passive voice sentence in an intransitive sentence. Your sentence is a classic active voice sentence and is a candidate for the active voice version of this sentence. That sentence would be (El) tiene que resolverlo or lo tiene que resolver. Strictly speaking, the passive voice version of that sentence would simply be Se tiene que resolver because It is almost always omitted. But it is common to use this or that in passive voice constructions. Spanish does have a more flexible syntax than English, and you can start a sentence with este/a/o even if it is the direct object, but that does require clitic doubling with lo. So if you wanted to emphasize that it is THIS that he has to resolve, the active voice sentence would be Esto lo tiene que resolver.

I probably answered more questions than you really had, but I like to be thorough so I can ramble a bit.

August 14, 2018


Duolingo does not generally translate reflexive pronouns. So, drop the "itself." 1) This has to be solved. 2) This has to be resolved. 3) This needs to be resolved. All of these were accepted.

September 3, 2013


That doesn't make sense given that it was in present tense.

January 16, 2014


I completely understand what you mean, but in the examples Talca supplies I think the participle (solved / resolved) doesn't indicate past tense... "has to be" / "needs to be" are both present tense, and solved/resolved are used like adjectives to describe the state of the situation, rather than the past tense of the verb "to solve"

I think this is known as "participle adjectives", but I'm not enough of a grammar buff to know for sure. A quick search found this site: http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/participle-adjectives.html

January 17, 2014


It is my understanding that "se tiene" is present tense, correcto?

January 17, 2014


Thanks for your explanation.

January 17, 2014


I put, "This has to resolve." and was marked incorrect. Can someone explain this to me?

April 24, 2017


The issue is the se. It is the Spanish se passive voice. It is more common in Spanish than the formal passive voice formed with Estar and the present participle. But in English our passive voice requires the verb to be. So the passive voice sentence would be This has to be resolved. The reflexive nature of the se passive might also suggest This has to resolve itself. I can't remember whether Duo's accepts that though

April 25, 2017


All of which have a future context?

In present tense, I would have thought this translates, both literally and naturally, "This has to resolve itself." For example, in-laws and parents staying out of a couple's current argument, or anything else where an outside agent is only likely to make the current situation worse.

If "Esto lo tiene que resolver." (or, if you prefer, Esto tiene que resolverlo.) is "This has to resolve IT." then I would think ""Esto se tiene que resolver." as "This has to resolve ITSELF." is pretty spot on?

In my very humble opinion, none of the "accepted" sentences seems correct. There's not a hint of "to be" in the original, and it is supposed to be present tense.

December 21, 2015


So, am I right in assuming that when "se" is used, it means that the verb is describing itself?

April 10, 2016


...maybe. It could also be the he/she/it direct object marker, though, in cases where the second object starts with an "l".

Another common translation of "se" verbs is the passive voice in English: "Se necesita una explicación" -> "An explanation is needed."

April 10, 2016


Your post was written three years ago. So I imagine my reply is probably more useful to the readers than to yourself at this point in time.

In present tense, I would have thought this translates, both literally and naturally, "This has to resolve itself." For example, in-laws and parents staying out of a couple's current argument, or anything else where an outside agent is only likely to make the current situation worse.

Your post was written in reply to Talca. And you were disagreeing with Talca when you made the quoted statement above. Most English sentences would fail if the word, "itself," were to be included in the English translation from a Spanish passive "se" sentence. So Talca would usually be correct if Talca were talking about a different English sentence. This time, your translation into English is okay if you don't want to drop the word, "itself." But the next passive "se" translation probably won't let you get away with it.

If "Esto lo tiene que resolver." (or, if you prefer, Esto tiene que resolverlo.) is "This has to resolve IT." then I would think ""Esto se tiene que resolver." as "This has to resolve ITSELF." is pretty spot on?

You reached your conclusion by accident because the first premise of your reasoning is a false premise. In other words, you failed to translate your first Spanish sentence into English (because you failed to recognize the clitic doubling.) Here is the correct translation of your Spanish sentence:

active voice:
Esto lo tiene que resolver.
― You have to resolve this.
― She has to resolve this.

Readers might be curious to know a better Spanish translation of the English sentence created by NEGenge: "This has to resolve itself."

This has to resolve itself (by itself).
Esto tiene que resolverse por sí solo.

compare with the Duolingo exercise:
Esto se tiene que resolver.
― This has to be resolved.

Normally the subject of the passive “se” goes after the verb. But it can also go before the verb. The preceding Duolingo Spanish sentence is an example of this principle.

October 15, 2019, 1:56 PM


This has to resolve was not accepted

September 5, 2017


The se indicates the use of the se passive voice. So instead of resolve, this says be resolved.

September 5, 2017


Thank you for your response. Although I had read the very informative notes from yourself and others in this session about passive voice, it had not clicked that DUO required passive voice to be translated into passive voice. Your timely response made me see the reason for the rejection. I appreciate it.

September 5, 2017


confusing stuff

April 14, 2017


It's really not as hard to understand as some of the off-base comments in this stream. This is just an example of Tener que using the se passive. So tener que means to have to and se Tener que means to have to be. Here is a link discussing the Spanish Impersonal and se passive


April 14, 2017


"This needs to resolve itself" was accepted 8 March 2018

March 8, 2018



This Duolingo Spanish sentence is uncommon because the translation into English can be done successfully without dropping the word, "itself," which would usually need to be dropped in the majority of English sentences. This exercise is a bad exercise because the Duolingo exercise is now giving credit for this particular answer to anybody who submits this answer ― even those who have yet to learn that the word, "itself," usually needs to be dropped.

The App doesn't explain the exercise to the students who submit this answer. The vast majority of the students who submit this answer would be better served by a message that explains to them that the word, "itself," would usually need to be dropped in the majority of English sentences.

October 15, 2019, 1:28 PM


This is an example of the reflexive form being used to create something like English's passive voice.

"Spanish is spoken here." = "Se habla Español aquí."

This is, if you're being hyper-literal, something like "Spanish speaks itself here," but it's understood to mean the same as the English passive. The reflexive gives you a way to omit the subject, and simply assert the action without saying who's performing it. Same with English passive: "Spanish is spoken here... by whoever happens to be speaking, whom I haven't bothered to name at this time."

"Esto se tiene que resolver." == "This has to be resolved... by somebody. Probably not me!" :-)

More examples here: http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/passive_se.htm

February 24, 2014


Oh wow this is so useful... I seem to have to re-learn English grammar before I can understand Spanish. Thanks for posting that link =)

January 12, 2015


'se" can be used to note someone who is unknown, understood or unimportant to the sentence - this is the case here and with "Spanish is spoken here." = "Se habla Español aquí." - i think there is no equivalent in English.

March 30, 2014


I am confused why this is a reply to my comment. Isn't it exactly what I said?

March 31, 2014


"This has to resolve itself" why wrong?

May 16, 2013


Your answer is perfectly fine, but Duolingo has programmed its system not to generally translate reflexive pronouns. So, drop the "itself" or herself or himself when you see a reflexive verb on Duolino. In the real world, that sentence is a perfectly legitimate translation.

September 3, 2013


If it is a perfectly legitimate translation, it must be accepted as an answer.

January 4, 2015


pcarrion - You were right! "This has to resolve itself" is exactly what Duo corrected me with :)

August 7, 2017


Is the "se" necessary, and if so/not, how does it change the meaning?

January 16, 2013


Yes it is. The "se" means that it's reflexive - meaning that whatever the action is, it's being done to itself. So in this sentence, "this must resolve itself" - or this has to be resolved.

April 12, 2013


Are you certain that se is not being used as an "impersonal se" here, rather than resolver being reflexive?

August 4, 2013


When I read about 'impersonal se', it said "Impersonal expressions are used when the subject of a verb is unspecified or unknown (but is human)" - in this case I don't think its a human being talked about

May 25, 2014


You must have an excellent Spanish grammar book. I never knew that. What book are you reading? Your comment is greatly appreciated. Gracias.

December 11, 2014


My book is the internet!! I often google things when I don't fully understand them (which meant while learning Spanish - A LOT!!). Here is one example which explains all the different uses of SE...http://www.indiana.edu/~call/reglas/pron_se.html - good luck!

December 19, 2014


General problems with "must" and "have to". I think these should be interchangeable.

December 26, 2012


"must" and "have to" have been accepted elsewhere as equivalent to each other. What mildly confuses me is the use of tener, which I primarily understand as indicating possession of a thing or trait, rather than being equivalent to "need" or "require".

January 26, 2013


Yes tener does indicate possession; however, the combination of "tener + que + infinitive" indicates that one "has to do" something. Just like in English.

January 28, 2013


Deber is usually used for "must", tener que + infinitive is used for "to have to"

November 30, 2013


I agree

February 10, 2013


be resolved is present passive, not past tense

March 11, 2014


Why not 'resolve itself', resolverse is the verb, No?

June 2, 2013


"This has to be settled" is accepted.

December 8, 2013


How I say it to myself when we have 'se' is "this (itself=se) has to be resolved". We all seem to be in agreement that the word 'se' is not translated therefore itself should not be either.

As for 'tiene que' DL uses deber for must. Unless you want it changed.

September 15, 2013


but in some other place it did not accept need to be in place of tener

November 4, 2013


Why does this not translate to "This has to resolve." in present tense not past?

November 19, 2013


I was going to be "This has to be resolved." but it didn't seem like a 'past tense' type of sentence (because none of the words were in past tense), so I put "This has to resolve." (even though it does seem odd). Of course it was wrong. Sometimes I can't figure out when something's supposed to be past (or future?) when the verb is in its infinitive form. Ugh ...

January 13, 2014


Cyn and others on this tense thing: The present tense is the tiene que ( = has to) is agreed. And thsi is the primary verb in the sentence. The problem you seem to be having seems to be the pesky "- ed" at the end of resolved in English translation and worrying "ooh, past tense, no past tense in the Spanish..." Those who suggest "resolve itself" are being very poor translators as this is meaningless English in general (yeah, I am sure there s a scenario where this is a sentient cretaure on Star Trek....) but at least get the sense of the timing correct. e.g. I get told "This room has to be painted" or "these dishes have to be washed" - there is no suggestion those actions have already happened; it's how we say it in the passive (as someone said this use of 'se' is used for the passive) in English esp. with the "has/have to be" or the "must be" construction. Here's another way of saying it using "need" - These dishes need washing (= need to be washed). In fact think of the classic "English is spoken here" - is "spoken" not a past tense in English sometimes? (I have spoken) yet we have no sense of past tense in THIS use of the past participle in a passive sentence. Hope that helps with tense angst!

December 16, 2014


Surely there is a place for the phrase 'the problem has resolved itself', used, for example, to speak about occasions where natural agency makes human decision making redundant. Why is it 'very poor' ss a translation ? Not all language is strictly logical surely. I can't see that it is 'meaningless',since it generates meaning in general usage. The cat looks poorly Shall we take him to the vet now or in the morning? Oh dear Felix has died. The problem has resolved itself. Ok it is not the problem itself that has done it (everyone knows this ) but it communicates. It is perhaps a metaphor?

April 27, 2015


I still dont understand the point of "se" ..PLEASE HELP

March 27, 2014


I think it's passive voice - it's not clear who is doing the resolving. The thing "esto" is being acted on by an unknown agent = passive voice.

March 27, 2014


Why not "This he has to resolve." ?

May 9, 2014


The previous sentence was "tiene que terminar", and "has to be finished" was rejected" Now, tiene que resolver" and "to resolve" is rejected in favor of "to be resolved" - so which is it with tense here?

July 21, 2014


Why do we use "se" again?

December 2, 2014


It is usually a reflexive pronoun, but in this case it is used for the Passive Voice construction (also known as "impersonal")




December 2, 2014


Will someone explain to me the use of "se"? My English speaking mind cannot wrap itself around it. For instance, is Esto tiene que resolver correct? If not, then why?

August 11, 2015


In this case, the "se" is used for the passive voice construction.

This has to be resolved - by whom? or what? The subject of the sentence is being acted upon by an unknown agent.

August 11, 2015


Why not use "neccesaria" or something pertaining to "need" instead of tiene que

March 19, 2016


At this time (January 15, 2017) Duolingo accepts "This has to resolve itself," as an accurate translation, but that seems like a significantly different sentence from Duolingo's suggested translation, "This needs to be resolved." The first translation has a more passive message (i.e. "Nothing we can do about this situation; we just have to let things play out on their own.") versus the second sentence which takes a more active standpoint (i.e. "We have to do something to fix this situation.") (Which is ironic because the first sentence is in active voice and the second sentence is in passive voice, if I'm not mistaken.)

Is there some way to more clearly distinguish these two meanings in Spanish?

January 15, 2017


Does se tiene que not translate as 'one must' or some of books I have read are wrong?

March 13, 2014


Tener que translates most directly as to have to. The se makes it a passive construction like to have to be.

April 12, 2017


I wrote "You have to resolve this" (tiene que)

November 11, 2014


This you have to resolve. Tener que + has to, no?

November 18, 2014


I think the "usted" would need to be included for this to be "you have to resolve this"

Without the usted, it is best translated as a passive voice construction. This has to be resolved.

November 18, 2014


This you must resolve? ??

January 29, 2015


(Usted) Debe resolver esto

(Tú) Debes resolver esto

January 29, 2015


"This you have to resolve." Shouldn't that be correct?

April 17, 2015


Duo does English a dissevice by expecting a passive-voice translation of reflexive phrase.

September 19, 2015


I thought this was "You, yourself, need to resolve this." Sort of, "Clean up your own mess." If this isn't that, how would you say, "You need to resolve this yourself."

November 24, 2015


Shouldn't the sentence use the infinitve form of necesitar if they wanted it to be translated as needs to be resolved. If I losely interchanged needs and has to I would most likely get the sentences wrong.

December 29, 2015


What does "se" mean?

Please...no more than 4 short sentences, and no links.

March 26, 2016


'Se' as used here is the reflexive substitute for the passive voice.

October 11, 2016


So "se tiene que" is how you would say "has to be" in Spanish? Example: "Esto se tiene que terminar" (This has to be finished)

May 19, 2016



April 12, 2017


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October 10, 2016


Why is se neaded here ?

January 4, 2017


where is the need?

January 25, 2017


Can anyone explain why the verb construction "tener que" is being used instead of "necesitar"?

January 29, 2017


I think the Spanish sentence came before the English on Duo, so the real question is why it is translated as needs to be and not has to be. There is no meaning difference here, but since both forms are possible in both languages, I agree consistent translation should be used.

April 12, 2017


Seeing this sentence after "Tú puedes morir" (You can die), hmm.

April 4, 2017


I put 'This NEEDS to be resolved' but in an earlier lesson, 'Tener que...' didnt accept 'I need to....' and said it should have been 'I have to....'

They should update it...

May 6, 2017


Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a system at Duo to ensure consistency of translation after they update accepted answers to one question. You need to continue to flag inconsistent entries.

May 6, 2017


What about "This has to be done"? It seems a correct solution to me, but it wasn't accepted.

June 19, 2017


Done is used to express that a task is complete. Resolved is used to express the solution to a dispute or discrepancy. They are similar perhaps in some circumstances but never really synonyms.

June 19, 2017


Why is it? "This needs to be resolved?" I dont see the "need" word in spanish here "has" makes more sense?

August 21, 2017


Why doesn't duo accept "This has to be resolved."?

September 6, 2017


Duo should accept that translation. Please flag it as correct next time around.

October 25, 2017


Se and a are confusing to me

October 12, 2017


I did not miss a word. This needs be resolved is quite proper English

November 28, 2017


Duo probably fluked with you. This needs to be resolved is actually the answer shown above this discussion which is where they show their "best answer" although they show any accepted answer if they "correct" you. Occasionally they will "correct" with the exact same answer you gave. This is generally a random event which is probably due to network noise during the session, although occasionally some problem will creep in, probably when they edit the code to accept a new answer where they no longer accept a correct answer. But the only way to be sure is to report it when it happens each time using the flag. But most of the time during a later session the answer will be accepted normally

November 28, 2017


How can I know when to put reflexive verb (se) ???

January 19, 2018


This actually is not a reflexive verb per se here. It is the Spanish se passive voice. Reflexives can be rather complex to understand because making a verb reflexive sometimes adds some unexpected elements to the meaning which cannot be anticipated from English. But if you recognize passive voice in English, you can learn to recognize it in Spanish quite easily.

Spanish has two ways to express passive voice. The formal passive voice is formed much like the English with the auxiliary verb Ser and the past participle of the active verb. But the se passive voice is more common in conversation and informal settings. In English, the passive voice takes the object of an active voice sentence and make it the subject of a new intransitive sentence. So taking a simpler sentence like Maria accomplishes that Maria logra eso. it becomes That is accomplished. You can add a by Maria here, but generally the passive voice is used to avoid saying who does the action of the verb In the formal Spanish passive it would be Eso es logrado. But in the se passive you are basically saying that "that" accomplishes itself. Eso se logra. So with this sentence à possible translation would be This has to resolve itself. But that is only because we sometimes say that despite the fact that "this" actually does nothing at all to resolve itself, but over time contributing factors may change which can resolve the issue. But with most English translations of passive statements you look for that "is" (or be) in the sentence. This has to be resolved.

January 19, 2018


Why is it not Esto se necessito que resolver

March 16, 2018


You have the grammar wrong. If you wanted to use necesitar here, the correct construction would be Esto se necesita resolver. You didn't correctly conjugate necesitar to match esto, and the que doesn't belong here. It is part of the expression used here by Duo tener que, to have to. Necesitar, deber, and tener que have essentially the same meaning. So another choice would be Esto se debe resolver.

March 16, 2018


It says that the correct answer is “This 1 has to be solved”, literally using the number ‘1’?

April 3, 2018


This has to be resolved. Should be accepted.

October 14, 2018


"This has to end" should be accepted.

October 26, 2018


To resolve something is often related to ending it, but the two words are hardly synonymous. There are some false friends out there, but cognates are quite often the best translation for each other

October 26, 2018


Wrong verb. To end would require terminar.

October 27, 2018


Why not "This has to be resolved"?

March 22, 2019


"This has to be decided" not accepted. Resolverse ~ To decide? Reported. But will treat resolverse as resolved going forward :-)

September 18, 2019


Your problem is that this is not revolverse really. This is the se passive voice of resolver. They can be different things. In this use, resolverse means to resolve itself or be resolved. You know that this is a passive voice sentence because "esto" is the subject of the sentence and not the object. Obviously the whole purpose of the passive voice is to not name the agent, so there are several possible active sentences for this sentence, but one would be Tenemos que resolver esto.


September 18, 2019
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