"They went yesterday."
Translation:Elles sont parties hier.
Just for clarification: Since in English, the past tense of "they go" is "they went" one would think that in French, "sont alles" would translate to "they went." Is this not true, or is it that the French wouldn't use "sont alles" in this particle type of phrase? In other words, if I wanted to say "they went to the restaurant" I could say "ils sont alles au restaurant" but you would not answer, "oui, ils sont alles hier." Is this correct? (sorry, I can't type the accents)
Verb "aller" whichever the tense used, needs at least a hint of "where to".
- Therefore, if the English is "they go" -> "ils y vont" ("y"meaning there)
- If the English is "they went" -> "ils y sont allés"
- if the English is "they went to the restaurant" -> "ils sont allés au restaurant"
- answer to a question (sont-ils allés au restaurant récemment ?): "oui, ils y sont allés hier".
I see what you're saying -- but Duo frequently uses sentence fragments, so it seems a little unfair to mark 'ils sont allés hier' (or 'elles sont allées hier') as necessarily incorrect. Yes, at that point you couldn't add in 'y' or the name of a location to make it a proper sentence (as they would have had to be put in before 'sont' or before 'heir', respectively), but suppose it was a question: 'où est-ce qu'ils sont allés hier?', or 'pourquoi est-ce qu'elles sont allées hier?'.
So while your point is valid, I'm not sure I see why using 'aller' doesn't still fall within the Duo parameters of correctness.
Then there's also the issue of Duo's suggested translation, which uses 'partir'. I really question whether or not it's wise to equate 'partir' with the English 'to go'. It seems to me much safer to translate 'partir' as 'to leave' -- and to understand that the slight overlap between 'partir' and 'aller' is much the same as the slight overlap between 'to leave' and 'to go'.
"où sont-ils allés hier ?" is correct because you have "où" (destination/place).
"pourquoi sont-elles allées hier ?" is not correct because you have no mention of a destination. The correct sentence would be: "pourquoi y sont-elles allées hier ?"
Again, verb aller being also used to state or inquire about people's health (comment vas-tu ? je vais bien, etc.), when the verb is used to mean a movement, it needs - at minimum - a hint of "where to" or even "where from" in the reflexive form:
- j'y vais, je vais là-bas, ils y vont, ils vont là-bas,
- vas-y !, allons-y !, allez-y !
- je m'en vais, ils s'en vont ("en" = from here)
Oh wow -- I actually meant to drop an 'y' in my 'elles' example sentence, although now that I look at it again I would've had to disrupt the original / bold / Duo-given part of the sentence, so maybe it's best I didn't :P
And, yes, 'aller' has a lot going on. It still seems a better fit in this case than 'partir' -- unless the English prompt-phrase were to be changed to 'they left yesterday' or something.
"ils partaient hier" misses something to make it correct because the imparfait is about a lasting action taking place at a specific moment (yesterday).
So, you could have: "ils partaient hier quand il a commencé à pleuvoir" (they were leaving yesterday when it started to rain)
In English, "they went" or "they left" means that the action is finished, with the addition of the date (yesterday)