"Ele come o quê?"

Translation:He eats what?

December 28, 2012

This discussion is locked.


I don't think that "he eats what?" is the correct question in English. We cannot translate some words directly from one language into another. We have to remember about some certian rules and in English "Ele come o quê?" "What does he eat?".

Someone from Duolinguo crew should explain us the problem :)


I agree that "What does he eat?" would be the best translation here, but I would argue that "He eats what?" is also correct in English, just less formal and less common. Example: Speaker 1: "He eats unintelligible." Speaker 2: "He eats what?" or Speaker 1: "He eats snake eyeballs." Speaker 2: "He eats what?"


I agree, Lindsey. Both answers should be accepted here.


I agree as well, Lindsey. I'd also add that the syntax is also valid in contexts like pedagogy ("A koala eats what?"), asking for a reminder "(And your father does...what, again?), and even a simple question (Okay, so your sister thinks it's a terrible idea, and your brother thinks what?) and maybe some others.

[deactivated user]

    The circumflex over quê indicates that it is the final word in the sentence. (Ele come o quê? = He eats what?) is an expression of surprise about what is being eaten. It isn't often that literal translations work, but it does in this case.


    Dear EVERYBODY . . . It seems to me that the form in Portuguese is: "He's eating THE what?" (FOR SOMETHING HAPPENING NOW IN ENGLISH THERE IS NO OTHER CHOICE IN THIS QUESTION BUT THE Present CONTINUOUS; so, When you say "What does he eat," it implies that the sentence is incomplete and the speaker has already heard the missing part or sees it implied . . . Ex: "what does he eat for breakfast?" (stating a habit.) Unless I'm missing something (weigh in dear Polyglots), "Ele come o quê? can refer to the immediate present ("What is he eating?") or to his customary preference ("What does he usually eat?"). The only thing missing here is context! . . . By the way, for present continuous, something happening right now, in English it is perfectly normal to say: "What's he eating?" . . . but not, "What does he eat?" ("What does he eat?" is categorically WRONG anyway, since the sentence is contextually incomplete." However, the writers of this learning tool are only trying to feed us simple structures and improve our vocabulary; therefore, our benefactors are often coming at us from grammatical and syntactical limbo. I feel it shouldn't be given too much importance.


    What does he eat and what is he eating are both perfectly acceptable and complete sentences. There meanings are somewhat different. English is a somewhat unique language in that an auxiliary verb is required to ask questions or to negate a sentence except in the case of the verb to be and in some possible constructions with to have, although that is not very common. This is less noticeable since as you mentioned English uses the present progressive where other languages use the present. For verbs that are not generally in the progressive like to think, to want, to feel, etc., as well as routine and general statements which do use the present instead of the present progressive, that auxiliary is to do. While saying I do eat is being a little emphatic, the do is necessary for questions and negatives. Do I eat? I do not eat. So what does he eat is asking about customary behavior. For example I might say John does not eat Italian food. Then someone might well ask What does he eat. What is he eating asks about current action. What does he eat asks about custom or taste. The present in Portuguese covers both situations most of the time with the simple present. Although they do have progressive forms in Spanish and Portuguese, they are used more to emphasize the ongoing nature of a particular action.


    If someone says he eats something and you did not catch what they said; it is common for one to respond saying "he eats what?".


    to a sentence like: He eats the snake, some one could answer: "he eats the what?"


    Why is there an article 'o' before que? Is 'Ele come que?' correct way of writing. Moreover, will the sentence be correct if written ' Que o ele come?"


    I have the same question, aviso! Can anyone shed light on the (seemingly extraneous) use of the article "o" here? Thanks!


    I'm not a Portuguese speaker but, from the lessons I've done, Portuguese uses 'the what' i.e. 'o que' when in English we would say 'what' as in 'what are you eating?'. As for the use of the definite article 'o' or 'a' before the possessive such as 'meu' or 'sua', it seems to be variable in Brazilian Portuguese and I've not twigged when to use it but in Portugal it seems to be used always. Hope that helps. A


    'He eats what?' is not necessarily colloquial English, but it is an echo question. If 'ele come o que' is an echo question in Portuguese as well, then 'he eats what' should be the primary (or only) correct answer. If, however, there is no more natural way to say 'what does he eat' than 'ele come o que' in Portuguese, then I agree with the other commenters that the acceptable answers should be change. Not being a Portuguese speaker myself (yet), I'm afraid I can't shed any more light on the situation...


    I asked a native speaker to translate it, and he answered "What does he eat?". This is supposed to be basic, so I think this should be the first answer, not a colloquial one.


    Okay I wasn't precise. I know that it's possible to ask "he eats what?" and "what does he eat?" and both forms are correct. I started the discussion because the first impresion while I was doing the exercise I was like: literally i should put " he eats what?" but on the other hand I thought: no it's too coloquial. That's why maybe DuoLingo should improve itself by giving the additional information or even a task for us to decribe in which situation we can use some sentences/questions.


    moreover for me as a non native english speaker is not common to use this form of question..


    I think the correct translation is what does he eat?


    I'm a native English speaker and only a student of Portuguese but, as I understand it, in Brazil you would use estou fazendo ( I think that's called the gerund) to mean you are doing something right now. In European Portuguese you would use estar a + the infinitive e.g. I am dieting = estou a fazer uma dieta. I hope a Portuguese speaker can confirm this.


    ^ yes to Andrew about the gerund vs the infinitive plus estar


    This is helpful. Thanks! I hope it's true, as well :)

    This does not seem to explain the use of the definite article "o" in the sentence, though, as the infinitive is not in use. Any thoughts on why we see it here?


    I'm from brazil. We use 'what does he eat?' To know what a person use to eat and 'what does he eating?' That means what a person is eating right now.


    is there a particular reason why there's an accent on the 'e' in this particular instance? is it because it ends the sentence?


    "What is he eating?" is a better answer.


    What is he eating? = ele está comendo o quê? = o quê ele está comendo?


    So, I understand all the possible translations for this sentence, but what I don't understand is when/why you use "a" or "o" sometimes before words such as: sua, que, etc.


    Is there any rule for the little hat(punctuation), or does it just have to be memorized


    'Quê' is 'what' and is pronounced closer to 'kay.' 'Que' (without the hat) is pronounced 'that' and is pronounced like 'key.' The hat is a pronunciation thing - When words end in E, usually they would be pronounced like 'ee.' But when you add the little hat, it makes it sound closer to 'ay.' The hat thing represents a 'closed' sound, but most of us don't know intuitively what that means. By contrast, the symbol ´ represents an 'open' sound. On the letter E, ê sounds like 'ay' and é sounds like 'eh.' On an O, ô sounds like 'oh' and and ó sounds like 'ah' or 'aw.'


    Don't tem and tem (with the hat) sound the same?


    True! In that case I think it's used just to differentiate between the spelling of the plural and singular conjugations - or maybe historically, they did sound different at one time. The reason it doesn't change the sound is because the E in 'tem' already sounds like 'ay' (or a nasalized version of it). Adding the hat (têm) would generally change the sound to 'ay,' but here, it already sounds like that. In general, for the letter E, you should remember that at the end of a word, it sounds like 'ee,' and in the middle it is usually more like 'ay' or 'eh.' Sometimes accent marks will be added if it has an atypical pronunciation (for example, 'quê'), or if an odd syllable is stressed. You are right though - 'têm' doesn't really fit one of those cases.


    All of these comments (or almost all of them!) point out one of the major problems with Duolingo - the lack of contextualization! The sentences should be in a dialogue (or a monologue!) rather than isolated. Context is essential to meaning! (Even for beginning grammar and vocabulary learning!)


    what does he eat is accepted but is that what this sentence means? or does it mean he eats what (with emphasis on the what)


    What is the difference between "qual" and "que"?


    'Qual' is 'which' and 'o que' is 'what.' Just as in English, you use 'qual' if your have a limited set of options (Which of these three choices would you like for dinner?) and 'que' for something more open ended (What would you like to eat?). However, I've noticed that in Portuguese, and also Spanish, there is a tendency to use 'which' more often than we would in English. For example, in English we would say 'What's your favorite animal?' but in Portuguese, you'd say 'Qual é seu animal preferido?' There are also tricky ones - they say 'Qual é o seu nome?' (What is your name?), which doesn't really seem to be referring to a limited set of things (unless you think about names as being a relatively limited set, which I guess you could). I would recommend, by default, using 'qual' for 'which' and 'o que' for 'what,' but also to pay close attention to popular phrases to try to get a sense for when the usage is contradictory to usage in English. (Another thing to mention is that 'que' alone and not in a question often means 'that.')


    THank for that great and thorough explanation. I totally understand =) Obrigado


    Sorry im a bit confused. What is the difference between qual & que? Someone help please


    This is a common problem for Portuguese learners. Qual = Which, que = what. However, Portuguese often uses 'qual' in places where English would use 'what' instead of 'which'. For example, In English we say, "What is your occupation?" But Portuguese says "Qual e a sua ocupac,a~o?" The person is expected to give an answer from a limited number of options; there are only so many occupations to choose from, so that's why it is "Qual/Which (one)" instead of "Que/What" (which could be anything). I am not a native speaker, so I am trying to memorize the categories, like occupations, where Portuguese uses Qual instead of Que.


    Can a native speaker please explain to me the difference between using "o que" , "o'que" and "que" ?


    There is some difference between "What does he eat?" which is wrong and "He eats what?" which is correct?


    "He eats what?" Would be used like an exclamation! With emphasis on the WHAT?


    I have to agree with jgritty here: "what does he eat?" is a simple question, while "he eats what??" is an expression of surprise/shock that he would eat such a thing.


    "He eats what?" is a coloquial question. In correct English you have to use an auxiliar verb to ask questions.

    I wrote "What does he eat?" and Duolingo said i was wrong. Please fix this.


    I agree that "What does he eat?" should definitely be accepted. However, we could debate what constitutes "correct English." There are situations where it would be more natural to say,"He eats what?" so I wouldn't consider that incorrect. Both should be accepted.


    English does not always use the auxiliary verb to ask questions. For example: "Who killed Roger Rabbit?" The issue is whether the answer to the question is the subject or object of the response. When the answer to the question is the subject of the response, there is no need for the auxiliary verb, but when the answer is the object of the response, the auxiliary verb is necessary. For example, the quick response to "Who punched Tom?" might be "Jim," while the full response would be "Jim punched Tom." Jim is the subject of the response so the question does not need the auxiliary verb. On the other hand, if the question is "Who did Jim punch?" the quick response would be "Tom," while the full response would be "Jim punched Tom." Since Tom is the object of the response, the auxiliary verb is necessary. Therefore, when the answer to the question is the subject of the response, there is no need for the auxiliary verb, but when the answer is the object of the response, the auxiliary verb is necessary. This mostly happens with the question "Who," since that is the interrogative that most frequently asks about the subject, but there are examples with other interrogatives as well, such as "What motivates you?" or "How much candy makes you sick?"


    What about the translation "He eats the what?" Another echo question which would come as a response from a statement like "He eats the bull testicle"


    HILARIOUS!!! And more importantly, perfectly true! It is a normal, syntactically correct exclamation.


    this is the first time i've seen the accent on 'que' - is "o quê" the same as "o que"? Why isn't it always "quê"?


    I saw someone explain this somewhere before. At the end of the sentence que gains accent on e, so: in the middle of the sentence it's "que", at the end "quê".

    [deactivated user]

      The circumflex over the "quê" is there to indicate that it is the final word in the sentence. If the circumflex weren't there, the sentence could be translated as a normal question; however, the "circumflexed quê" can't be ignored. It represents an exclamation of surprise. He eats what!?


      I will bow to your superior Portuguese skills. But just to clarify you are telling me that the circumflex on the quê is actually not just indicates surprise or that it is the last word in the sentence but implies current progressive action in stead of custom? For example if I said to a friend "I eat the worms in the apples" or I eat the paint peeling from the wall or any other strange general statement, 99% of the people I know would respond "You eat what?! If the given sentence is not the translation of their exclamation of surprise (and disgust) at what I have just stated as a general statement (as opposed to being in the process of eating it at the time), how would I express that?

      [deactivated user]

        Sorry. I didn't mean to indicate that the circumflex changed the question/exclamation to a progressive form. I simply put my own words instead of the original sentence. I will edit that to reflect DL's sentence.


        Both "What does he eat?" and "He eats what?" mean the same thing, it's just paraphrased. He doesn't have to be eating something strange at all to have the second phrase used although it is a typical question for a situation like so. It can also be used if you misheard what he eats and when asking your voice should rise at the end for both situations. Example: S1: He only eats apple sauce for snacks. S2: He eats what?(rise) S1: Apple sauce

        If your going to ask "He eats what?" ( not that you misheard or you're suprised but simply just want to know) when starting a convo, you'd drop your voice at the end. Example: S2: He eats what? S1: He eats apple sauce.

        [deactivated user]

          Despite DL's sentence including "what" in the sentence, it isn't a true information question because you aren't asking for information that you don't know. You are simply expressing surprise or asking for confirmation of what you have just heard. In this case, the voice naturally rises at the end the sentence.


          I didn't realize i put drop at the end for that second one.


          How come you can't hear the "o" when speaker reads the statement fast but you can hear the "o" when the speaker reads the statement slow?


          When you have two weak vowels coming together like this when one of them is the whole word the sounds will in effect dipthong.


          I thought it was "Is he going to eat or what?" lmao


          That would be Ele vai comer, ou o que. Phrasal future.


          propper translation is : He eats the what? or "what is it he eats" A reaction to "he eats the snake"could be "he eats the what?"answer that was not accepted.

          [deactivated user]

            You should avoid literal translations. O que/ o quê = what

            Ele come o quê?
            He eats what?


            formar a interrogacao em inglés precisa de DOES. What does he eat?= O qué ele come?

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