"Ele come o quê?"

Translation:He eats what?

December 28, 2012

65 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/queenty

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 :)

December 28, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/lindsey91

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?"

December 30, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/annekarakash

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

January 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ragnar82

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.

June 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/emeyr

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.

June 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DaleWinsto

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?".

June 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PhraseGenie

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.

February 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw

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.

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/juanchoparr

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

January 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/aviso

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?"

June 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sylvietr

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

July 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/a.vickers

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

August 5, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/legatrix

'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...

January 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Blarl

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.

January 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/queenty

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.

January 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Dworza

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

January 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/a.vickers

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.

February 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/LucianaRSw

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

December 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/sylvietr

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?

July 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SoaneGuerr

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.

December 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Blarl

I think the correct translation is what does he eat?

December 29, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/Dworza

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

December 28, 2012

https://www.duolingo.com/jgritty

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

January 29, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sssheridan

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.

January 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Alejandro_T

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

February 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/czaidins

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

January 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sinval17

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

December 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/krausek

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!)

June 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/dearingNL

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)

August 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/E.T.s_Son

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

June 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lindsey91

'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.')

June 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/E.T.s_Son

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

June 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/vickymicky1

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.

July 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/emeyr

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.

July 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/vickymicky1

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

October 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Chappie

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"

January 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/PhraseGenie

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

February 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/CapitaoLouco

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.

July 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/dtturman

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

September 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lindsey91

'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.'

September 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/dtturman

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

September 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lindsey91

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.

September 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/TobiasAchiek

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

March 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/GlennaSol

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.

March 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/compotrigo

"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.

January 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lindsey91

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.

January 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/jongreen88

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?"

January 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/PhraseGenie

WRONG. compotrigo: It is not colloquial. It is, as pointed out above by jgritty, a perfectly normal exclamation.

February 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Pantodynamos

Let's imagine a situation: You are talking with your friend when he suddenly noticed a man in the corner of the restaurant and says: ,,Wow, he's eating rice with lemon!" when suddenly a big track drove by when he said it, you didn't catch the word and you ask: ,,He's eating WHAT?". I think this is what authors thought.

January 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/soulzy

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"?

February 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Kas_

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".

November 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/emeyr

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!?

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw

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?

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/emeyr

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.

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/a.vickers

I don't think this can be translated as 'what is he eating' as the structure in Portuguese for something that is happening right now is to use estar a comer unlike in English when we would simply use the present tense

February 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Marthadelina

He eats what ? It is not correct question. What does he eat ?..correct question.

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/emeyr

The circumflex in "quê" indicates that it is the final word in the sentence. He eats what?!

March 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/turkeyday

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

December 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Braziluz17

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?

May 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw

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

May 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Mauro659879

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

August 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw

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

August 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/juanchoparr

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.

January 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/emeyr

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

Ele come o quê?
He eats what?

January 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/juanchoparr

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

January 5, 2018
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