"A number of different letters appear on the screen."

Translation:Várias letras diferentes aparecem na tela.

October 9, 2013

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Whirrun
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Could someone please explain "Várias letras diferentes aparecem na tela."

"Um número de letras diferentes aparece na tela."

Why one is aparece, the other is aparecem? Thanks...

October 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Davu
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The equivalent in English "A number of letters appears on the screen" is wrong so this seems to be a difference between English and Portuguese usage. In Portuguese "a number of" must be considered singular. I looked for a good reference and all I could find easily was this: http://www.newtoncbraga.com.br/index.php/ingles-para-eletronica/2487-ing037.

The number of devices in this pack is twenty (O número de componentes neste pacote é vinte)
A number of devices are not included in this pack (um número de componentes não foi incluído neste pacote).

Observe que, diferentemente do português, em que a segunda forma se mantém no singular, no inglês, ela vai para o plural.

[Edit: This is more tricky than I thought see: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1622536.]

October 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Gcalbe
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As a native portuguese speacher who completed high school, I can say to you that, in this particular case, "número" may work like a collective noun. Knowing this and one verbal concordance rule which says that you can focus either on the collective noun or on what the collective noun reffers to (de componentes), you solve the problem. So, it can be both "um número de componentes não foi incluído neste pacote" or "um número de componentes não foram incluídos neste pacote".

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Davu
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Thanks! That is true for several collective nouns in English, but not "a number of" as far as I know. I started a separate discussion about this subject here: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/1622536. I'll pop a note there to say you have provided an answer. [Edit: Oh, I see you have posted there as well, thanks.]

January 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jose_Linares2003

Thank you very much

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Whirrun
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Muito obrigado. That makes sense and I'm glad I asked.

October 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Jose_Linares2003

Could it be " um número de letras diferentes aparecem na tela"?

January 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Davu
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No. That's what I was trying to explain in my answer to Whirrun. "Um número de letras" is singular and therefore the correct form of "aparecer" is the 3rd person singular "aparece". "A number of letters" is plural, though (see, for example: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/is-number-singular-or-plural/).

January 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jose_Linares2003

No. I am not asking about the correct form of "aparecer", "um número de letras diferentes APARECEM na tela" should be correct as well

January 27, 2014
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