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"Que ele pense com sua cabeça."

Translation:Let him think with his head.

October 9, 2013

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"That he thinks with his head" is actually nonsensical as a sentence in English. It might make sense in a clause but it's not useful here.


It's hard to find English sentences that can be direclty translated from this, but there is one:

Take "que seja!" for instance. One possible translation (besides simply "whatever!") is "so be it!"

Que seja = so be it. -- It has somewhat of an imperative sense.

Que a luta começe ~ let the fight begin.

So..."que ele pense com sua cabeça" is used mostly like this:

-- Por favor, mostre a solução para ele (Please, show him the solution)
-- Não! Que ele pense com sua cabeça! (No! Let he think with his head)

But it's not "let" like "allow him", it's more like a given order...


Thanks Dan. Looks like deactivated user also says something similar. If the translation were "let him think..." instead of "that he thinks...", it would definitely make more sense and get the point across about que + subj present.


Except for it being written in the third person singular, the perfect translation, often used in English, is; "Use your head!! Or as I used to say to my son,"Use your brains, that's what they are there for." So if you can find a way to put that sense into the third person............


Somehow it's like that. "Use seu cérebro/sua cabeça".

But there is also the version "Que você use sua cabeça".

That's why I think something is missing. But it's nothing big.


Just like the subjunctive Latin "vivat rex [aut regina]" meaning "long live the king (lit. let the king live or that the king lives)" if that helps any Latin scholars.


Agreed. If it's just a clause, they need to simply leave off the period.


Would another possible translation be "MAY he think with his head"


"Que" plus a third person present subjunctive in a main clause appears at times to have the force of an English third person imperative: "Let him do such-and-such."

Some examples from the Portuguese bible:

"let him do it" "que o faça" Ruth 3.13 RSV, JFA

"let him do what seems good to him." "que faça o que lhe parecer melhor." 1Samuel 3.18 RSV, NVI

"And if there is guilt in me, let him kill me." "E, se há em mim alguma culpa, que me mate." 2Sam 14.32 RSV, JFA

"And let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him." "Que amaldiçoe, pois foi o Senhor que mandou fazer isso." 2Samuel 16.11 RSV, NVI

"Let him go over with my lord the king" "Que ele vá com o meu senhor e rei." 2Samuel 19.37 RSV, NVI

"Whoever favors Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab." "Quem estiver do lado de Joabe e de Davi, que siga Joabe!" 2Samuel 20.11 RSV, NVI

"Let him not leave us, nor forsake us:" "Que ele jamais nos deixe nem nos abandone!" 1Kings 8.57 KJV, NVI

"Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree" "Por isso, se for do agrado do rei, que ele emita um decreto real" Esther 1.19 NIV, NVI

"Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless," "Que ele não se iluda em confiar no que não tem valor," Job 15.31 NIV, NVI

"And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty." "Que ele mesmo beba da ira do Todo-poderoso!" Job 21.20 NASB, NVI

"Let him who accuses God answer him!" "Que responda a Deus aquele que o acusa!" Job 40.2 NIV, NVI

"Let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him." "Que ele o salve, pois que nele tem prazer." Psalms 22.8 KJV, JFA

"Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it." "Que Deus apresse a realização da sua obra para que a vejamos;" Isaiah 5.19 NIV, NVI

I tried "Let him think with his head." Duolingo rejected it.


I would say that in this and many other instances the 'que ele/ela/você construction contains an understood "Espero" which is the reason that the subjunctive is used since esperar expresses unsureness. The usual, though somewhat awkward (as in most cases of the subjunctive in English) translation of the phrase might be: "(I hope) that he might, or that he shall, use his head." In common speech you might say" I hope to hell he uses his head" which basically amounts to the same thing.


Not espero here. It's sort of an order.

"Let him think with his head"

That sentence is good, but I still think something is missing....

I'm striving to find some better sentence, but this is the best so far....It's a mix of an order with a desire, but not hope.


I think, "Deixe ele pensar com ...." would be better, wouldn't it?


I used, "I hope that he thinks with his head", which I think adds to the actual words but I think is the meaning behind it. I expected it to be marked wrong and it was but their answer, as stussybear says, is nonsense.


it goes along with the feminist saying that the problem with men is that they tend to think with their little head instead of their big one. :-}


Better to add "I want that he think". It's quite imperative.


Hi Dan, I've read back over everything that we have all written, and it is an amazing attempt by a lot of good minds to home in on something that is obviously very slippery. But I will try once more. I think there is an understood but unvoiced " {I hope/wish} that he would think with/use his head." Rather than with his heart or his ego or his 'little head' It allows the uncertainty that is the reason for the subjunctive.


I've been looking around, there is the third person imperative which uses this conjugation. So, I cound't know if historically "hope/wish" has something to do with that, but I don't think their idea is present in these kinds of sentences.


Maybe it should be "Let him think with his OWN head."

The "sua" in Portuguese emphasizes that it's HIS OWN head, but the "his" in English doesn't, because you always use possessive pronouns with body parts in English.

"Ela tem uma tatuagem nas costas" = "she has a tattoo on HER back" "Escovar os dentes" = "To brush YOUR teeth" "Ele está limpando as mãos" = "He is washing HIS hands"

"Ele pensa com a cabeça" = "he thinks with his head" "Ele pensa com sua cabeça" = "he thinks with his own head"

To me "Let him think with his head" sounds as if the man most often use some other body part for the thinking, like the stomach or penis, and that he now should use his head.


Now you said the five letter word that everyone else has tried to avoid...


The English translation makes no sense


i said "i wish he thinks with his head" , got it wrong

now Klyamada's " may he think with his head " seems quite good to me


I thought it might be "What he thinks with his head" as in "What he comes up with sometimes..." So, if it is (I hope) that he thinks with his head, it could be translated as "He needs to think...."


"What he thinks with his head" is (O que ele pensa com sua cabeça). He needs to think is a passive form, let he think is a kind of order, its close to "let he deal with his own problems", and "let he find a solution himself"


All correct except that in three of your examples you would use 'him' instead of 'he. I thought you might like to know. 'let him think' 'let him deal' 'let him find'


Right. So, wouldn't "Para que ele pensa...." or "Deixe ele pensar...." be a clearer way to express that?


"Deixe ele pensar" can be a good translation. Not quite imperative towards him, but imperative towards the second person.

It's more like "allow him to think...". Not the best translation when you want to "leave him" do the job alone.

Now "para que ele pensa" is not good. In a single question: "para que ele pensa?", it means "What does he think for?".

And "para que ele pense..." means "(In order) for him to think".

Perhaps an example could show how to use them:

1 - The teacher asks Wilson a question.
Jack starts helping Wilson
Then teacher tells Jack: deixe que ele (Wilson) pense (or deixe ele pensar) com sua cabeça. (Please Jack, don't help him).

2 - Jack comes to a smart guy seeking help for Wilson: "Please, help Wilson think about a solution", says Jack.
The smart guy then answers: "Eu não, ele que (or que ele) pense com sua cabeça" (No way I'm helping him).

(In number 2, "ele que" is upset, while "que ele" more neutral).

Number 2 can take "deixe que" too, but the others are better, specially the upset one.
Number 1 doesn't take "que ele", unless the teatcher wants to be absolutely harsh on Jack.


Also: May he think with his head. I might phrase this "Que ele pense com a cabeca dele."


I would like to learn some idioms in Portuguese. If anyone has translations for these or any other common idioms, please comment with them!

What goes up (usually) comes down/what goes around comes around Whatever! Let it go Come on Whatever floats your boat Showtime!


Ok! My turn to take a shot at it. I think that in this kind of expression there is an implied "Debe ser" at the beginning. A clumsy litteral English version of "Deber ser que ele pense com sua cabeça" would be "It needs to be that he thinks with his head."

In English, we have other more idiomatic ways to express what should be: "He has to/he needs to/he must/he should think with his head." These all convey a similar meaning. "Let him think with his head" (now accepted bu Duolingo) is correct in modern English only if "Let" is an order/suggestion addressed to the person you are talking to. But that's not what the Portuguese is saying. The Portuguese is using an impersonal expression.

But using an impersonal expression like in Portuguese just sounds too biblical or pompous in English, like "Let there be light". I think all my previous suggestion should also be accepted.

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