"The boys sleep on a small bed."

Translation:Los niños duermen en una cama pequeña.

December 29, 2012



Why not sobre instead of en

March 28, 2013


‘sobre’ means “on” only in the sense of “on top of”, whereas ‘en’ has a more general meaning ranging all the way from “on top of” to “inside”. If the boys are sleeping on a bed of nails, either ‘sobre’ or ‘en’ would be appropriate, but ‘sobre’ doesn't apply for an ordinary bed unless they're sleeping on top of the bedding.

July 3, 2013


Great explanation, Andreas.

February 22, 2014


I agree. The odd thing here is the English version (which I was given to translate). The English uses "on." If the boys were in the bed, in English I would say, "The boys sleep in...etc." The use of "on" is slightly odd and implies they are not actually "tucked in." :) They are on the blankets or whatever, or they fell asleep while playing on the bed, etc. So I avoided "en" and used "sobre." Such is the slippery nature of language!

January 29, 2014


I am curious about this as well.

April 9, 2013


Same question, why not sobre in place of en?

May 12, 2013


Maybe SOBRE literally means "on top of", not a replacement for the English word "on." In this case DuoLingo's translation is more like "in" a bed, versus "on" a bed.

April 26, 2013


Well, even in English, many people differentiate between "on" the bed (as in "put it on [top of] the bed [covers and everything]) and "in" the bed (as in the phrase "get in bed [under the covers]") just like there seems to be a difference in Spanish.

No one tells a child to "get on (the) bed" at bedtime. We say "go to bed" or "get in bed". Nor would someone say "Oh, they are on the bed" in response to "where are the kids?" unless the respondent literally meant that they are on the bed playing or something. I think it's just a poorly worded phrase/translation into English from Spanish.

May 15, 2013


What you said is right on, except for the last. The Spanish, "en, "fills in for either "on" or "in" perfectly.

February 22, 2014


los niños duermen en una pequeña cama why was my answer wrong

September 24, 2013


In Spanish, unlike in English, an adjective can occur either before or after a noun, but the choice affects the meaning. As a rule, the ‘topic’, or old information, comes first in a Spanish sentence, and the ‘focus’, or new information, comes last, as in most languages, including English.

Sleeping in a bed is ordinarily expected; what's unexpected —the new information— in this situation is the smallness, so the adjective ‘pequeña’ comes last: ‘Los niños duermen en una cama pequeña.’.

‘Los niños duermen en una pequeña cama.’ would make sense if it were the bed that's unexpected, not the smallness; for example, if the listener thought they boys sleep in a hammock or a rowboat.

As another example, the sentence ‘En una pequeña cama duermen los niños.’ implies that the boys are what's unexpected.

Another way of looking at it is that the adjective in ‘cama pequeña’ restricts the set of beds the sentence might be referring to, by excluding larger beds; whereas in ‘pequeña cama’, the adjective is non-restrictive, just a comment.

September 27, 2013


Beautiful explanation.

February 22, 2014

  • 2016

I also heard that you can say "pequeña cama" if you're drawing special attention to the fact that it's small.

April 29, 2014


If I had any lingots left I would give you one. Great explanation! And now that I have lingots, here you go.

May 14, 2014


why not "encima de"? In my Spanish class, we learnt that it meant "on".

October 14, 2015

  • 2016

Prepositions are tricky to translate because different languages use them differently. There is never a one-to-one map with prepositions, and that goes triple for idiomatic use.

October 14, 2015


would camita work?

December 29, 2012


Probably when speaking generally, as 'cot' can replace 'small bed', although there is a difference between those two. [A small bed is not necessarily a cot.] However as the exercise is designed to learn and practice specific 'size' words such as 'pequeña', here you would be required to write 'small bed' translated literally from 'cama pequeña'.

March 6, 2013


pequena refers to the bed, or the boys?

May 18, 2013


‘pequeña’ is the feminine singular form, and agrees with ‘una cama’.

September 25, 2013


When does the adjective come in front of the noun? Like gran amigo?

December 2, 2013

  • 2016

In the case of "gran X" vs "X grande", (and do take note of the difference in spelling as well), "gran X" means that X is a wonderful thing and "X grande" means that X is a large thing.

April 29, 2014


Read the reply to kylamark.

December 2, 2013


how come the hint for "sleep on" told me "consultar con la almohada" and when i typed it in, it was wrong -_-

July 1, 2015
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