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"El cuchillo no sirve."

Translation:The knife does not work.

5 years ago

204 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/gritajay

I think it is to mean that the knife doesn't serve its purpose.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cocacola321

It means, 'the knife doesn't work'. Native speakers use this all the time for when things aren't working properly, doors, machines, knifes, etc. I've also heard 'no funciona' but don't know exactly how to put that into a sentence. Nativos please reply if you can think of an ejemplo.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sepiarien

'no funciona' means 'doesn't work' when we speak about a lift,a phone,a TV and so on.'No sirve' means 'isn't any good'.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cata_lina

So, "no sirve" means that it is horrible quality (such as scissors that cut jagged) and "no funciona" would be like if they don't cut at all?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JayGee59

well, they could have become worn in normal use. they no longer work as they once did. I think funciona is more for a machine. la secadora no esta funciona.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mpaulson44

I said the knife is no good which is what I would normally say in this situation you could also say what the knife doesn't cut or the scissors don't cut you would never say it doesn't function

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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No sirve doesn't mean that they don't work at all. It just means it is not serving the purpose at the moment. It may be that you are attempting to use the knife for another purpose.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JayGee59

yes, no funciana as in a machine doesn't work(function) . literally yes (servir) it doesn't serve it's purpose which means it doesn't work. even in english we know that a knife doesn't "do work",(on its own) but it may not work as it is supposed to. another of those ways that we have shortened a phrase and it has become it's own meaning.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deanwinchester77

So should Duo have used 'funciona' and not 'sirve'?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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Funcionar is used for machines and electronics. It means it doesn't work as in turn on and run. The easiest way to understand servir in this context is to think of serve as in serve the or its purpose. If I am making paper dolls and you hand me a knife, I might say El cuchillo no sirve. The knife is not broken, it just doesn't work for the purpose. But even if the knife was physically broken and not working for its basic purpose you would use servir for anything that isn't a machine. Computers, televisions, vending machines function. Dishes, furniture, clothes and things like that can serve the purpose or not, but they are not considered to function.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deanwinchester77

Okay, thanks! That really helped!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mkathou
Mkathou
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No sirve=No funciona

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/conpanbear

What about a flick knife, one that opens when you press a button, but the mechanism isn't working?

Or, you haven't a flat-head screwdriver, but your mother passes you a breadknife and says, "try unscrewing it with that", but it doesn't work?

They're pretty far-flung examples, but they're possibilities for saying "the knife doesn't work".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/michelle628001

Thank you.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sylvainqc

Has someone ever met a knife that refuses to speead butter? I find DL great, except for some stupid and useless sentences like this one.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ZhanaW
ZhanaW
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Have you tried spreading cold butter with a plastic knife?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heikold

If you're using a knife to cut something and it's too blunt to cut it then I'd say that it doesn't work.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phil46

we would say it doesn't cut which is exactly so. Maybe as generalisation you can say "no funciona" or doesn't work and be understood (or is it "sirve?") Whatever it doesn't look right and would not be said that way in English.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elissaf1
elissaf1
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We'd also say, "this knife is crap". There is no reason to assume we speak literal English very often.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/thalia0712
thalia0712Plus
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There are some electric knives around.. Areņ't there?! So they really may not work sometimes ;)

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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That's true, but with electric knives and other electric devices and appliances you would generally use no funciona. Sirvir is used for something's ability to "serve" a particular purpose. So it may be that the knife is too dull, but it may also be that you actually need a utility knife or a scissors to do what you want to do, so the perfectly sharp steak knife just doesn't "work" for what you are doing.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dwheatl

What if you're trying to kill Rasputin, and stabbing doesn't do the trick?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TodosEsDentro

Ok, this just got a lot darker...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AutumnSunset

Very nice! Have a lingot.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/leaha210

Some sentences are weird but its not certain sentences they are trying to help you remember its the words in those sentences and how to make sentences with those words.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kat328570

true. At the same time, I wish Duo would give us a better translation of what it really means in Spanish, rather than a word by word translation. I wish they would accept a less than literal, but more real translation.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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I agree to some extent. But the problem with this sentence is that there is no context and I think it is the only example of this usage of the the verb servir to serve. If you are trying to do something or accomplish something and someone suggests a tool or tactic which would not help you accomplish that goal you are likely to say that doesn't (or won't) work. In this case you are not necessarily saying anything about the tool or tactic itself, just the effectiveness of its use for the task at hand. A knife does not work to cut out paper dolls. A hammer does not work to put in a screw. A bicycle doesn't work to take me from San Diego to Barcelona. This is the meaning of servir.

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/Servir

I would suggest that the first place you go when you get confused is the dictionary. Then input from the discussion can be more helpful.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Drumknott
Drumknott
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It's just a made-up practice sentence, as most of these are. This is not like a phrasebook for travelers, we must remember. These are exercises for practicing vocabulary, grammar and so on. Instead of only memorizing sentences, we are learning how to construct sentences so we can say anything we want. Duo is drawing from the small pool of words we have learned, and repeating them so we don't forget them. Sometimes the sentences are goofy, but we can still learn from them.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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Try fileting a fish with your bread knife. Or slicing onions with it. Guess what, ¡ese cuchillo no sirve!

And, oh yeah, I've met such knife. Nice guy. Just a little dull and a bit recalcitrant.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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These exercises just prove Noam Chomsky's point. A native speaker can both create and interpret a sentence that they have never heard spoken. We need to be able to do that as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JayGee59

lol, i'll give you a thumbs up. some of the sentences are strange, like all the sentences about monkeys, hmmmm. i am not sure how many monkeys a latino encounters in a normal day. I hope to find out soon when I visit. :D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maxinedev

I agree

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rmcgwn

You get my vote for best response. "Serve its purpose" looks right on. Thanks

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ranchers1

Thanks for that. I was almost thinking "el cuchillo no trabaja" Is that the same thing?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rick_k
rick_k
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That is a dialect thing. In Texas, it is common to hear "no trabaja" or "no funciona." Although, I think "sirve" might be more proper. I think if you had a switchblade that was stuck, you could say "no funciona." But if it wasn't cutting, you would say "no corta." Don't know when you'd say "no sirve."

I think one of the interesting things is that people (like Neiht20) always use the "at a job" qualifier. But we tend to think of inanimate objects having a job to do. If they're not functioning, they're not doing their job. Whereas the Spanish "sirve" is more akin to not serving its purpose. It only has a purpose in serving its user, rather than having some innate job to do of its own accord. It's as much a frame of mind as it is a lexicographical difference.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nokkenbuer

"Functioning" essentially means that something is fulfilling its purpose or achieving its intended goal. It is a bit of a teleological view of a given thing or idea. We often treat many tools teleologically because their functions inform their value and utility. Tools and technologies are meant to accomplish a task, or series of tasks, or variety of tasks, typically through the agency of the user.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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No, "trabajar"="to work (at a job)" which wouldn't make sense here xD I was thinking another translation might be "el cuchillo no funciona"? But I'm not sure if "funcionar" can be applied to a knife lol

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/conpanbear

Damn layabout knives.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenretten
jenretten
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So "no servir" means doesn't work for this purpose (ex: can we use a knife for this? No the knife does not work) whereas "no funcionar" means doesn't work as in broken down?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaLouisaDell

I agree.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phil46

A weird way to speak in English the knife is broken or even blunt works both ways I suppose.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/clogg1s

I agree

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/plauben

it would be nice if in your definition of new words, you included the word in your translation ... how did servir become to work??

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MissSpell
MissSpell
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They must have fixed it because "the knife doesn't work" worked for me.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tango-alpha

"The knife does not work" did not work for me. I think it should be accepted and reported it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mark-in-cal

it has been fixed,

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Julie_B

That is very weird, they accepted that answer for me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rookiecodemaster

Um. The knife doesn't serve.... What am I missing here?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Syneil
Syneil
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When have you heard anyone say in English "the knife doesn't serve"?

On the other hand, when have you heard "the knife doesn't work"? I tried "The knife is no good" which is perhaps a bit idiomatic, but at least fits the meaning of the original phrase (and wasn't accepted).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WimLewis

"the knife doesn't serve" would be pretty old-fashioned but would be a legitimate English translation, I think.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PMftW9

"The knife doesn't serve" is somewhat archaic and more likely in British English than in American English but it is a perfectly good sentence and should get credit. I'm with you, WimLewis.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/supersaiyan5

Wow. I just lost a heart because of this substitute. I spent maybe 5 minutes trying to figure out why the knife doesn't serve. What a terrible waiter.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Yeah, Mac the Knife. What's doing at this crazy job? Hustling tips? Huh? He maybe on the lam?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Daddorino

No, don't lose heart super. There's some research which indicates that you learn most when you make mistakes or are marked wrong for something (don't ask me to find it, please!). I must be making fantastic progress! Also, because of this instance you are now familiar with idiomatic uses of "serve" in both Spanish and English!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chaolan77

FYI my friend from central America uses no sirve for almost everything so you can be assured that it's a common and often used expression for meaning something is not working properly. Hope this helps.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Johngt44
Johngt44
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Thank you - that's really useful to know. I'm thinking if it is used so widely it's idiomatic and may well not have a direct translation in every situation but now we will know the MEANING, which is the crucial thing. Thanks again.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cjmcdonald1

Central America is a big place with many countries. Mexican Spanish is going to be different from Panamanian. Heck, the official language of Belize is English. I went to Nicaragua and remember using funcionar. Perhaps servir was used, but i never used it and had no problem.

My concern is that some of the translations here are more idiomatic or regional. I understand it's a work in progress; perhaps knowing where the speaker slash translator is from, specifically, would help.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Radebrech

You tried to use the knife as a screwdriver, but without success. So you can state that it does not work. Even if it is a wonderful knife made by Brooks of Sheffield.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ThomasIsOK

Must have been pretty desperate for a screwdriver.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/suezq
suezq
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So try the poison ; )

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deadmansfoot

Wouldnt " el cuchillo no funciona" make more sense?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GeoEco
GeoEco
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Easily or not, one eventually will figure out that the meaning of this sentece is that the knife is blunt. However, what I really would like to know/confirm is whether this is a totally valid snetence in Spanish or not...Anyone, please??

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ChocoCat778

yup its valid. to not serve its purpse or be dull.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tropicalnut
tropicalnut
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So if it is dull why wouldn't a person say, The knife is not sharp. I think you need the rest of the sentence and maybe more to truly under stand this.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Johngt44
Johngt44
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It's not a real person or even a real knife you know! It's software showing us a new verb, namely servir which has the meaning to serve, be of use, "work" (but not in sense you or I trabajar) like function. And at least some Spanish-speaking people say " .... no sirve" and we now know thanks to posters on this thread means the something is not "working" in a very generic way. In the real world, if it is abknife thatbno sirve you could have a conversation now you grasp the meaning!!! Oh, is it blunt? Has the handle come off?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rick_k
rick_k
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There are several other ways that a knife will not serve a given purpose. Just ask any chef or surgeon! :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bbedford59

Either the knife is too dull to cut the material OR it is otherwise unsuitable for authors intended purpose, which is unstated.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JonBastian
JonBastian
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Is it plugged in?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

It uses batteries which have gone bad.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bdawsn

Let's just forget the knife, ok? I am looking at the conjugations of this verb. Do they "work"? Sirvo = I work? I am useful? I am functioning within normal parameters? Is this verb only "sirve" for inanimate objects?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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Very good question, bdawsn! It made me wonder because of your question. Looking the word up, I saw it being used in the context of serving in the military" so I guess you could also use it for people, in this context, or one like "the mayor serves his city/the people in his city". All the sample sentences I saw in regard to people 'serving' we're in the same context as the ones mentioned above, and "serve" as in "a waiter serves the customers". In the context of someone being useful/functioning within normal parameters, which is the main part of your question, I'd venture a guess that they use a different term for that. "Funcionar" comes to mind. Although I've often seen this word used in inanimate objects, I've also seen some sentences where this is used for people in the context you have. And of course, they also have other words like "útil" for "useful", or "capaz" as in "ser capaz de trabajar" (for "be able to work").

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Buena pregunta, amigo.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robertoface
Robertoface
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That's not a knife; that's a spoon!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anglobrasileiro

How about The knife is not suitable

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Yeah, his tailor couldn't fit him.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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Now, you got me laughing!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

I should have said, "The tailor couldn't fit it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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Yes, lest the knife gets offended

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

And I was thinking how the knife may simply not be employed. I mean, not working. You, know, home, sitting on its butt, collecting his unemployment checks.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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You're forgetting... "it". Thou shalt not offend.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Okay, "its" unemployment checks. My apologies, Sr. Cuchillo.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sreinbrecht

I think my answer "serves" is correct. It's a bit old-fashioned, but you can say this knife doesn't serve its purpose in the same sense.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Julie_B

Sharpen it!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/campellomerrily

I think the only true way to translate this sentence and give it real meaning in English would be to say that 'the knife is unserviceable'.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jairapetyan
jairapetyan
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That's a good translation, but one I doubt anybody would spontaneously say. Imagine you're trying to cut a New York steak with a dull plastic knife, and you're getting frustrated. What would you say? The fact is, that "no sirve" is really used a lot in Spanish, as is its equivalent in Italian.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/campellomerrily

Thank you, (and this is not a reply made in annoyance, but that wasn't exactly my point). I don't doubt you that this may be a phrase commonly used in Spanish, although I haven't come across all that many knives in Spain that 'don't work'. (Or even plastic knives generally). Anyway what I really meant is that, on this occasion, the phrase is translated too pedantically. Knives not working? Definitely not a phrase used commonly or otherwise in UK. Sorry I have no idea what a 'New York' steak is.... but I can hand on heart say I have never seen anyone here try to cut even a fillet steak with a plastic knife.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jairapetyan
jairapetyan
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Hi Campello, I'm also no expert on meats... I had to look in Wikipedia to learn that a NY steak is called a strip steak in the UK. I was actually imagining one still attached to the bone, which I learned is called a T-bone or porterhouse steak. :) Anyway, I was just trying to come up with a scenario where the phrase might be used. Here in the USA we do sometimes have picnics or other events with steak and plastic utensils. And in Spain they also have picnics and plastic tableware. The problem remains that we really wouldn't say anything like "the knife doesn't work (or serve)" in English. But Duo wants to teach us the Spanish phrase, which is perfectly common. So they do... and we might lose a heart and then learn the rest of the story by venting here in the comments. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tropicalnut
tropicalnut
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I am not sure about unserviceable ... sounds funny

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ellis_P
Ellis_P
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I used "useless" which should apply equally to mean "does not work," as in "good for nothing." Any linguist can side with me in this matter

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

This is not an English lesson. English linguists are not involved.

The English sentences which Duolingo provides are only to serve as a means to get an idea of what the Spanish sentences mean, therefore there is no point in disregarding them for the sake of making it a sport to come up with one's own translations.

It is best to simplify things and just use the simple English sentences Duo shows us and focus on Spanish, not English.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarjorieSt.Jean

Why not " the knife is not working."?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/petermitchell77

The knife is unemployed. It's tough in this modern economy, he just couldn't cut it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dushyant522668

Sirve = serve

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zarhop18

so if anyone knows hetalia, i was listening to Russia song 'Winter' and this popped up. I believe i just peed myself when i heard "kolkolkolkolkolkolkol" in the background as i translated the sentence.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/michisjourdi
michisjourdi
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Is this one of those words with a loaded meaning? Kind of like, how in Spanish you can wear your clothes and your child?

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Another good question. Like, can an idear work? Or how about a card play? Or a tricky trick? Or a joke? Or a disguise?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/deemlitch

The knife 'isn't working' is the same as 'doesn't work.'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Well, it's not unemployed.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/copylion
copylion
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Why "the knife is not working" isn't accepted?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

In my view, I think, “This knife's no good. It's a piece of crap" is the best translation. But I am not going to push Duo to use it, though. I'll just go with what the Owl shows. It's good enough to allow me to understand what the Spanish sentence means.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EdK4kY

That's what I put because I could just about imagine saying that, e.g. if someone handed me a knife and asked me to perform some task with it, but it proved to be poorly adapted to that task.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tengu01

From a direct translation perspective, it seems clumsy in English, but i translated it as meaning 'the knife doesn't serve it's purpose', which for me would indicate it was broken, blunt or some unspecified problem that stops it doing what knives do, namely, cut. However, it was a bit of a guess whether to say 'the knife doesn't work' or 'the knife is blunt' etc. All part of the learning experience :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Const4ntin

i translated with "the knife is of no use" this should be right

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dickbuerkle

"the knife is no good" also works for me

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

And did you include, it's a piece of crap?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tessbee
tessbee
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"The knife is no good" is actually an accepted answer, too. ji ji

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobPage1

I was writing "the spoon won't work" when I thought it was so odd I switched to knife. Won't and don't is a matter of tense, my sloppy English makes it hard to get the Spanish right.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Are you by any chance suggesting sloppy Spanish is wrong?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cfarragain

I responded "the knife is dull" thinking that if a knife doesn't work it must be dull.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Not dull. Trump fired it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/khalil3x6

Why not el cuchillo no curtar?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TonatiuMonterde

xD

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neiht20
neiht20
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The first reason is because it should be "cortar" and it needs to be conjugated to "corta" (el cuchillo no corta=the knife doesn't cut). "El cuchillo no cortar" literally says "the knife doesn't to cut/the knife no to cut". The second is that Duo tends to like you to stick as close as possible to the originals words used in the translations. "cortar" means "to cut" rather than "servir" (to work/serve its purpose).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TonatiuMonterde

Mine neither xD

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Benzy911
Benzy911
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I can't serve you rice with knife yo!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

By tradition, it's peas that are served and eaten with a knife. Where's your table manners?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dwheatl

Con la miel

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobPage1

I eat my peas with honey, I've done it all my life,

It makes them taste quite funny, But it keeps them on the knife.

Any Mouse ( cualquier ratón )

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EugeneTiffany

Clever boy. That sounds like it's right on the money.

Though it may taste crummy, mucilage should work well too.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/majuank

Ew. I like peas but not with honey. But I do like chicken nuggets with honey

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Majabwb

What about "The knife is useless"? Could that also be a proper translation?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mech-Tec

is it folding or whats the issue here?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/silverthornfire
silverthornfirePlus
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Love the responses :-) Thanks for the giggles

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kayllama

I tried to stab him, but the knife was so dull, it didn't give him a scratch!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sally410

We just don't use the verb this way in English because knives are implements. The person using them does the work. That leaves them broken, blunt, etc,- and not serving their purpose. It's just one of those differences between languages.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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It is to some extent different. But we do tend to say something won't work if it doesn't serve its purpose or your specific purpose. And that is where Spanish is just somewhat more specific. They use the verb funcionar to talk about things like toasters that don't work/function and servir for things that don't work/serve the purpose. Both languages see the distinction, but it is probably expressed more concisely in Spanish. . Obviously there are ways to express why the knife doesn't serve its purpose in Spanish. El cuchillo no sirve. Es embotado. The only difference is that we would be more likely to express the first part in the future. The knife will not (won't) work. It is dull.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bookworm.12

Having problems with this, saying it really slow, but it's not responding

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KhalonRodney

What do you mean it is not responding?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GeorgeMacP

I translated with "The knife does not work" and was marked incorrect. I believe I'll report it based on the discussion I'm seeing here.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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Do report it. But it may just be network noise as this is exactly the translation shown above this discussion. Sometimes you will put exactly what they want and it is marked wrong randomly. I have seen similar things in online forms etc and attribute it to a transmission error adding something or removing something. But sometimes it is a program error that never recognizes the correct answer. Always reporting makes them check it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gustavo731864
Gustavo731864
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Why does "the knife is no good" is not acceptable? Seems to represent the meaning of the sentence perfectly, in my opinion

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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The knife might well be a good knife. The verb Servir indicates the use or purpose of something (among many other meanings) See the intransitive definition.

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/Servir

So while the knife might work perfectly well for its normal purpose, this is simply saying it doesn't work for the purpose at hand. For example I say I need to cut something and you give me a knife. I might say El cuchillo no sirve If my intention was to cut coupons.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gustavo731864
Gustavo731864
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You're right! Guess I just didn't know the profound meaning of "no good" in English... Lol! Anyway, thank you very much for the thoughtful explanation!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_Kierz_
_Kierz_
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sirve = work or serve?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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Servir means to serve. But in this somewhat idiomatic expression it essentially means to serve a particular purpose. The knife won't work to cut out paper dolls (it will not serve that function)

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/Servir%20

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_Kierz_
_Kierz_
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Thanks for the very quick reply!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/georj_drama

It is correct ¨the knife is useless ¨ ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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That would be Él cuchillo es inútil. This sentence just is saying that the knife is not serving the purpose you are trying to use it for. It does not necessarily imply that it is in any way broken or that it cannot do what it was designed to do.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lazar450555

Have you tried turning it off and on?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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Not to step on your joke, but were it a mechanical/machine type of not working that would be Él cuchillo (eléctrico) no funciona.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AwesomeNinja234

I wrote this, "The knife no longer works," and it didn't accept it! How?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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This sentence is simply The knife does not work. There is nothing that says or implies no longer. In fact, since the verb is servir and not funcionar this sentence could mean that the knife does not serve the purpose at hand. Maybe they need a scissors or a razor blade. In that case no longer would not be appropriate at all.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/reichdalmeida1

Translation of " El cuchillo no sirve. " would be " The knife is useless". The other way round " The knife does not work" might be " el cuchillo no corta"

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DavidMoore622957

You would benefit from reading through the comments before posting. If you disagree with something that was noted, feel free to reply to that specific thread. Then we can all learn from the discussion.

In particular, your point of view has been expressed before. Just 5 months ago, lynettemcw gave a very good explanation for why you may want to rethink your translations. Many others have explained why "no sirve" is used in Spanish and what it means. You are free to think it can only mean "is useless" and that will probably be fine most of the time. You're also free to say "no corta" rather than "no sirve" when you're trying to cut with a knife. In any case, please consider expressing your views in the context of related comments. Otherwise, it's not clear why you feel your remarks are unique and unrelated to anything that has been said before.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Emma736713

How

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Marco681937

The knife is not functioning? I don't think any english person has ever said this sentence.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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We would just say that the knife isn't working, which isn't really any better. What no sirve means is that it isn't serving the purpose which could be because it is too dull or you need a different type of implement.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorraine404945

I said the knife is no good.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lucinda953924

I don't think we would say this in English!

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dharmesh804504

All ejemplos muu bien

7 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KRM_21

I put "the knife doesn't cut." And I got it correct. So when an object doesnt do the task its designed for can you use the verb 'servir' then?

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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It does not have to be that the object doesn't serve the purpose it was originally designed for, it can simply mean it doesn't serve the purpose you are attempting to use it for at the moment. But yes, servir has to do with its ability to serve some purpose whereas funcionar is generally used for machines and electric appliances which don't work. But if someone hands you a knife when you need a scissors, you could say El cuchillo no sirve without actually implying that there was anything wrong with the knife. Obviously if it were dull or broken in a way you could not use it at all that would also qualify.

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/proveit

Soooooooo confusing! No buien!

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TypieaXj

why do you not listen to my voice

6 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CharrierEv

What is the infinitive of the verb "sirve"

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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The infinitive is servir. It is a regular ir verb meaning to serve. In uses like this it is talking about serving a particular purpose, so it does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with the knife. It could be that it just does not serve the purpose you have at the moment. It could also mean that it is dull or has some other flaw.that means it doesn't serve the purpose it was made for either.

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/servir

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lucinda953924

I said the knife is no good - it should be credited.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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No. Servir doesn't necessarily speak to the ability of the knife to perform its basic function (as no good does), it only speaks to its ability to perform the task you are trying to perform. If you are wrapping presents you might say El cuchillo no sirve, deme las tijeras. The knife may be perfectly sharp and fine, it just does not serve the purpose (servir is, after all, the verb to serve).

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DonnaGibso4

i put the knife doesn't work which was corrected to the knife doesn't serve. Next time the knife doesn't serve was corrected to the knife doesn't work :(

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ricci564373

The fact is, in English, we would not say a knife didn't work. However, we may say that it doesn't cut, or it is no good!

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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But that's not necessarily the meaning here. And we absolutely do use work in this way.. You are doing a project trying to score cardboard. Someone gives you a knife. You try it unsuccessfully and say The knife doesn't work, hand me to razor blade. In this scenario there may be nothing wrong with the knife. It just didn't work for you on this job. It didn't "serve" the purpose. This is the meaning of servir. Of course a dull knife may not even serve the purpose it was intended for, so those meanings may be included in here as well, but not necessarily.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/spanish.waffles

how can a knife stop working i mean it can dull but then again you can sharpen it

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Paco.W

You're doing it wrong...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/williammiller1

the person that can't figure out how to use a knife must be pretty stupid

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BeaBonne

is anyone else imagining a psychopath stabbing someone to death, and the knife is too blunt to penetrate the body , so he keeps on trying to stab while screaming "el cuchillo no sirve!"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KhalonRodney

How does a knife not work?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RichardMag3
RichardMag3
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When you want to use it against someone who has a gun

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KhalonRodney

Well, you do have a point.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Potatoguy2

Well thats your fault if the knife doesn't work. :P

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/chrisbryan85

The knife is useless?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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That would be inutíl. This is more like The knife doesn't SERVE [this] pupose. (using the closest English use of serve)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aeiou03

Knives are not machines...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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If you want to say a machine doesn't work you would use the verb funcionar. That's not the meaning here. This is saying that the knife does not work for a specific purpose.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sweatersss

That's a relief...

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tanvikediamayank

apostrophes everyone

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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I had to go pretty far up to find a missing apostrophe. While I am a grammar purest for the most part, you have to remember that many of the people commenting here are using their phone. There are a couple of extra strokes to add an apostrophe so using doesnt instead of doesn't shouldn't be a big deal in this casual setting. Of course ill instead of I'll is since they are different words. Inba few years they will offer two thumb speed typing courses for virtual keyboards and we will be set.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wontlookdown

Is it weird that I imagine a thug stabbing someone, and then the victim kicking his butt, and the thug yelling: "EL CUCHILLO NO SIRVE!"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NeilMacken

Lazy bloody knife!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MicahShucks

The knife is too lazy to do any work

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Charles218008

Unless this is an electric knife; it would be better to say that it is not servicable. An ordinary knife has no working parts hence it cannot be said not to be working.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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When you talk about machinery with moving parts working or not working funcionar is generally the verb used. Servir can be used to say that something is not working in the current situation. It isn't serving the purpose at hand. Possible context

¿Tienes una hoja de afeitar? El cuchillo no sirve.

Do you have a razor blade? The knife is not working. [I ignored Duo normal tense for tense convention and used the progressive tense to sound more natural]

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Smilinsteve7256

Nobody would say that anyway in English. One would say it's not sharp enough or whatever. Machines don't work, not a single item like a knife.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lynettemcw
lynettemcw
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I have said this and similar sentences. The knife doesn't work, I need a scissors. A plastic bag won't work, I need paper. This type of working or serving a particular purpose is what Servir means. Las maquinas funcionan o no funcionan. Los otros objetos sirven o no sirven.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dagbakke

I tried "The knife is not suitable." Does that properly convey the orginal message?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pigslew
Pigslew
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"The knife is no good" didn't go, even though many of us would say that.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wssmall

I agree with plauben.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chen7cz

This is driving me crazy. Give me a huge list of translations and then ask for one that is not on the list!!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cplewcock

The knife does't serve doesn't make English!! (There's a whole series of sort of correct but mildly odd translations into English. You need a native English speaker to go through them!!)

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Katrina2015

do werk

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Conrad-O

abcya.com helps!

2 years ago