"Ele tem os bolsos vazios."

Translation:He has empty pockets.

October 22, 2013

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MarkosGoulet

Why does the Portuguese sentence has the article "os", but the English translation doesn't? I know Portuguese uses articles more often, but they never used them before where you wouldn't find them in English. This seems very inconsistent.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/djeidot

Blame it on the English language... I'm no English native speaker so don't know if I can explain it correctly but here goes... What you see in English is the plural of "He has an empty pocket". Since the preposition "a/an" doesn't have a plural in English it becomes "He has empty pockets".

Now, if you translate the sentence from Portuguese literally, it gives "He has the empty pockets". In singular form, "He has the empty pocket". Nobody says this in English, an English speaker would easily see the "the" there is weird, the "a/an" would be much better there. So, "He has an empty pocket". In plural form, "He has empty pockets".

Now there is the matter of why "os" (meaning "the") is used in Portuguese. The general meaning of the sentence is that the man's pockets are empty. ("His pockets are empty" would be a more accurate translation, actually). Having said that, there are three alternatives:

  • "Ele tem (uns) bolsos vazios" - this is the direct translation of the English sentence. But in Portuguese, this doesn't mean the pockets of the trousers he's wearing are empty, it just means that he has some empty pockets available somewhere.
  • "Ele tem (os) seus bolsos vazios" - This is correct. But "seus" ("his") is redundant, we already have "ele tem" ("he has"), so we already know the pockets are his.
  • "Ele tem os bolsos vazios" - This is the same as "Ele tem os seus bolsos vazios" but "seus" was removed because it is redundant. "Seus" is not there but it's implied because of "ele tem". This is the one that actually means his pockets are empty.
May 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/aristotle140

he has the empty pockets could possibly be used in a natural way in english

November 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/flemmilu

yes! "THAT guy has the full pockets; HE has the empty pockets"

April 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/KTKee-EnglishEng

I am a native speaker but you explained it better than I could!

May 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/chartsman

How come nobody says this in English? If you're referring to specific pockets, you could use "the empty pockets". It sounds less natural than without the article but is not incorrect for sure.

November 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/lesliegirl

I was confused and thought that the word "bolsos" was still referring to the word "bags" and so I got it wrong. How would I have known that it meant pockets?

January 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ThisIsAFish

because "bag" is "bolsa"

January 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lesliegirl

Oh, thank you. I didn't realize there was a difference. Now I see.

January 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ThisIsAFish

Yeah they're easy to mix up

January 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DREDWARD

I think of the A as in bAg, and O as in pOcket to distinguish between them! :)

January 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Crazy-oladja

why "he has the empty pockets" is not right?

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/djeidot

Hi Crazy-oladja, see my answer above.

May 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/wxfrog
  • 1069

OK, so how does someone say "He has the empty pockets" In Portuguese?

March 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/washingtonian_tours

Isn't there a difference between "os" and "seus"?

March 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/djeidot

Hi washingtonian_tours, see my answer above.

May 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KTKee-EnglishEng

Disallowing the empty pockets is harsh.

March 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/debreed

i agree. I didn't want to put the "the" in, but did because of the "os", then they disallow it. This is a long lesson and I want to finish it!

March 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/KTKee-EnglishEng

Always remember to buy a heart before every lesson.

March 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Lexflex

"he has the empty pockets" sounds like a disease. Or it could be a case like this:

'Did he get the empty pockets I asked for?' 'Yes, he did!' 'eeeexchellent!'

April 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/djeidot

"His pockets are empty" would be the most accurate translation in terms of meaning. See my answer to MarcosGoulet above.

May 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/clintonoshea

There doesn't seem to be any consistency as to whether the definite article is used or not. Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn't. Sometimes Duolingo requires it; sometimes it doesn't.

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/djeidot

This time the article is required because the possessive adjective is not there. See my answer above.

May 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MeiaSala

Is this a natural way to intonate "vazios", or said with an accent?

March 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/GrannySlasher

Once again, reading through the comments has not enlightened me as to why something is the case that's being talking about there. Why is "os" in the sentence and if I wanted to say "he has the empty pockets", how would I say it?

September 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Scutigera

Didja miss djeidot's answer from 4 years ago? For me it is the second comment, in answer to the first.

September 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/GrannySlasher

Yes, I saw the comment and I still want to know how I would say "he has the empty pockets".

September 2, 2018
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