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Duolingo asks me to translate "Yo presento a los estudiantes"

I entered: "I present to the students"

It says I'm wrong, and that it should be: "I present the students" or "I introduce the students"

But wouldn't that be, "Yo presento los estudiantes" (without the "a" which I thought usally translates as "to")?

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I would suggest to edit your question to clarify whether you are asking for a translation into English or to explain why in Spanish "presento los estudiantes" is not correct. –  Nico May 3 at 21:53

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm a chilean native speaker and I disagree with Duolingo. That phrase can either mean "I'm introducing the students (to someone)" or "I'm presenting (some information) to the students"/"I'm giving a presentation to the students". When I first read the phrase I immediately thought of "I'm presenting to the students". Either answer should be correct.

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Agreed. Clearly the sentence is incomplete as it is or needs more context in order to be translated correctly. It's not the same "Presento [la nueva profesora] a los estudiantes" (Introduce) and "Presento a los estudiantes [conceptos básicos de macroeconomía]" (Present) –  deStrangis May 7 at 11:58

If you say "I present to the students" you are implying that you will show something to the students.

Example: I present to the students the new book

"Yo presento a los estudiantes" means that you are introducing each and everyone of the students.

I agree with Duolingo on this one.

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"Yo presento a los estudiantes" could also mean that you're standing in front of a class giving a presentation. As a chilean university student, that's what first comes to mind when I see the word "presentar". –  ailnlv May 6 at 3:00

In Spanish, when the direct object is a specifically referenced person, it is preceded by the preposition "a" (called the "personal a"). This word has no English translation but is important in Spanish. You also use this when referring to a pet (I can only assume that Spanish recognizes the importance of pets in our lives). Note that "specific" does not necessarily mean named.
Examine the following examples

Yo necesito médico. I need a doctor.

Yo necesito al médico Gonzales. I need Dr Gonzales.

Yo levanto la mano. I raise my hand.

Yo levanto a la muchacha. I lift the girl.

If you wanted to use your entered sentence it would need to be

Les presento a los estudiantes.

In this case you are using a prepositional phrase (a los estudiantes) to identify the indirect object (les). Literally translated (excuse the terrible literal translation) it would be "I present to them (to the students)". Using indirect objects is entirely another topic of conversation so I will leave it at that.

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