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I had to take the duoLingo "Determiners/1" test about 42 times to get it right; there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

Some examples of where I stubbed my toe:

0)"¿Quién bebe de esta taza?"

I tried: Quien bebe de este taza? Correct answer is: ¿Quién bebe de esta taza?

Is it "esta" instead of "este" because "taza" is feminine, I wondered? But that doesn't seem to be the case, because for this:

1) "Es[e,o] vaso es grande I tried: "Eso" but the correct answer is: "Ese"

2) "Esos pájaros no son negros" I tried: "These birds are not black" Correct answer is: "Those birds are not black"

I finally got through the test primarily from memorization.

Is this (or that) the actual Montezuma's revenge?

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1  
"This and these have the Ts" covers part of it... "esto and estos" are "this and that"... not sure how much that helps :) – Flimzy Apr 26 '14 at 19:02
    
Did you consult a dictionary? Of course you need memorization: you cannot just guess. Why did you think that esos could be translated as these? You don't need a rule of thumb. You just need to learn or look up those words in a dictionary. – c.p. Apr 29 '14 at 20:35
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You were right on the first one Is it "esta" instead of "este" because "taza" is feminine But eso is not the feminine of esa, but ese is.

Eso is a pronoun not an article, you can't use it to describe the place of a something, eso is "the" something.

Ex:

  • Échale eso a la carne. (Put that on the meat.)

And for ese could be something like :

  • Échale ese condimento a la carne. (Put that seasoner on the meat.)

But the thing is that eses doesn't exist and you will have to use esos for the plural form, so is something like this:

Esa - that (article feminine)
Ésa - that (pronoun feminine)
Esta - that (article feminine)
Ésta - that (pronoun feminine)
Esas - Those (article feminine plural)
Ésas - Those (pronoun feminine plural)
Estas - These (article feminine plural)
Éstas - These (pronoun feminine plural)

Ese - that (article masculine)
Ése/Eso - that (pronoun masculine/neutral)
Este - this (article masculine)
Éste/Esto - this (pronoun masculine/Neutral)
Esos - those (article masculine plural)
Ésos - those (pronoun masculine plural)
Estos - these (article masculine plural)
Éstos - these (pronoun masculine plural)

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3  
Eso and esto are not masculine. They are neuter pronouns, never articles, and never have accent. The masculine pronoun for that is ése. The masculine article and pronoun for this are este and éste. – rsanchez Apr 26 '14 at 20:14
    
Are the forms with "tilde" (éste, ése etc.) still mandatory? I heard that one can now use the forms without "tilde" as pronouns. – Alfonso Villén May 4 '14 at 20:53
    
@AlfonsoVillén La tilde ya no es obligatoria, pero se ve mejor :-) Puedes verlo este enlace rae.es/consultas/… – DGaleano Apr 22 at 13:27

Este and Esta are used, when referring to nearby object, depending on the gender of that object.

Quien bebe de esta taza?

can never be "esto" because taza is feminine (la taza).

Now, when you say "These birds are not black" you are referring to birds that are near. But in your example you have to translate:

Esos pájaros no son negros.

which corresponds to birds, that are not that close - "those birds".


With the second example:

Ese vaso es grande.

Ese is correct here, because vaso is masculine (el vaso). Eso is neuter and is normally used when the object was already mentioned, or when the gender cannot be determined or when describing an action. Like here:

Tengo que llamar a mis padres. No olvides eso
I have to call my parents. Don't forget that.

Has hecho un lío. No me gusta eso.
You have done a mess. I don't like this.

Just try and remember that este/esta/esto/estos/estas are used for close objects and ese/eso/esa/esos/esas for distant ones.

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1  
Tengo que llamar a mis padres. No olvides eso. Also, you are mising este from your enumeration. – rsanchez Apr 29 '14 at 20:41
    
@rsanchez Thanks for your corrections! I edited the post accordingly. – Nat Naydenova Apr 29 '14 at 21:12

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