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Is "No tengo sueño" really both "I have no dream" and "I am not tired" (two completely different thoughts)?

On Duolingo, I supplied the first as the translation, and it was judged to be correct, but "Another correct solution" was the latter.

My translation puts me in mind of an Anti-Martin Luther King, Jr. type of character, whereas the "alternate rendering" is more like something Keith Richards would say (back in the day, anyway)...???

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"No tengo sueño" means "I'm not sleepy". I can't think of any half-way plausible situation in which it would mean something else. The noun sueño, when used without a preceding article, means "sleepiness." So "No tengo sueño" means, literally, "I have no sleepiness." To say "I don't have a dream" one would say something like "No tengo un sueño/anhelo [alguno]", or "No tengo ningún sueño/anhelo". –  kjo Aug 13 at 17:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

You'll need to modify it slightly for it to be interpreted as a dream rather than sleepiness.

There are two ways to do this. Like asdf says, you can throw sueño in the plural, or you can add an article or similar in front of sueño: "No tengo [ un | ningún ] sueño".

This works because when sueño means sleepiness, it is uncountable and doesn't normally allow for non-singular forms or combining with most determiners. Sueño meaning dream is countable, however, allowing full use of determiners and number.

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"No tengo sueño" does not sound like "I have no dream" (You know, the Anti-Martin Luther King that you say), whereas "No tengo sueños" does.

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No tengo sueño only means, I'm not sleepy. If you want to speak about dreams, you can say "No tengo sueños" or "Yo no sueño". this can be applied in the Anti-Martin Luther King and dreams during sleep context.

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