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I'm doing Duolingo Spanish. The other day, I had the sentence

We are not doing it

To which I gave the answer

No la hacemos

This was marked wrong, with the correct solution of

No lo hacemos

I admit I'm not real clear on the lo, le, la difference (which Duolingo never explains), even after looking at a couple explanations online.

So, is la incorrect here (and why?), or is Duolingo (for rejecting it; they usually take most reasonable translations)?

lo vs la

  • Your translation was actually wrong because you don't know the gender of the object, and as @guifa said, you should use "la" ONLY when you have the certainty that the word is female. – ESL Dec 31 '14 at 20:04
  • But, in certain contexts (not in the given) could be ok. – ESL Dec 31 '14 at 20:05
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La could work, if what you're doing is something feminine (like la tarea).

Lo is used when what you're doing is masculine (like el trabajo).

If what you're doing has no gender because it's a verb or can't be reduced to some noun (like ir de compras) you use the other lo. It's neuter, even though it looks identical.

In this case, the neuter lo is the best/most common use, but masculine lo or feminine la are both perfectly grammatical acceptable.

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  • +1 for mentioning the distinction between masculine and neuter. great answer overall, very concise. – clinch Dec 26 '14 at 21:28
  • Guifa's answer is perfect, but I'd prefer to translate it to No lo estamos haciendo. – Replica Dec 30 '14 at 17:03
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We are not doing it.

To answer the question we have to understand the real meaning rather that just look word by word. I see it as a bunch of people and the speaker resisting to do something.

No lo hacemos. No la hacemos.

This means "We don't do that". Which is not quite the same message you want in the original sentence.lo/la has been explained by @guifa

No lo haremos. No la haremos.

This means "We won't do that" or "We are not doing it." Which is the closer meaning I get to the original sentence. //I know "haremos" implies future it is the closest to the original meaning

-Spanish native.

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  • 2
    Honestly I wouldn't advise you to use Duolingo too long because these translation oriented exercises. My advise would be to try out SharedTalk so you can chat with natives text and voice and understand something as alive and flexible as a language. "No la hacemos" also means "We are not gonna make it" (i.e. it is 4.55pm and we have to buy and finish dinner by 5pm) //Peruvian idiomatic expression, not sure if valid elsewhere though. – corlaez Dec 30 '14 at 18:05

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