An answer discussing poorly-translated childrens' books cited this example:

Skimming through the print story, there's lots of stuff that would need reworking if I were reading it out loud to a child. Then a super obvious blooper jumps off the page -- boing! -- in some wolf dialogue:

¿Por qué estas caminando en el bosque tan sola? ¿A dónde estás yendo?"

This makes me cringe. It should be ¿Adónde vas?

I don't fully understand the rationale here. Why would "vas" be strongly preferred over "estás yendo" in this case?

  • There might be as much rationale as when choosing "fueras" over "fueses". IT may be more pleasant to the ear in some regions. Or, it could have to do with some obscure connotations about the process of going somewhere vs just the intention of getting there. I don't think there's a grammar rule that would make you pick one over the other.
    – Diego
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 17:14
  • 3
    ¿A dónde estás yendo? is familiarly aggressive: "Where do you think you're going?" Like Dad would have said if I was leaving without permission back un the day.
    – Conrado
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 2:54
  • This is a rule of the Spanish language that I learned way back. I don't recall a justification having been provided. Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 6:12
  • 1
    @Conrado I would translate your sentence as "A dónde te crees que vas?". About the question: I agree that both are grammatically correct but that people use almost exclusively "a dónde vas?", probably because it is such a common sentence that it has naturally evolved into the shorter version.
    – wimi
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 7:48
  • It might be worthwhile to cite the original text to see what was being translated. "Where are you going" is normally translated "adonde vas". The English present progressive is often seen as common usage for the simple present. Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


The post you linked to was mine.

When I first studied the Spanish language, there was a lesson in my book about the progressive tense, and it stated very clearly that "ir" was an exception, in that "estar yendo" is almost never used. There were even exercises about this.

As time went on and I became more and Spanish gradually became my dominant language (for a period of my life), I noticed that indeed, in practice, I almost never heard ir conjugated as a progressive tense.

Here is some documentation: https://www.realfastspanish.com/grammar/spanish-present-progressive.

I can add that for the Caperucita example, if one is bothered by the rhythm of "¿Adónde vas?", there are some other options, that would use up more syllables, for example

  • ¿Adónde vas caminando?

  • ¿Adónde vas tan deprisa?


Vas would be strongly preferred over estás yendo in a regular conversation as it's a lot easier and shorter to pronounce, even more so when trying to talk quickly.

However, in this context it's actually a lot more fitting to use estás yendo as it sounds a lot more formal than vas (in those exact forms) and hence it reduces most of the perceived danger the big bad wolf represents for Little Red Riding Hood.

  • assumable danger? Hm. The danger the Big Bad Wolf represents for Little Red Riding Hood.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 23:51

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