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My son is doing his Spanish homework and he has to answer this question. Having a hard time trying to figure out what it means. Anyone know'

  • Posted Jan 28, 2009
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12 Answers

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It is asking for a description. "What are elephants like'"

Son grandes, son de color gris, tienen trompas, etc.

  • Jan 28, 2009
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Could you specify more your question?
If you ask for the meaning of ¿"Como son los elefantes"? the answer is "How the elephants are"? And it seems he should make a free description about the elephants.
Is this what need to know?
Regards,
Fran.

  • Jan 28, 2009
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Strictly speaking, without the accent, the question is different. Look at this dialog:

  • The tiger is a wild animal.
  • LIke the elephants (are)?

The second question is (the order is a bit unusual, but not impossible):

¿Como son los elefantes'

If you want to ask "How are elephants'" (or "What are elephants like'), you need to write it with an accent:

¿Cómo son los elefantes'

Of course I understand what you mean, but for a tiny fraction of a second, my brain interprets your question as "Like the elephants are'", and then, I realise you're not writing correctly, and I chose the most logical interpretation. In any case, both sentences are read differently.

People think that this is unnecessary and silly, until they come across a sentence in Spanish with a real "como" without an accent, and they can't make a sense out of it, because they are trying to translated as if it was a "cómo".

  • Jan 28, 2009
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Francisco, "How are the elephants" translates to "Cómo están los elefantes." "Cómo son los elefantes," on the other hand, means what you have said, namely, what are they like? With the verb "to be," we use the word "how" to describe states and conditions, and use "what" to describe characteristics.

  • Jan 28, 2009
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Thank you. It sure helped.Anne

James Santiago said:

It is asking for a description. "What are elephants like'"Son grandes, son de color gris, tienen trompas, etc.

>

  • Jan 29, 2009
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Oh Yes!!! James Santiago you are right.
So Ann Please Apologize me for not noticing before.

  • Jan 29, 2009
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Ann: Do follow James Santiago´s information about this question cause he is totally right.
Im sorry for not noticing before.

  • Jan 29, 2009
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You are right Lazarus 1907. It was my mistake.

  • Jan 29, 2009
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No problem, Francisco. Your post was basically correct about the meaning. I was just making a little correction to your English.

We need more native Spanish speakers here, so please post more! We're all here to learn.

  • Jan 29, 2009
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Yeah, and be patient with us. James and I (I think I speak for the two of us) hate making mistakes ourselves, and we can't help telling others about them sometimes.

  • Jan 29, 2009
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But Lazarus! May I share with Francisco that your reply is the reason why we humbly come here! We are ever so hopeful that people such as you, James, others and hopefully Francisco too will correct our mistakes.

By the way, I noticed the missing accent, having just followed a thread on the subject. However, I did not think far enough ahead to realize that the sentence would have meaning even without the accent....just a different one. So you see how much we learn? or are made aware of if we happen to already know but just not be thinking? It is really wonderful!

@Francisco. Welcome!!

@Anne, perhaps we will see your son here in the forum occasionally?

lazarus1907 said:

Yeah, and be patient with us. James and I (I think I speak for the two of us) hate making mistakes ourselves, and we can't help telling others about them sometimes.

>

  • Jan 29, 2009
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Thanks to all of you who answered this! It helped tremendously! Fifth grade spanish is not so easy~
Anne

  • Jan 30, 2009
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