Siempre - placement before or after the verb

InezA1Kwiziq community member

Siempre - placement before or after the verb

Translating Do you always eat in the Cafeteria when there are hamburgers?   

I would put ¿Siempre comes en la Cafetería cuando hay hamburguesas? 

Duolingo puts correct answer as: ¿Tú comes siempre en la Cafetería cuando hay hamburguesas?

Which is correct or are they both correct? 

Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Inez

They are both correct - you can place "siempre" before or after. 

Saludos

JohnC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hola Inez,

There is a rule that siempre goes before the verb, or at the beginning or the end of the sentence. Putting it before the verb is to emphasise the always of the action / verb, and often followed by a noun e.g. Siempre come hamburguesas. 

In this case siempre is referring to how often the person may eat in the cafetería. I think Inma would need to comment on whether it can appear after the verb and not at the end of the sentence. It may be a flexibility allowed for situations like this and / or it may be normal in other Spanish speaking countries. My sense is that if it were put at the end of the sentence, it would capture that the sentence is about how often the person eats in the restaurant, rather than how often they eat hamburgers. At least that is how I am reading it.

A difficulty with DuoLingo [in my own experience] is that it is a translation site rather than a learning programme, so it can offer good translations for individual words and some common expressions, but it tends to string separate words together which individually translate in a certain way, but the meaning, conjugation and word order can be inaccurate, or limited to formal use. I suspect that there is bias toward Latin American Spanish, but they do often give multiple alternatives as to where the usage happens.

I'm sure Inma may comment on the usage of siempre as above.

Saludos

John

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Inez and John

As John said, placing "siempre" in front of the verb would give more emphasis to that bit of information, so the speaker would want to highlight the "always":

¿Siempre comes en la cafetería cuando hay hamburguesas? 

You can also place it right after the verb, or after cafetería:

 ¿Comes siempre en la cafetería cuando hay hamburguesas? 

 ¿Comes en la cafetería siempre cuando hay hamburguesas? 

So, in Spanish there is a lot of flexibility. In these two last sentences there is no specific emphasis on the frequency. 

If we place "siempre" right at the very end of the sentence, which  is also permitted:

 ¿Comes en la cafetería cuando hay hamburguesas siempre

In my opinion, this doesn't give any other meaning/nuance to this sentence, but "siempre" sounds somehow a bit "misplaced", because "siempre" is connected to the action of "comer" and it is far away from it, so this would be, I think, the less common structure for this sentence. 

Whatever the option/order, the meaning of the sentence will always be the same; it is about asking how often someone eats in a cafe when they serve burgers. 

When you say this, John:

"My sense is that if it were put at the end of the sentence, it would capture that the sentence is about how often the person eats in the restaurant, rather than how often they eat hamburgers. At least that is how I am reading it."

 - I can't really see that the focus here would be "how often the person eats in that specific cafe" because this is all about eating in the cafe "when there are burgers". 

Saludos

Inma

JohnC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thanks Inma,

That’s really clear, I can see where I was misreading the emphasis on the frequency. Saludos John

Siempre - placement before or after the verb

Translating Do you always eat in the Cafeteria when there are hamburgers?   

I would put ¿Siempre comes en la Cafetería cuando hay hamburguesas? 

Duolingo puts correct answer as: ¿Tú comes siempre en la Cafetería cuando hay hamburguesas?

Which is correct or are they both correct? 

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your Spanish level for FREE

Test your Spanish to the CEFR standard

Find your Spanish level
I'll be right with you...