Lost In Translation: 45 Weird Things Duolingo Thinks We Need To Know How To Say

By Jana I

If you ever learned a foreign language in the last ten years, you’ve probably heard of the app Duolingo. It is extremely well-known in the language-learning community. It’s easy to use, and it offers a wide variety of learning options, like vocabulary, reading, reading comprehension, grammar, listening, etc.

However, it is also popular due to its unconventional sentence examples and passive-aggressive push notifications that remind you not to forget your daily entry and daily practice. Regardless of the oddities, the app is popular for a reason, and millions of people use it. Whether you’re a regular user, just starting out, or are curious about the app, these funny Duolingo translation prompts are sure to amuse everyone.

Do you have any favorite Duolingo “fails”?


We loved and laughed about this one for a good few minutes. A lot of people are afraid of spiders for one reason or the other. But if that’s you, just imagine a spider coming home from a stressful day at work, and just crying into his pillow.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Now are you afraid of them? We certainly aren’t. They are, according to Duolingo, going through a lot of turmoil in their lives right now. Spiders are just like us; flawed, emotional wrecks waiting for their mother to comfort them…

It’s the Knife’s Fault

Duolingo is out here giving “how to get away with murder” tips. This is criminal! You can be arrested for conspiring with the perpetrator of the crime. Be careful out there. As you might have guessed, the next picture is disturbing.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Why on earth did the creators of language learning content think this is the sentence anyone would need to know? We imagine this sentence would be used in the police station while the officers interrogate a suspect. And that’s a stretch.


What makes two people soulmates, you ask? Well, Plato believed we are all born with one of our halves missing, and what we should strive for is finding that other half and reaching the ultimate form of love. This concept is otherwise known as “Platonic love.”

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

We show our love by sharing our favorite food. If we love you, we would share all the pasta, croissants, cheeses, and fruits with you until the end of time. That is real affection, baby; true love, like no other!

God’s Favorite

Some people are just born and predefined to be successful and have an easy life. They are what we call God’s favorite. Everything seems to go seamlessly with them in their everyday lives. It’s all so simple and easygoing for those lucky few.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

This person has an interesting girlfriend and a beautiful cat, so, in our eyes, they have it all! From our perspective, their life couldn’t get any better. Maybe winning the lottery or something. So far, so good. Keep it up, champ!

My Dear Snake

The thing with Duolingo is that it makes you say the craziest things and learn sentences you will never need. On the upside, it’s super meme-worthy. At this point, we think they are doing it on purpose, just to get people talking.

Image source: MichaelaOkla/Twitter

“My snake eats your cakes” — this is a fine example of a sentence you will never need to use when speaking Italian. Firstly, snakes are not very common pets, and secondly, they don’t eat cakes. But, at least you’ll learn the vocabulary… right?


We mentioned how threatening and passive-aggressive the Duolingo owl gets when you skip a day, let alone a few days of practice. It sends all kinds of notifications and alerts. Is it concerned and wants you to study more, or is there a more sinister reason?

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

This sentence sounds threatening. The sentence seems open-ended, and we could imagine the rest going like this: “and I will make you pay for missing out on your daily Duolingo task.” We are kidding! The sweet owl would never! Hopefully…

Heilige Kartoffel

Duolingo is not wrong here. Potatoes are the best food ever! You can boil, bake, mash, or fry them. Whatever floats your boat, friend, potatoes will be the perfect ingredient in whatever recipe you choose. Though it seems like Duolingo is a bit too obsessed…

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

This language-learning app refers to it as the holy potato. This will make one magic soup, that’s for sure. Onions and garlic are a must, too. They make each dish worthwhile. Look at Duolingo doubling as a culinary app! How helpful.

Some Chicken Business

Now, this app is living in the world of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. If you haven’t read it, it’s a satire that talks about people and society from an animal’s perspective. It’s really insightful, though we don’t remember this plotline.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

A chicken became a Prime Minister, according to Duolingo, and it was apparently a great leader. This sentence is something you might swear was from Animal Farm, but you’d be so wrong. Duolingo is the new George Orwell, it seems.

The Existential Questions

Sometimes, the app makes you think deeply. About your life, your perspectives, your existence… It’s somewhat intelligent! However, in attempts to do that, it becomes absurd and Kafkaesque. You know, Kafka, the man that wrote about a man that woke up as a cockroach one day? Yeah, that guy.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

If you wonder where are all the literary references coming from, we apologize! It’s too good to pass up such an opportunity when Duolingo gives us so much inspiration. The question remains: are we studying the fish, or is the fish studying us?

What Did You Just Say?!

Once someone offends a cat, our guards are up, and we are ready to throw hands! How dare you utter something like that?! Cats are amazing, fascinating creatures! Of course, they play the piano. What do you mean they can’t?

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Look at this precious feline; it is so talented! It’s happy to show you its skill, and you underestimate it just like that! You should be embarrassed of yourself! “A cat does not play piano.” Can you believe what that owl said?

That’s Kind of Racist

Okay, maybe the picture and the sentence are not necessarily racist, but they are definitely stereotyping. Stereotypes are not something we support, but we have to admit they are something we all have come across at one point or another.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

“I was kicked out by my Italian mother because I did not eat enough pasta” is a very funny sentence. It doesn’t take much thought to realize how deeply stereotypical it is. Still, it’s a relatively harmless sentence in the scheme of things. You got away with this one, Duolingo.

This Is The Stuff of Nightmares

If you want some nightmarish images to keep you up at night, then we suggest installing Duolingo and reading the sentences it makes. They range from hilarious, to absurd, to terrifying, to threatening, and/or gory. This one, for instance, is a good example of that:

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

“There is a hand coming out of the toilet,” what the heck is that supposed to be, Duo? This is a language-learning app, not an excerpt from Stephen King’s newest book! Does this hand help you do the business, or tickle you? We are asking for a friend…

Do You Understand?!

Whenever someone asks you, “do you understand,” it is usually quite uncomfortable, sometimes even threatening, or it is said in a scolding or derogatory manner. There are a few exceptions, of course, but this one is not one of them.

Image source: graemedouglas/Twitter

Everything about this picture is iconic. From the caption of the Twitter user, to Duolingo’s sentence, and the sassy character pictured; all of it is perfection. This aggressive refrigerator vendor wants to make sure you understand what s/he’s selling. It makes us wonder if “refrigerator” is code for something else…

Never Ignore the Owl

The main rule of Duolingo is: treat it like your partner. Never ignore it, always pay attention to what it’s saying, interact with it daily, and make sure to spend some quality time with it, or else, it will turn on you and make you regret it.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

After a few days of not using the app, it says, “Duo used to love me.” That is how quickly you can lose a girlfriend or boyfriend if you’re not careful! Please, treat the owl nicely. Don’t be irresponsible, give it some love and care…

Question As Old As Time

With tastes, both sensory and emotional, there is no point in arguing about them. Everyone has their different preferences, something they love, and something they hate. Still, it seems like some questions are worth asking. Like this one from Duolingo:

Image source: mothcub_/Twitter

Who is more attractive, Snoopy or Yoda? Please answer us. We are voting for Yoda. He is cute as heck, and he resembles a human much more than Snoopy, so that plays a big role in this. Duolingo, what is your exact issue, friend? These questions are getting out of hand…

Uncle and Auntie Moon

Moon plays a very significant role in various traditions and cultures. For example, the Chinese have a festival dedicated to the moon, called The Mid-Autumn Festival, or The Moon Festival. And all over the world, the myths and legends are endless…

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Tell us why Duolingo brags about the Moon being its uncle?! What a bold statement! The caption to this picture is even better. One more sentence that you can’t use in your everyday conversations, and it certainly shouldn’t be a priority when learning a new language.

Small Head Syndrome

People tend to judge others solely based on their looks. That is nothing new. What we should all strive to do is refrain from those stereotypes as much as we can. We should stop ourselves mid-thought and become better people than that.

Image source: svetashko/Twitter

This one made us burst out laughing. Why would someone’s small head make anyone scared?! Maybe if it’s an abnormally small head, like a head of a baby on an adult man’s body, but come on, Duo… Don’t be scared of someone just because they are a bit different.

Onion Threats

Duolingo strikes again! It wants to let you know it has an onion and is not afraid to use it. What can one do with an onion other than make you cry?! Well, we’re guessing that would be enough in this day and age. Attack them with their own melancholy!

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Perhaps we are being too dramatic, and Duolingo just wants to teach us all how to properly describe in Spanish what we are doing while cooking lunch. But, maybe, just maybe, it is teaching us how to sound threatening in Spanish…

Again With the Cheese!

Duolingo has something with that cheese, man! We are convinced. So, at first, it is saying cheese is the best thing ever and should be shared, then, it’s bashing that cheese and calling it old! What happened here? Is someone bitter after a breakup?

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Also, this is highly problematic! Of course, age is important! You can’t engage in any activities with an underage person! Duolingo, come on friend, we don’t want to report you to the authorities, but you are leaving us with no other choice!


Just as we gave this app the benefit of the doubt, it strikes us with this next sentence. Now, we are pretty sure we have to alert the police about Duolingo’s actions and vague intentions! Read this translation prompt, and tell us if we’re overreacting.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

And what is that supposed to mean?! Is it a case of kidnapping? What kind of sentences is this language-learning app hoping to teach its students? We are at a loss for words. We find it so utterly entertaining, yet a bit disturbing as well!

The Owl is a Bully

The days of cruel bullying are, thankfully, long gone. However, with the uproar of social media and young children entering the internet sphere early on, cyberbullying is at an all-time rise. Duolingo, believe it or not, is a part of it.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Imagine how they must’ve felt when they read this hurtful sentence. We get it, the app wants to teach them how to use verbs of emotion, but why not replace “hate” with “love”? It would be so much better and way more applicable!


We enjoy scouring this Twitter page, and when we stumbled upon this little gem, we had to share it! Keep in mind, we are not spreading or supporting any polarizing ideological and political statements. We are just having fun here!

Image source: BexSaltsman/Twitter

According to this Duolingo user, these sentences were back to back. This app is (un)intentionally being funny! At least, we hope it is! After all of those threatening and disturbing messages, we can ease up and have a good laugh!

Les Vaches

Being a teacher is not an easy job. They’re responsible for the youth; the future. You are their tutor, not only in the subject you teach but in life as well. Still, kids and teenagers can be a real pain! So, we don’t blame the teachers that lose their cool from time to time.

Image source: BinglesP/Twitter

Imagine if your teacher told you that. It’s such a roast, such a hit to the ego… We can’t even imagine recovering from that. Even if the teacher thinks so, they should never express it in front of their students. That’s just not okay.

Anxious Thoughts

Dealing with anxiety is difficult. You can get paranoid all of a sudden, and believe that you are annoying anyone and everyone around you. That’s why we deeply resonate with the sentence Duolingo offered in this post. It’s useful, for a change.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

The caption is on point here, and when paired with the sentence, we feel understood. When we see something like this, we almost forget the atrocities the app says from time to time. Good job, Duolingo, you actually made a useful sentence!


The cheese obsession is real! Well, we relate to it, for sure. We love cheese, too. It doesn’t matter whether it’s melted, hard, grated, or in slices. Put it in a sandwich, on top of pasta, on potatoes, in an omelet… and yum, yum. It’s so good.

Image source: lrobbo89/Twitter

However, we must be careful with our dairy intake. It’s not good for your skin or digestion; in excessive quantities, anyway. Dear Duolingo owl, please try to be aware of the message you send to your influential users! No more cheese propaganda. We’ve had enough!

Looks or Personality?

If it comes to choosing, which one would you opt for: good looks, or good personality? We would always go for personality, to be frank. Of course, good looks are so important as well, but nothing beats a considerate, empathetic, generous partner.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Duolingo is sending some good messages, now. We are so proud of it! “He is handsome, but not a good person.” Well, thank you, Duolingo. Your honesty is much appreciated. We hope this user took this message seriously and made a good decision.

Compliments Will Get You Far

If you’ve read our articles, you already know we have a soft spot for cats, so, anything related to them or mentioning them in a good way is a win in our eyes. That’s why we are loving this entry! Hang onto your seats, because this one is a winner in our book.

Image source: sauramaia/Twitter

Now, we are not sure what Duolingo meant by “profile picture.” As far as we are aware, our cat doesn’t have Tinder, Twitter, or anything like that. So, tell us why is this owl hitting on our cat?! That is purely unacceptable! We appreciate the compliments, though.


We love this new internet word: chonk, and chonky. Essentially, it means chunky, but it’s mostly used for animals. If a cat is overweight and has a very round belly, we say it’s chonky, rather than chunky. It just sounds nicer, and cuter.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

“My cat is chonky” is absolutely the right answer and we are not accepting any other option. We appreciate this language-learning app user. Although it’s ultimately adorable seeing a chonky animal, keep in mind it might not be the healthiest. Please take care of your pets!

Very Important Information (VII)

How do you usually greet your friends? We assume with a “hi,” or “hello.” Or, depending on the culture, you might hug or kiss them on the cheek. Whatever the case might be, we doubt you tell them about your wardrobe and undergarments.

Image source: rh_aitken/Twitter

We understand if this comes up later in the conversation; maybe it’s an inside joke only they understand. But, come on, Duolingo, we are sure there are better ways to learn vocabulary about clothes than this! This is just absurd. Funny, yes, but silly.

The Passive Aggression Ensues

Just when we thought the owl had stopped being passive-aggressive, we were proven wrong. The Duolingo owl wants to let you know that a cat learned English 4 years ago, and yet, you, you have the nerve to not fulfill your daily task! How embarrassing.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

How can you let your feline friends be smarter and more successful than you?! Well, truth be told, cats are like mini Gods, and they act as ones. This is just another way of showing their superiority. They get 100 bonus points if they are chonky cats! Just sayin’.

No Drinking During Work Hours

We are surprised by how many times Duolingo was right so far! We are used to it being chaotic and giving silly ideas to impressionable learners, however, we were proven wrong! Likewise, we are super proud that Duolingo came around.

Image source: maggiehendricks/Twitter

Indeed, we do not visit drunk doctors! This is some common sense that the Duolingo owl decided to share with us, and we appreciate it. What else can we say? It’s insightful, super intelligent, and above all, an important message to convey.

Oh No

It’s always sad when someone passes away. They often leave families and friends behind, and if they don’t, that makes their death and life even sadder. Life is a cycle, and we should all try to make it as fulfilling as possible. For ourselves and others.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

It’s a rare sight for someone who passed away to have a Duolingo account, or even the will to learn a new language. Alas, you learn new things every day! The green owl probably believes in the afterlife, or else it wouldn’t put out these kinds of sentences.

Keepin’ it Real

Sentences like this are the reason why we love this freaking owl so much. Yes, it stresses people out occasionally. It’s annoying and high maintenance, but it’s funny, that’s what matters most. At this point, we are certain the developers are doing it intentionally!

Image source: unidentifedbird/Twitter

This sentence is both sassy and funny! We are imagining a whole scene between two people, a landlord and a tenant. This one is something you can actually use. Yet, we are not sure if we’d advise you to say this to your landlord. You can get evicted, fast.

The Spider is What Now?!

We already touched upon spiders in this lovely ordeal. There is something about spiders, cheese, and Duolingo that we don’t quite comprehend yet, but we are adamant to figure out. Nonetheless, now, the owl is accusing spiders of eating carbs!

Image source: pattonoswalt/Twitter

Is that the owl’s way of saying the spider is a bit chubby or unhealthy? Well, first it accused the spider of sitting on the bed crying, now all of a sudden, the spider is eating bread. We don’t know what to think. However, we are relating to the spider more and more…

Disturbing Once Again

As soon as we say a few positive things about this hectic owl, it comes around and bites us in the bum. We forgive and forget too quickly. Look at what this crazy app has to say now, and please be warned, it’s highly disturbing!

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Hey, Duolingo, can we ask you a question: why would there be a body in a suitcase? Hm? Can you explain that little thing to us, please? We are growing more and more certain that something strange is happening behind closed doors…

That’s One Way to Put It

Duo always says interesting things. Well, yeah. That’s one way to put it. If you want to name it interesting, go ahead. We’re not going to stop you. We would rather name it something more like: hectic, chaotic, dark, haunting, and disturbing. How’s that?!

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

There are whole Twitter and Instagram accounts dedicated to this mysterious green owl and its strange ways. We can’t deny it’s intriguing in a way. But, by now, we are all positive it’s all a marketing tactics, right?! It can’t be anything else…

The Disrespect!

Do whatever you want, talk badly about anyone; we don’t care. But, don’t you dare touch or, heaven forbid, hurt an animal! They are the most precious beings on the planet. We need to protect them, love them, and care for them!

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

We would categorize this as animal abuse! Well, we are not sure what this sentence is saying, to be frank. Is it the milk from a cat, or is the milk intended for the cat to drink? Either way, it’s unforgivable! Don’t you go near that kitty!

Existential Crisis

We always wanted to know whether animals have that cognitive element that lets them ponder about their lives. Now that we think about it, it probably doesn’t happen. But, yet, we love to imagine our pets often have those thoughts.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

This picture is so cute and a perfect companion for Duolingo’s message, “Why do I exist?” There is nothing quite like a sip of existential crisis in the morning. Especially if your owner doesn’t let you go outside because there are “doggies that will eat you up” and “grandmas that want to kidnap you.”

Is It A Fun-gi?

This one makes us feel like Duo might be using some illegal substances. What else could make you say such a thing, like, “I am a mushroom”? No, you are not. You’re a whole human being, or in this case owl. You can never be a mushroom.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

Sorry if that crushed your spirits, we didn’t mean to be mean. The caption to this photo is very witty. Whoever is behind this Twitter account knows what’s up. So far, they are using only the right and appropriate internet vernacular. Go go, Duolingo Fan Page!

What an Unfortunate Turn of Events

You know that classic quote, “Luke, I am your father.” Well, now, this sneaky, cheeky owl decided to take that trend and turn it on its head. If you are not a Star Wars fan yourself, you’ll be okay with this statement. But, if you’re a die-hard fan, this one might sting a little.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

You are not the father, Darth Vader! Besides this little reference, it reminds us of Latin-American telenovelas, where the paternity of a child is never fully disclosed or known, so there is this whole ordeal. “Yo soy tu madre” moments, and so on.

Downloading Now

This next picture is our inevitable future. We are convinced that one day, AI will rule the world. Allegedly. Don’t sue us, but, the robots and the growth of technology is scaring us to pieces. These humanoids are insanely intelligent.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

That being said, one day in the future, we believe that humans will be like a combination of humans today and the AI robots. Cyborgs, if you will. Therefore, our descendants will download the newest software updates from the internet. Isn’t that crazy to think about?!

Sushi, Hihi

There are some people around the world that love to eat food (animals) that are still alive. We can’t comprehend that, but then again, it’s a cultural thing, we presume. We don’t want to be offensive or anything; it’s just disgusting in our opinion.

Image source: SimoneReadWebb/Twitter

“The thing that is in the pot is still moving.” If that is not the most disturbing sentence you’ve heard all year, we don’t know what is. We are hoping that it is actual food, and not something more sinister. What did the green owl Duo have in mind?

Possessive, But Cute

When we first read this sentence we thought to ourselves: wow, okay, the app is passionate, possessive, and overly protective, but nonetheless cute and romantic. And then we realized there is probably something wrong with us romanticizing these types of relationships.

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

If you don’t know what the caption “when Joe from You teaches you Italian,” consider yourself lucky and healthy. Because, apparently, our idea of love got seriously twisted because of that show. We said “aww cute” for this post. Need we say more?

You Got Reck’d

Sometimes, Duolingo sees its opportunity and just runs with it. It doesn’t care about the consequences, as long as the word gets out. This is one of the funniest, juiciest posts we’ve seen so far. We saved the best for last. Take a look:

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

You tell him, Duo, you tell him what you really mean! We realized that Duo is just like a mean girl in high school. It’s a bully, it has dark humor, a questionable relation to illegal substances, and a mysterious past. How eerie.

Cinnamon Rolls to the Rescue

Cinnamon rolls are the best sweet, delicious dessert that ever landed on our taste receptors. We love it. Everything about it is perfect: the flavor, the texture, the size. It truly is yummy goodness. Also, it helps you deal with haters! How, you ask?!

Image source: s**tduosays/Twitter

So, next time a high school bully (khm khm, Duo, khm khm) bothers you in the hallway, just say: I do not hear you since I have cinnamon rolls in my ears. Rest assured, they’ll be so confused, they’ll never bother you anymore. You’re welcome.