Ok, I asked my "native speaker" in Italy and here's what she had to say about la tavola v. il tavolo. I hope this helps... La tavola is the "big table where they eat" or the place where meals are eaten, while il tavalo relates to the table as simply a piece furniture. Tavola is also used in most idioms, such as I can set the table - Io posso apparecchiare la tavola. Here's a good blog post too that I found, just before she answered back: http://blogs.transparent.com/italian/tavolo-or-tavola/
In that case, should it not be tavolo here because it refers to the physical aspects of the table
Perché? Si sta guardando una tavola. È ben formata. Che bella! Vuoi riservare bella per le donne? :-)
I agree, it seems that since we are describing the shape of the furniture, we should refer to it as "il tavolo," not "la tavola."
jean -- that was my thought too. I always thought that when talking about the table as a piece of furniture, big or small, it was 'tavolo' vs 'tavola' in idiomatic usage.
If it were “il tavolo” would it then be “Il tavolo ha un bello formo?” It sounds wrong, but I’m still confused about gender agreement.
gormberry: No, The phrase you're working with as far as gender goes is 'forma' - feminine, not masculine. Nouns don't change their gender to agree with some other noun. Adjectives do, but the phrase 'a beautiful form' is not an adjective.
I just added it! : ) I try to add the British-isms as I see them, so keep reporting them!
Thanks for doing so! It might seem petty but it doesnt feel nice having to do american.
I don't know anyone who would say that a table would have a pretty shape, but lovely wasn't accepted! Rage!
Angry! why is lovely not correct here and yet a few exercises ago it was an acceptable translation for bello? And we would readily say this is a lovely shape.
Bella = beautiful, lovely, handsome, nice. Buona = good, which is too generic to be a correct translation.
Okay so I thought that adjectives always came after the noun in Italian? But here it has bella (adj.) between the article and the noun (forma). I thought that was a no-no? Any explanations?
Not always. See for example http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare129a.htm
"Lovely" means exactly the same as "beautiful" and is a perfect translation for "bella" - yet DL prefers the very weak "nice". Reported yet again, 20.11.16
An English speaker would not say "the table has a nice shape" but "the table is a nice shape"
I totally agree too - in fact what would probably come most naturally to me as a native speaker is 'the table is a lovely shape' which would be 'wrong' on two counts!
But YOU are right on two counts, Frances: "is" is indeed the more natural English verb, and DL doesn't like it!
O well it's Italian we are learning not English so I suppose it doesn't really matter - except that there are a lot of brave souls doing this tree who are not native English speakers (I take my hat off to them!) and we wouldn't want them picking up unnatural expressions.
I just added "is a nice/beautiful/etc. shape" to the accepted answers, as it does strike me as a bit more natural. I'm leaving "has a nice shape" as the default translation, though, since it doesn't sound all that weird to me, and that way it doesn't give people headaches trying to translate back to Italian.
"Bella" = beautiful or lovely. English people avoid that awful word "nice" like the plague, because it is so vapid and meaningless! There is no way that you can consider "lovely" is a wrong translation. Reported 10.4.16