"The dog drinks its water."

Translation:Il cane beve la sua acqua.

January 2, 2013

80 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deleted_user

this looks interesting, it's translated as "it's water", but it has a female "sua" - this must be because acqua is female too.. But how do you know whom "sua" is referring too, I imagine this sentence could also be translated as "the dog drinks her water"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Szewicz

Yes, "sua" is feminine and it gets its gender from "acqua". If it a was "libro" (masculine) it would be "suo". The possessives in italian get their gender form the object possessed, not from whom possess it. The same as in spanish and french.

And it cannot be translated as "her water" because it is "a dog" (male) not "a bitch" (female). I would be "her water" if it was "La cagna beve la sua acqua" = "The bitch drinks her water".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Radiator

You could say "My wife drinks her coffee" or "My husband drinks his beer", etc so you'd be able to get it from context apparently.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ErikRed1

But there could be someone not explicitly mentioned in the sentence.

"Who drinks frank's coffee?"

"My wife drinks frank's coffee"

So, yes, "sua" could mean "her" or "his", and context is necessary to know which.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/German4me22

You are right......la sua acqua is ambiguous...it could be it's water , her water or his water . You either rely on the context to realise which one it is or.........translate it as..

'Il cane beve la propria acqua'..ie...The dog drinks it's own water....which DL accepted and is not ambiguous.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NikkiFaith8

That marked me wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lululamorg

Why is a double a acceptable in "sua aqua, but not in l'acqua?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

That is a really good question!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tagath

I'm curious as to why "il cane beve propria acqua" is not acceptable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jameslingofan

I believe "Il cane beve la propria acqua" is now accepted, and I believe the "la" before "propria" is required.

As opposed to "la sua acqua," I think that "la propria acqua" serves nicely to clear up any ambiguity as to whose water is being consumed---if indeed the dog is drinking its own water. But! I am no expert with Italian, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

Yes. In Italian, just as in English "Il cane beve la sua acqua/The dog drinks his water" is ambiguous and "Il cane beve la propria acqua/The dog drinks his own water" is clear.

As for the definite article being required, yes. The definite article is always required (with one notable exception: singular family members) for noun phrases: "la sua acqua"; "la propria acqua". It's only for pronoun phrases ("la sua" vs "sua") where both ways are acceptable.

Although having the definite article or not in the pronoun phrase changes the meaning a little bit. It's the difference between "this thing and not that other thing" is whoever's (including the definite article) and the thing belongs to "this person and not that person" (omitting the definite article).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lynn449594

"il cane beve la propria acqua" was marked wrong today 8/1/2019


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

That's because it's not the best translation.

"la propria acqua" would be "his own water", emphasizing that it's specifically his.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

"Its water" vs "its own water." It's a similar distinction to the one in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mary266509

This is what i was wondering too!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/....Kristoff....

Why do we need the article la before sua?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Punkmom

That is the usual form for Italian possessive adjective: definite article + possessive adjective. They agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. There is some explanation plus a chart of each gender and number on this page: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare132a.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joseph297228

"the dog drinks its water" translates to "il cane beve l'acqua sua". This avoids the Double A issue (sua acqua). Remember, in Italian, as mentioned by Dianne Hales in her book "La Bella Lingua", Italians make every effort to modify anything which may sound hard on the ears, everything has to roll off the tongue smoothly. "la sua acqua" does not sound as musical to the ears as does "l'acqua sua". Ok, I'll shut up now


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susan88810

This is great! Thanks so much for that insight! So should I begin actually talking to Italian people, I will grasp that these lessons are not etched in stone.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/altairaudi2

What is the double a issue ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joseph297228

The answer given, is not the way Italians speak. They would say, "il cane beve l'acqua sua", and not "la sua acqua"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/megleoni44

Thank you!! That's what I wrote because that's what I hear but I was marked wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Don152273

I have read all these posts very carefully and, to be honest, I am more confused - not just with this post, but also with a lot of previous posts - Duolingo works - but only if you can second guess both the context, and the contemporary rules of grammar - which, to say the least seem to be debateable. I am happy to continue with Duolingo (because it is cheap), but gotta use books and online tutorials to get everything right. There is too much inference and not enough clarity in Duolingo right now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlenaKrsn

I thought the Italian "acqua" had to be "l'acqua" and then "il suo acqua". Like for example "l'uomo". It would be "Il cane ha il suo uomo.", or I am wrong? PS: I am from the Czech republic, so I learn English and Italian too. So excuse me my question and explaination, I could not explain it better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

"acqua" is feminine in Italian, so it's "la sua acqua". The "la" contracts to "l'" before a vowel.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mollysheepdog

I was a bit surprised that the sentence had sua in it, because doesn't that mean "him" or "her"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Strickster

Not, it means "his", or "her(s)". In english, the choice of this word is based on the gender of the possessor: "The man has his beer. The woman has her beer". In italian, the choice is based on the gender of what is possessed: "L'uomo ha la sua birra. La donna ha la sua birra". Basically, out of context, it is impossible to determine the gender of the owner based on the possessive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JulianLave1

I know languages are not necessarily formed with efficiency in mind but.. is there any advantage to this?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

Advantage has nothing to do with it, just habits.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kimmksk

Then without context, can't we know who possesses the object?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

"The dog drinks its water." It is perfectly reasonable to assume that the water is the dog's.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bigant_underdog

La cagna should be correct also.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Connor_devonish

Could water not be plural? I wrote le sue acqua


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rtariel98

Water is indefinite so it has no conventional plural form, like dust, furniture, etc.?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rtariel98

Why cant it be "Il cane beve la sua acqua"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

That's exactly what the official answer is. Maybe you encountered a glitch.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/veganempre

Shouldnt its mean il proprio here as it means its own water


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheNarrator42

"Il cane beve l'acqua sua" - why is this not accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

Because language education always lags far behind the way language is actually spoken.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Salvachooo

Why is "il cane beve il suo acqua" wrong when il cane is masculine?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sclare92

Are 'dog' and 'meat' the same word?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

No. Dog is il cane - think "canine". Meat is la carne - think "carnivore".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danieljhol

Why can we say "sua acqua"? Is this not a clash of vowels?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

I think the "vowel clash" rule only applies to a very small number of words.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Barbarina15

Why is it not su'acqua?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

Because the possessives don't contract.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SAJenkins

masculine or feminine (sua or suo )


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

Sua is feminine and suo is masculine, but they must agree with the thing possessed, not who possesses it. It doesn't matter that "il cane" is masculine. The important thing is that "l'acqua" is feminine, which is why it must be "la sua acqua".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joseph297228

The current spoken Italian would be "l'acqua sua"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/altairaudi2

So say it is she ate her biscuits. Then it would be lei mangia la sua biscotti or lei mangia il suo biscotti? Also what about the her own biscuits stuff too (Lei mangia la propria biscotti or lei mangia il proprio biscotti) and the difference between both of those. In that case how would we indicate that a female is eating biscuits which are masculine. (I am sorry i realised biscotti is cookies... but then can't it mean both??) Thanks in advance and sorry for the confusion..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joseph297228

She eats her cookies would translate to Lei mangia i suoi biscotti

He eats his cookies would translate to Lui mangia i suoi biscotti

In both examples, the words "i" and "suoi" refer to "biscotti", not to He or She


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarlaCulve

The cat drinks its water was il gatto beve il suo acqua. Why is cane la sua? Are we talking about the animal or its water?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

It's always "la mia/tua/sua/nostra/vostra" acqua because "acqua" is feminine and the possessive must agree with the noun it modifies, just like any other adjective. I don't know where you saw "il suo acqua" but that was wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TodoMia

Why is this counted wrong, Il cane beve l'acqua sua? Very weird.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Christina832114

Why is acqua feminine? Every other noun that uses l' is masculine


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

That is not an accurate assessment.


https://i.imgur.com/aJ7Qlgb.jpg


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sundawn.shadow

couldn't i also say la propria acqua? since i don't have a context?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

The context would be "The dog drinks its own water."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnWheatl6

How come L'olio is Masculine but L'acqua is feminine? I don't get it!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

Grammatical gender is mostly arbitrary. However, Italian tends to be fairly regular and so most of the time, you can tell the grammatical gender of a noun by how it ends:

-o masculine singular
-i masculine plural
-a feminine singular
-e feminine plural

Relatively few nouns are irregular and will end in -e in the singular and -i in the plural, and you need to memorize on a case-by-case basis whether they're masculine or feminine.

Nouns that end in a consonant are foreign loanwords. They are masculine and the form will not change in the plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DaveEatsDonuts

these lessons are to hard for me, the steps are to big to remember.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

If you're not ready to proceed, repeat the lesson until you are. You can also go back and repeat previous lessons.

If there are specific things that are confusing you, mention them and we might be able to help you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VincenzoCa54

I tried an alternative answer: "Il cane beve l'acqua sua" but it got marked as incorrect. Shouldn't that be a valid answer as well?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

No. Except for a small handful of fixed phrases, the possessive comes before the noun in Italian.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SonyaR16

Why is there a "la" that makes no sense


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

It makes perfect sense. Italian grammar rules are not English grammar rules.

In Italian, the possessive adjective always takes a definite article. The only exception is singular unmodified family members.

The possessive pronoun can be used with or without a definite article, but the emphasis subtly changes (THING is mine vs thing is MINE).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZobiaJ.

Why is 'la' necessary over here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

Italian grammar requires the definite article with the possessive adjective. The only exception is singular unmodified family members.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnMarshal2

I just don't understand!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 3076

What part don't you understand? We can't help you if you don't ask specific questions.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Corrado421881

Why not proprio? "The dog drinks its water" isnt it implied he is indeed drinking HIS OWN water?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Corrado421881

The dog is drinking ITS water. So why not proprio? Its implied its drinking its own water


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElyaForema

What makes suo, sue, and sua different, when should you use them


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Salvachooo

Suo is masculine, sue is plural and sua is feminine i belive


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Louisa392011

why not "il cane beve sua propria acqua"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BnkHQFmm

Wouldn't it be "Il cane beve il suo acqua," because cane is masculine?

Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.