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  5. "The dog drinks its water."

"The dog drinks its water."

Translation:Il cane beve la sua acqua.

January 2, 2013

62 Comments


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 ❤❤❤❤❤" (female). I would be "her water" if it was "La cagna beve la sua acqua" = "The ❤❤❤❤❤ 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/lululamorg

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

"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/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
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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


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
  • 2430

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


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

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
  • 2430

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/sclare92

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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/TheNarrator42

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2430

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


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
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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


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
  • 2430

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
  • 2430

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


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

Why is 'la' necessary over here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
  • 2430

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

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