On the flipside, I wrote "Do you prefer the rice or the bread?" and it was marked as incorrect. I interpreted this as though someone were asking someone which they liked better in a particular instance (e.g. "do you prefer the rice or the bread Sue made?) rather than in general. I think it should be marked correct.
Apparently it is acceptable to use the definite article (in translating to English) on both of the nouns, or omit it completely. But it is not correct to use it only on one noun, i.e., Do you prefer the rice or bread? is incorrect. It has to be 'the rice or the bread' or 'rice or bread.'
This is what it would sound like at a native speed because, as in many languages, words tend to blend together when there are many vowels that are next to each other such as in this case "il risO O Il pane." The sentence would sounded jerky and stunted if you pronounced it clearly!
To write in bold, you surround the text at beginning and end with two asterisks. If you want it in italics, you use just one at beginning and end. There are other things you can do, but I don't know all of them. I think there's an article that explains all of the things that can be done somewhere...
I am not qualified to really explain that for Italian but it seems to me that you would use it with "il" when you refer to this special rice or bread that you might see and smell in the kitchen or at the table, food that can speak to your senses. Without that possibility and asking for your "default" preferences I would skip the "il".
Let's imagine you are somebody who generally prefers bread to rice with your meal. You would say you prefer bread - without the "il" the "the" the "het" the "das", whatever language it is. But then comes the waiter, he brings rice for your companion at the table and he brings "your" bread. You can see it's old, dry and really not appealing to your senses. You might say then "sorry, but I think I would prefer the rice" because you don't like that particular bread that was brought by the waiter. I could be wrong but it feels like if the "il" is something in between "bread" and "this bread" if that makes sense. Could be wrong, though! Would like to know for sure :)
Thank you very much for your response. Also for the answer about the bold writing. I couldn't answer under that posting because, for whatever reason, there is no reply button under that one. I knew about the italic already and use it much, but I like the bold better to really point a specific word out like you did.
I also looked for some help file or forum for technical things like that but the forums are chaotically organized and I didn't find what I looked for. I guess I try again one day.