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  5. "Gli piace costruire case."

"Gli piace costruire case."

Translation:He likes to build houses.

October 28, 2013



I don't understand why Gli is used for the pronoun 'he'. Wouldn't that be used for a plural?


Remember that the verb "like/piacere" is formed backwards in italian. While in English you should say: "He likes it", in italian the sentence is "questo piace a me".

Is just the same as saying "This pleases me", instead of "I like this".

The subject in italian (and spanish, btw) is the thing you like. In that case: "Construire case" is the subject, and "he" is the direct object; and that's why we use "gli" instead of "lui".


Good explanation but I think 'he' is an indirect object, for these back-to-front verbs.

I learnt a direct object answers the question whom/what?
And an indirect object answers the question to whom/what?

In this case; "To whom pleases building houses?" To him (gli).


Above is correct, but to clarify: the key here is the idiomatic phrasing "Building houses is pleasing TO him" which makes "him" the indirect object in Italian, where as the English "He likes to build houses" has "he" being the direct object.

And as stated, the indirect object pronoun for third person singular (and plural) just happens to be "gli".

Read more here: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare166a.htm


In your example "he" is the subject, not direct object. In "He likes to build houses for people" we have:

  • subject: he
  • direct object: houses
  • indirect object: people


That's right; my mistake. If I'm not wrong, if "he" was a direct object, "lo" should be used instead of "gli".


Ok, but I write "they like to build houses" and give me correct, how is it?


"Gli" vs "A loro"
There is an ongoing discussion in Italy about that.
Is it possible or not to use "gli" even in the plural? (they)

Personally I use both, but to translate "they like...", I prefer "a loro piace...".

  • He likes to build houses = Gli piace costruire case = A lui piace costruire case
  • They like to build houses = Gli piace costruire case = A loro piace costruire case


Wouldnt "piacciono" go with gli/a loro in the case of "they"...instead of piace?


"They" can like a singular thing, such as a horse: A loro piace il cavallo. In this case they like "building" something which is singular and takes piace.


"gli" is the normal masculine singular form for an indirect object. http://italian.about.com/od/grammar/a/italian-personal-pronouns.htm


I still don't understand. I have a chart saying that the indirect pronouns go as follows: mi, ti gli/le, ci vi gli. So "THEY like to build houses" SHOULD be accepted.


I thought so too. Anybody out there to clarify? Isn't "Gli" the indirect object pronoun for both "him" and (male and female) "them"?


In my understanding it actually is. Came here to the comments to ask people if they know if there was a way to tell if we're talking about a single entity that likes to build houses or several entities ( plural )


I think for "they like" is "loro piace".

  • 2124

Can't be simply loro, since piacere requires an indirect object. You could use 'a loro' or (controversially) 'gli'


I did it like that and it was accepted 5/3/2015


If you were referring to a group, you would need the third person plural "piacciono," So "Gli piacciono costruire case." "Piace" implies a singular person.


Piace is singular because it agrees with costruire. It does not clarify that gli is singular, or plural, neither does piace agree with case. To avoid confusion on the number of people doing the liking either a lui or a loro would be used, but as I understand it not in addition to gli, unlike in Spanish where a él le gusta...is used to clarify that le is masculine.


Dear English speakers: "It pleases him to build houses" could be correct? Thanks


It's a little unusual, but not wrong. It sounds like old - fashioned British English to me.


Yes, anyone would understand it. It is a more formal sounding way of saying "he likes..." If we were talking about "his" personal feelings, we would probably say "he enjoys building...."


"it pleases him to ...." should definitely be accepted. There are many ways of saying the same thing in English. This is a direct translation of the Italian, and it is correct English.

  • 2124

Not exactly - the direct translation is "Constructing houses is pleasing to him". The idiomatic translation is simply "He likes to construct/build houses".


the plural "gli" should be accepted; it is grammatically correct.


Why isn't it piacciono since houses is plural?


Because "piacere" here is referring to "costruire", not to "case". When referring to "case" it becomes "piacciono", as you correctly pointed out ("gli piacciono le case" / "he likes houses")


When "piace" is followed by another verb, it is invariable.
• gli piace costruire case
• a loro piace leggere i libri
• a noi piace mangiare la pasta
• a lei piace mangiare le caramelle

When instead it is followed by a noun, it can be "piace or piacciono" (most of the times)
• gli piace la casa (sing.)
• gli piacciono le case (pl.)
• a noi piace la pasta (sing.)
• a lei piacciono le caramelle (pl.)


"Costruire" is so hard to pronounce!


Why is this not "they like to build houses"?


I answered "They like to build houses" and it was accepted. Is this NOT a correct answer?


I like - Mi piace/piacciono You like - Ti piace/piacciono He/She likes - Gli/Le piace/piacciono We like - Ci piace/piacciono You like (addressed to a group of people) - Vi piace/piacciono They like - A loro piace/piacciono


Why... did you leave out the "gli piace/piacciono" variant for the third person plural?


Thank you, just what I needed! :-)


Shouldn't "she" be accepted, or is "gli" only masculine?


"Gli" is only masculine. To be honest in spoken language "gli" is often used in place of "le", however it's bad italian and should be avoided.


for those of you who wonder. piacere = please (as in pleasure) mi piacere (literally= it pleases me) = I like... ti/le piace = you like... gli piace= he likes... le piace = she likes... ci piace = we like... vi piace = y'all like.. gli piace = they like...

in this case we use 'Indirect Object Pronouns' (to answer the question 'to whom' or 'to what'), to whom it would be pleasurable (literally)? to her ! le piace la pasta!


I put " it pleases him to build houses" why was i wrong?


that would be too literal I assume. read this : for those of you who wonder. piacere = please (as in pleasure) mi piacere (literally= it pleases me) = I like... ti/le piace = you like... gli piace= he likes... le piace = she likes... ci piace = we like... vi piace = y'all like.. gli piace = they like...

in this case we use 'Indirect Object Pronouns' (to answer the question 'to whom' or 'to what'), to whom it would be pleasurable (literally)? to her ! le piace la pasta!

  • 2124

Well, I would think you can go with the idiomaic translation (He likes building houses), or the literal (Building houses is pleasing to him). With piacere and other verbs like it, what we would normally think of the subect becomes an indirect object (he -> to him), and the direct object (building houses) becomes the subject.


Just a casual hobby of his...


"He enjoys building houses" was not allowed. I think that's synonymous with "He likes..."


My teacher told me that "he/she/they like(s)" is translated "si piace/piacciono". Is this correct? And if so, what the difference between this and "gli/le/gli piace"? Thanks


Hmm, it might be some Italian dialect. Literally:

  • si place = he/she likes himself/herself
  • si piacciono = they like themselves


Couldn't it be 'she' also?


Strictly speaking, no: the correct translation would be 'LE piace costruire case'. However you will often hear gli instead of le in these cases, even if it is bad grammar.


Oh man, am I confused! Is "gli" used here because "case" is plural???


No, 'gli' has two independent meanings. It can be the plural of 'lo' or it can stand for 'a lui'. There is no connection between these two meanings.


"Buildings" were not accepted, dispite it was prompted(


Can we say lo piace too?


Don't know why gli is used.


gli is the one word indirect object pronoun for a lui. You can use either one but not both. a lui is considered more emphatic. Unlike Spanish where you can use both for emphasis for example A él le gusta…..algo, such use is frowned upon in Italian.


Construire = to construct; costruire = to build. Couldn't either of these infinitives be used for this translation?


It is hard enough to learn a language without being thrown a curve ball like this. To me, gli is the masculine plural, i.e., "gli animali". As they say, "KISS"-----"Keep it simple, stupid."


Some words in any natural language have several meanings. Specifically "gli" could mean:

  • definite article (masculine plural): the (used before a vowel, s+consonant, gn, pn, ps, x, z and also with the plural noun dei)
  • indirect object pronoun (dative, masculine singular): him, to him; it, to it
  • indirect object pronoun (dative, masculine and feminine plural): them, to them

The last usage is controversial, "a loro" is preferred instead. If you don't like such curve balls, I think you should stick only to Esperanto ;)

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