"Non so se lui ha un cavallo."

Translation:I do not know if he has a horse.

January 3, 2013

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Why doesn't this sentence use the congiuntivo? Shouldn't this sentence be "Non so se lui abbia un cavallo" ?


I was thinking the same thing. I realize they don't want us using that mood yet, but it is just going to be that much more confusing when they give us a similar sentence in the future and expect us to use it when before they had us not use it.


Non so se abbia un cavallo, si


Indeed, it would be more correct. Anyway, people sometime say this sentence using the present form. For example, Roman accent doesn't make much use of congiuntive and conditionals, unless it is really necessary :) just FYI anyway


Strictly, in "proper" English, 'if' is only used in conditional sentences (e.g. 'I won't go IF it rains') and whether is used if there is no condition at all ('I don't know WHETHER I'll go'). In this sentence, therefore, whether is the strictly correct, formal translation, however, in everyday speech the words are interchangeable and in reality 'if' is dominant.


I feel like a more (or at least equally) correct English translation would be "I do not know WHETHER he has a horse"


To me that sounds less correct. You might say "I do not know whether he has a horse or not."


No problem at all as is, I do not know whether he has a horse. "Or not" is implied and not required.


Where did you learn English? Different places have different dialects, so maybe that's just a regional thing. To me, that sounds less correct.


I'm from Tennessee. The way I would say this type of thing would be "I don't know if he has a horse", "I don't know whether he has a horse or not" or perhaps "I don't know whether or not he has a horse", but that last one would be slightly weirder sounding.


That's true, if you're going to say "whether" then you have to include both possibilities.


Nope, you can say "or not" after whether, but it's not necessary, and stylistically often better without it.


Why is "se" used here, and not "si?"


Because this is Italian, not Spanish.


oh, I'm sorry! I thought "si" was also used in Italian... :/ then, out of curiosity, does the accent in "sì" (yes) distinguish it from something else? It does in Spanish... "sí" (yes) and "si" (if).


Yes. "Si" in Italian is the reflexive pronoun (which in Spanish is "se"). Here are the correspondences: Italian | Spanish Sì Sí Se Si Si Se

I'm sorry if I sounded rude in my first comment.


Thanks for your response! Yes, I have to say, I was a little taken aback by that comment at first, but it's OK.


Why does it translate as : I don't know if he's a horse? Lui ha means he has, not he is. He's means he is...


I think it's either wrong or a really confusing abbreviation from "he has" to "he's".


Yes that's a really terrible use of that contraction. For anyone who doesn't know, contractions of "to have" should only be used when "to have" is a helping verb, with very few exceptions.

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Would one of the exception be using "have got" instead of just "have"? I've always used it like that.

  • I don't know if he's got a horse.
  • I've got an elephant.
  • That's not the same thing.
  • You've got no idea!


That is hilarious. While "he's" could be used as a contraction of "he has" in some contexts e.g. "he's made many such errors", this is not one of them.


It sounds strange to me too but I think it is actually used as a dialect form in some of the North of England- I'm from the South but some of my Northern relatives would contract 'he has' to 'he's'. For example, 'he's a horse' XD


Yeah. We've a lot of uses for that style of contraction, and I know that the style "He's/she's/one's/you've/y'all've/they've/we've/it's/I've GOT X." is very common. Also, "He's made many (of) such errors." is perfectly fine as a sentence; I and many other speakers that I have heard, have used that structure before.


It's a long-standing bug in Duolingo that thinks that "has" can always contract to " 's ". It's something the programmers put in, not something the course editors can control.


That moment when you confuse knife with horse... don't know how but o.o.


I'm pretty sure I will need this phrase a lot when I am in Rome in a few months. Won't be sure if any of the people there have a horse.


What's the difference between "Non lo so" and "Non so"?


Lo = it.

Then the difference is like "I don't know it" and "I don't know". In other words, there's not much difference.


You can't say non so alone, it has to be followed by a subordinate : non so se... , non so quando... , non so dove... . To answer someone who asks you something, you have to say : non LO so. English, French, Spanish, even German and Chinese use the same "I don't know", not Italian...


I think he does. Probably some elephants too.


There is clearly something wrong here. Correct translation is at the top of these comments but it keeps telling me "I do not know if he's a horse".


He's had too much too drink. "He has" can also be contracted, but we wouldn't when it could be confused with "he is". Duolingo's program algorithm probably doesn't know when it is okay and when not.


why is it wrong to omit "I " in translation and say "Don't know if he has a horse". I would omit it in Italian too.

  • 3044

Because the subject pronouns are optional in Italian but mandatory in English.


In English, we usually only omit the pronoun in imperative

(You) walk!

But conversationally, it can be dropped with the 1° person. "Who is he?" "(I) don't know." Though I'm sure a linguist would say it can never be done.

  • 3044

Speaking as someone who has studied linguistics at university, linguists don't say "It can never be done". Linguists simply observe and analyze language as it is spoken. No judgements, no decrees of "ought/ought not". And it is quite common and valid to drop the subject pronoun in the situations you describe. It is a standard feature of the imperative to not use the subject pronoun, and it is quite common in everyday speech to omit the first person subject pronoun. (This is different from Italian's pronoun dropping/null subject. What happens in English is called "left-edge deletion" by linguists and does not work the same way.)


I agree completely, including that there is nothing in linguistics that can never be done. My snarky last comment was brought on by some "linguists" who have recently been commenting, though definitely not you in particular. Your comments are very insightful

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Ah, the armchair "experts" who unquestioningly take the word of their 8th grade English teacher as gospel, and really don't understand how things actually work.


I am confused about why "lo" is not used here.


Because "lo" is it, and you don't have to say it, because you already say "if he has a horse", it is the substitution of "if he has ..."

If not, you would say "I do not know it if he has a horse". The it is not necessary.


Would someone be so nice and explain the structure of this sentence a bit ?!

  • 3044

In Italian, verbs conjugate uniquely to the subject pronoun. Io, tu, lui/lei, noi, voi, and loro all have their own verb conjugations. So very often, it is not necessary to include the subject pronoun. The conjugation of the verb tells you who the subject is.

English uses do-support with its verbs for things like emphasis ("I'm telling you, I do know the answer!"), negation ("I do not think this is a good idea."), and questions ("Do you want to go to the movies?").

Italian does not do this. But like English, it does put the negation before the main part of the verb:
I do not know
Non so

The rest of the sentence is word-for-word how we would say it in English:
Non so se lui ha un cavallo.
(I do) not know if/whether he has a horse.


How do you have time to write all of that stuff

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We have different ideas of what constitutes "all that stuff". It takes me 2 minutes to type it up. Not much time at all.


The verb conjugation is incorrect. The phrase indicates doubt. It should be 'abbia' instead of 'ha'


I know that he has a horse. You guys didn't know that. Just like Donald Trump always A catch .....................................................................................................


I'm so much happy and excited, that have learned so many words (or it only seems to me). Really I'm very-very grateful for the opportunity of studying l'Italiano with such a program. It is cool and gives a lot of motivation.


Wether instead of if should also be correct.

  • 3044

Perhaps, but it may have marked you wrong for misspelling "whether".


I wrote, "I dont know that he has a horse" and was marked wrong. Why?

  • 3044

Because "if" or "whether" is a more accurate translation than "that".


15 in a row correct but the system froze after the last confirmation of correct.


The fanfare at the end of each lesson has disappeared. How can i get it back?

  • 3044

You can't. That's not something you control. They must have changed something behind the scenes.


'I don't know' is not approved

  • 3044

It should be, but it's possible you had an error that you missed. Next time, copy and paste the full text of your answer so we can have a look at it.


I often touch something not intentionally and it appears as if I could not finish the translation, and when I see the red letters I would love too leave it all. If there was at least something that asks you to press "continue" or "don't know" it would be fair Does anyone have a similar problem of pressing whatever in a hurry with no possibility to stop the fast red letters?? I love the language, but feel irritated when I know the answer but press the wrong thing by mistake, always hurrying - for no reason :)


Don't= i do not...


The intellectual arguments have great import, I am sure, however if the speakers swallow the words, in this case, ha, the rest of us who just want to communicate and learn are at a serious disadvantage. We can say "please repeat that ta a speaker but not to a machine. I love the ap. and hope to make it even more useful. more


i look at his horse, his horse is amazing


Oh I came here expecting a Godfather meme, didn't find it :(


"so" sounded like "sa = he knows" in this sentence. Please speak more emphatically


I write the right answer bit it was marked as a fault i do not know why

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