"La coppia invita i loro amici al matrimonio."
Translation:The couple invites their friends to the wedding.
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I was about to disagree but breaking it down I see where we're dealing with a singular subject then a second later saying it is a they and not an it. Hmm. Maybe this is one of those things that just is. I'm from the US and can't recall ever calling a couple an "it" either.
The key issue here is "how would English speakers express this phrase or concept?" I think they would use "the couple invite their friends to the wedding" and in a way is the end of the matter. We've been asked to translate an Italian phrase into English.
We shouldn't in this case be attempting to understand the Italian grammar, but rather translating the phrase into correct English usage. Just because Italians treat "La coppia" correctly as singular in Italian, doesn't mean that English speakers should mangle their language.
You're right in terms of UK English usage, but less so for American English (see: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/collective-noun?q=collective+nouns). But DL refuses to accept it, so one has to learn. Bad luck,
That seems right. Americans always say "the government is", for instance, instead of "the government are". Accordingly, I guess, we would also say "the couple is" and "the couple invites". (But, FWIW, although "the government are" definitely sounds odd to my American ear, "the couple invite" sounds okay. But I think I would be more likely to say "the couple invites." Still, I'm sure it's annoying for non-American duo users to have to put up with the American bias on the site!)
the correct English is "the couple invite" not "invites" another example of the very poor English translations on Duolingo
Technically, as others have commented, "the couple" is a collective noun, and collective nouns traditionally take singular verbs - so "the couple invites" is grammatically correct. Of course, in everyday usage, most Brits generally use the plural form of the verb in sentences like this. In practice, either is allowable.
I think in your example 'couple' is no longer a collective noun, but stands for a countable number between 2 and 4, maybe even 5 or 6,in other words, a "few"-- plural: "There are a couple of apples" just as "There are a few apples," as "There are 3 or 4 apples". In DL's example, 'couple' is a collective noun - "The couple was married over the weekend", though clearly British English would prefer a plural verb, which is fine.
As a Canadian English speaker, "couple" is specifically two. No more, no less. Although sometimes small children get it confused as meaning "a few", but it would be viewed as a funny mistake if someone asked for a couple of apples and you gave them three or four. Maybe this is different among English speakers elsewhere though?
Let's break it down: "Loro" means they, "amici" is the plural form of "amico" which means friend, and "i" is a definite article used for masculine plural nouns. The article in front of the pronoun (i loro) makes "loro" mean their. This is how masculine plural possessive is written when there are more than one owner. I hope that makes sense.
The exercise is probably to make the point that in Italian "coppia" is always singular (whereas in today's English, the plural is normally accepted). Still, the English version given sounds unnatural, at least to British English ears, and a more normal way of saying this would surely be "The couple are inviting their friends to the wedding."
This is addressed a bit in the existing comments, but I'm not seeing an answer: Why is the couple singular in the first part of the sentence but then plural in the second part? Shouldn't it be either "La coppia invita i suoi amici" or "La coppia invitano i loro amici"? Thanks.