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"I suoi gatti mangiano il topo."

Translation:His cats eat the mouse.

January 11, 2013

109 Comments


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

Poor mouse eaten by multiple cats


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

Well, fianlly Jery got what he deserved :P


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

Don't be mean to poor Jerry!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mark342100

Ok, so what is the plural for mouse? I thought that "cats" would eat "the mice"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
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  • 2526

the mouse = il topo
the mice = i topi

But that's not the point of these sentences.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/die7fox

Without any context, how are we supposed to know whether "suoi" is your, her, or his? Or am I missing something in the sentence that indicates what it's supposed to mean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/moonspinner12

In more complex sentences, there may be another clue as to the gender, but without context (for example, this sentence in the exercise) there is no way to know. I think the "translation" here reverts to the masculine form as we often do in English, but "Her cats eat the mouse" is also a correct translation. The third person singular as "you", in my experience, is used as the polite form more in addressing strangers e.g. when greeting them, asking directions, conducting business, etc. rather than in a sentence like this one.


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

This is the second time in this lesson that I have been marked wrong his instead of hers. Wouldn't it be proper to suggest to Dolingo accept as correct "his", "hers", and "his or hers" in these instances?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
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  • 2526

"His/hers" is the possessive pronoun. "His/her" is the possessive adjective. Their usage is very different.


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

It's "her" not "hers" in this sentence so that's probably why Duo didn't accept it.


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

Suo, sua, suoi etc always adjust their shape to the object. Gatti in this case. Not to the subject.

From looking at "suo, sua or suoi" we can not know whether the subject is female, male or plural femal/male.

Well, that's just a difference of English and Italian. An Italian might be confused about English: from the word "her" or "his" he can never know the gender or number of the object.


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

In English her is always female and his is always masculine. English does not allocate gender to inanimate objects.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hud214

unless your a ship!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kim838241

So their cats eat the mouse could also be correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

"Their cats" would be i loro gatti.


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

What if it's "their" as in the singular third person (e.g. "somebody left their jacket on the chair")?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

i suoi gatti.

In Italian, the possessive agrees with the thing possessed. It encodes the gender of, in this case, the cats and not whose cats they are.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lorenz153439

So suoi is for plural male objects?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

Well, it works for the subject and the object in the sentence, but yes. If the noun in question is plural and masculine (not male), then "his/her/hers" in English would be "(i) suoi" in Italian.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joslyn955928

I'm still trying to learn the difference between suo, sua, suoi etc. Why could this sentence not begin with Il suo instead of i suoi? Is it because the subject is plural (i gatti)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

Whether it's subject or object makes no difference. Possessives, just like all other adjectives, must agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify. So yes, it's i suoi because gatti is masculine plural. It has nothing to do with whose cats they are.

IO
il mio - my singular masculine thing
i miei - my plural masculine (or mixed/unknown) things
la mia - my singular feminine thing
le mie - my plural feminine things

TU
il tuo
i tuoi
la tua
le tue

LUI/LEI
il suo
i suoi
la sua
le sue

NOI
il nostro
i nostri
la nostra
le nostre

VOI
il vostro
i vostri
la vostra
le vostre

LORO
il loro
i loro
la loro
le loro


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/123charlie123

i think suoi, sua, and suo etc refer to the third person ie- ''her'' and ''his''. whereas you would use tuoi, tuo, or tua, refer to the 2nd person ie- ''your''.


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

Nearly right: The polite form uses the 3 person >>> suo etc can mean "your"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pizza7

If you hover the cursor over 'suoi', one solution is also 'your'. Why was this not accepted? Is it a mistake?


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

I though "your" would be accepted as well, but I just looked it up and the S would be capitalized for the formal 2nd person. "I Suoi..."


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

If there's no gender given I just assume the phrase is masculine. I'm not sure if this is the right approach but it seems to be working so far.


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

If the gender is not stated, I just alternate between genders however I feel like. If we don't know the context, either is correct.


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

In this case it doesn't matter. Both his or her is accepted


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

When the word topo was first introduced, it said it meant mouse or rat. I have been using rat because it is quicker to type and it has always been accepted. Now, suddenly it has refused to accept rat as correct and marked it wrong, accepting only mouse. No fair! Can topo mean rat or not?


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

Hello, As far as I know, mouse is trnslated as Topo and Rat is translated as Ratto.


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

Laughs...a mouse is not a rat


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hud214

no, but a baboon can be a monkey.


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

Can't it's an Ape


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

gatti and gatte, both multiple cats? male cats and female cats?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/atutxa
  • 2181

Why "his" is not accepted? Men have also cats!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

The official translation is "His cats eat the mouse." You must have hit a glitch or made a typo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DeanG6

It's a really big mouse, so his cats can share.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Schatzie14

Yes, the poor mouse had to teach us a huge lesson, I finally placed " I topo" right, until "another under certain conditions" comes along. Thanks to all who helped me to patently understand when to place or not to place the definitive article


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

I don't see how "their" is not an appropriate option, seeing as gender is not specified


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/I-AM-THE-STAR

Is Duo taunting them (about eating mouse) or just telling us?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Owlie_

Suoi? Is it because cats are male and "suoi" is masculine?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alistair59349

Hey Owlie, Of all the lessons on Duolingo, this was the only one that threw me, but the good news is, that it is really just a one-off weird one. The thing that we are completely unaware of, is that of all the animals we have learnt about, CATS are the only ones that are distinguished as being either MALE or FEMALE. When you remove that from the learning equation, you realise that you have actually learned this lesson. So, in essence all we are being required to do is match the animal with the owner. Annoyingly GATTA would be a female cat, and therefore we can only use possessives that are appropriate for something female - la sua, la tua, la nostra, la mia. Similarly GATTO would be a male cat, and therefore we can only use possessives that are appropriate for something male - il suo, il tuo, il nostro, il mio. This has thrown so many people, including myself, because we are outraged that we are not told if these are male or female cats. However, like many of the other questions, we are really just matching the male or feminine words to this particular noun. Because they are CATS we use the appropriate PLURAL possessive. I'm no expert, but I think a lot of people need re-assurance when they get this wrong. We would be screwed if this happened with dogs or mice or elephants. But think of it as a cow or a bull and the logic kicks in more easily.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

Cats are not unique among animals in having grammatical gender that matches their physical sex. This applies to all pets and farm animals. Generally, any animal that they would have had regular close encounters with to be able to distinguish the males from the females. The following is just a short list:

Animal masculine feminine
cat/cats il gatto/i gatti la gatta/le gatte
dog/dogs il cane/i cani la cagna/le cagne
horse/horses il cavallo/i cavalli la cavalla/le cavalle
cow/cows la mucca/le mucche
bull/bulls il toro/i tori
hen/hens la gallina/le galline
rooster/roosters il gallo/i galli
elephant/elephants l'elefante/gli elefanti l'elefantessa/le elefantesse

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

Yes. Possessives are just like any other adjective and must agree with the noun it modifies. "Gatti" is masculine plural, so it needs the masculine plural "suoi". There is a list on this page that breaks it all down.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TonyBerard4

Poor mouse didn't stand a chance...


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

why is it her?? i don't understand help please


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

Since 'suoi' agrees with 'gatti' (the thing being possessed rather than the person doing the possessing as in English) the gender of the person who owns the cats is unknown, so it can be 'his cats' or 'her cats'. :)


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

It is either his, hers or its.


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

Why cannot be "their" someone can explain me? Thnks


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

'Suoi' is for 3rd person singular (his or her) only.


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

"Their" in English is also used for third person singular.


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

Tuoi is the familiar form of "you", but suoi is the polite. So either word should be marked correct


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

I'm confused by suoi. Is it used for a specific gender or...? I'm confused.


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

why is "mouse grey/gray" an option for topo? does anyone say that?


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

Your cats was not accepted, but isn't that polite?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

Duo will capitalize Suo, Sue, Lei, etc if it's meant to be "you(r), formal."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RosieSmith2

It wouldn't accept mouse, apparently I was supposed to type "the rat"!?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

Strange. Did you report it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/acgacg3563

They told me mouse was wrong...they said i was supposed to write rat???


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

How many cats to eat a mouse?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JuAraujo02

i have this big problem with the "suoi"and "tuoi"... I am Brazilian, and we have a really really bad habit to make them kind of the same thing... Portuguese people don't do that, but we do... and since i grew up like this, most of the time, i can not 'see' a diference between the worlds and it makes me answer the wrong way sometimes....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gene10111

I clearly heared "toppo"


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

Il Suo is masculine and la sua is feminine, am i right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

Yes, but it does not agree with the owner. I can be talking about a woman and say "il suo gatto" because it must agree with "gatto".


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

Can you say 'suoi gatti...' rather than 'i 'suoi gatti...'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

Only if it's in the predicate, not if it's in the subject or an isolated noun phrase.

i suoi gatti = her cats
i suoi gatti sono neri = her cats are black
sono (i) suoi gatti = they are her cats

These rules apply in all cases, regardless of number or gender or person. The only exception is singular family members never get the article in the possessive.

mia madre = my mother

There is a subtle distinction to be made in using the article or not, they're not perfectly interchangeable. One way means "this is mine, not his" and the other way means "this, not something else, is mine".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hogwarts123321

How are you supposed to know that it is your, his, or her?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
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  • 2526

Real-world conversations have a lot more context than single-sentence lessons.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jimmy-20

I suoi = his / le sue = her. So the translation shouldn't be "His cats eat the mouse"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
Plus
  • 2526

No.

In Italian, the possessive agrees with the thing(s) possessed, not with who possesses it.

il suo gatto can mean either his (male) cat or her (male) cat.
i suoi gatti can mean either his cats or her cats.
la sua gatta can mean either his (female) cat or her (female) cat.
le sue gatte can mean either his (female) cats or her (female) cats.

Masculine is the default, so "gatti" can mean all male cats, a mix of male and female cats, or an unknown composition of cats.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/valdez.jse

Why do i have to start with I ? Why not just suoi?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
Mod
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  • 2526

That's just how Italian grammar works. They use the definite article with the possessive.


[deactivated user]

    What is the difrence between La and Il ? And how can you tell?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2526

    The rules for the indefinite articles are here:
    http://www.oneworlditaliano.com/english/italian-grammar/italian-definite-articles.htm

    There are exceptions, but most of the time, you can tell from how a noun ends whether it's masculine or feminine:
    -o masculine singular
    -i masculine plural
    -a feminine singular
    -e feminine plural


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Olivia252402

    Is it 'gatti' rather than 'gatte' in this instance because the noun has to agree with the pronoun?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
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    • 2526

    It's the number and gender of the noun that determines the form that associated articles, possessives, adjectives, and pronouns take.

    It's "gatti" because either it's multiple male cats or a mix or we don't know. It would be "gatte" if we knew all the cats were female.

    It's "i suoi" because "gatti" is masculine plural. If it were "gatte", it would be "le sue". If it were only one cat and the cat was male or unknown, it would be "il suo gatto". If it were only one cat and it was female, it would be "la sua gatta".


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

    Why is "i" needed at the start?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
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    • 2526

    That's just how Italian grammar works. It requires the definite article with the possessive in the subject (except for singular family members).


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

    I think "your cats" should be accepted as there is no way to know without context if it's a formal or familiar "suoi"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2526

    If it's spoken, I agree. If it's written, then the S would be capitalized.


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

    Thank you so much for this it's actually really helpful!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alistair59349

    More poor audio and on first introduction to a word combination totally new to the learner. So I get it wrong not surprisingly. Suoi not previously encountered and mangiano completely new to me. Combine that with poor sound - FAIL. Stop being so annoyingly difficult and at least fix the audio please.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kim838241

    What about ‘their cats eat the mouse?”


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2526

    That would be "i loro gatti".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gm5vX

    Suo vs sua vs suoi?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
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    • 2526

    Possessives agree with what is possessed, not with who possesses it.

    il suo = singular masculine
    i suoi = plural masculine/mixed
    la sua = singular feminine
    le sue = plural feminine


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doug306845

    Is there a rule that tells you when to use " mangiano as opposed to mangiste, mangiamo, or mangia?"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2526

    Yes, there is a rule for regular verbs. (For irregular verbs, you just have to memorize their special forms, but the good news is that most verbs are regular or semi-regular.)

    To start, you need to know the infinitive form. In this case, it's mangiare. To conjugate it, you remove the infinitive ending -are and use the suffix appropriate to the person:

    MANGI-ARE
    io mangi-o
    tu mang-i (the stem already ends with i, so there's no need for an extra i)
    lui/lei mangi-a
    noi mang-iamo (the stem already ends with i, so there's no need for an extra i)
    voi mangi-ate
    loro mangi-ano


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John529553

    Why is it eat instead of eats?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2526

    One cat eats.
    Many cats eat.

    I eat
    you eat
    he eats
    we eat
    you eat
    they eat


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ex3mity

    Anche il mio però lui lo preferisce alla griglia e con poco sale, è viziato


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

    Shouldn't "her cats eats the mouse" be accepted?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
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    • 2526

    Yes, although it is relevant how the question was presented and how you're meant to answer. If it's free-writing, then either "his cats" or "her cats" should work. If it's multiple choice, however, then if both options are available then both should be selected.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marchella308422

    How do you say, 'their' cats....? How do you say 'her' cats...?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
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    • 2526

    Their cats: i loro gatti
    Her cats: i suoi gatti

    Possessive adjectives and pronouns work just like any other adjectives. They must agree in gender and number with the thing that is possessed, which is reflected in the end of the word. The first part of the word says broadly whose it is.

    IO
    il mio (my singular masculine thing)
    i miei (my plural masculine things)
    la mia (my singular feminine thing)
    le mie (my plural feminine things)
    It does not matter who "I" am.

    TU (singular "you", addressing exactly one person)
    il tuo (your singular masculine thing)
    i tuoi (your plural masculine things)
    la tua (your singular feminine thing)
    le tue (your plural feminine things)
    It does not matter who "you" are.

    LUI/LEI
    il suo (his/her singular masculine thing)
    i suoi (his/her plural masculine things)
    la sua (his/her singular feminine thing)
    le sue (his/her plural feminine things)
    Again, the gender of the possessive reflects the gender of the thing, not whose it is.

    NOI
    il nostro (our singular masculine thing)
    i nostri (our plural masculine things)
    la nostra (our singular feminine thing)
    le nostre (our plural feminine things)

    VOI (plural "you/y'all", addressing two or more people)
    il vostro (y'all's singular masculine thing)
    i vostri (y'all's plural masculine things)
    la vostra (y'all's singular feminine thing)
    le vostre (y'all's plural feminine things)

    LORO
    il loro (their singular masculine thing)
    i loro (their plural masculine things)
    la loro (their singular feminine thing)
    le loro (their plural feminine things)
    "Loro" is the exception here in that the possessive form does not change, but the article still shows agreement.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2526

    "Your" is the possessive adjective.
    "Yours" is the possessive pronoun.

    Your cat is small.
    Your cats are small.
    The cat is yours.
    The cats are yours.


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

    how do you know it's HIS cats rather than their cats or her cats or our cats?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2526

    We don't know if it's his cats or her cats.
    Our cats would be i nostri gatti.
    Their cats would be i loro gatti.

    https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/124583?comment_id=35186118

    https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/124583?comment_id=21117240


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Harrie901070

    Why is it sometimes "i gatti" and sometimes "le gatte"? Is that comparable to ragazzi and ragazze?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2526

    Yes. People, common pets, and common farm animals have grammatical gender according to their real-world sex/gender.

    il ragazzo - the boy
    la ragazza - the girl
    i ragazzi - the boys/the children
    le ragazze - the girls
    il gatto - the cat (male or unknown)
    la gatta - the cat (female)
    i gatti - the cats (male, mixed, or unknown)
    le gatte - the cats (female)

    The default grammatical gender is masculine.

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