"Arriva il caffè."

Translation:The coffee arrives.

January 13, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Shouldn't this be the other way round - "Il caffe arriva"?


It's all in the nuance. "Arriva il caffè" highlights that the arrival of the coffee. "Il caffè arriva" is a bit banal and relates just the situation without any particular highlight. Both are useful to know. The Italians are somewhat verbally eccentric, especially about their coffee.


It's like "here comes the coffee" rather than "the coffee comes".


That's what I thought, so as there was no "here", I only put "comes the coffee". I'm french, I thought it was correct. Is it?


I'm sorry, it doesn't make sense in English :(

You could leave out the article and go "Here comes coffee" or even go along the lines of "Coffee's here", but the indicative is paramount. Hey, we could always do some basic conversation in French, English or Italian if you're having trouble... French isn't MY native tongue but I'm fluent in English so we could help each other out.


In English we almost never leave out the subject of the verb. (I agree with MarkHopman, I am just giving a more general answer.)


So "Arriva il caffè" has a similar meaning (or sense) to "Ecco il caffè" then, maybe?


Thank for an explanation!


Exactly my point! "Arriva il caffe" doesn't make sense in English, French, or Romanian.


"the coffee comes" seems like a reasonable answer, but was not accepted


This is a difficult part of English. To briefly review, transitive verbs can take a direct object, as in: I threw the ball. Intransitive verbs cannot, as in: the ball sits on the ground. Most intransitive verbs are stative verbs, which relate the state of the subject. Active voice of a verb is where the subject of the verb is acting, as in: I threw the ball. Passive voice is where the subject is acted upon, as in: the ball was thrown. Intransitive verbs cannot be put into the passive voice technically because the verb has no ability to have directed action. However, there are instances of such a construction, mainly from literature, which try to utilize a passive voice of an intransitive verb, as in: he was come to the inn on the dreariest of all nights. This is still not proper English grammar.

This was a long introduction to the difference between the words "come" and "arrive." While both of these verbs are categorized as intransitive verbs, "come" has a strong active sense, while "arrive" has a strong passive sense. This is particularly difficult in these slight differences . When someone comes to a place, there is a sense that this person, under his or her own volition and/or power, acted to make the coming happen. On the other hand, when someone arrives at a place, there is a sense that this person did not act to make his or her arrival happen, but rather the arrival happened regardless of this person's own power.

Since coffee has neither autonomous volition nor autonomous power, "arrives" is best option since it refrains from personifying the coffee by attributing characteristics which are uncharacteristic of the coffee.

I am fully aware that in modern English parlance we have sayings like: the rain comes down. These types of sayings did not develop out of well formed English grammar.

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Most intransitive verbs are stative verbs.

Only active verbs can be transitive or intransitive. Stative verbs are their own category.

I am fully aware that in modern English parlance we have sayings like: the rain comes down. These types of sayings did not develop out of well formed English grammar.

This is false. There is nothing ungrammatical about it at all.


I thought your explanation was very well articulated and clear. And it's not a very easy grammar point to explain, in my experience.


Very interesting explanation. I see the difference between "come" and "arrive" very similar, but not quite the same. (Or maybe I am just unterpreting his explanation not quite right). With "come" the emphasis is on the action - so far I totally agree with christopher. With "arrive" I feel the emphasis more on the fact of (finally) being in the location of the arrival. Hmm, proof reading my post, maybe it is basically expressing the same thoughts as Christopher, just without the grammar explanation.


Interesting but with respect I think this over complicates the issue, which is mainly one of word order. In modern English we would not say "now arrives the coffee"; the subject generally precedes the verb. Italian is more flexible, which may hark back to its origins in Latin, where word order did not determine meaning.


I also put "the coffee's here," which is the way the sentiment would be phrased in American English.


No. You are missing the point: learn the Italian.

"Arriva" doesn't mean that it has arrived. It means "arrives." If your waitress in Italy says "arriva il caffè," you could be waiting another 10-15 minutes for it to get to your table.

Since in the US we have service that is based on immediate gratification, we think these two things are equivocal. It can be a rude awakening when you experience a different culture for the first time. It's best to learn what the professionals are teaching you. There is a reason, even if you don't grasp it.


That may be the case in Italian CULTURE, but in the English LANGUAGE if something arrives then it means "it's here". I think we can forgive people for equating "the coffee arrives" with "the coffee's here". Especially as we are only learning a language with no reference to actual cultural experiences in that particular country, such as how or when your coffee might be served.

People are asking questions to try and understand why the language works the way it does - to "grasp what the professionals are teaching us" as you say. I'm guessing that many of us probably have no experience of real Italian culture, and so the nuance of the coffee not literally "arriving" at the table would be completely missed. But thanks for pointing it out; we now understand the sentence better.


I get what you're saying, but there are instances in English where "it arrives" doesn't mean "It's here." Example: "Her plane arrives at 6:00."

I think a common error among new language learners is to try to think of the new language in terms of one's native language. It's natural to do this, especially in the beginning, because it's the only frame of reference that you have. But I would urge any new learner to try to forget what you "know" of grammar from your native tongue (especially English), as the rules are seldom transferable and only lead to confusion. For now, trust what the program is trying to teach you about "the rules", even if they seem nonsensical at first. There are subtleties to the language that will help it all make sense later on--but it won't ever make sense if you think of it like English.

Later, as you progress and are exposed to other sources of immersion in the new language, you'll learn how the rules are bent at times in colloquial and/or idiomatic speech. And sometimes the rules won't seem to make sense, and we just have to accept that the reason for the rule is simply "because that's the rule."


I would qualify the suggestion of "forgetting" what you know of your native language grammar rules to say that you should "suspend" your native language rules when they don't seem to fit. Using what you know about your native language is key in giving you a framework to understand the new language - the similar words and structures, the "easy ones," are a welcome relief. However, as is mentioned frequently in the discussions, word-for-word translation doesn't always work. Try to keep a running catalog of what's the same, what's similar and what's completely different. If you already know other languages, then you have more ways to compare the new language and more connections your brain can make to the new material.

Thanks to the people who are providing cultural context in the discussions! It really helps, especially with idiomatic expressions like this one for which the "huh?-factor" is high.


I know this is an old comment, but if this is really what is meant by 'arriva il caffè', then 'the coffee arrives' or even 'the coffee is arriving' is a poor translation. Because in English, that means the coffee's actually here. If 'arriva il caffè' means 'the coffee's coming', that's quite different.


Wow. Chill out. One could not possibly know that the coffee arrives does not mean the coffee is here unless told. Not knowing is not the same as ignoring what is trying to be taught.

Had you not told us this I would assume that "The coffee arrives" meant that it is currently arriving to the table as in visibly approaching the person who ordered it.


Lots of comments and valid points. I agree with the point that trying to equate casual Italian phrases to American English only leads to confusion. Best to learn the phrase as is without stressing over the literal translation. Having lived in Italy, "arriva" really is a kind of vague sense that something is coming. Waiting staff will also qualify a bit by saying "arriva subito" to mean something is coming very soon or "arrivo subito" to mean "I'll be back soon". Once the coffee does arrive, they will say "ecco il caffe" or "ecco ti qua" which loosely translated means "here's your coffee", or "here you go/are".

Most important...enjoy the coffee once it arrives. Italian coffee, consumed in a bar in Italy, is second to none!


really interesting discussion, I think i can hear some options in English

1) the coffee is coming (a little time away) maybe perking or the cups being set out

2) the coffee comes (almost here) maybe on the tray and moving across the cafe

3) the coffee is here (actually here) delivered to the table

in this case I think we are talking about a (1) or is it even earlier say back at the stage of washing the dirty cups up and putting the coffee maker on?

I think we should be told :-)


It might help to distinguish between 'the coffee arrives' which in English would often equate to 'the coffee is here', and 'the coffee is arriving' which is an equally viable (and in this case more appropriate) translation.


Can't wait for the duo sentence for 'here comes the bride ...'


This is unfortunate, DuoLingo only takes the literal translation. The equivalent English phrase would be "The coffee is here."


That really has a different grammatical meaning, even though in English we use it to mean the same. I think Duolingo only accepts non-literal translations when there IS no literal translation that makes any sense. In this case, the literal translation is understandable, even though it may not be the usual way of saying it.


Only a beginner - but have I missed something? Why not also, he/she/it arrives at the cafe?


He arrives at the cafe = arriva al caffè (al = a + il)


I agree, xyphax! Arriva al caffè would be "He arrives at the cafe." Arriva il caffe would be "The coffee arrives." Arriva is the present tense for he/she/it for arrivare.


Chill out everyone. The sentence makes sense to me. A bit silly but not nonsensical


I think I must be the only one who thought arriva= "he arrives at" the coffee shop. (Although missing a preposition). The coffee arrives is something that would make sense in English if accompanied by Ta Da!


why is not accepted in present countinous?


Italian often uses the present tense of"stare" plus a gerund to express the equivalent of the present progressive, or present continuous, tense in English. This construction emphasizes the ongoing nature of the action. Pina sta leggendo il giornale. Pina is reading the newspaper. From:http://italian.about.com/od/verbs/a/italian-verbs-present-tense.htm <sub>Excellent site to answer many questions re Italian.</sub>


Grazie per il consiglio utile!


I know, I have the same question


And so we wait... I think it's random when you can and can't use it

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I think it's because to arrive is an instantaneous act (you arrive and then you are there) so it can't happen continually.


Folks, comments of all you are instructive to me. Even though you wrote them months ago, to me they just "arrived". Thank all.


As concifuriram said, it is unfortunate that it only takes the literal translation. But that's what happens when you work with a machine, I guess. I put, "Here comes the coffee." That sounded the most natural to me, though I know there are other possibilities.


Sorry, Duolingo. I love you, but this is absolute nonsense. Nobody says in English "The coffee arrives." or even "The coffee comes." You would say "Here comes the coffee!" (exclamation mark to make the point that this is a jovial way of saying it), or "Here's the coffee." Both of these answers were marked as wrong. I understand that we are here to learn Italian, but that does not mean that it is acceptable to mark correct/idiomatic translations as wrong, or, worse, to give the 'official answer' when it itself is so absolutely wrong as to be ghastly.


I put 'the coffee's coming' and was marked wrong. Why?


how would you say - "she arrives the coffee-place"? arriva al caffè?


I think you meant 'she arrives at the coffee place/cafe'

You are right, i would also translate it as "lei arriva al caffè/caffetteria"


I thought "arriva" was referring to a person arriving at a location, in this case, the cafe/coffeeshop ( il caffè ).

I was intrigued when I saw the translation, and tried to imagine the scenario where this phrase would be used.

I am more interested to understand how the Italians would use this or similar phrases.

Anyway, this is what I have penned in my notes to help me understand how to use this phrase.

Esempi: ♦ Arriva il caffè. • [ The coffee arrives. ] ♦ Ti verrà chiesto di saldare il conto quando arriva il tuo caffè. • [ You will be asked to settle your bill when your coffee arrives. ] ♦ Quando arriva il mio pranzo? • [ When does my lunch arrive? ]

Hope that helps.

:) KK


Why not: Here comes the coffee?


can't this be "he arrives to the café"?

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No. There is no preposition.


Is "Here comes the coffee!" an acceptable translation?


I thought it was "I go to the cafe."

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That would be "(io) vado al caffè".


Arriva il caffè.

Don't you say in Italian : Il caffè arriva.?

Between the two expressions, there must be different subtle nuances in meaning, which I am not sure of. Can someone elaborate on that, please?


why isn't "coffee arrives" without "the" acceptable?


Hi, so are both ways correct? And even better: arriva il caffè Ok...got that one wrong

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