Can anyone explain why 'she drinks water' does always include the definate article, 'she eats sugar' does not contain the definate article (duo says lei mangia zucchero) and 'she eats bread can be either 'lei mangia pane' or 'lei mangia il pane'. Very confused.. just got used to french from english...! Thanks in advance
When you use "drinks" (beve) while talking about "he" or "she" or "the man" etc. It is "beve" for example, Lui beve, Lei beve, L'uomo beve
Now, "drink" can mean either "bevo" or "bevi". When you use "drink" as in "I drink", you should use bevo (Io bevo)
When you use "drink" as in "you drink", you should use bevi (Tu bevi)
You use l + apostrophe to contract an article and when the word right after starts with a vowel. Think of it as using it is = It's. You'll contract 2 words into 1. The rule applies to an article and the word that starts with a vowel. To echo @gregors10's comment, it's a matter of flow where it "flows" in a more natural way by contracting words instead of pronouncing 2 words with similar sounds back to back. Hope that helps.
Be warned. Lei is the formal term for he or she, lei is the informal term for she; when a sentence starts with lei, it is of course written Lei and therefore can mean she (informal), she (formal) or he (formal), so there is no way to tell the sex when a sentence starts with Lei unless it is long enough for there to be another clue.
Lei could be both you and she? wtf? So if I'm talking to someone and they say Lei beve L'acqua how would I know if he's talking about me or a woman? Also it's pretty annoying to have different verbs depending on the pronoun... why did the modern italians think that was a good idea this isn't common with other latin languages.
Actually, it's pretty normal to use the you (formal) when addressing someone you don't know, older or you need to show respect to in spanish, which is 1 of the 7 romance languages that all share similarities and syntax. The way i was able to learn it was to simply focus on the regular subject pronouns (without) using Lei... once i got comfortable with the tu, lui/lei...then, and only then i looked at Lei. When you speak about Lei vs lei, it's a matter of who you're talking about. You just need to use the lui/lei form for the formal tu (Lei). Io parlo, tu parli (informal), lui/lei parla, etc... in this case, like i said use the lui/lei form for Lei = Lei parla. If it's your friend, use the "tu" informal = parli inglese? Otherwise formal = parla inglese? I truly hope that helps.
QUICK TIP GUYS : NOT A COMLAINT! feminine words to get right : lei un' una raggazza some people do not understand why they get lei and un' wrong it's because they are feminine words like un, uno , ragazzo, lui are male you think you know this but you don't it was a quick tip ..... :)