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  5. "Ho qualche amico in città."

"Ho qualche amico in città."

Translation:I have a few friends in town.

January 18, 2013

62 Comments


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

A lot of people are confused by the fact that qualche takes a grammatical singular, even though it really means more than one. I had the same problem until I realised that there are similar constructions in my native German and in French. Though they are a bit old-fashioned. So here is a translation that shows the same phenomenon in English:

"I have many a friend in town."

PS: Most languages also have a construction such as "more than one friend".


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

Would you please give an example for a similar construction in German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/johaquila
  • "Ich habe manch einen Freund in der Stadt."
  • "Ich habe [so] manchen Freund in der Stadt."

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

As far as French is concerned, are you referring to "maint" ?


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

Good question. I can't remember what I was thinking of. I am pretty sure it was neither maint nor plus d'un, but right now I can't find anything else. Maybe something I know from 17th century literature that didn't make it into my dictionary?


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

Thanks that makes sense.


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

"Ho qualche AMICI in città" is also correct for " I have a few friends in town" ?


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

No, qualche requires a singular noun.


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

Shouldn't the translation only be "I have some friend in town"? Or can "qualche amico" also stand for "some friends" in the translation?


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

"Qualche" is an interesting word in that it does not change (masculine, feminine, singular, plural) form and always takes a single noun following. However, in English it is translated in the plural, so "Ho scritto qualche linea" "I wrote some lines," "La mia giacca ha qualche riga" = "My jacket has some stripes," "Ho lavorato qualche giorno al questo lavoro" = "I worked some days on this task." I do believe that "nessun" works in a similar way, but perhaps someone else could confirm that...


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

Super examples and excellent explanation.


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

"I have some friend in town" would be a colloquial way in English of saying "I have a friend in town", so I think in Italian you would translate that as: "Ho un amico in città"

"Ho qualche amico in città" translates to "I have some friends" in Italian. Like giuliap says, "qualche" takes the singular, although in English "some" (in the corresponding sense) takes the plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yttap09

Does "qualche" always take the singular?


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

Please read the prior discussion before posting a question, to check if it has already been answered. That way the discussion thread stays compact and easier to use. Thank you.


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

"I have some friend in town" is not colloquial English. It is theoretically possible to say that you have a non-determinate friend, as in "I must have some friend in town whose couch I can crash on!" but it would never mean more than one friend.

Sigh. Well, it's a useful Italian collocation, anyway.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/samig59

Think of qualche as "somebody" ... without the "-body" and it will work fo you :-)


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

Can we say " Ho alcuni amici in citta" to say " I have a few friends in town"? or qualche is for persons, and alcuni is for objects?


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

Alcuni amici, degli amici, and qualche amico are three ways to say the same thing. Your sentence is correct. Both qualche and alcuni/alcune may replace the partitve (di + the definite article) when the partitive means a few.


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

So, if I get this right: alcuno amico/alcuni amici/degli amici, alcuna amica/alcune amiche/delle amiche OR qualche amico, qualche amica?


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

Seems like this sentence should have some better instruction of the concept. There needs to be an explanation why it is "amico" instead of "amici."


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

Qualche specifically means some, so it's not singular. Even though the form of the noun used with qualche is always singular, the meaning is plural. Qualche is an alternative to the partitive (il partitivo) when some means a few, but not when some means a little, or a bit of. The partitive is used to indicate a part of a whole or an undetermined quantity or number. In English, we use some or any. In Italian, they use the preposizioni articolate forms of di (e.g., del, dello, dell', della, dei, degli, or delle). If you wanted to use a plural form of the noun to mean the same thing, you would not use qualche. Rather, you would use alcune or alcuni.


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

Why is city rejected!?


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

(American English speaker) Because in English we wouldn't say "in city" but "in the city," or "in town."


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

Silly me,Grazie.


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

So if "qualche" always takes the singular noun, but together they make a plural, how would one say "Some friends are in town"?

Would it be "Qualche amico sono in città"?


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

As I already mentioned, English has a parallel construction: many a. And qualche behaves the same way in this respect:

Many a friend is in town.

Qualche amico è in città.


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

Thanks! Here, have a lingot!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cosmopolita61

I think "a friend" should be accepted because it's singular and will report


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

But, qualche specifically means some, so it's not singular. Even though the form of the noun used with qualche is always singular, the meaning is plural. Qualche is an alternative to the partitive (il partitivo) when some means a few, but not when some means a little, or a bit of. The partitive is used to indicate a part of a whole or an undetermined quantity or number. In English, we use some or any. In Italian, they use the preposizioni articolate forms of di (e.g., del, dello, dell', della, dei, degli, or delle). If you wanted to use a plural form of the noun to mean the same thing, you would not use qualche. Rather, you would use alcune or alcuni.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cosmopolita61

Ok, thanks. I know the French "quelque", where you use the plural, and the singular put me off here!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pablogc2000

I think is unclear. Qualche means that a plural is coming. Amico is singular. Should we say "Some friends" or "a friend" ? No way to know....there should be a hint


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

In this one "qualche" is "a few" PLURAL. Yet "amico" appears after it, which is SINGULAR. The translation is I have a few friends (plural) in the city. Odd. Revising my comment 1/2/16: I see by other comments that qualche takes a singular noun. Will remember that


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

Didn't other people have problems hearing the word "amico"? It sounds nothing like it. Reported 16.9.14


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

Thank you johaquila! Have a lingot...


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

Why does it sound like she says "ina città" i.e., an additional syllable between the words? Is that the norm between words starting and ending with consonants?


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

I can't hear that phenomenon at all. Maybe you are getting a different version of the voice (as part of Duolingo's usual A-B testing process). Or maybe it's because as a small child your ear was trained on a different native language (and regional accent).

Our ears classify sounds into equivalence classes based on the language(s) we hear in the first few months of our lives. It's very hard to change this later. Maybe the n is slightly longer than would be expected before a consonant in your native accent. That could make you hear a phantom vowel after it. Or maybe there actually is a very short vowel after the n that is ignored by native speakers of Italian (and German, my native language). I think what's most likely is that you are not used to n consonants being so long and therefore your ears interpret the end as a separate vowel.


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

Thanks for the explanation. I listened to it again and didn't hear it at all, so maybe it was part of the testing process as you say. I'm a language professor, by the way (Spanish and French), so I'm pretty accustomed to new sounds. Cheers.


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

Shouldn't it be "amici", not "amico"?


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

Qualche is used only with singular nouns.


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

Please read the prior discussion before posting a question, to check if it has already been answered. That way the discussion thread stays compact and easier to use. Thank you.


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

why do i need the "a" ... i have few friends in town is also a valid answer yet it is marked wrong


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

It is definitely wrong. There is an important distinction here, although through the discussion forum on an unrelated sentence in the Dutch course "The girl does not have much bread., I have become aware that more and more native English speakers do not understand this distinction any more. The remainder of this post is an adaptation of my post in that other forum.

In English you can add the indefinite article to little (for uncountable nouns) or few (for countable nouns) to change the meaning.

  • The girl has little bread. - She doesn't have much bread. There is an upper bound on the amount of bread she has.
  • The girl has a little bread. - She has some bread. There is a lower bound on the amount of bread she has.

The amount is probably the same in both cases. It's a half empty vs. half full situation. Similarly with few:

  • I have few friends. - I do not have many friends. There is an upper bound on the number of friends I have.
  • I have a few friends. - I have some friends. There is a lower bound on the number of friends I have.

When used as understatements:

  • having "little bread left" or "few friends left" can be an understatement for all gone; whereas
  • having "a little bread left" or "a few friends left" can be an understatement for still all intact.

They also behave differently with respect to comparatives: very little / few refers to a very small amount or number. You can't use very with a little / few, but quite a little / few actually refers to a large amount or number.


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

I see, thank you very much for your explanation :) have a lingot


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

It is friend, but with qualche It translates as friends. Qualche is always followed by a singular noun


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Satyanaray217508

Why not amici?.......If it means SOME, friend would be OK but if it means FEW, friends would be appropriate..


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

It means "a few" = "some", not "few". And whether a word like qualche takes a singular or plural is primarily a matter of grammar, not logic, anyway. Qualche always takes a singular, just like the similar English construction "many a friend".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gabe280150

I wrote "I have several friends in town" and it was marked wrong. Why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wolf1mtb

Qualche is an invariable adjective that never changes regardless of the gender and number of the noun. It uniquely modifies a singular noun with a plural meaning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suzanne955198

shouldn't it be "amici"??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Suzanne955198

thanks for the explanations!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/knurse1

amico is singular friend not friendS


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

Just read the top comment on this page..


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

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't "amico" singular?


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

Please read the prior discussion before posting a question, to check if it has already been answered. That way the discussion thread stays compact and easier to use. Thank you.


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

Maybe this is colloquial American?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MelissaM1212

No, it's not. It would be, "I have a friend in town."

"Some" implies more than one.


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

O una quasi amica

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