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"The boy eats from his own plate."

Translation:Il ragazzo mangia nel proprio piatto.

January 22, 2013



I understand that "from" is "del" and "nel" is "in the" or "on the".....hmmmmm


Prepositions in Italian are frequently idiomatic and a literal translation is not always going to be accurate.

del - most often means from (but not always). nel - most often means in (but not always)


Yes this is what I thought too...


I thought that too!


Did we have an introduction of "da/dal" yet? I really was guessing and put "da" but it was incorrect so I lost a heart... piango


'da' is still correct for 'from' but as 'his own' is 'il propio' then it becomes 'dal propio'

DL accepted it for me okay :)


I was not introduced to 'da' or the variable uses of it either, and I am doing reveiw for this section. Never seen it until now.


I told me I had missed one correct translation (I marked only "PROPRIO" piatto) and not "suo piatto".- but here it says there is only one correct answer. I think there is a slightly different nuance to these 2 sentences and they are not strictly equivalent.. "nel suo piatto" eating from HIS plate and "nel proprio piato" eating from his OWN plate. The latter would emphasize that he has his very own plate


I agree that there's a subtle distinction and that proprio would put more emphasis on the fact that the boy has his own plate...

But you also have to remember that language cannot always be translated one for one - multiple meanings and interpretations are possible, and usage differences can mean that the best translation is not always the most literal one.

How I see this sentence (and why I agree with Duolingo) is hard to explain but I'll try anyway... English uses tone/volume to change the emphasis in a sentence. In writing this is usually represented by all caps. Changing the sentence from "The boy eats from his plate" to "The boy eats from his own plate" doesn't necessarily put the emphasis on the fact that it's his very own plate. If you wanted to add that emphasis in English you would still use your tone of voice to indicate that ("The boy eats from his OWN plate")

So... "The boy eats from his own plate." When spoken with a neutral tone throughout (no particular emphasis) it can be translated as both "Il ragazzo mangia nel suo piatto" and "Il ragazzo mangia nel proprio piatto". (and probably would more likely be translated as the former by a professional, because translation is as much about knowing which is the best usage of the language for any particular situation as it is about knowing that this word in Italian = that word in English.*).

However, "The boy eats from his OWN plate" (spoken with particular emphasis on the word own), could only be translated as "Il ragazzo mangia nel proprio piatto"

I don't know if that made much sense or not, but I can only hope that existing/future learners find it of benefit... :-)


Thank you, this was most helpful and when I checked with my Italian friends, they agree with you also!


Thanks for letting me know that your Italian friends agreed with me. As a non-native speaker of Italian it's always good to have it confirmed that I'm on the right track... :)

(3 years of Italian at university (plus a linguistics degree) is pretty helpful - but it's still not the same as being a native speaker...)


Thank you very much for the exhaustive explanation!! The clarification is much appreciated!


makes wonderful sense. thanks, clearly wriiten


Why is it "nel" instead of "del"? when he eats from.


The reason why nel proprio is right and del proprio isn't is because nel proprio means "from his/her own" while del proprio means "many his/her own". But lets take a look at why. If you said "Il ragazzo mangia del proprio piatto", what you're really saying is "the boy eats from many own plate" (word for word translation). That doesn't sound right does it? Now if you said the correct phrase "Il ragazzo mangia nel proprio piatto", you would be saying "the boy eats on the own piatto" (literal translation). Sounds a bit better? And we arrive to why nel is correct and del is wrong, nel is the concatenation or merging of ne and il; il proprio means either his or her own depending on context. Merge all that together and you get nel proprio which translates to "from his/her own"

Hope this answers your question


Thank you much Briguy84 for the answer and explanation which is the perfect response to my question.


Carefully reading through Maiden and Robustelli (Chapter 11 prepositions) I can hazard a guess. (That mostly means I can suggest an mnemonic.)

The first thing is to note that it's rather weird that we use "from" for this in English. The boy isn't going anywhere--it's the food that's moving. There is no motion of the subject, so I think that's why we can't use dal. That said, if we drink from a cup, the Oxford-Paravia dictionary does use dal not nel.

Now it would be fine to use del if the boy actually ate some of his plate. In fact, even the English sentence can be read that way, although it makes more sense if we said "supplies" instead of "plate" of course. In Italian, though, you use di with mangiare all the time to indicate you ate a bit of something. That being the case, I think I see why del doesn't work in Italian for this sentence. (Even though I got it wrong myself.) :-)

Using nel means that, in Italian, we're thinking of the plate as the location where the boy is eating. I suppose if you used "al" instead of "nel" it would imply the boy himself was in the (very big) plate.

Upshot: I can rationalize it, but it would be great if a native speaker could tell us what (if anything) this would mean using al, del, dal, and nel.


Greg, I think you're the only one who has given an explanation for this that makes sense to me. Thanks very much!


I thought "nel" meant "on the" or "in the" and "dal" meant "from the". Can anyone clarify this for me? Thanks


I feel I am missing "suo" in this answer? "... nel SUO proprio piatto."? As in English - HIS own plate... Maybe Italian doesn't work this way?


Proprio already means "his own" or "her own". You don't say "il suo proprio piatto because that's equivalent to writing "his his own plate"


I was also wondering why del might not work instead of nel, or what that would mean instead.


i also used del instead of nel


And when was "bambino" introduced? Not in any of my lessons.


Dal suo piatto or dal piatto suo both are correct as italian has a generally more flexible word order.


why does duo not accept this but only accept "nel"


I have a similar question - why do I lose a heart when I say nel suo priprio piatto which to me is exactly what the English is trying to say thank you


did you spell "priprio" like that? lol


You got it wrong because you were being redundant, meaning that you literally said "on his his own plate". Like what others have said, proprio already means "his own" so you do not need the suo.


Is this really wrong? "il ragazzo mangia da suo proprio piatto."

[deactivated user]

    I forgot to include 'proprio' when I wrote "Il ragazzo mangia dal suo piatto" and it was marked right. (I'd hovered over the possibilities for 'from' and thought 'dal' made more sense as it would eliminate the need for 'il' before 'suo'.) I'm still not sure if my response was really correct or accepted in error.


    Help! I don't understand the use of either "nel" or "dal" in this instance. DA means from or by referring to place of origin. DI is used for place of origin and POSSESSION. Shouldn't this be: DI proprio piatto? I really don't understand the rule. And yes, I've looked the possessives up on ABOUT.com and other websites and I still don't understand the rule. Thanks for any help anyone can give me. :-)


    So why should it be marked wrong if it's so idiomatic?


    According to my understanding of previous lessons, the correct translation would be: "Il ragazzo mangia del i suo proprio piatto"

    Is this correct? Why is "i suo" omitted, and why is "del" not correct?


    Del means an undisclosed amount of something; like del bambino, della donna, dei polli or delle ragazze. Look here (http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare125a.htm) for a better description of what del is.
    The reason why "i suo" would be wrong is because for one "i suo" doesn't follow the correct singular/plural agreement; as in it's either "il suo" or "i suoi" the former is singular and the latter is plural and both are masculine. The other reason why it's wrong is "il suo" means "his" while proprio actually means his own.
    So what you have is "The boy eats (an undetermined amount) his his own plate". That is wrong because you are being redundant with the il suo and proprio, and del is wrong because we have singled out the boy and his plate which means that you don't need the del. Hope this helps


    Sometimes I feel like duolingo thinks we can read it's mind... Is there a specific reason "del" is wrong??


    Regarding suo vs proprio here: in English, one could say the boy ate from his plate and we could be referring to any "him". Example: my brother and I were having dinner when a boy ran up to our table. My brother handed him a fork and the boy ate from his plate." This is proper conversatiomal English but refers to the brother's plate, not the boy's. In English we don't have a special reflexive pronounce so we add "own" to "his". We aren't necessarily emphasizing, just clarifying.


    Like several other commenters, I too would like to know why "del" is right and "nel" is wrong. If this is idiomatic, it doesn't belong in the lesson, since the simplistic style of learning on duolingo a process of introducing words in simple sentences. Idiomatic phrases should be confined to lessons on idioms.


    Actually I got nel right! I would wager a guess that del is wrong because we already know it's one boy (il ragazzo) has his own plate (proprio piatto). Del depicted here (http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare125a.htm) means an unspecified amount of something. I could be wrong though


    I agree with duracel84


    Propositions are so hard, in any language.

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