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  5. "A lui piace il tè."

"A lui piace il tè."

Translation:He likes tea.

January 24, 2013



'Lui piace il tè' would be the same wouldn't it? What is the difference?

  • 2322

No, it wouldn't be proper Italian; the verb piacere's object, the one doing the liking (lui) is always expressed with "a" or "gli/le". Think of it as "The tea is pleasing to him".


I really like this explanation, but if you don't mind clarifying, is there a rule/explanation as to when we use "a"? It wasn't used in previous lessons.

  • 2322

"a" or "ad" (the latter can be used when a vowel follows) is a preposition introducing a number of indirect objects: it mostly translates "at" and "to", but it isn't limited to that. For instance:

"Do un libro a lui": I give a book to him

"Vado a Roma": I go to Rome

"Sono al ristorante": I'm at the restaurant

"Ad agosto": In August

"Serve a lui": It's needed by him (in Italian this is called complemento di termine and it's the same as with "piacere")

"Vado a vedere": I go to check (it indicates purpose and requires a verb in infinitive)

There are more but it only gets more rare and specific. Glad it helped, I hope I didn't make it too complicated now :)


so are "a and ad" always used before months' names?


Yes "a" or "in" ..both are correct


Uh. So a/ad can be in, to, at, by... Am I right? I think there are some prepositions that works like a and ad. How would I know which one should I use???


It is complicated but you always have the best explanation and examples :) Very helpful


very helpful. thanks "ant"


I'm still confused; do you know where one could find a more detailed explanation online? Or a list of uses? Is "a/ad" used, then, for 1) indirect objects 2) 'complemento di termine' 3) with infinitive verbs.... I'm sorry, I'm a little lost :(

  • 2322

You can give a try to this article; unfortunately Italian grammars don't really think of prepositions by themselves, but more of a number of use-cases (complementi, as they add information to the action) that can be covered by one preposition or another depending on context.


I can't reply to you for some reason but thank you! The article looks very helpful :)


Why ae you taking italian if you know all of this?

  • 2322

I ran through the Italian tree once to check out the exercises; as moderator I can also see all recent comments even if I'm not following the topics, so I join them when I think I can be of use :)


Might "the tea pleases him" be a valid translation?


That's a great way to remember piacere and conjugate appropriately. Similar to mancare which means "is missed by"..."mi mancate molto" means "I miss you (pl) a lot" but really is "by me you (pl) are missed a lot".


It wouldn't allow this for me.


"The tea is pleasing to him" makes more sense to me especially the way the use of piacere is explained. The translation of "he likes tea" is a bit confusing.


'the tea is pleasing to him' is a mnemonic trick you can use to remember the Italian structure but it's in no way a good translation for gli piace il tè.
The reason is that 'X is pleasant to Y' would never be used in a normal conversation whereas 'Y likes X' is extremely common. So if you use 'X is pleasant to Y' you are not actually translating/conveying 'Y likes X' but sometging else.


Amen Fratello. It didn't allow 'to him, the tea is pleasing' - a rearrangement of your verison - either. It's times like this when Duo seems to be trying to give us lessons in English, rather than Italian. And forgetting that we're native English speakers is rather insulting.


It is basically a passive formation, just like in spanish (gusto) and in Hawaiian, a very passive structured language.


In Italian's perspective, following your logic, English would be the passive one.

In summary, unless one considers his way of looking at things as universal, there is no reason to call a language "passive structured" just because it activates the pleasing/liked and objectifies the pleased/liking or because it objectifies the pleasing/liked and activates the pleased/liking. We can only say that one language has reverse voice focus relatively to the other one regarding a given relation between two things (in this case: pleasing relation) so it has to have a transitive verb using one argument as a subject and the other as the object.


Would you also be able to say "Gli piace il te'" as an indirect object to replace a lui?


This helped me alot!! mille grazie

[deactivated user]

    This construction I saw before when mastering French. Grazie.


    Perfetto. Grazie!!


    This wouldn't be the same because this would mean "He pleases the tea". The verb piace is not the verb to like. It is rather similar to the verb to please. Il tè here is the subject, it is placed at the end to look natural to English speakers, otherwise it can be placed at the beginning of the sentence.


    What is more usual, this or "GLI piace il tè"?


    Agree. When I lived in Italy "gli piace" was more commonly used than "a lui".


    what is the difference between the accents on the letters "e" and "i"? Do I just have to memorize which direction the accent goes for each word"


    I am italian
    90% of italian words with accent use the left-facing accent (╰ ) (grave)

    "Perché" (why/because) uses the right-facing accent ( ╯) (acuto),
    but in my opinion, few people in italy know the real difference in pronounciation, maybe some TV announcers or theatrical actors
    -Official site in italian language-
    -Site in English language-

    • In Italian, a word can only have one accent (unlike French!)

    • Vowels, a, i, o and u can only have grave accents (`).

    • The letter 'e' is the only one that can also have a grave accent (è) or an acute accent (é).

    - The accent helps you to pronounce the word.  The stress is where the accent is.

    • Leaving the accent out is considered a mistake and misspelling.

    • Native speakers put them as soon as they place the letter. (Follow their example!)


    I entered "the tea pleases him" but Duolingo said that was wrong.


    Why is there A before Lui when the senteces means 'He likes the tea' what is the purpose of 'A'


    "To him the tea is pleasing" It's just the way the language works.


    Why is there "the" missing in translation? il tè = the tea?


    how to say "I like the tea"?


    I am still struggling to understand how to use or translate the article. In the example it is translated as 'He likes tea' but the Italian is 'il tè' which I would understand as 'the tea' and I would, therefore, infer that we are talking about some specific tea that we are drinking or have drunk. If the given translation is correct then we are talking about tea in general terms.

    • 2322

    The main difference between Italian and English on this point is that general concepts in English don't need an article, while in Italian they always do: e.g. "l'erba è verde" -> "grass is green" (in general) OR "the grass is green" (some specific grass).


    That's not entirely true.
    For example: le mucche respirano aria, le mucche producono latte, le mucche mangiano erba, le mucche ascoltano musica.

    If you were to use the article in these cases, you would refer to specific aria, latte, erba, musica, whereas without the article, these terms are generic.
    I am unfortunately unable to supply any online explanation for this nor can I give a more precise rule.

    • 2322

    Good point! Although I disagree that "le mucche mangiano l'erba" is specific, to me it can be generic as well (and I would assume that out of context). Treccani mentions "In termini generali, un sintagma nominale senza articolo (definito «nudo» in Renzi 1985) è mal tollerato in posizione di soggetto di una frase indipendente dichiarativa; mentre, si è visto, può essere ammesso in posizione di oggetto" (td;dr it can be acceptable sometimes to not have an article for an object), but it doesn't give specific rules, other than it's often similar to the partitive: "L’articolo zero è stato talora equiparato al partitivo, del quale condividerebbe la funzione di esprimere indeterminatezza e quantità (pur con un grado minore di specificità; cfr. Korzen 1996)". But "le mucche mangiano erba" can be interpreted as both "le mucche mangiano dell'erba" (right now) or "le mucche mangiano l'erba" (in general).


    I dont underatand why everyone is speaking of piacere and my examples all say piace.. what is the difference?


    Piacere is the infinitive of the verb 'to please' or 'to like'. Piace is the male/female conjugation in the present tense.


    It's not make/female.
    piace/piacciono are singular and plural and must agree with the thing that is liked.
    Ex. Le piace il tè ('she likes tea') and le piacciono i cani ('she likes dogs').


    Why is "To him the tea is pleasing" not acceptable?


    so is the literal translation for the above "the tea is pleasing to him." ?


    Exactly, piacere is one of those verbs where the subject follows the action. The tea (subject) is pleasing to him. Lui is the receiver of the action to please (piace). Lui is not the subject of this sentence but the object. Your literal translation is correct. But in English we understand it as, "he likes tea". I hope this helps.


    thanks very much. Trying to prepare for a trip this summer. I would love to have a basic level of communication. I will keep plugging away.


    Piacere mio (my pleasure) Have a great trip. I envy you. I was there last May and had a fantastic time!


    I always translate this al+piace to German gefallen. Is it the case here? Tee gefállt ihn sounds weird.


    Would the sentence be the same if the object were lei? ?--A lei piace il tè What if is were plural ?--agli animal piace il tè ?--alle ragazze piace il tè ?--all'ragazzi piace il tè

    Is this right?


    All correct except the last one: ai ragazzi piace il tè


    Ahh, "To him the tea is pleasing". Thanks for the explanation.


    What the meaning of A in word start this is usless


    Please read the second comment from the top. F.formica explained it very well.


    why isn't the translation "he likes THE tea?"


    Thanks Ferdinando!!


    That's because I put five lumps of zucchero in it.


    boy, and they say learning English is difficult!


    I am confused as to why you need to put the "A" in front.


    So it is like gustar in spanish


    What is the point of A


    why would the 'A' be there? i do not understand


    To him the tea is pleasing ))


    thanks, . formica very helpful


    This is bogus. The explanation says that if "Jane likes John, the translation would be John piace a Jane." With that reasoning, "A lui piace il tea" should be "the tea likes him", not "he likes the tea."

    • 2322

    Nice analysis, but wrong nonetheless; Italian word order is flexible to some extent, so "a lui piace il tè", "il tè piace a lui", or even the uncommon "il tè a lui piace" and "a lui il tè piace", all mean "he likes tea". "The tea likes him" would be "lui piace al tè" or "al tè piace lui".


    This is all so very confusing.


    Your explanations are so helpful! Grazie mille! :-)


    It would seem from this that the placement of the preposition 'a' (and it's variations) determines which is the indirect object. Where "a lui piace il tè" would mean "the tea pleases him" and "lui piace al tè" would mean "the tea is pleased by him". Is this correct? And what is the correct use of Gli/le vs. a/al?

    • 2322

    "Gli" is the clitic version of "a lui" (and popularly of "a loro"), "le" of "a lei"; so they mean the same thing, but the clitic has a fixed place in the word order, unlike the stressed/disjunctive pronoun. People normally use the clitic pronoun, unless there's a strong reason to stress the object, e.g. "a lui piace il tè, a me no" - "he likes tea, I don't"; or with a different emphasis "il tè piace a lui, non a me" - "he likes tea, not I".

    As for "a", yes, that's usually the preposition used to introduce an indirect object; in Italian it's known as complemento di termine.


    Give me lingot please xdd

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