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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?

  • 2617

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.

  • 2617

"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


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


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???


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 :(

  • 2617

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 :)


Hey sorry for bothering you, but I am still confused about something. In the previous example there was "alla ragazza non piace il succo" and you explained it was because ragazza isn't direct object. Now we have similar example but it's male "a lui piace il tè". Why is "a lui" correct if "a ragazza" is incorrect?


a lui is an indirect object, exactly as alla ragazza.
The difference is that you don't use the article with pronouns (alla = a + la).

Here are the indirect pronouns (both forms, before and after the verb, that is gli piace vs piace a lui):
mi/a me
ti/a te
gli/a lui
le/a lei
ci/a noi
vi/a voi
gli/a loro


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.


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 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".


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


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
95% of italian words with accent use the left-facing accent ( ) (grave)

"Perché" (why/because), ventitré (twenty-three) use the right-facing accent () (acuto), but IMHO few people in italy know the real difference in pronounciation
-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.


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.


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


Is this a common word order in Italian? Wouldn't you mostly say "Il tè piace a lui"?


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 not "the tea"???

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