"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?

January 24, 2013

  • 2080

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".

January 24, 2013


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.

February 4, 2013

  • 2080

"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 :)

February 4, 2013


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

July 29, 2015


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

June 1, 2016


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???

January 3, 2016


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

June 6, 2017


very helpful. thanks "ant"

October 18, 2017


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 :(

September 9, 2014

  • 2080

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.

September 9, 2014


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

September 10, 2014


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

December 23, 2013

  • 2080

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 :)

December 23, 2013


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

December 10, 2013


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".

August 9, 2014



November 13, 2015


It wouldn't allow this for me.

September 7, 2016


"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.

November 11, 2016


'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.

July 8, 2018


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.

February 27, 2017


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

May 18, 2015


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.

October 19, 2016


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

May 31, 2017


This helped me alot!! mille grazie

December 12, 2014

[deactivated user]

    This construction I saw before when mastering French. Grazie.

    March 20, 2018


    Perfetto. Grazie!!

    May 23, 2018


    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.

    October 19, 2016


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

    April 5, 2013


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

    August 9, 2014


    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"

    November 27, 2013


    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-

    January 26, 2019

    • 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!)

    October 26, 2018


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

    August 10, 2014


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

    November 8, 2016


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

    November 8, 2016


    Thank you.

    April 10, 2017



    October 17, 2017


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

    August 12, 2017


    how to say "I like the tea"?

    September 20, 2017


    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.

    October 11, 2018

    • 2080

    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).

    October 11, 2018


    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.

    October 11, 2018

    • 2080

    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).

    October 11, 2018


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

    August 15, 2016


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

    February 26, 2018


    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').

    July 8, 2018


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

    September 29, 2016


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

    February 12, 2017


    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.

    February 13, 2017


    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.

    February 13, 2017


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

    February 14, 2017


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

    August 4, 2018


    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?

    November 28, 2018


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

    November 28, 2018


    Thank you

    November 28, 2018


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

    December 8, 2018


    What the meaning of A in word start this is usless

    March 30, 2019


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

    March 30, 2019


    Thanks Ferdinando!!

    April 5, 2017


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

    August 18, 2017


    boy, and they say learning English is difficult!

    October 28, 2017


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

    November 27, 2017


    So it is like gustar in spanish

    January 15, 2018


    What is the point of A

    February 17, 2018


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

    June 1, 2018


    To him the tea is pleasing ))

    December 29, 2015


    thanks, . formica very helpful

    February 10, 2017


    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."

    June 13, 2014

    • 2080

    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".

    June 13, 2014


    This is all so very confusing.

    October 30, 2014


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

    November 13, 2014


    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?

    May 12, 2015

    • 2080

    "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.

    May 12, 2015


    Piace= to like

    September 30, 2014


    Give me lingot please xdd

    September 4, 2016

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