1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "Lui ha dei cavalli."

"Lui ha dei cavalli."

Translation:He has horses.

January 28, 2014



why not just "Lui ha cavalli" ?


"Lui ha cavalla" is he has horses, and "Lui ha dei cavalla" is he has some horses.


That is so very confusing


Duolingo explains later on: When di is combined with the articles il, lo, la, gli, i the results del, dello, della, degli, dei or delle can have one of two roles. They can express an indefinite quantity like some (Io mangio delle mele), or ownership like of the (il cane delle ragazze).


Where does duolingo explain this? I don't find explanations for anything


Open Duolingo in a browser, not in the application. When you click on a skill, some of them has an "electric bulb." There you can find grammar explanations.


I cannot find those bulbs you are talking about. Where are they? On the main website?


There are no light bulbs any more (at least in my version ). They are called "Tips" and they are rectangular (24.04.2020).

In a browser -> www.duolingo.com -> enter (using your account) -> Learn -> Skills (i.e. yellow rings) -> Tips

There are also some grammatical information in the App. When I begin a lesson, I can see the button "Theory" (some lessons do not have it).


Click on the light bulb before you start on the website and also on the app


That is what i don't like about duolingo, it just assignes tasks that it has never thaught.


I feel exactly the same way. I get that repetition might get it through to me, but I don't want to "pass" or move on to the next stage without really getting it.


Except duo says di = of, from. Not some.


I believe it's a nuance. If you say "he has horses" it could mean he has two or two hundred. When you say "he has SOME horses" it somewhat narrows it down to a not-as-vague amount such that he has a group of horses but probably not 100.


Totally agree. Makes NO sense and I'm tired trying to translate these sentences when no explanation is given for the word BEFOREHAND!!!


The brain can remember stuff better, if it is forced to think about it. There's a reason behind it. It is to trick your brain to remember stuff, even though the brain is a lazy bastard.


Susanne, True, but it forces us to read comments ansd ask questions. Some of my best learnings are reading these posts


You cannot learn from DL alone. You must have a dictionary and verb book also, to refer to


it is like du in french


But they accepted "he has horses" as a correct answer.


So you're saying "some horses" is implied as opposed to "the horses?" Like just horses in general, and then "ha dei cavalli" is how you say horses instead of "i cavalli?"


In English, "horses" implies "some horses" and so many people in English don't bother to say "some" and so when "dei cavalli" is written there are two possible translations which are both valid. When "i cavalli" is written, only "the horses" is the answer. When "cavalli" is written with no article and no adjectives to distinguish quantity, then "horses" would be the answer. When translating from English "horses" could possibly have two translations, but I am not sure that duolingo recognizes that. It is probably easiest to give the exact translation for duolingo. Please read above sites for information on Italian.


In reply to the person who wrote that in English, horses implies "some horses", that's just wrong and somewhat ridiculous. Horses is plural...period. It doesn't imply some, several, many, lots or any quantity other than more than one. That's why those other adjectives exist.

  • lui ha una cavalla = he has a (female) horse
  • lui ha delle cavalle = he has some (female) horses
  • lui ha dei cavalli = he has some horses


1.- The plural of cavallo (horse) is cavalli (horses) the plural masculine is formed changing the last letter for i. 2.- For the possessive it is necessary the article, in this case "i" , for example "I have my apples" is "Io ho le mie mele". 3.- In Italian there are some verbs that need a direct object, therefore the use of "de". 4.-The contraction of "de+i" is dei.


But the answer is "He has horses"


But Duos answer is "he has horses" not "he has some horses". So inconsistent. It makes it hard to learn when things are not consistent.


Could one say "Lui ha alcuni cavalli"? Thanks


Does this roughly correspond to the French "des"?


Perhaps that's true, but the words listed to choose from had no "some" as a choice, and duolingo then gave the correct answer to "lui ha dei cavalli" as "he has horses". Why? What gives?


But DL gives the answer to "Lui ha dei cavalli" as "He has horses"! So, again, why is the "dei" there? Why is it needed?


I think this is right


That's what I thought also but the translation says I was wrong. It says, "He has horses." I'm confused.


that's the way I read it also. This app seems to do things at random. Even following hints is to no avail.


Why are you writing cavalla instead of the plural cavalli?


Would I be correct in thinking that the word "del" means "of the", then, because there a many horses is plural, the "l" gets changed to "i". The literal translation would therefore be "He has of the horses"


Actually in this case it means some, and is used often with this meaning. It's one of those things that is implied but not necessarily used in the English translation, however when writing in Italian it is necessary to use. So to be precise the actual translation would be "He has some horses", but the "some" in this case is not needed for the English translation.


Then why is the answer given as "he has horses"?


Yeah but that's not what duo's final interpretation was


but DL gives "correct answer" for "lui ha dei horses": he has horses! without "some"


It can be, dei isn't necessary, it just adds further detail. It lets the listener more specifically understand the quantity being discussed. We do it in English as well. Lui ha molto cavalli. He has a lot of horses.


Its the same as the partitive in french - de la / du


To clarify, in English there is one way to distinguish articles. In Italian, there are two, in addition to gender.

First, we can distinguish articles by their definitiveness (bear with me). This is how English tells the difference.

The apple versus an apple The wall versus a wall

Definitiveness makes a word specific; a definite article the group of things narrower. We saw the men on the street versus we saw men on the street. It does the same in Italian.

L'uomo contro di un uomo La mela contro una mela

What Italian has that English doesn't, usually, is a singular/plural distinction.

The apple vs the apples An apple vs (some) apples

Articles // Definite Indefinite Sing. The A / An Plural The [none] (or "some")

La mela contro Le mele Una mela contro della mele

I think you see where this is going.

Articles // Definite Indefinite Sing. Il / La / Lo Un / Una / Un Plural I / Le / Gli De

De is used as the plural indefinite article, which is not used in English. This is why it's hard for English speakers to grasp, and why Duolingo is inconsistent on whether it means "some" or has no meaning at all.

Hope I could help the people who are still confused.


This was very helpful, thank you!


To clarify, as some of these commends seem a bit ambiguous or lacking, "dei" in this case is the "i" plural form of "del", a partitive article used to indicate imprecise or approximate quantities.

For further information, you may check out this page: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare125a.htm


JULIE: My Italian professor said sometimes certain word choices are just preferences over others because of the way they sound, or flow in a sentence. Di + article is a very commonly used partitive in Italy. I often heard it used over alcune/i.

Sadly, I don't think there is explanation or rule to follow.


Could someone PLEASE explain why "alcuni" (some) is not used. Stansurf asked same question but no one answered his question. Help!


Why is the dei not translated .


Can we say "Lui ha cavalli"? Is that wrong in Italian?


Is it possible to just say, "Lui ha alcuni cavalli"? Which sounds more colloquially correct?


why not "he has the horses"? because in Italian "some" does not denote "dei", but "alcuni". Can someone throw some light?


Why is this in the prepositions chapter? Is there a reason?


Should the English translation not be: He has Some horses?


So, what is the dei for?


it is "di + i" = "dei" "Lui ha dei (di+i) cavalli" which means "some" it is like: "Ho dei libri" --> "I have (some) books" I hope this helps


A few should be acceptable here. There is no reason for it to be wrong, is there?


I translated "he has horses" to "Lui ha i cavalli" and that was considered correct. Is this correct, or a mistake on dl's half?


I think both Italian sentences could be translated to "He has horses", so in the reverse translation you could use any.

  • Lui ha dei cavalli = He has (some) horses
  • Lui ha i cavalli = He has (the) horses

[deactivated user]

    OK so why need dei at all ? why not just lui ha cavalli

    [deactivated user]

      OK so, we have one, two, three, several, some, numerous, hoards of! Where does dei fit in please?


      Why not lui ha i cavalli?


      I was looking for the word "some" as an option to add but there was none


      Why is "He has some of the horses" not correct?


      So di+article can either mean 'some' or 'of the (possessive)' and the only way to know which is being used is by the context of the sentence?


      The answer states "He has got horses." Awful English.


      In other languages that decline nouns (e.g. Russian and German) this would be expressed as a partative genative. One can think of it as "He has (a number) of horses."-> "He has horses."


      From the provided words I can select only these: "He has horses". But doesn't it have to be like that: "He has SOME horses." ?


      Is this like French's "Il a des chevals"?


      thanks everyone :)


      If the implied translation is supposed to be "he has some horses", they should say that so it doesn't confuse.


      why isn't dei translated as some


      Why is "He has the horses" wrong? Is this a discrepancy between general and particular horses? Since there is no context why is this wrong?


      The solution should say "he has some horses".


      H in He should be capital


      Why "THE horses" is wrong where in italian it reads "DEI cavalli"????


      Lui ha cavalli= he has horses. No? What does dei mean?


      Prepositions are brutal in every language. French, Italian, English, Bulgarian... all of them... brutal.


      But in English is a few horses. Some is for something you can't count


      Not explained well in "lessons"... I'm about ready to quit this thing. Sooo frustrating


      so, if dei means some, why wasnt the answer he has SOME horses? This does not make sense.


      Hard to understand what is being said, doesn't sound like cavalli


      Why does this sentence require dei


      Why isn't it right "he has THE horses“?


      That would be:
      “Lui ha i cavalli”
      “dei” = “di + i” = “of the” so it is like:
      “He has (some) of the horses”
      In other words “He has (some) horses”.


      Why not 'i cavalli'? What is 'dei' here? So confusing.

      Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.