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).
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).
In English, we often omit the word "some" and it is implied when there is no article before the noun. Both should be accepted. http://italian.about.com/od/grammar/a/italian-indefinite-article-forms.htm
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OK so, we have one, two, three, several, some, numerous, hoards of! Where does dei fit in please?