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  5. "Metteranno la loro mano qua."

"Metteranno la loro mano qua."

Translation:They are going to put their hands here.

February 1, 2014



In English, this would be a bad sentence because it means "they" share a single hand. Is that mixing of singular and plural acceptable in Italian, or is this a bad sentence either way?


I'm not sure what you mean. In italian that is correct and it means that each one of them will put his own hand in the same place.


Thanks. In English you'd want to say it the way you did - each one (singular) will put his (or her) hand (also singular) here - or "They are going to put their hands (plural) here."


I'm not sure that is correct for English. For example, a teacher speaking about their pupils might say, "when they want to answer one of my questions they will put their hand up." You can use hands aswell, but hand is more specific.


if they come one by one they put their hand here.


Thanks for the explanation. I asked not to criticize the Italian sentence, but to clarify in my own head how the grammar might work. Rules of grammar vary among languages - one reason I'm having some trouble wrapping my mind around Italian conjugations - and I was curious about how this might work in Italian.


I also wondered why it wasn't "le mani" since the answer in English is "hands" plural.


because each will only use one hand.


"They" and "theirs" are both plural. "Hand" should be as well, in this case. Is there a plural for "mano"?


plural for "mano" is "mani". Indeed if you translate that sentence with: "metteranno le loro mani qua" you could understand that they were using both of their hands. Using the singular it's clear that every one of them has used one hand only.


Actually, no, that is not what's clear at all. It doesn't matter how many hands each person is using. If there is more than one person, i.e., "they", then the word would be "hands." "They are going to put their HANDS here." The context would tell you whether each person is putting one hand or two HANDS.


Let's rephrase in this way what a native italian understands from these two sentences:

1) "Metteranno le loro mani qua". This in italian could be equivocal because italians themselves are not always clear. The preferred interpretation though is that they *could * use both their hands.

2) "Metteranno la loro mano qua". This is not equivocal. Each one of them will use one hand only.

I understand that you don't find logical that a plural it's followed by a singular, but this is the way we speak. Very often it's illogical (the worst is when we use "niente". "Non c'è niente" is logically odd, but italians use it).


I don't know why you have been marked down for your comment. Duo has used in their translation 'hands'. when the word they are translating is 'hand' Now the reasoning by PaoloArman2 above is valid. However, It is a cause for confusion. and you are right to point it out. I believe the English translation is incorrect. It should be '...their hand here'. It is Duo's translation that is at fault and causing the confusion.


In many languages (Italian, German, Esperanto come to my mind, but not in english) it is fine to use the singular in such a case, when each "item" (used in plural) use or has a single item (used in singular).


How is it fine in German? I'd use the plural there, too.


Und ich prophezeie euch, sie werden ihre Hand dort hinlegen?


Nie gehört. Was soll das genau heißen?


Ich weiß es auch nicht genau. Ein Versuch Revilo's Aussage etwas Leben einzuhauchen, ein faule Art "jeder von ihnen wird seine Hand dort hinlegen" zu sagen, ein Statement, dass sich die Grammatik nicht um jeden Vogelschiß kümmern soll. Auf jeden Fall kann ich mit dem Singular leben, auch wenn mir der Plural besser gefällt. Und wahrscheinlich hätte ich besser meine zehn Tippfingerchen in Zaum halten sollen.


Sie werden ihre Hände hierhin legen is correct and ambiguous, each one might put one or both hands. Sie werden ihre Hand hierhin legen sounds slightly unnatural to me but not wrong. Jeder wird seine Hand hierhin legen is one hand per person, jeder wird seine Hände hierhin legen is two hands per person.


So, although there is a better (here: more precise) way of expression (namely using "jeder" = "ognuno"), as far as German is concerned, we basically agree with Revilo_N's comment, do we?


To me, “Sie werden ihre Hand hierhin legen” still sounds like they share a hand. And what is Revilo_N trying to say, anyway? “when each "item" use or has a single item”???


Fixed as of March 12, 2015


It accepted "they will put their hands here" from me 24/8/2017


Not today, March 19...


Not today 02/09/2020


What a long discussion! So what have we learned?

Italians put their hand up, Brits put up their hands.

Soglio is an editorial weasel, and Paolo has the patience of a saint.

The PC debate continues - HIS hand (meaning his or her) is sexist/it isn't, and anybody who says so is a makebate; - we can use 'their hand' to mean his or her/we HAVE to use his/his or her

... and that even the English can't agree on how to speak English.

Wow. What a lot of energy you chaps* have. :)

*[chaps/chapesses, I should say.]


LindaB_Duolingo: I've got to hand it to you; your summary is hands down the clearest so far and definitely deserves a hand - or if that's more than just one user's opinion, namely mine, then of course you're deserving of hands. Question: If two or more blackjack dealers are dealing out cards to a group of players are they dealing a hand of cards or hands of cards? If everyone in the audience is clapping do the performers receive a hand of applause or hands of applause? Seriously, thanks for your post.


You're a bit of a handful, aren't you? :) :)


I confess...sadly the result of poor handling as a child.


Time someone took you in hand ... :)


A handsome offer for sure...:-)


This is getting out of hand.


Performers (if worthy) usually get a "round of applause".


I like to note that hand, useful and necessary in life, is feminine in Italian. In English we use the word man for hand when we say man the decks or all hands on decks, and I like to thing that its because the feminine of the species would get the work done!


What's a "makebate?"


makebate = a person who makes trouble or invites quarrels. I had to look it up, too. I fear I may be one! LOL


Not good English !


People have been arguing this point since the first creature crawled out of the primeval sea and began to speak. Grammar isn't written on the walls of the universe; nevertheless, at least in In my line of work, it's as bad to have people think you're ungrammatical as it is to be ungrammatical.

Thus, we have strategies that I call "editorial weasel maneuvers." In this case, casting the entire sentence into the plural - "They are going to put their hands here" - which in this case also makes more sense than suggesting all of them share one hand - avoids protracted arguments such as we find ourselves embroiled in here.


Hi, Soglio

Editorial weasel maneuvers. Love it.

I often do the same thing when I am unsure of a spelling, and don't have time to check - I use another word. And when I'm not happy about a point of grammar or punctuation, and too tired to climb into the web - I just cheat and say it another way. Sigh. There, I've admitted it. I'm a fellow weasel. :)


a mi piace le 'editorial weasel maneuvers'!


A nice English translation would be "Each of them will put their hand here." Please not the lack of sexism in 'their'.


The best way to avoid both sexism and singular/plural conflict is simply to recast in the plural: "All of them put their hands here."


Actually, even that is incorrect, lol. As soon as you say "each" the subject is simgular and you cannot say "they". It would end up being "Each of them will put his or her hand there." But hardly any of us native English speakers talk like that!


Nobody is trying to be sexist when speaking English correctly. Saying they are is just picking a fight. "Each one of them will put his hand here."


Mikeforbes didn't say people were trying to be sexist in using "his." A lot has been written about whether or not it's advisable to use gendered pronouns in English when the sex of the person is unknown; in-depth discussions about this subject are easily found via Google. "They" as a nongendered singular pronoun has been used for centuries in English. It is no less correct than "he."


Yes, it is completely incorrect. "They" is strictly plural. "He" is strictly singular. When a single gender is unknown, "he", "his" is used. You can use "she", or "her" if you would rather, but "they" or "their" is completely wrong.


Chaucer, Shakespeare, and the authors of the King James bible would disagree with you.


The sentence is out of context and therefore it is trickier to understand. Think of people in a line needing to put one hand in a particular position, one after the other, to gain entry or receive something, then it all makes sense.


Even if the sentence were put into context, the English translation is incorrect, and Soglio, above, is right about the correct translation.


They are going to put their hands where??? Buy me dinner first....


My oh my! Sometimes, after reading these discussions I am all but on the floor laughing or screaming, sure in the knowledge (and somewhat relieved!) that I am not the pedant I thought I was. Gratitude abounds... International Pedants Association?


don't be ridiculous - I am english and in english if you use a plural part of the verb then the accompanying noun must also be in the plural - it's supposed to be a correct translation into english - and unless there really is just 1 hand between 'them' - maybe all but 1 hand is amputated - then the translation 'hand' is incorrect


just to learn English here, I am italian. What about these sentences:

1) The soldiers in the firing squad were ready to pull the trigger with their finger.

2) The soldiers in the firing squad were ready to pull the trigger with their fingers.

If I got what you say, only the 2) is correct. Right ?

In italian the 1) with the singular "finger" is preferable.

1) I soldati del plotone d'esecuzione erano pronti a premere il grilletto con il loro dito


As a general rule 'their' is plural and if it's plural unless there really is only 1 finger - eg every single finger but 1 in the scenario has been chopped off, and 1 trigger - then you use the plural to match the plural 'their'. eg you have 10 soldiers so 10 triggers & 100 fingers, the soldiers pull the triggers with their fingers. If you were to prefix the sentence with eg EVERY soldier then it would all become singular - every soldier was ready to pull the trigger with his finger Hope this is helpful


Yep. I got it, very clear. Thanks. Take into account that in Italian you can use the singular. The hypothesis of a firing squad in which 9 members out of 10 have a chopped off finger is deemed odd and should have been made clear. Without such a specification, it's implied that each one of them pulls the trigger with his own finger. Hence in italian you can use the singular.

Maybe that English duolingo's sentence has been conceived by an italian under the influence of their (*) own language.

(*) this "their" here is a singular their like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they


I looked at the wikipedia link - singular 'they' It's the sort of thing that you don't notice if it's your native tongue!

1.Everyone returned to their seats - Everyone (in this case a single noun like la gente') but there is more than 1 seat involved so 'seats' 2.Somebody left their umbrella - just 1 single umbrella left not an umbrella per person - so 'collect it' not 'collect them' 1, 3&4 current UK usage to be honest as many people would use 'his' as would use 'their' tho 'they may be grammatically incorrect 5.A journalist with many sources - if there were just 1 single source then it would be 'source' but there's more than 1 source so plural 'sources'


Actually, the best English sentence would be (3) The soldiers in the firing squad were ready to pull the triggers with their fingers.

More than one soldier, therefore more than one finger. Unless they share a single gun, more than one trigger. Thus, "soldiers," "triggers," and "fingers" are all plural.


This is an obscure but literary way of saying in English, "They will sign here." Is the same meaning present in Italian?


Or, They'll each put a hand here?


There is a difference in English between "They are going to" and "they will". Duo doesn't seem to realize that, and is using phrasal future when the exercises are simple future.

"They are going to put their hands here" or "They are about to put their hands here".
Stanno per mettere la loro mano qua


There is a difference between those two tenses in English, but there isn't a difference in Italian. The 'going to' future of 'mettere' is in fact translated into Italian as 'metteranno' in this sentence (as I'm sure your level-25 self knows!). So when we're translating from Italian to English, Duo has to accept either English translation, as the use of one or the other would have to depend on the context (which we don't have here).


The explanation is silly because the Italian could be EASILY interpreted that they ALL are going to put their handS together -therefore "le loro mani". In US we would they are going to put their hand (Singularly) here


Why isn't place accepted as a translation?


As a native English speaker, i might be going against the grain but there isn't a huge difference in reality. While it might not be perfect grammar, a phrase such as "when the teacher asked a question they put their hand up" would be perfectly understandable as meaning that several (if not all) of the students raised one hand to answer the question. Similarly, if someone said "when the teacher asked a question they put their hands up" most people would assume that it meant the same thing rather than several (if not all all) of the students put both their hands up. Contexts are important, but I'm trying to learn Italian and not trying to speak the Queen's English.


I've got to hand it to everyone who's taken the time to post comments on this one sentence and while I doubt there'll be any clear consensus on just what the correct ENGLISH should be, I think everyone who's had a hand in this, deserves a big hand.


Stuart.hol2: I agree and would only like to add that if the cops ever tell you to put your hands up you'd better put 'em BOTH up since they don't take to folks asking questions.


Regardless of all the commentary, DL gives a singular "mano" but a plural "hands". This needs to be reconciled.


We can't disregard the commentary here. The commentary explains why a sentence including the singular "mano" translates to a sentence that uses the plural "hands".


why not simply 'they put their hands here'


Because this sentence is in the future tense.


Anyone else having trouble with Duo not showing some peoples' names above their post?


I said "they will put their hands there" and it was wrong. It should be "they are going to put their hands there"...surely that means the same thing? If anything, "vanno mettere" would mean they are going..


Your problem might not have been will they put or are they going to put, but where those hands end up. Qua is here, not there.


This isn't it. "il loro mano qua" ??


Why is it "qua" not "qui"?


Why do DL have this obsession of saying "are going to" instead of "will"? The use of "will" is much more common and uses fewer words. As there is no difference in the Italian, it is just stupid.


I imagine the speaker hip-thrusting while he says this


“Tutti alzano la loro mano” can be translated either “Everyone raises his hand” or “They all raise their hands.” To me, as an English speaker (both U.S. and British) the interesting thing to notice is that, while the English focuses strictly on a logical agreement of grammatical number, the Italian focuses differently, always painting a clear and definitive picture of individuals here each raising one and only one hand. Rather nice!


Why does here become "qua" in this sentence?


As opposed to...? Are you thinking qui for 'here'? Both qua and qui mean 'here"; like la and li mean 'there'. It's been explained to me, that qua & la are used more for 'around here/there' and qui & li are are more for 'right here/there', but they tend to be interchangable and speakers use the one that sounds better in their situation.

Why qua in this sentence, versus qui? No idea. Maybe someone else can explain?


Buy why not say : "metteranno la loro mani qua"?


Read the other comments on this page. That question has already been asked and answered.


This must be the longest discussion ever! I wondering where all these hands are being put! But that's another story.


I listened to the slowed down audio three times and heard "metterà" each time.


I agree they cannot have one hand it must be plural


Sorry, I am starting to get fed up of finding out, what DL might mean with a useless sentence ... if this is just a game, ok, but if we are supposed to learn a language, please provide soemthing useful.

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