This is a great brainstorm for a sentence that can be somewhat confusing, so let's flesh it out:
Stasera lui sceglie il ristorante
Basic structure. He is making the selection and this is a fact. Because of the way simple present works in Italian, you're right guiletheavenger, in English "will" or "is going to" would work as well.
Stasera sceglie lui il ristorante
Moving the subject pronoun after the verb provides emphasis to who is doing what. That's the simplest explanation for this strange structure and it works most other times you see it as well: emphasis. Here are other sentences you might see:
- Guido io. I'm driving (not you)
- Andiamo noi. We're going (we can take care of this)
What I believe f.formica was trying to explain is that highlighting lui like this makes it seem similar to the subjunctive or the imperative in that it is not matter-of-fact. You could compare this to another structure: "Che scelga lui" and if you're familiar with Spanish, "que elija él". One interpretation of this sentence indicates a wish or desire, just like the imperative and subjunctive, but it is not the same mood or tense.
To keep it short, there are two options: you can remember that verb + subject pronoun is used for emphasis, or you can jump into an elaborate linguistics discussion on how this use resembles a different tense (I'd be happy to see that grow!)
Let's not forget also that DUOLINGO is teaching us the language progressively, that is, from the most basic structure of the langauge, that is, basic words and tenses, to its most complicated forms, i.e., higher register vocabulary and more complicated verb tenses and structures.
If you were to click on the particular verb we're now discussing, scegliere (to choose), you'll realize that DUOLINGO lists it, under CONJUGATION, as a PRESENT INDICATIVE verb and, therefore, it would behoove us not to complicate matters for us and to just look for its nearest equivalent in the English language, that is, the present indicative, instead of trying to use different tenses, like the FUTURE TENSE.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, why don't we keep it simple for us and wait until we've reached that level of sophistication in our learning of the Italian language in which we are required to wrack our brains trying to figure out whether to use the Passato prossimo, Trapassato remoto, Futuro semplice, Futuro anteriore, etc.---something I'm dreading and not particulary looking forward to.
A substantial portion of what ipecacuana says is no longer applicable, due to changes in the Duolingo interface. Verb conjugations are no longer available in the exercises, and only sporadically available in the discussion sections, with incomplete tables missing most of the different conjugations.
In these cases, I like to write ‘he's choosing’; it's more likely to be accepted by Duolingo than ‘he will choose’, and more acceptable for near-future meaning in English than ‘he chooses’. (I actually think that ‘he chooses’ works in this case, although I don't think that I could explain why; still, there are certainly other sentences in Duolingo where this is more of a problem.)
The problem with that is that the sentence is explicitly not in the future tense. Furthermore, consider sentences such as "tonight, we dine like royalty" or more relevantly "tonight, he is choosing the restaurant" (its referring to the fact that he is being given responsibility for the restaurant choice, not that he is presently doing so).
I hope this might help my classmates, for this beautiful language. The word ordering verb + subject is also common in English, so not strange at all. "How came you to be here?" "Listen you to what he has to say." "What have you to say?" And other examples I quoted elsewhere. (And lastly "Fare thee well." :-) )