"Siamo novanta" means "we are ninety", "siamo in novanta" is more or less the same, "we number ninety (people)". "We are in the nineties", meaning the decade, would be "siamo negli anni novanta"; meaning a rough number, it would be "siamo una novantina".
"Why would you use "siamo IN novanta" instead of simply saying " siamo novanta". Is there a specific reason for including "in" that influences the meaning? If not, why bother? Stick with the simple, right?
For a beginner that's probably the best course of action, but as you become familiar with a language you'll find that mastering these little changes in nuance and emphasis is what makes you fluent. And even as a beginner you still have to be able to understand what's being said.
I agree with you, but I don't know what the nuance is. Can you explain the difference, however slight or obscure, between using and not using the "in"?
I can't exactly pinpoint it either; the "in" version is used only when speaking of people, and it seems to imply some grouping of them, e.g. "a questo gioco si gioca in due" (this game is played by two people) or "siamo in sei a tavola" (there are six of us at the table).
I don't see a reply button for Fernando, but could the 'in' be a kind of shorthand for 'siamo in un gruppo di novanta'?
I'd add to f.formica's excellent answers (as always) that in English we also say "They come in hundreds"; even if not exactly equivalent the concept of IN is familiar enough.
Most importantly let's embrace and learn Italian the Italian way. Let's stick with Italian. We're being taught so that we will understand when an Italian says these sentences to us (and not argue with the natives that they say it wrong). :-).
I translated it as "we are in ninety" because I had absolutely no idea what they wanted, so I went for the literal translation, and it was marked correct. It shouldn't have been marked correct though, because that makes no sense in English. I will report it, but, wow, I'd rather lose points than have a crappy translation counted as correct.
And it's still the same 3 years later on 1 Nov 2017. I went for the completely literal meaning and it was marked correct, and i have no idea what it means - there are ninety of us, or we are in ninetieth (place), although the latter seems very unlikely to be correct - but who knows?
Also, to say "We're in the nineties" you say "Siamo nei novanta". Its shorter than saying " negli anni novanta" :)
24 August 2018 - I wrote "we are in the nineties" and it was rejected. I was told it should be: "We are in ninety", which make no sense in English and is far from the above translation. Why has this not been fixed after 5 years, Duo?
The correct answer is: There are ninety of us.
When I see such sentences, I do a little "community service" and try to change Google's translation, which originally also didn't make sense.
There are ninety of us Siamo in noventa We are in the nineties Siamo nei novanta or siamo negli anni novanta We are in our nineties????
Could the 'in' be a kind of shorthand for 'siamo in (un gruppo di) novanta'?
Based on what some of the comments indicate, that is true - comments from people who seem to know what they're talking about, that it means "There are ninety of us" in an idiomatic translation which doesn't get too far from the actual meaning.
Guessed the answer correctly due to context but it REALLY sounded like 'novanCa' - or perhaps that's only on my 'phone?
Is the "siamo" in this sentence meant to mean "of us" it does it literally mean "we are"?
Second could you say "Loro sono novanta di noi" for this sentence or is this wrong and if so why.
Any help or answers would be greatly appreciated.
Siamo is "we are". As explained by f.formica above, the "in" is an idiom, and the sentence means "we are 90 (people)", or in more natural English, "there are 90 of us".
"Loro sono novanta di noi" doesn't work. That means "THEY are 90 of us", which makes no sense. However, "ci sono novanta di noi" is probably OK. Hopefully a native speaker can confirm.
Am I supposed to only have seen this construction for the first time in the practice (reinforcement) exercises?
I translated it as "We are at ninety." meaning that we're counting something or other and that we have arrived at a certain number in the pile of something or other. Also, one of the prompts was "at" for in. What gives? Reported, for all it's worth.
"Siamo" is first person plural in Italian. "There are" is third person plural in English. Why is this translated that way?
Why is the correct translation for this 'We are on ninety', and the phrase that is correct in DL is 'There are ninety of us'?