"His or hers?"
Translation:Al său sau al ei?
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Can you explain? 'a' is fem. singular. So how is it correct to say "a lui" to represent 'his'? Shouldn't it be "al lui"
The 'a' is feminine but refers to the owned thing not the owner. 'A lui' is his feminine stuff. 'Al' liu is his masculine stuff.
Thank you! Great explanation. I understand it now. But in this example, how are we supposed to determine what gender the 'owned thing' is?
The english do not contain that information, so both should be possible translations. You should have the same for his and hers since both refereres to the same thing.
I tried "al său sau al său" as I thought "al său" could be "his" or "hers" if the owned noun is masculine and singular. It came out as wrong - correct solution is "al său sau al ei". Can someone tell me why you can't have "său" twice? Is it just convention because otherwise you wouldn't be able to tell which one is "his" and which is "hers"?
"Is it just convention because otherwise you wouldn't be able to tell which one is "his" and which is "hers"?"
...and why is "al său sau a sa" wrong? Are "sa" and "ei" interchangeable?
No, "al său" refers to something masculine and "a sa" to something feminine. So "his beer" would be "berea sa", not "berea său". Some correct answers here could be "al său sau al ei", "a sa sau a ei", "ai săi sau ai ei" or "ale sale sau ale ei".
You're welcome. I believe other correct answers would be "al lui sau al ei", "a lui sau a ei", "ai lui sau ai ei" and "ale lui sau ale ei" or even "al lui sau al său", "a lui sau a sa", "ai lui sau ai săi" and "ale lui sau ale sale". As someone on another thread points out "său, sa, săi and sale" refer to the gender and number of the noun but do not tell you to whom the noun belongs: it could be "his" or "her". "Lui" and "ei" refer to the person but do not tell you the gender of the noun, so "lui" always means "his" and "ei" always means "hers". I hope that makes things slightly clearer and I haven't overcomplicated things!
Thanks, that's really helpful. All else being equal, when should I use "său, sa, săi and sale" instead of gender-specific counterparts? I had a hunch that maybe these are only used with living things, but that does not seem to be true.
According to my Romanian better half, they are used mostly interchangeably, possibly with some preference to ”lui/ei” due to not having to consider the gender of the owned object but simply the gender of the owner, the latter often being part of the sentence already. Also makes it easier to learn for us :)