"He works as a mailman."

Translation:Lavora come postino.

February 20, 2013

37 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mlight

I used "lavora come un postino" and was marked incorrect. it is confusing to know when or not to add the article!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pier_Golfoz

You change the meaning if you add "un" in the italian sentence.

  • "Lavora come postino" = "He works as a mailman" (he is a mailman)

  • "Lavora come un postino" = "He works like a mailman" (he is not a mailman)
    ᅳ "His job resembles that of a mailman" or
    ᅳ "He works a lot (little) like a mailman" or
    ᅳ "His working hours are like those of a mailman"

This rule applies to all professions


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dhobbs

Awesome, excellent answer. Makes total sense


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jennifer299745

Thank you . Not sure this came up in the tips, maybe it did! Anyway excellent explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StevenIppolito

Another explanation: in Italian "come" is not followed by "un" in this context, because "come" has the meaning of: "in the manner of." All that is needed is the noun -- in this case, "postino." Buona sera!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rondinella01

Is the article really needed in Italian? In this context, it wouldn't be used in other Romance languages. "Lavora come un postino" looks like it should be translated: He works like a mailman. Thoughts?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/f.formica

Yes, it's as you say: in Italian it's either "lavora come postino" (formal), "fa il postino" (informal), or "è un postino".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/norchids

Can you say "lui fa un postino"? An earlier question said that "my mother is a secretary" was "mia madre fa una segretaria." So does the same pattern work for "he works as a mailman?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/f.formica

No, "mia madre fa una segretaria" is wrong too (and dangerously close to a slang way to say she has sex with a secretary).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/norchids

Oh my goodness! I can see that a literal translation would probably be something like "my mother does/makes a secretary." I can see how that might be suggestive of having sex with a secretary! So how would I say "my mother is a secretary" properly?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/f.formica

If you want to use "fare", which is the most common way to express it, you must use a definite article, as you're indicating the general category of what she does for a living, so "mia madre fa la segretaria"; of course the generic "mia madre è una segretaria", which focuses on who she is rather than what she does, works as well. The one presented in this exercise is a more formal way to say it, "mia madre lavora come segretaria", and it focuses on her current occupation, much like "fare il/lo/la".

P.S. "Fare il/lo/la" can sometimes be used for other than occupations: for instance "fare il portoghese" literally means "playing the Portuguese", or trying to pass as one, and after a certain incident it means trying to avoid paying.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/meandmyshadow0

I thought that " Lavora" was feminine


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pier_Golfoz

"Lavora" is a conjugation of the verb "Lavorare"
. . . . . simple present
io lavoro . . . . . . . . I work
tu lavori . . . . . . . . .you work (you sing.)
lui/lei lavora . . . .he/she works
noi lavoriamo . . . we work
voi lavorate . . . . . you work (you pl.)
loro lavorano . . . .they work


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JohnWheatl6

So if i saw that sentence, how do i know its "he"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YuriMykolayevych

The o ending of postino. If it were "she" it would be postina.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Timothy_Stahl

After 3 sentences using fa, and fa in the hints, why all of the sudden is "Lui fa un postino" wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pier_Golfoz
  • L̶u̶i̶ ̶f̶a̶ ̶̶̶u̶̶̶n̶̶̶ ̶p̶o̶s̶t̶i̶n̶o ← NOT wrong, but only if he is an actor.
    You can say "Lui fa un postino" in the sense: "he is playing the role of a mailman"
    ATTENTION "Lui si fa un postino" is the italian slang for "he has sex with a mailman"
  • Lui fa il postino ← RIGHT
  • Lui è un postino ← RIGHT
  • Lui lavora come postino ← RIGHT
  • L̶u̶i̶ ̶l̶a̶v̶o̶r̶a̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶e̶ ̶u̶n̶ ̶p̶o̶s̶t̶i̶n̶o ← NOT wrong, but look at the first comment above

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CeCeSalvati

Grazie, Pierugolfoz, this was very concise.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jatedesco

The word "a" is used -- not "the" -- so shouldn't it be "fa in postino"??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Germanlehrerlsu

jatedesco: No, with professions, using "a" or "as a" then the article is usually omitted. That said, unless it's a typo, "fa in postino" makes no sense. Maybe you meant "fa IL postino", but that's not correct since as you say, "a" is used, not "the".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/malcolmissimo

But fa il is a correct idiom, and Duo just accepted it. There are three ways to identify a person's job in Italian: è [un] postino; lavora come postino; fa il postino. Think "I am ..."; "I work as ..."; "My job/role is ...". Essere il postino, rather than fare, refers to the postman in a given context, e.g. your street.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/churumbolla

What difference does it make whether I add the subject or not. Why do I get my answer wrong, just 'cause I included the subject???

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