"He works as a mailman."

Translation:Lavora come postino.

February 20, 2013

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


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


Awesome, excellent answer. Makes total sense


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


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!


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?


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


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?"


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


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?


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.


I thought that " Lavora" was feminine


"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


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


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


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

  • 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


Grazie, Pierugolfoz, this was very concise.


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


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".


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.


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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