"My sister is famous."
Translation:Mia sorella è famosa.
when on earth does one know where to use the la, il etc in front of mia, tua tec????????? sometimes they say it is right anf other tiimes they say it is wrong. Italian for Dummies say it is always used!
Almost always, yes; the exceptions are mostly singular close family members (mio padre, mia madre, mia sorella, mio figlio, mia zia...) without other adjectives or changes, or idiomatic constructs (casa mia = my home, a mio avviso = in my opinion...). There are also some cases when you can use both, as in "la mia mamma", "il mio papà".
In one on the previous sentences I wrote "Il mio padre..." and it was correct, while now I encounter this sentence and I put "la mia sorella..." and this time it is not correct, so what's going on? Are there any rules as to the particular family members or what?
When in doubt, stick to adding the adjective. It is not wrong when it's there, as far as I understand, even when it could be interpreted as being 'cold' or distanced when used when talking about (close) family members. I still prefer that to making the more or less severe error of omission.
I'm not a native speaker, though, so please follow any native advice you may get. ; )
Okay, so your articles are not supposed to be used with your family members. The reason that earlier you could use "il" and "la" with padre/madre is because those sentences were more factual, or trying to explain something. If you are talking about your mother and use an article, you are not putting emphasis on your mother, but rather what she is doing or something of the like. This really only works with "madre" and "padre" though. Otherwise, you don't use an article with family. Then there are some items that you don't use an article with, but we'll get into that later...
Another reply summed it up beautifully only when talking about family members and in certain idiomatic constructs. When in doubt, use the adjective. (DL will fault you, but a real life conversation partner will not.)
With so many replies I thought this would already be answered. Looking forward to finding the official answer.
Is it because family members are so well defined with possessive pronouns that the defined articles is dispensable?