"Surorilor le dăm ciocolată."

Translation:We give the sisters chocolate.

May 8, 2017

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Any explanation at all about anything in this sentence would be appreciated.


The simplest form (most intuitive for English speakers) is:
Noi le dăm surorilor ciocolată.

  • noi is the first person plural personal pronoun (we)
  • a da (here conjugated to the first person plural dăm) is the verb to give
  • surori (plural of soră; here inflexed as surorilor) means sisters
  • ciocolată - chocolate

Now that we've covered the meaning, let's move on.

First, let's ignore the word "sisters" and think of the sentence as:
We give them chocolate. - Noi le dăm lor ciocolată.

This is quite confusing. We have an almost perfect word-for-word correspondence between the two languages, but there's that pesky extra le. Hmmmm...
Well, Romanian has several cases. In our particular example of giving something to a receiver, said receiver must be in the dative case (in English, this function is lumped together in what is called the objective case). Oddly enough, pronouns in Romanian have two dative forms: stressed (lor) and unstressed (le). This table lists both forms for all pronouns.
As a side note, the stressed form is optional, so we can write our sentence as:
Noi le dăm ciocolată.

Getting back to our sentence, we have to use the noun surori. Unlike in English, Romanian nouns are also affected by case. The definite article dative form of "surori" is surorilor. These forms are not always intuitive, you should check this out when in doubt.

The noun replaces the stressed form of the pronoun, but we must still keep the unstressed form:
Noi le dăm surorilor ciocolată.

Because Romanian has complex verb conjugations, the subject pronoun is not usually needed and it can be inferred (which makes Romanian a pro-drop language). This is a very common phenomenon and transforms our sentence into:
Le dăm surorilor ciocolată.

Finally, there's word order. The following sentences are valid:
Le dăm surorilor ciocolată.
Le dăm ciocolată surorilor.
Surorilor le dăm ciocolată.
Ciocolată le dăm surorilor.

Arguably, these sentences differ in what they emphasize.
In my opinion as a native speaker, the first two sound the most natural.


Outstanding explanation potestasity.


potestasity should be composing Duolingo.


Thank you so much! Your explanation lives on through the years!


By far the best explanation for any grammatical question that has been asked here. Mulţumesc!


This is the Best explanation of these peculiarities of the romanian language that ive seen so far. Mulțumesc foarte mult!


Which would you say each order stresses? This is confusing me a bit :)

Is the middle PoS stressed? I don't think there's much of an equivalent in English without using emphases either in text (italics) or verbally:

We give chocolate to the sisters (sounds a little weird) We give chocolate to the sisters We give chocolate to the sisters We give the sisters chocolate (sounds a little weird) We give the sisters chocolate We give the sisters chocolate

All of these except two sound completely fine, and that's because "we give" is awkward; "we are giving" would make more sense


Surorilor is in dative/genitive case. This is indicated by the "-lor" added to the end. It's "-lor" because it's the third person plural and makes it "to the sisters".

The "le" is a dative/genitive pronoun. Other than "surorilor" it can't be left out. For example "Le dăm ciocolată" works, but only specifies that the receiver of the chocolate is in the third person plural.

"Dăm" is the 1st person plural form of "a da" which means to give. The personal pronoun can be left out in many romance languages. So the "dăm" specifies both that "we" do something and what "we" do.

"Ciocolată" is the accusative object and specifies what is given.


Most helpful nethereran.


When text pronounced slowly, for me it sounds like surorile...


That's a great explanation but I still don't get why we couldn't be giving chocolate to "the sister" (surorii - singular)?


Because in the sentens we have at least two "sisters"

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