"They are chocolate cookies."
Translation:Sono biscotti al cioccolato.
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"Loro" refers to persons, "essi" to animals or inanimate objects (like biscotti). In rare cases (usually literary), "essi" can also refer to human beings, but it is my understanding that "loro" can never refer to things.
Thank you! That explains a lot. Duolingo is not always the best at explaining WHY something is right or wrong
"Sono i biscotti al cioccolato" would have a slightly difference nuance, like if you added the article in English, I think. But it's not wrong in general.
"Sono i biscotti al cioccolato" ... you would say it if there are also other cookies, or if you already spoke about those biscuits. Isn't it the same in English? (I ask, since my English is not as spotless as I would like it to be. :) )
Duolingo is adamant about distinguishing "cioccolato" from "cioccolata," whereas my dictionaries are not. Can anyone explain why "cioccolata" is always wrong in duolingo's sentences (here and in a similar sentence elsewhere)?
The recommendation is that cioccolata should refer to the chocolate beverages (e.g. hot chocolate = cioccolata calda) while cioccolato to the solid paste (e.g. chocolate bar = barretta di cioccolato). This rule was proposed by grammarians and adopted by many books, but its application in the real language is very shallow; "biscotti alla cioccolata" probably wouldn't be written on a chocolate cookies' box, but it's used in colloquial speech nonetheless. For comparison, on google "biscotti al cioccolato" returns 209K hits, while "biscotti alla cioccolata" returns 57.8K hits.
No, even in English it's not an adjective (check any dictionary), just a noun used in juxtaposition (a feature that is prominent in the Teutonic family of languages that English belongs to, but rare in Romance languages); Italian makes it clearer using a preposition to contextualize the noun (al cioccolato).
I will correct myself. Oxford dictionary, probably the single most "authority" of the English language lists chocolate as a modifier of nouns - which is a definition of an adjective. But formica is correct in that the other dictionaries describe it as an adjective, even state the word adjective, but do not consider it a "real" adjective. Sigh, another reason why I studied mathematics. :-)
Not exactly; for instance both Merriam-Webster (AE - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chocolate) and Collins (BE - http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/chocolate) both write off the adjective usage as a side note of the noun definition. Compare how they behave instead with "blue" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blue, http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/blue): they actually have three separate entries, for noun, adjective and verb. That's what I was trying to get at: chocolate isn't an adjective, it's a noun that can be used as an adjective by putting it next to another noun (juxtaposition). This is very common in English, but in Italian it only happens in selected instances, for example with brand names ("ovetto Kinder", "pandoro Bauli").
I wonder why the adjective does not agree with its noun in case, number, and gender. It should agree in all three, but it only agrees in case and gender not in number. It should be a plural...unless adjectives in Italian do not share number with their qualifying noun. Can anyone more proficient in Italian please explain this to me?
ciocolatto is a noun. See formica's comments above this :) . You need a preposition:
albero da frutto (fruit tree) albero del cocco (coconut tree) albero di limone (lemon tree) albero a camme (camshaft)</pre>
Seems you can have a, di or da sometimes with article. A rich source of error which I take full and repeated advantage of.
To be fair to Duolingo, Essi was introduced, but only on the website. It was on the info page of one of the lessons, not gently introduced like the vocab. I used to only use the app, but the site has more info, really worth checking out. Also tiny cards help learning the vocab. I am learning Italian in prep for a holiday, so the game feel suits me. I am too lazy to write in a book, but TC has a writing option, not just selecting the answer. I think I saw a comment that the site features were not in the app YET, but the yet could be wishful thinking. For all the little gripes one could have about DL, it is really a wonderful resource, I love it and love all the thoughtful comments posted. Give that Owl a Bells!
Sorry to say, but it's not Duolingo, it's grammar: English and Italian use articles, and especially definite ones, quite differently. After a copula, like essere in this example, they actually coincide so if you add one the meaning changes. If the sentence were "cookies are delicious", you would have to add an article in Italian.