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

Nouns - part III - Uncountable nouns and colours.

(continued from part I and part II)

·········· part III ··········

⑮ Uncountable nouns

⑯ Colours


Uncountable nouns.

Uncountable nouns, also called mass nouns, describe whatever cannot be counted in the shape of individual units or items. They include physical substances ('air', 'water', 'sand', etc.), food and ingredients ('meat', 'salt', 'butter'), unmaterial concepts, such as subjects and fields of study ('music', 'history', 'law'), feelings ('happiness', 'anxiety', 'fear'), and any other abstract concept that has a name of its own ('strength', 'sleep', 'light', 'victory', 'justice').
In English, these nouns usually do not take a definite article, and most of them do not have a plural form, with few exceptions (e.g. 'art' → 'the arts', 'green → 'the greens').

Also in Italian they are called mass nouns (nomi massa), but not 'uncountable'. They are, in fact, often dealt with as if they were countable, in that all of them can take a definite article (this is often mandatory), and a large majority of them can be also pluralized.

  • Use of the definite article.

When a single uncountable noun is the subject of the sentence, it always takes the relevant definite article:

L'oro è un metallo prezioso. = Gold is a precious metal.

La storia è la mia materia preferita. = History is my favourite subject.

La carta brucia facilmente. = Paper burns easily.

When two or more uncountable nouns are the subject of the sentence, the use of the relevant definite article sounds more proper. Dropping it, instead, sounds more colloquial, but it is still grammatical:

L'oro e l'argento sono metalli preziosi. = Gold and silver are precious metals.
Oro e argento sono metalli preziosi. (colloquial)

La storia e la biologia sono le mie materie preferite. = History and biology are my favourite subjects.
Storia e biologia sono le mie materie preferite. (colloquial)

La carta e la paglia bruciano facilmente. = Paper and straw burn easily.
Carta e paglia bruciano facilmente. (colloquial)

The same rules apply with other nouns, such as the names of languages, the names of colours, the names of sports, and so on:

Il cinese è una lingua difficile. = Chinese is a difficult language.

Il cinese e l'arabo sono lingue difficili. = Chinese and Arabic are difficult languages.
Cinese e arabo sono lingue difficili. (colloquial)

Il calcio si pratica all'aperto. = Football (soccer) is practised outdoors. 

Il calcio e il rugby si praticano all'aperto.  = Football and rugby are practised outdoors.
Calcio e rugby si praticano all'aperto. (colloquial)

Il rosso è un colore caldo. = Red is a warm colour.

Il rosso e il giallo sono colori caldi. = Red and yellow are warm colours.
Rosso e giallo sono colori caldi. = (same)

When uncontable nouns are the direct object of the sentence, a single noun takes the definite article in a large majority of cases.
This is often mandatory:

Giulia tiene la farina in quel barattolo. = Julia keeps flour in that jar.

Come togliere la ruggine. = How to remove rust.

Le calamite attirano il ferro. = Magnets attract iron.

Seldom it is not mandatory, although it sounds better Italian when the article is used:

(Noi) pratichiamo lo yoga. = We practice yoga.
(Noi) pratichiamo yoga.

And in a few cases the article is not used at all:

Questa reazione produce ossigeno = This reaction produces oxygen.

Unfortunately, there are no specific rules concerning this case, but a few guidelines can be followed.

Speaking of languages, after the three verbs parlare, insegnare, studiare, the use of an article sounds more proper, while not using it sounds more colloquial:

(Tu) insegni il francese? = Do you teach French?
(Tu) insegni francese? (colloquial)

Gianni non parla il tedesco. = John does not speak German.
Gianni non parla tedesco. (colloquial)

(Noi) abbiamo studiato lo spagnolo a scuola. = We studies Spanish at school.
(Noi) abbiamo studiato spagnolo a scuola. (colloquial)

Beware that after any other verb that refers to languages, such as capire ('to understand'), tradurre ('to translate'), and others, the article is mandatory, and not using it is ungrammatical.

Speaking of food and drinks, the article is often dropped:

(Noi) abbiamo ordinato pollo. = We ordered chicken.

(Voi) avete bevuto vino? — No, solo acqua = Did you drink wine? — No, only water.

(Io) uso sempre zucchero di canna. = I always use cane sugar.

In these sentences, using the definite article before the noun is not ungrammatical, but a native speaker would more often omit it.

Beware that exceptions do exist, and common use can sometime override the aforesaid guidelines.

····[edited 1st Feb 2018]·····
After the verb preferire, single food names always take the article:

(Io) preferisco la pasta. = I prefer pasta.

(Voi) preferite l'insalata? = Do you prefer salad?

(Noi) abbiamo preferito i piselli. = We preferred peas.

Also after the verb comprare ('to buy'), the use of an article before a single uncountable noun, including food and drinks, is always mandatory:

(Voi) dovete comprare il pane. = You have to buy bread.

(Io) ho dimenticato di comprare il formaggio. = I forgot to buy cheese.

(Tu) di solito dove compri la frutta? = Where do you usually buy fruit?

Instead, when two or more uncountable nouns are used as direct objects, they either take the article, as if they were used alone, or, more colloquially, they drop it (same principle as when they act as a subject):

(Io) preferisco la pasta e il riso. = I prefer pasta and rice.
(Io) preferisco pasta e riso. (colloquial)

(Noi) preferiamo i piselli e le carote = We prefer peas and carrots.
(Noi) preferiamo piselli e carote (colloquial)

(Tu) dove compri la frutta e la verdura? = Where do you buy fruit and vegetables? (note that verdura is singular)
(Tu) dove compri frutta e verdura? (very colloquial)

(Noi) abbiamo studiato la chimica e la fisica al liceo. = We (have) studied chemistry and physics in high school.
(Noi) abbiamo studiato chimica e fisica al liceo. (colloquial)

Le calamite attirano il ferro e il nichel. = Magnets attract iron and nickel.
Le calamite attirano ferro e nichel. (colloquial)

Maria parla il francese, il tedesco e lo spagnolo. = Mary speaks French, German, and Spanish.
Maria parla francese, tedesco e spagnolo. (colloquial)

Sometimes whether the article is used or not can also depend on the context of the sentence. For instance, asking a friend What did you buy? , the answer may be:

(Io) ho comprato pane, carne e frutta. = I bought bread, meat, and fruit.

But if the friend had already mentioned that he/she is having guests for dinner:

(Io) ho comprato il pane, la carne e la frutta per stasera. = I bought (the) bread, (the) meat, and (the) fruit for this evening.

In this sentence, having the purpose of the shopping been mentioned (→ for this evening ), the use of definite articles would sound more correct, although in either of the two cases they can be freely used or not.


  • Uncountable nouns after prepositions.

Among prepositions, di ('of') is the one that can take more meanings, indicating several types of relationship, among which reference (e.g. 'the price of wine'), and material (e.g. 'the plastic bottle', which in Italian sounds literally as 'the bottle of plastic') or subject (e.g. 'the maths book'', which in Italian sounds literally as 'the book of maths') .
In the former case, uncountable nouns take the definite article, thus the simple preposition in turns into the relevant articulated preposition. Instead, in the latter case they don't, and in remains a simple preposition:

Il colore del legno. = The colour of wood.  (di indicates reference)
Il manico di legno. = The wooden handle. (di indicates material)

Il valore dell'argento. = The value of silver.
La moneta d'argento. = The silver coin.

La coltivazione del grano. = The cultivation of wheat.
La farina di grano. = Wheat flour.

Lo studio della biologia. = The study of biology.
Gli appunti di biologia. = The biology notes. (di indicates the subject)

La conoscenza della storia. = The knowledge of history.
L'esame di storia. = The history test.

Also when di expresses the contents of a container, or a given quantity of the uncountable noun is mentioned, the preposition remains in simple form:

Un bicchiere di vino. = A glass of wine.

Due bottiglie d'acqua. = Two bottles of water.

Un chilo di pasta. = One kilo of pasta.

Quattro tazze di caffè. = Four cups of coffee.

When uncountable nouns stand after any other preposition, usually the same guidelines mentioned for their use as subject and direct object are followed (although some exceptions exist):

Un panino col formaggio. = A cheese sandwich. (literally, 'A sandwich with cheese')

Un panino col formaggio e l'insalata. = A cheese and salad sandwich.
Un panino con formaggio e insalata. (colloquial)


  • Nouns that can be both countable and uncountable.

Beware that in English some nouns can be either countable or uncountable, according to their meaning and to the context. For instance:

'I had salad for lunch' (uncountable) vs. 'I prepared the salad for lunch' (countable)

'War is over' (uncountable) vs. 'After the wars' (countable)

Some of them behave as uncountable nouns in singular form (i.e. they do not take an article), while in plural form they do:

'A lover of art' (uncountable) vs. 'A lover of the arts' (countable)

'Red and green' (uncountable) vs. 'The reds and the greens' (countable)

In Italian, such names always take an article when in English they are dealt with as countable; when they are uncountable, instead, they follow the guidelines previously mentioned.
For colours see ⑯.


  • The pluralization of uncountable nouns.

In Italian almost all uncountable nouns can be pluralized. In English this can be done in a fewer number of cases:

Le acque di un oceano. = The waters of an ocean.

I ghiacci del Polo Nord. = The North Pole ices.

Gli zuccheri nel sangue. = Sugars in the blood.

In other cases, the pluralization is used with a meaning of different qualities of :

Il latte = Milk
I latti = Different types of milk

L'olio = Oil
Gli oli = Different types of oil

La farina = Flour
Le farine = Different types of flour

This pluralization should be used very sparingly; with some nouns it might sound strange or incorrect; when in doubt, use tipi di... ('types of...'), instead:

I latti → I tipi di latte

Le farine → I tipi di farina

In everyday's speech, the same pluralized nouns are sometimes used for different brands of... , i.e. speaking of commercial products; this is not fully grammatical, and should be avoided.

The only uncountable nouns that cannot be pluralized are the names of games and sports, and chemical elements and compounds, or specific substances, but they always take a definite article when they are the subject of the sentence, or when they are used alone:

Il tennis = Tennis

La pallavolo = Volleyball

Il domino = Dominoes

Il poker = Poker

L'idrogeno = Hydrogen

L'ossigeno = Oxygen

L'acido solforico = Sulphuric acid

Il carbonato di calcio = Calcium carbonate

A few metals break this rule, being commonly used in plural form; but this gives them peculiar meanings:

L'argento = Silver
Gli argenti = The silver artifacts (in a collection). The silver medals (sports)

Il bronzo = Bronze
I bronzi = The bronzes (statues, artifacts). The bronze medals (sports)

Il ferro = Iron
I ferri = The instruments, the tools (colloquial). The irons (golf clubs)

L'ottone = Brass
Gli ottoni = The brasses (of an orchestra)

L'oro = Gold
Gli ori = The gold artifacts (in a collection). The gold medals (sports)


Colours.  ---[edited 29 Apr 2018]---

In English, colours belong to the group of nouns that behave as uncountable in singular form (no article), but can be pluralized, and take an article when they do so:

red → the reds, the shades of red
yellow → the yellows, the shades of yellow
blue → the blues, the shades of blue

In Italian, colour names always take an article. In singular form, they refer to the masculine word colore ('colour'), which remains unspoken. Therefore they are all dealt with as masculine in gender, regardless of their ending:

il rosso = red (the colour red)

il verde = green (the colour green)

il blu = deep blue (the colour deep blue)

l'azzurro = blue (the colour blue)

il rosa = pink (the colour pink)

il viola = purple / violet (the colour purple / violet)

il lilla = lilac, light purple

When they are pluralized, the names with a regular ending for masculine nouns (i.e. -o or -e) take a regular plural inflection (→ -i):

il rosso → i rossi = the reds, the shades of red

il verde → i verdi = the greens, the shades of green

l'azzurro → gli azzurri = the blues, the shades of blue

l'arancione → gli arancioni = the oranges, the shades of orange

il giallo → i gialli = the yellows, the shades of yellow

il marrone → i marroni = the browns, the shades of brown

This rule applies to the most common colours.
Beware that very specific shades of colour, such as maroon, camel, musk, ochre, etc. are not affected, and remain invariable, under different rules (see further).

Colours whose name is the same one as flowers (rose, violet, lily, amaranth), fruit (orange, peach, hazelnut), animals (camel), or anything else, are always invariable, regardless of their ending (-a, -o, -i). However, they are always dealt with as masculine, as previously mentioned:

la rosa, le rose = the rose, the roses

il rosa → i rosa = the pinks, the shades of pink

la viola, le viole = the violet, the violets

il viola → i viola = the purples/violets, the shades of purple/violet

Other colours in this group are:

il lilla = lilac, light purple

l'amaranto = maroon (after the amaranth flower)

il pesca = peach

l'arancio = orange (but the alternative name l'arancionegli arancioni)

il nocciola = hazel, light brown

l'ocra = ochre

il cammello = camel

Also colours whose names are loan words, either original or Italianized, are invariable (as any foreign loan word is):

(French bleu →) il blu = (deep) blue

(French bordeaux →) il bordeaux = burgundy

(French beige →) il beige = beige

  • Colour names used as adjectives.

Colour names are also commonly used as adjectives when they stand after a noun (never before, except in poetry or in song lyrics). They obviously agree with the noun in gender and number, if they are inflectable:

Un gatto nero, due gatti neri. = A (one) black cat, two black cats.

Un cane marrone, due cane marroni. = A (one) brown dog, two brown dogs.

Una pecora bianca, due pecore bianche. = A (one) white sheep, two white sheep.

Una lucertola verde, due lucertole verdi. = A (one) green lizard, two green lizards.

Colours whose name is invariable remain invariable also as adjectives, regardless of the gender of the noun:

un nastro rosa, due nastri rosa. = A (one) pink ribbon, two pink ribbons.

Una maglietta viola, due magliette viola. = A (one) purple T-shirt, two purple T-shirts.

  • Colours whose name is formed by two or more words.

Colours whose name is formed by two or more words are always invariable, regardless of their use.
The second word can be the adjective chiaro ('pale', 'light') or scuro ('deep', 'dark'), or it can be any noun to which the colour is likened (e.g. 'sky blue', 'pearl grey', 'musk green', 'cobalt blue', etc.):

Una foglia verde, due foglie verdi. = A (one) green leaf, two green leaves.

but

Una foglia verde scuro, due foglie verde scuro. = A (one) deep green leaf, two deep green leaves.

Un tavolo marrone, due tavoli marroni. = A (one) brown table, two brown tables.

but

Un tavolo marrone chiaro, due tavoli marrone chiaro. = a (one) light brown table, two light brown tables.

Una maglietta gialla, due magliette gialle. = A (one) yellow T-shirt, two yellow T-shirts.

but

Una maglietta giallo limone, due magliette giallo limone. = A (one) lemon yellow T-shirt, two lemon yellow T-shirts.

Un vestito blu, due vestiti blu. = A (one) blue dress, two blue dresses.

but

Un vestito blu cobalto, due vestiti blu cobalto. = A (one) cobalt blue dress, two cobalt blue dresses.

For this reason, when the two-word colour name is colloquially shortened down to the second word only (e.g. 'emerald' for 'emerald green', or 'cobalt' for 'cobalt blue') it remains invariable, despite being single:

Due giacche verdi.→ Due giacche muschio. = Two musk (green) jackets.

Some claim that marrone ('brown') should be dealt with as an invariable colour (like rosa, viola, etc.), because this word actually indicates a variety of chestnuts, after which the colour was originally named.
However, having been steadily adopted as a standard colour name for a long time, now it can be dealt with as any other common colour, and take the plural form marroni.
So both the general rule (which allows the pluralization) and the rule for names coming from a fruit (invariable noun) apply to this colour: So "Two brown dogs." translates as:

Due cani marroni. (pluralized, now common)

or

Due cani marrone. (invariable)

In a similar way, turchese ('turquois') should be used in invariable form, being the name of a hardstone; but in the informal language it is sometimes inflected:

Due camicie turchese. = Two turquois shirts.

or

Due camicie turchesi. (informal)

The orange colour has a dual name, arancione, which can be pluralized, and arancio (this also means 'orange tree', and is therefore invariable when used as a colour). The first name is more common:

Una felpa arancione, due felpe arancioni. = A (one) orange sweatshirt, two orange sweatshirts.

or (less common)

Una felpa arancio, due felpe arancio. = A (one) orange sweatshirt, two orange sweatshirts.

Also the very few colours whose name is a foreign loan word, such as blu or beige, are invariable:

Un asciugamano beige, due asciugamani beige. = A (one) beige towel, two beige towels.

Un rossetto bordeaux, due rossetti bordeaux. = A (one) burgundy lipstick, two burgundy lipsticks.

Un berretto kaki (alternative spelling cachi), due berretti kaki. = A (one) khaki cap, two khaki caps.

For the sake of clarity, any colour whose name might be misunderstood, or might be unclear, or difficult to understand, can be spoken also adding the word colore before its name, usually shortening it into color (e.g. color arancio, color cammello, color nocciola).
Adding color causes any colour name, including common ones that can be pluralized, to become invariable:

Due biciclette verdi. → Due biciclette color verde. = Two green-coloured bicycles.

Due giacche muschio. → Due giacche color muschio. = Two musk-coloured jackets.

Due rossetti bordeaux. → Due rossetti color bordeaux. = Two burgundy-coloured lipsticks.

Another way of specifying colours is by using the expression di colore ... ('in ... colour'), which also places a slight emphasis on the colour itself:

Due biciclette di colore verde. = Two bicycles green in colour.

Due rossetti di colore bordeaux. = Two lipsticks burgundy in colour.

although for ordinary colours (i.e. the ones that can be pluralized), the most common solution would be to use them as adjectives:

Due biciclette verdi. = Two green bicycles.

So  di colore ...  and  color ...  are more often used only with colours whose name is already invariable, or might be misunderstood.

A particular case is that of two metallic colours, 'gold' and 'silver'.
When they are used as a noun, they are spoken with their name alone:

L'oro = Gold / The colour gold

L'argento = Silver / The colour silver

But when they are used as an adjective, the preposition di is added (without the word colore), almost as if expressing the material, rather than the colour:

La medaglia d'oro. = The golden medal / The gold medal.

La moneta d'argento. = The silver-coloured coin / The silver coin.

  • Asking what colour is something.

When asking What colour is (something)?, the question always refers to the colour as a noun, so it must start with the preposition di (which in this case means 'in'):

Di che colore è ...? = literally, 'In what colour is ...?'

as if expecting a reply according to the  È di color ... construction.

So:

Di che colore è il mare? = What colour is the sea?

Di che colore sono i tuoi occhi? = What colour are your eyes?

Di che colore era l'auto? = What colour was the car?

Di che colore erano le sue scarpe? = What colour were his/her shoes?

At a very informal level of speech, the question is also sometimes heard without di (e.g. Che colore è il mare?). But this is ungrammatical, and should be avoided.

The reply, though, is normally spoken in the simpler form, which uses the colour name as an adjective:

Di che colore era l'auto? – (L'auto) era rossa. (rather than Era di colore rosso, which sounds more emphatic).

September 5, 2017

18 Comments


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

Exceptionally useful!

September 6, 2017

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

Very kind of you.

September 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ElizabethD.2

Wow. This is extremely helpful information. Thank you!

September 6, 2017

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

Thanks for the appreciation.

September 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kate370118

Thank you so much Civis for your amazing notes. I am struggling quite a lot, being more of a scientist than a linguist. I am determined to get to grips with the language but I personally had little grammar training at school as I was in secondary education at a strange period in the sixties when Grammar went out of fashion In England. We just did comprehension and all grammatical teaching stopped. Luckily I enjoy reading and can express myself in English reasonably well. However I am completely ignorant of all these parts of speech referred to. I also have difficulty spelling whether English or Italien and must continually look everything up.

November 28, 2018

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

CivisRomanus, you are amazing that you have made that available to us. Thank you for Part 3 of nouns. You make it very clear. Have you written a book on Italian language learning? By chance I have also found other helpful posts by you, on parts of the body and servire/avere bisogno di. May I ask if there are any more hidden in discussions, and if so, please may we have links? Grazie mille.

September 5, 2017

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

You are welcome.

Over the past two decades I have actually tried to write an Italian grammar. It is a long-term (or lifetime?) project. Despite most of the topics have already been covered, I still keep adding more specific ones, revising and rearranging the extant units, improving the examples, etc. The queries I find in Duolingo help me focus on the toughest hurdles for native English-speaking learners.

There are quite a few comments I posted that contain grammar notes; some are short and deal mainly with the exercise sentence of the page, others are longer and deal with the topic more in general and more extensively. I saved most of their links (about 80, all together), so I can easily refer to them when I answer queries, without having to write everything all over again. I'll arrange the list of links conveniently and post it shortly, as a reply to your comment.

I hope the official contributors of Duolingo's Italian course won't consider my grammar notes disrespectful of their work. Actually, I have no access to the single units of the tree, because I never subscribed to the course.

September 6, 2017

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

Your contributions Andrea* are most valuable and show great respect for the Italian language, I am certain that the official DL contributors are also most appreciative of your work.

  • Credo che potrei chiamarti così :-)

P.S. Gli azzurri could also mean the Italian National team (colloquially). Most often in football (soccer to our US friends) teams are also known by the color of their shirts: Fiorentina viola, Milan rossoneri etc.

September 6, 2017

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

Thank you for the appreciation.
This time I did not mention the fact of being teams called after the colours of their shirts because I did so in part II, speaking of the two-colour compound words (nerazzurri, gialloblu, etc.). But also the many teams with a single-coloured shirt go by the name of the colour.

P.S. - Of course you can call me Andrea, that's my name! :-D

September 6, 2017

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

Ops, I need to re-read part II more carefully.

Speaking about teams and football a foreigner would be on the safe side saying that he is a fan of everyone's favorite team, la squadra azzura. You might not want to say that you are a fan of rossoneri (Milan) to a group of nerazzuri (Inter) or vice versa. :-)

September 7, 2017

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

I agree! :-D
Otherwise one can ask the listener what is his/her favourite team and then always say "It's my own too!"

September 7, 2017

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

Thank you again, and I would definitely buy the book.

September 6, 2017

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

Sorry for the long wait.
Here are the links to my old posts:

che used as a conjunction
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17113572

prepositions used for going to general places https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17402953

prepositions used for going to open places https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23183835

prepositions used with parts of a house https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19870520

a casa mia
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22503797

country names articles, gender, and prepositions https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24040932

the different use of verbs conoscere and sapere https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17142109

possessives (when to use the definite article) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/18288880

the use of clitic pronouns with body parts https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24248422

demonstratives
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19081788

the partitive article
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17998963

the position of stress
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/18020561

graphic accents on vowels
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24400114

prepositions used with months
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17281806

the use of verbs potere vs. sapere vs. essere in grado
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19653910

names of female animals
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20107190

the use of mai and double negative
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17354977

agreement of the past participle in compound tenses https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20276190

word order / 'topic label'
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20180301

inflections of the three conjugations (including inchoative verbs of the 3rd conj.)
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17934490

clitic pronouns, a step by step approach https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17427375

clitics, what they are and how they work (in general) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17375231/Italian-Clitics

past tenses, imperfetto vs. passato prossimo https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19308702

past tenses: imperfetto vs. passato remoto vs. passato prossimo https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21236636

tense agreement tables for subjunctive and conditional (same page as above)
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19308702

the use of subjunctive
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19065219

the verb mancare, different meanings and constructions https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20362216

demonstrative adjectives and pronouns https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20694179

elision - questo o... vs. quest'o... https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22248699

elision - **questo o... vs. *quest'o... (other discussion) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22760381

definite articles
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20945484

definite articles before I + vowel and Y + vowel https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22617366

expressing frequency, al mese / all'anno https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17750519

prepositions used for parts of the day, di mattina / al mattino
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23311649

infinitive, present participle, gerund: differences between Italian and English
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21032259

subject pronouns egli / ella
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21165474

modal verbs vs. aspectual verbs
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/17503187

modal verbs vs. aspectual verbs (other comment) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/20879657

double verb constructions (modal, causative, aspectual, final clause)
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23800139

prepositions used with aspectual verbs https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21987904

qualsiasi / qualunque (synonims)
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21214328

the gender of nouns and adjectives and their agreement https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21381570

homonyms, homophones, etc.
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22056461

the use of the verbs essere vs. stare
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22150317

in terra, a terra, per terra
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22332097

finché / finché non
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22264409

sopra / su
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22373438

the passivating 'si' vs. the impersonal 'si' https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22549672

verbs with a reflexive meaning vs. pronominal verbs
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22560975

the causative construction (far fare)
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22605679

'whose' - di chi vs. di cui
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22950608

clitic pronouns with indicative and imperative moods https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22943558

the use of essere vs. fare with jobs and occupations https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23014358

tenses, the futuro anteriore (future perfect) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23037632

subordinate clauses, the explicit form vs. the implicit form https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19863028

verb conjugations
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23087871

the position of adverbs
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23128154

ricordare vs. ricordarsi
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23401010

'what' (as an adjective and as a pronoun) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23433703

prepositions used with means of transportation https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22327569

formal language
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23628165

the combinations of clitic pronouns
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23635515

diseases and articles used with them
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23713909

imperative
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23726124

Italian tenses
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23762834

qualcuno / qualcuna
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23818092

avere bisogno / servire / bisognare / essere necessario
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23830950

the different constructions of servire vs. avere bisogno
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24313529

to be hot / cold / hungry / thirsty / sleepy / afraid https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23875351

certo vs. sicuro
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23968768

articles and prepositions with country names, and geographical adjectives
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24040932

····· edited ·····
The list of links from September 2017 to February 2018 can be found here:
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26213799

September 18, 2017

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

Hello CivisRomanus, I have spent the last hour wondering how to thank you adequately for doing that for me. I am not a natural linguist, and my scientific background has trained me to look for explanations before I can learn. I seem to understand better from you than from other sources. So, your huge effort will not be wasted as I shall refer to this again and again. I wish I could send you a fine bottle of wine via Duolingo, but it will only deliver Grazie Mille and Thank You. HD.

September 18, 2017

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

Thank you for your appreciation and for your kind thought. I'm happy that the notes will prove useful to you.
I am taking myself one of Duolingo's free language courses, so the least I can do is to give back something in change.

September 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kathi403348

Thank you so much for your extremely helpful explanations!! Hope you know how highly appreciated they are by - what I assume - so many of us!! Have a lingot, the humble but yet only reward I can give you on Duolingo haha

November 17, 2017

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

Thank you!
I apologize for the very late reply, but since Duolingo no longer notifies us, I often find by chance comments that were posted at a certain time distance from the main topic.

January 25, 2018

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

Fabulous! Here, have a lingot on me!

March 20, 2019
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