"Metti dello zucchero nel caffè?"

Translation:Do you put some sugar in the coffee?

March 12, 2013

77 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/edheene

question to native English speakers: would you ever use 'some' in such sentence? it sounds very unnatural to me.

November 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lorenagay

Yes, we would use the word "some" in a sentence like this, but we would say "Would you like some sugar in your coffee?" If we were asking about having sugar in the coffee at all, we say "Do you like sugar in your coffee?" or "Do you take (any) sugar in your coffee?"

February 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/m1c45

did you put some sugar in the coffee sounds more natural

April 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SanneTofte

m1c45: It does sound more natural to me, if you are asking if you already have put sugar in this specific coffee. However it might not be to clear if the question is more in the line of, if you use sugar in your coffee.

September 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LouMimzy1

I said did and got it wrong too

April 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/CatSamwise

Yes, but the sentence is in present tense and not past tense, so "did" should not be used

December 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/unmowngrass

I was going to say this too!

September 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MangeshMandlik

I think if some word should be there, it should be 'any', not 'some'.

November 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3

As you can see from all the comments in which people are suggesting slight changes to the sentence, we would not use "some" in the sentence that Duo gave, but we would use it in these slightly different sentences.

I think the reason is that "some" takes the place of the indefinite article for uncountable nouns (such as "sugar") and plural nouns (such as "cookies"). And we usually only use the indefinite article when asking about a specific time, such as right now.

As a result, the real issue is that, most of the time, we don't say "Do you...?" when we are asking about right now. Instead, we use "Do you...?" to ask a general question (asking about all the time, not a specific time). If we want to ask a question about right now, then we say "Are you...?".

Asking about right now: "Are you putting some sugar in your coffee?" "Are you eating a cookie?" "Are you eating some cookies?"

Asking a general question: "Do you put sugar in your coffee?" "Do you eat cookies?"

Some words don't follow this rule. For example, "want". We don't usually say "Are you wanting some sugar in your coffee?" (at least, not in the US), so when we say "Do you want some sugar in your coffee?", it means "Do you want some sugar in your coffee right now?". If we want to ask a general question instead, then we specify that by adding the word "usually" (or something similar).

Also, because "want" breaks the rules, the word "some" is optional in both of these cases.

Asking about right now: "Do you want some sugar in your coffee?" Or "Do you want sugar in your coffee?"

Asking a general question: "Do you usually want sugar in your coffee?" Or "Do you usually want some sugar in your coffee?"

One other thing that makes Duo's sentence sound unnatural is that we don't usually say "the" in this context. Instead, we use a possessive pronoun ("your coffee", "her coffee", etc.). Unfortunately, this is a word-for-word translation because in Italian, they do use "the" in this context, instead of the possessive pronoun.

I hope I'm making sense. :)

February 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/dhunteroz

"Do you put some sugar in the coffee?" is unnatural, what we have here is a word for word translation. In many cases del/dello/della can be translated to some - but in this sentence it is implied so it's left out. e.g. "Do you put sugar in the coffee?" (This answer is accepted). The Italian usually implies that it's someone's coffee so you could probably also translate this as "Do you put sugar in your coffee?" (This is the most likely thing someone would say).

You can also use "any" it's a better fit than "some".

August 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Katzenperson

I would add that Duolingo accepted this translation: "Do you put sugar in your coffee?" Perché? It appears that as with Spanish, in Italian we use the definite article when in English we would use a possessive pronoun. And frankly, the use of the personal pronoun here sounds much more natural than the definite article!

January 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Chris646121

I personally would say "some" feels weird here. I'm British. I would say "Do you take sugar?" if they will understand the context, or "Do you want sugar in your coffee?" if it has been a while since their coffee was the context.

May 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Brooksie099

The word "some" seems alright to me, though others might naturally be used, too.

December 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/JonMiller.

I would ask, "do you take sugar?" Or "do you want sugar?"

January 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JayBumpus

Yes. Adding the word "some" is unnatural but English is spoken incorrectly but it's native speakers on the regular. In this millennium "some" sounds better and more natural due to it's frequent use.

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/vioeliz

its -- not a contraction of it is

September 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkHopman

Definitely. But the question would rather be "Would you like some sugar in the coffee?"

April 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/labby_02

Yes. Depending on the region. I may ask a friend, "do you want some candy?" It is informal. You would use this lanuage talking to a friend. Not for business.

October 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3

Where I live, the use of "some" in this way is not really informal, and we could use it even for serious business (but you probably wouldn't be talking about candy).

February 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/N1ckn1ck

No

February 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SJKIrk

On slow speed she sounds so sad when she says "caffè".

March 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/JennaHO

Sorry, but it's rant time. In this exact same exercise I had to translate this sentence into Italian and the sentence was "Do you put ANY sugar in the coffee?" So this time, translating it to English, I put ANY. It was wrong. WTH?!?!?! Reporting. Sorry for the rant.

March 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Dorundliz

You're completely justified in ranting JennaHO. In English questions and negative sentences you'd use "any" - "Do you put any sugar in the coffee?" / "I don't put any sugar in the coffee." - in a positve sentence you'd use "some" - "I put some sugar in the coffee.". The exception to the rule being polite question forms - "Would you like some sugar in your coffee?"

February 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ElRealElCid

I don't know how they have "some" as part of translation.

May 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/N1ckn1ck

"di" plus a definite article = some. In this case, di + lo = dello (some). Just one of the many ways "some" is written in Italian.

May 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hayley_t

Does 'di + definite article' ALWAYS = some? I thought I'd seen some situations where that wasn't the case...? How do you know when to translate it as 'some' and when to translate it as 'from/of'?

September 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RiccardoCa33

No! The meaning of "di" is usually "of"... For instance, "la camicia del padre" = the shirt of the father (where del is contraction of di + il).

November 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ElRealElCid

Thanks for the "Ah hah!" moment!

May 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/tuess

That was exactly the answer I was looking for! Thanks!

August 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sandeepa2

Grazie. Somewhat similar for French also.

November 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Katzenperson

Ah, okay, I should have scrolled down more for the answer to my query. The word dello is indeed functioning as a partitive article in this particular case, even if most other times dello is translated as "of the". Grazie !

January 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/kimhangkute

why do we have "dello" here"? In Italian, it means "of" :-? is it ok if we omit "dello"?

October 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Katzenperson

That is what I was wondering, whether dello is functioning as a partitive article here.

January 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Elena18

Native Italians: does the audio sound like a question to you? To me, the inflection does not sound correct. Grazie.

March 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/marziotta

It doesn't sound like a question.

It also sound like M-Metti.

All the Italian recordings are crap, sorry to say it. Some are crappier, this is one of the good ones, compared to others.

March 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/almondhoney

I hoped that once it came out of beta they might replace the voice recordings... The German ones are very clearly pronounced; the Italian ones are really indistinct, distorted and often difficult to understand. I'm pleased that a native Italian speaker thinks they're bad - it's not just my beginner's ears!

And thank you Marziotta for answering so many of our questions. It is very much appreciated :)

March 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/GoharSafar

Of course it is very helpful to get an answer from native italian speaker..but..can anyone explain to me what they are doing here? Why do they learn italian? :D

August 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Leigh8724

If you're not using a language routinely, you lose fluency. Even if you're a native speaker!

November 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/jmec08

Because they want to help others learn the language. They're probably learning another language and is getting help from native speakers of that language as well. "Pay it forward" :-)

September 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3

Just copy the question into Google Translate and listen to its voice instead :)

February 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Leigh8724

I also have difficulty with some of these recordings. I would have sworn the speaker says "nella".

November 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ackworth

i find the pronunciation of some words appalling - surely you can do better

April 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/opeitao

Is it really wrong to say: "Do you put some sugar into the coffee?"

March 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sionel

Apparently so - I used that translation too.

September 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/asg.bstlko

why we dello translate as some.

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/mstone01501

At least this recording is better than the portuguese one.

April 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/marieke.ligtvoet

I had the exact same thing happen just now. :-)

March 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/HCaba_llero

As a coffee cupper I must say, NEVER put sugar in the coffee :)

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3

I like it both with and without sugar. It depends on what mood I'm in. :)

February 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/VictorMorosco

the speaker does not use the correct inflection for a question

December 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SanneTofte

This is a general issue for the site and not something I would expect to change in the near future.
The good thing is, you don't need to put the ? at the end of the sentence to get it correct.

When getting further down the tree, you will experience more 'quetion' sentences and you will get the hang of it.
Another good thing is, that you don't have an exercise where you have to translate an audio based sentence. Meaning, you always have either the written English or Italian sentence, where you can see the ? - indicating it being a question.

December 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Dr.Mystetious

The pronunciation of nel and nella are very much the same. I know the knowledge of gender should be guiding but is this slurring of these words that common in Italian?

August 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ShellBelle101

wouldn't it be: can you put sugar in my coffee? because it said (you)

December 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3

I think it could be "Are you putting sugar in my coffee?", since Italian uses "the" in this context instead of a possessive pronoun ("your", "my", "his", etc.), and the possession is assumed from the context.

But you wouldn't say "Can you...?" because it has a different meaning than "Do you...?" or "Are you...?".

February 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ShellBelle101

can someone answer my chat please?

December 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DerekSimms

Yes, 'you' is correct (metti), but I think that 'can you' would require 'puoi' I have an Italian friend in the living room, perhaps I should ask her; but I think that is right. Anyway I hope that helps, I'm not fantastic in Italian really.

December 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ShellBelle101

thanks!!!

December 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Katzenperson

Is dello here being used in the partitive sense as it would be in French with du ? (In that case, you could translate as "some" or without any article at all.)

Does Italian even have the partitive?

January 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hamid20195

Do we "put" or "pour" sugar in caffe?

April 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessie464019

"Pour" goes with liquids. Since sugar is not a liquid, the correct verb is "put" Hope this helps

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/myldreen

Falta la opcion the no esta entre las opciones

June 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/margaretsm352138

Did is past tense, I think metti is present tense, am I right?

August 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessie464019

"Some" is used in front of uncountable nouns like "sugar," "flour", different liquids; with abstract nouns, etc. For instance:

Would you like some coffee?

It is incorrect to say "Would you like coffee?" if it is an offer. (However, if the question is whether someone likes coffee in general, then , "Do you like coffee?" is a correct way to ask.)

Instead of "some" one could also say: "Would you like a cup of coffee?" Here, the uncountable noun "coffee" is put into some kind of container in order to become countable.

Similarly: I'd like some juice, please

or

I'd like a glass of juice, please.

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessie464019

I wasted a good amount of time to post a comment but it didn't show up. I'll try again

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Name247052

What function does dello serve in this sentence?

January 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/matthew99a

Why is "can you put some sugar in the coffee" incorrect.

March 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dr.Mystetious

In English, American Style, Do you put "any"....? Did you put "any"...?

December 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/HerndonSnider

The pronunciation tends to have an "a" sounding ending regardless of whether it is 'nel' or nella.

February 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jim606185

This means "Do you take sugar in your coffee?" It may not be a literal translation, but at least people will know what it means now.

It's a pity that no moderator has responded.

Do you have sugar in your coffee (already) would be:

Hai già zucchero nel caffè

March 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nate43580

You can also put "Do you put socks in the coffee"

March 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Jim606185

I'll remember that next time I fly with a US Airline.

March 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/mathacarly

Did you put some sugar in the coffee? or ... Do you want some sugar in the coffee? Past and present tense. Do you put some sugar in the coffee to an English speaker (which I am) is confusing as it is mixing the tenses.

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RayClague

Your right

December 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/gfmuffin

"You are putting some sugar in the coffee?" is equally correct.

July 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/donpp

the english translation should be DID you NO! one would say DO.Thank you Marziotta for the crap comments. I'm ready to give up now they have increased the oral questions to six. you only have four hearts

December 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/RHorsting

I think it means "do" as in "do you take cream?" The English is a little stilted, but 'did' in Italian would be a different verb form, probably the passato prossimo.

January 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mskycc3

Are you saying Marziotta's comments about the audio being crap, or are you saying Marziotta's comments are crap?

February 21, 2017
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