"Metti dello zucchero nel caffè?"

Translation:Do you put some sugar in your coffee?

March 12, 2013

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


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?"


did you put some sugar in the coffee sounds more natural


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.


It is possible and it is grammatical. I don't think I would say "some" or "any" in such sentences, but others do.

I think many are overthinking this one. I think they want to emphasize the Italian partitive article dello here, and show that it can translate as "some". It can also translate as "any". But since English does not have this part of speech, it can also be omitted. "Do you put sugar in the coffee?" is, in my opinion, the best way to translate this sentence.


I said did and got it wrong too


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


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


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. :)


We usually say 'do you take sugar in your coffee' or ''would you like some sugar'. It is not a usual construction to say 'do you put sugar in your coffee'.


"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".


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!


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.


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


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


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


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.


its -- not a contraction of it is


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.


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).


As a short question I would use some. If we were talking about an item or object I would ask, "Do you have some?"


Native speaker here. The "some" is the weak form combined with an uncountable noun (sugar) and is entirely optional. However, it sounds incorrect to me, so I wonder if there is some other rule at play here.

Reference: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/some


No it is unnecessary if you are asking if they put ANY sugar in at all.


Being from England it definitely sounds unnatural to me.

Do you take sugar in ... Do you have sugar in....

All sound better


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


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.


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?"


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


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


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'?


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).


Thanks for the "Ah hah!" moment!


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


Grazie. Somewhat similar for French also.


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 !


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


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.


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 :)


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


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" :-)


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


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


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


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


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


why we dello translate as some.


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


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

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Apparently so - I used that translation too.


can someone answer my chat please?


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.


"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


I'd like a glass of juice, please.


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


What function does dello serve in this sentence?


"Metti dello zucchero nel caffè?"

Is one way of asking "Do you take sugar in your coffee" (I'm just saying that's what it means - not literally, but that's how you'd ask the question in English)

You could also ask :

"Ci vuole Io zucchero?" or "Lo bevi con lo zucchero?"

Either way, I'm here to learn Italian, not English.


The translator needs to pronounce the 'L" more clearly in "NEL". It sounds like "NELLA"


Have I missed something here.. does 'dello/della/dal..' etc. also mean "some"..!? Otherwise it makes no sense to me in this sentence.


At least this recording is better than the portuguese one.


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


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


the speaker does not use the correct inflection for a question


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.


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.


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?


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


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?


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


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


Falta la opcion the no esta entre las opciones


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I type the same as you say and it it red...PERCHE


As a native English speaker,I wanted to say, ' do you take sugar in the ( Your) coffee' , as in the radio program - does he take sugar-


In American English we would say “do you USE sugar in your coffee, “unless we were being pretentious. Never “take”


it feels "wrong" the wording is makes sense for another time/example but they are not using the context in a way that desn't make much sense. though, we have to keep in mind that they are translating another sentence, so the wording might be al little off.


Fortunately, I know French (les articles partitifs)


the translator says "metti" far too low to be able to understand it


What role does the 'dello' play in this sentence? Can't it just be metti zucchero nel caffè?


I don't understand why 'dello' is used here. Dello comes from Di, which means 'of' or 'from.' So when do I know why and when to use 'dello' in cases like this?


Metti dello means do you put some? Where is some in this sentence? Also, the mans voice sounds more like a statement than a question.


un po' di is in the dictionary here as "some". Anyone else have a problem with this translation?


I do you one better: Metti il ​​tuo nome nel calice di fuoco?


Because there was no interrogative intonnation in the sentence I wrote it in the affirmative. That is one of the problems with readers reading individual words and then having the computer put them together to make a sentence. This is one of the big defects with Diolingo.


I used "some" and "in the" in my answer, because that is the literal translation. However, I wanted to say "Do you put sugar in coffee" or "Do you put sugar in your coffee". In English, the partitive article 'dello" is generally dropped; one might ask "Did you put sugar in the coffee", but not using the present tense "do you...".

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