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. :)
"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!
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.
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 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 :)
"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.
"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.
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.
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...?".