"Metti dello zucchero nel caffè?"

Translation:Do you put some sugar in the coffee?

March 12, 2013



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

November 28, 2013


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


did you put some sugar in the coffee sounds more natural

April 22, 2014


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


I said did and got it wrong too

April 16, 2017


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

December 12, 2018


I was going to say this too!

September 4, 2015


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

November 28, 2013


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


"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


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


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


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

December 16, 2013


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

January 3, 2019


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


its -- not a contraction of it is

September 24, 2014


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

April 15, 2014


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


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



February 19, 2014


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

March 12, 2013


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


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


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

May 7, 2014


"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


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


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


Thanks for the "Ah hah!" moment!

May 7, 2014


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

August 13, 2014


Grazie. Somewhat similar for French also.

November 20, 2014


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


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

October 16, 2014


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

January 29, 2017


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

March 17, 2013


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


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


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


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

November 5, 2014


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


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

February 21, 2017


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

November 5, 2014


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

April 11, 2013


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

March 10, 2014


Apparently so - I used that translation too.

September 17, 2014


why we dello translate as some.

September 15, 2017


At least this recording is better than the portuguese one.

April 1, 2013


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

March 20, 2014


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

August 5, 2014


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

February 21, 2017


the speaker does not use the correct inflection for a question

December 1, 2014


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


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


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

December 19, 2016


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


can someone answer my chat please?

December 21, 2016


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



December 24, 2016


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


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

April 21, 2017


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

December 16, 2017


Falta la opcion the no esta entre las opciones

June 21, 2017


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

August 12, 2017


"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.

December 16, 2017


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

December 16, 2017


What function does dello serve in this sentence?

January 28, 2018


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

March 30, 2018


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

December 12, 2018


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

February 27, 2019


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


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

March 31, 2019


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

March 31, 2019


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


Your right

December 8, 2017


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

July 7, 2013


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


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


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

February 21, 2017
Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.