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How do you know if you is tu or voi?

When DL tells you to write something like "You are late," in Italian, how do you know whether they want the "tu" version "sei" or the "voi" version "siete" of the sentence written in Italian?

January 30, 2018



I don’t understand your query. If the question is written in Italian you will see your answer. If the question is in English it will depend on the context ot if that is not clear then both answers should be accepted.


No the question is written in English. They want you to write it in Italian. I would think both answers would be accepted also, but they aren't.


You would have to reference the specific sentence for us to advise. Sometimes both are accepted, but it depends on context. Very often there are clues in accompanying phrases that tell you if it is singular or plural.


I gave an example... "You are late." That's the example, and that's all they give you to translate into Italian. If DL gave me more context, I would certainly be able to know which one to use, because it would be clear in the context, but when they say write in Italian: "You are late." Or "Are you going?" and that's all they give you to go on, it's impossible to know whether it should be Tu or Voi.


For "You are late" Duolingo should accept no less than four different translations:

  • (Tu) sei in ritardo. (single listener, plain)

  • (Lei) è in ritardo. (single listener, formal)

  • (Voi) siete in ritardo. (multiple listeners, plain / formal)

  • (Loro) sono in ritardo. (multiple listeners, very formal).

Since the exercise does not provide a context of speech, you cannot tell whether 'you' is singular or plural, nor whom you are speaking to, so all four versions are fully correct.


it should accept both for those examples.


I found guessing on Duolingo much easier than choosing in real life. I was introduced to an Italian friend of friends in their home. The next day, in the same home, I went for 'come stai?' Oh dear, monumental mistake followed by a lesson on using Lei. I didn't open my mouth again!


Dear Helen, don't worry about that. Do as I do. I speak all that comes to my mind and let them sort out the grammar :-D. As long as they understand you, it is all that matters. They know from your body language and smile that you don't mean to offend them even if you miss dare di Lei. I found that people are very forgiving when they see your effort speaking their language. You can't learn anything without mistakes.


You shouldn't waste your time with such pedantic people. :-D


In future I shall just talk to the people with the biggest smiles . :-D


That would be hard. I've written it wrong in correspondence with friends in email, and they've gently corrected me because they know I'm trying to learn.


“Tu” is one person, “voi” is many people. In most cases Duolingo should accept both answers, except when it’s obvious if you’re talking to more than one person or just one. (You wouldn’t use “tu” to translate “You are girls”).


you can tell from the context


tu is normally what you use, that's just how it is


Well, it depends on the context. If 'you' is used for a single person, it would use 'tu sei' if it is used for multiple people, you would use 'voi siete'.


Tu = You (Singular) Voi = You all (Plural)

EX: Voi siete felice. = You all are happy. Sei felice. = You are happy.

However, in English, there's no real correct subject for the 2nd person plural, at least one that is commonly accepted. So "you" in English can mean 2nd person singular or 2nd person plural depending on context.

To answer the question, "You are late" can be both translate to "Sei in ritardo", or "Siete in ritardo".


If it is one person it is tu sei if it is more than one person so you all it is voi siete.


There is no way of knowing. All correct versions will be accepted: 1 Tu sei in ritardo. 2 Lei e in ritardo. 3 Voi siete in ritardo.

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