@Mbasst - re:how would you know to whom it's referring to?
¡Hola Mbasst! Because this sentence was lifted out of a larger unkown work with no supporting context such as other sentences in the book or was take out of a conversation already in progree there the principals in the conversation already knew thes curcial bits of information are lost.
This sentence was formed by the Duo exercise sentence generator an placed in an isolated white padded cell.
In here, "Su desayuno" is a sentence fragment. We don't have a lot to work with but we can deduce some things.
One important concept that we are learning is that adjectives must match in noun class (gender) and count of the noun that they are modifying.
In the case of the noun to be modified we have, "desayuno". We know the noun glass is masculine and the count is singular.
My approach to, "su" is a little unique, but it helps me get my head around nuestra, nuesto, nuestras and nuestros a little better.
I think of "su" as two different masculine singular words. The first masculine singular word takes the meaning, "his". The second masculine singular type takes the meaning of the word, "her". Think about that one for a moment. A masculine singular type word taking the meaning, "her".
You may have guessed that since I think of 2 different masculine forms of, "su" then it probably makes to think of, 2 different feminine, "su" in this way too. The first feminine singular word takes the meaning of the word, "her". The second femine singular word takes the meaning of, "his". Think about that one a moment too. A feminine singular word taking the meaning, "his".
I also invent a 5th "su" word for matching to psuedo neutral singular nouns. Sometimes we need a, "su" that meaning, "its". I call it, "psuedo neutral" because Spanish doesn't have a real neurtral noun class. Instead Spanish borrows one from masculine noun class.
When it comes to selecting a, "su" to modify, "desayuno" we can see right away that, "desayuno" is masculine and singular, so we will need a masculine singular form of "su" from our chest from vocabulary words.
But which one should we hook up? We have two that would work. The masculine singular that means "his" and the masculine singular that means, "her."
I the case of Duo's exercise sentence our choice is completely arbitrary. You could even use the "psuedo neutral" since it burrows from the masculine form.
The answer at the top of the comment section is, "Su desayuno". And Duo assigns the masculine singular, to get, "His breakfast." But "Her breakfast." And "It's breakfast.", are all also valid.
Just make sure you don't use any of the feminine forms, for "desayuno."
(But even if you did, they all look and sould the same.)
Now for a noun like manzana remember to swithch to your feminine forms of, "su".
This may seem un-necessary at this time. Just slap any old, "su" and fake it. But if you can grasp this concept now, you will fair such better when you get to the part involving "nuestro", "nuestra, "nuestos" and "nuestras". In fact, it will be a breeze.
I typed "its breakfast" and it was right but said another answer is His breakfast
The word "su" is used with singular nouns and "sus" with plural nouns. For example:
sus desayunos his/her/its your/their breakfasts
Also, if you wanted to say "your breakfasts," you would say, "sus desayunos" regardless of whether you were talking to one person or more than one.
Using "its" for "it's" and vice versa is a common mistake even native English speakers make. Autocorrect features seen in some programs sometimes help with this and other times they don't. I have even noticed that autocorrect has, on occasion, changed my "its" to "it's." MS Word's autocorrect feature is pretty good, but it appears autocorrect programs when used with different types of keyboards can sometimes capitalize words I don't want capitalized, add or drop letters/words, and add apostrophes where they are not wanted. Most of the time, I catch these mistakes, but on occasion, it gets me, so be sure to proofread, especially while doing duolingo exercises because autocorrect can take a correct answer and make it incorrect.
This particular section of this discussion actually got me a little confused, so I'm going to paste something from Dictionary.com to get everyone reading off of the same menu. The excerpt from Dictionary.com is below (bolding added for emphasis):
An equally common mistake is to use it's for the possessive, probably because ordinary possessives of nouns are formed with an apostrophe: the dog's coat; Mary's cell phone. But the possessive its is a pronoun, not a noun, and, like other possessive pronouns ( his, hers, yours, and theirs), is written without that particular bit of punctuation: I have to fix my bike. Its front wheel came off.
You're right, Kthrne8. The great thing about duolingo is that you don't have to get an answer wrong to report something. You can also "report a problem" if you get something correct. The "report a problem" button is right next to the "discuss sentence" button and looks like this:
Having said that, duolingo does what I consider "giving you the benefit of the doubt," which means that if you're off by one letter and that one letter doesn't make it a different word altogether, it scores your answer as correct but lets you know that one of your words was misspelled. In such a case, I wouldn't report it. I'd do as LittleWing1 suggested -- slow down and check your answer.
In fact, I've noticed that my computer will autocorrect what I've written (in fact, it did it for me just now with the word autocorrect ... how funny is that) ... anyway, as I was saying, autocorrect has, at times, changed my word while doing a duolingo exercise, but I'd be so focused on getting to the end of the sentence that I wouldn't check my translation. Now, after I do my translation, I do a quick check by reading the sentence to be translated out loud and then read my translation out loud. This is key because your mind will often fill in blanks and read things as correct even when they aren't, but reading it out loud forces you to slow down just a bit and sometimes that split second of reduced speed can be the difference between catching a mistake (whether yours or autocorrect's) and not catching a mistake. For anyone experiencing this, try this method to see if it helps you make fewer mistakes in the future. And if you'd like to read more about this topic, read this:
In the meantime, I appreciate your integrity and commitment to helping make duolingo the best it can be.
The word "su" does not mean "he" or "she," but it can mean "his" or "hers" as well as "your" (formal) and "their." In a very few words, your post touches on a number of different topics that others may have confusion about as well, so I will go into a bit more detail on some topics that surface in relation to your post. If you would like to read more, click on the link below:
If you bother checking out that post, hope you enjoy it and hope you find it helpful.
I wouldn't call it a "neutral" pronoun, DanielaCalingo. Ambiguous might be a better word to describe it. In other words, without additional clues -- context -- "su" can mean "his/her/its/your (formal)/their." Also, keep in mind that it can mean "your" (formal) or "your" plural (i.e., Ustedes).