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  5. "Sono già le undici."

"Sono già le undici."

Translation:It is already eleven.

April 9, 2013



Can someone briefly explain why 'sono' is used instead of 'è' for telling the time? This threw me off as I was reading 'sono' as 'they are', and so far 'it is' has always been translated as 'è'.

  • 2663

I'm not sure I can justify this grammatically, but when the time is plural (xD) the verb becomes plural too. You'd say "è mezzogiorno" (it's noon) but "sono le dodici" (it's 12am/pm) and "è l'una" (it's 1am/pm).


Visualizing it, feels like the language treats time like horsemen lining up in a row as opposed to the English treatment of time as a single entity that gets populated within itself ("Here comes another one. Now they're eleven!").


I think a good way to visualize it is something like "there are now eleven hours"


I have been attempting to ascertain the function on the clitic pronoun le .. Does it mean them and is a reference to 'le ore'?


When I first came across this lesson, I also interpreted the "le" as unstressed indirect object pronoun meaning "to her".

In this situation, however, le is the feminine, plural, definite article "the". Feminine, I'm told, because we are talking about hours/time (ora) and "ora" is feminine. Plural when the number of hours is greater than one.

So, it may help if you see the word for word translation: Sono le undici / They are the 11.

From which, we understand that 11 hours have passed since midnight, and thus its 11 o'clock.


sono le tre - it is three o'clock è l'una - it is one o'clock sono l'otto è mezzogiorno è mezzanotte

it is simple to understand think in thisway , if it is "one" is singular ''è l'una" , if it is more than "one" will be always "sono le or sono l' "


I'd offer that in the 24-hour time system, the expression including in English is, for example, "fourteen hundred hours" or "fourteen hours" in short, all plural 'hours'. So here "The hours are". This is consistent with "sono", "le", "alle". f.formica please do feedback to the course contributors to keep teaching this system.

Speakers of English, and others using the 12-hour system, please do become familiar with the Italian (and other languages') system. You will soon be fluent in this and your life will be much easier than having to always convert the numbers.


f.formica justified all right. Normally time is indicated with plural when numbers are used, except for one o'clock. Sono le due, le quattro e mezzo ecc. "mezzogiorno" and "mezzanotte" are not numbers, so they are singular.


We have to pay attention when they talk about both time or ages.


Does not sono translate as I am?


Yes but it can also mean "They are" from the verb essere meaning to be. When telling the time in italian you say a sentance that literally translates to "They are the eleven"


why wouldn't " I am already eleven" be acceptable here?

  • 2663

Age in Italian isn't something you are, but a number of years you have; "I am already eleven" would be "Ho già undici anni". If you wanted to use "to be" anyway, you'd have to use an adjective, e.g. "Sono già undicenne" (undicenne = 11yo).


This is the best explanation I've heard on why Avere is always used with age! It helps my American brain grasp that in Italian age is not something you ARE (Essere) but HAVE (Avere)... Wow that was simple, now I feel a bit like a doofus... Thank you!


Great explanation. Thank you!


Do I understand correctly that an article + a number typically means the time?


I thought "Sono" is used for persons and "È" used for things.

So why is it not rather "È già le undici" but "Sono già le undici".

I'm confused now.


could it also mean they are already 11 (people) ?


How do we know its not 'I am already eleven '?

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