"L'automobile ha molti danni."

Translation:The car has many damages.

April 11, 2013

This discussion is locked.


In English, we would most likely say "The car has a lot of damage, or much damage.


I agree. We don't use damage in the plural.


Possibly: "The car has many dents".

Although it is being marked incorrect at the moment, I submitted it as an answer.


Personally I would not translate so specifically. Damage is pretty general. Dents are not. I would not accept the translation.


Agreed. A car could have internal damage and no dents at all


"The car is knackered/fu..."


I used "a lot of damage" which was accepted. I would say "many damages" is very very wrong. The Duolingo translations seem unaware of how count nouns versus mass nouns behave in English. I suspect "the car is badly damaged" is the best translation, though I didn't try it. (Alas, you can only try one potential answer at a time)


It would be great if after an answer we could see all the possible correct answers. Duo has gone to a lot of trouble to find a range of answers to check against our efforts, so if we could click on a button, like the Discussion button, to see them all, we could learn a lot about alternative translations.

But "the car has many damages" does not make sense and should not really be accepted as correct.


Agreed, on both points.


I had no choice ... Much damages or many damages..... I guess Duo has to first decide what is appropriate for English when offering choices!!!!?!!


I tried "The car is very damaged". I agree it's not a literal translation, but it is a far better translation than that suggested by DL, which is not even passable English. It is difficult to know when they want a literal translation and when a good translation for the sense of the phrase is acceptable.


Agreed. Damages are something you get from a court of law in settlement of a case. The car has a lot of damage is best. I have reported it to the corrections black hole.


I really enjoy these very nuanced discussions -- when the translation of an Italian sentence leads to unexpected depths of English usage. To give some references and also an exception (yes, there are always exceptions and special cases!): http://blog.harwardcommunications.com/2011/02/21/the-difference-between-damage-and-damages/

Damage = loss or injury to a person or property (uncountable singular noun) Damages = money claimed by, or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injury (uncountable plural noun) BUT Damages (rare legal meaning) = multiple losses or injuries to a person or property

I think this DL sentence was having this last exceptional case in mind :-)


So exceptional that I had never heard of that usage, and I was an English judge for 25 years!

No, sorry. DL got this one wrong.


Sure I agree -- this is why I put :-) to the end, and also added the link with the source of the information...


Doosh! Kwa! (Sorry, I felt that needed sound effects!)

It's funny they still haven't fixed this.



It's when you get to this level you realise the program needs English lessons as much as you do Italian ones!


Definitely the wrong English and needs correcting


I agree that "damages" is not natural in this context - but maybe the DL team are trying to reinforce that some concepts that are normally singular in English, need to be in the plural in italian.


It not a problem of being or not being "natural" it is wrong-plain and simple. Duo know very well that each language has its own format and would not intentionally use incorrect English. I agree with HaroldWonh.


But you don't do that by mutilating the English language. You want the best Italian matched with the best English.


I reported this quite some time ago and pointed out that it is just not correct in English to say the car has many damages or much damages. I gave examples of potential answers along the lines discussed and explained that the only time damages would ever be used would be in relation to compensation awarded in a court case.

So far, it seems to have remained unchanged, so now, I give the wrong answer that Duolingo requires, in order to avoid this question cropping up every time and blocking my progress. I'm not sure what else any of us can do !


I am sorry for adding to the clutter but when I tried to report an error the button kept greying out. Does this mean the comment has already been noted and being dealt with or is it just a bug?


I translated "automobile" as "vehicle" and was marked wrong, and told it should be "car". I think "vehicle" should be accepted - what do you think?


A vehicle could be anything from a bus, to a bike, to a truck etc. Duo has it right this time.


Surely the difficulty of finding an exact word for word translation just points out that Italian expresses this situation with a (slightly) different solution. And that's the learning point. As long as it is good Italian, does it need to be good English in translation?


Hi, Baggie

Yeah, it kind of does matter. (Cute hamster, btw!)

This is on of those 'false friends' that you often see when translating - it LOOKS perfectly OK but gives a completely different meaning. If you talk about 'damages' when you're in an auto accident, the guy you're talking to will think you mean to sue him, not that you're chatting about a few scratches. That's a HUGE difference, and will get you into trouble very quickly.

I remember (back while the Earth was still cooling) our French teacher telling us (the girls, at least) not to translate word-for-word 'I am full' at the dinner table, unless we really wanted to tell the family that we were pregnant.

It's cute, but they need to fix it before they use it to teach English to Italians and some poor sod gets a punch in the mouth he doesn't deserve.

Have a good one. :)


Glad you like hammy,

I 100% accept that the English translation of the Italian sentance is bad English and that the translation could mislead a non native English speaker, but I was thinking from the point of view of an English speaker learning Italian from this program, rather than an Italian learning English. For me the discord that the pluralisation gave really made me think about how different languages express the same idea. And besides I am one of those poor sods who never knows whether "the data is..." or "the data are..."

I think my French aunt was at the same dinner table... after spending 20 odd years in Canada she went back to Le Havre, at breakfast with her sister she asked "passez-vous la préservatif." Laughter rather than jam went round the table.


re Data is, data are ...

Oh, dear, there are people out there who would fight to the death defending either one of those.

I think we're at the stage where both are true ... or neither.

Schrödinger's cat does grammar!



The car has alot of damage


I have yet again reported this as it still remains unchanged with the uncountable noun damage being used as a plural! This really does need to be dealt with, it is getting on for 2 years since it was first reported and these comments started. It is unfair to English students to have left this unaltered without even explaining why. Fingers crossed that it might now be corrected, as we have more Italian mods and so maybe the backlog from when there was just one individual trying to keep on top of things is slowly being cleared.


how can you put damage when that word is not among the se!ection? they have put damages leaving you no option but to use it ,then mark it wrong!!!!

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