Easy explanation for those of you who don't understand when to say non è mio and when to say non è il mio:
- Il gatto non è mio = The cat is not mine (I may have cats or I may not have cats at all, but this one cat is not mine).
- Il gatto non è il mio (gatto) = The cat is not my cat (I do have a cat but this one is not it).
Thanks! I find it useful so far to -think- of 'mio' etc as 'belonging to me' (instead of translating in the head to my/mine, but yes lessons need a form of translated texts).
The cat does not belong to me. <-- mio
The cat is not the one that belongs to me. <-- il mio (gatto)
I find it really useful to let go of English and comprehend anew.
I've noticed that Duolingo is somewhat schizoid about when it wants a very literal, preserve-the-same-grammatical-construct translation, and when it wants you to just give the most natural translation in the target language (and Silvanathees's "It's not my cat" certainly is that.)
Is there a guiding philosophy at work here, or is it just "Whomever wrote that particular sentence gave whatever answer they thought was right?"
There is a method to the madness. The program teaches certain words in a certain order, and that can get as specific as teaching specific parts of speech. I'll rephrase what was written above:
- Il gatto non è il mio (the cat is not mine) mine = pronoun
- Non è il mio gatto (it is not my cat) my = adjective
This is pretty important in the beginning. Sentences are shorter, more literal, and you're actually memorizing certain patterns. As you continue through the program and sentences have more and more interpretations then you will find there is a bit more freedom :)
With some thinking I realise the distinction, in your post and I get the distinction between pronoun and adjective (Possessive) BUT please explain this : we are taught to use the definite article with possessives (il mio gatto or la mia gatta) which seems odd at first but becomes natural quite quickly. Then we learn to drop the article for members of your family (Singular -like mio papà ma le mie sorrelle for my sisters. plural) so why is "Il Gatto non è il mio gatto" marked wrong, when it is written in your response? Have I missed something?
It really helps when learning a foreign language to absorb it like a child and to accept the patterns or inconsistencies rather than be overly logical about it. The best way to learn a language is to speak it rather than study it and that can be a leap of faith or require trust.
These explanations help but sometimes hard to keep it straight Too many rules take the fun out of it