Duolingo says "Pay attention to the accents" if you don't use an accent; but if you use á instead of à, or i instead of ì/í they don't notice... I have reported this already with days of the week, but it still hasn't changed.
Accents are an open wound in Italian. In primary school (when we wrote by hand more than by typewriter) I was taught that there were 7 types of accents: à, è, é, í, ò, ó, ú. Grave accents were used for open letters and acute accents for narrow ones; but the Italian keyboard was already in use, so the other accents were already tolerated. I can only think it was designed by a French, because I can't explain why it has ç and not È otherwise. Using that keyboard has changed Italian accents a lot; it's not considered as much of an error to write E', and the slightly incorrect accents ì and ù became widely accepted; since it has no ó, even words ending with a narrow 'o' are accented with ò if needed (luckily that doesn't occur naturally in Italian). The only accent mistakes still enforced are not using it at all (or using one where you shouldn't) and confusing è and é (the only letter to have both accents on the Italian keyboard).
Thank you for the comprehensive answer!
Should all the correct accents be used if you are hand-writing rather than typing? And would there be any difference in usage between a formal letter/CV, and an informal letter written to a friend?
A formal letter/CV would be most likely typed, so the receiver would expect the accents available on the keyboard: à, è, é, ì, ò, ù. In handwriting, I do pay attention to accents, but I'm not sure how many still do, especially in the younger generations; many modern grammars consider the distinction useless on i and u as they are narrow vowels by nature. According to wikipedia the only publisher enforcing the old rule is Einaudi, which is interesting because I never noticed o.o
You're close. You can either say "a me piace" "mi piace" or for emphasis "piace a me" but never "a mi piace". The pronoun mi absorbs the a:
- La borsa piace a te/La borsa ti piace/A te piace la borsa
- La torta piace a Mario/La torta gli piace/La torta piace a lui
- Alla ragazza piace lo specchio/Le piace lo specchio/Lo specchio piace a lei
Remember, "mi"="a me"; so, "a mi piace"="a a me piace" (double 'a'), which doesn't make any sense.