Admirable question! I think that gli, in this context, is taken to mean "to him" without the need for an additional "a" as one would usually use with a verb like piacere. Why this happens? Hope someone else can explain!
To quote mukkapazza's recent explanation of "gli" elsewhere on this site:
"Gli can be different parts of speech. Gli elefanti sono grandi/the elephants are big = determinative article. Gli vendo un elefante/I sell him an elephant = pronoun. Gli + noun = the. Gli + verb = him/to him. There are times when gli also works for plural... that has to do mostly with indirect objects. However, nowadays gli is starting to replace other pronouns (such as le and loro) in spoken Italian... but don't worry about that here, we try not to overlap :)"
Sorry I can't give you the reference to her original text on Duolingo but I found it so useful that I copied and pasted it into my own learning database. Hope this helps anyway :)
Gli means 'to him.' You could also say 'a lui' (which serves the same grammatical role and means 'gli' in the context of this sentence) if you wanted to stress that part of the sentence. In other words, you could translate the sentence two ways:
- Gli piace il caffè senza zucchero.
- A lui piace il caffè senza zucchero. (Emphasis on 'a lui')
Agli, which can translate to 'garlic,' 'at the,' or 'to the' never translates as 'to him.' (Agli serves a different grammatical role.) Hope this helps!
Reply to JoeM: "Aglio" is garlic, not "agli". We say "aglio/oglio" meaning the garlic/oil sauce for pasta.
oglio? ...... if you are going to correct someone, make sure you don't make errors yourself, it is olio!
The chart on this page is helpful: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/16418558/A-Duolingo-Beginners-Guide-to-Clitics
The drop down menu says "gli" is to be used before a word starting with a vowel. Like "piace"? Not having fun now.
Piacere uses the indirect object pronoun. Which is gli. = to him. To him is pleasing the coffee without sugar. As I explained to Wichito390 earlier. And impiastro. http://italian.about.com/od/verbs/a/italian-verb-piacere.htm for information about piacere and http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare117a.htm for indirect object pronouns.
Why gli instead of lui? Clitics (?) are the hardest! And what exactly is the clitic in this sentence?
According to my understanding: "piacere" means "to please (to)" (French: plaire à). So the object used with "piacere" is an indirect object, because we ask the question (literally): to whom does the coffee please? for example.
Answer: The coffee pleases him/her/them, etc
That's why we use indirect object pronouns here. we say in Italian:
Gli piace il caffè (litteral translation: the coffee pleases him/ the coffee pleases them).
Le piace il caffè (lit.: the coffee pleases her).
Yes, it’s always important to remember that words like ”piacere” translate a bit differently in English (or its hard to translate) but you explained it really well, so thank you. I think (atleast for me) i just have to get used to these things
I wrote "THEY likes coffee without sugar" and it was correct... Mmm... Why?
Because in the clitic dative (to him) gli can be used for both singular masculine, or plural masculine and feminine forms. While loro is more classically correct than gli for the latter, the 'gli' for for 'for/to them' is used in modern Italian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_grammar#Pronouns
Though I can't see why 'They likes' would work. I could see why 'They like' would though (since in English like is conjugated thus I like; he likes; she likes; they like, we like, you like)
I know where the stress is, I'm just asking whether it should be "ei" or "eh", I've always thought it was the latter. The slow version says "caf-FAY".
No. It would not. You need the indirect pronoun gli - to him - for the verb piacere. Perhaps if you had read the other comments here first? The closest to a literal translation would be "To him is pleasing the coffee without sugar". Without the 'to him' the sentence does not make sense.
Grazie for the explanation which still fails to answer my question. Without him, why does the sentence not translate: He/she likes coffee..... For your edification, I did read the other comments which also did not address my question AND your snide remark is not appreciated.
Well, since as far as I can tell the other comments did answer what I thought was your question, it was I thought a helpful suggestion for the future.
The verb piacere is an unusual one because it goes indirect object (or pronoun) + verb + subject (http://italian.about.com/od/verbs/a/italian-verb-piacere.htm). The piace is not conjugated by the person liking it, but by the thing that is pleasing them. So he likes apples would be Gli piacciono le mele - To him is pleasing the apples. The apples are pleasing him. He likes the apples in more colloquial English.
I had not understood that you didn't know that piace didn't mean he/she likes. In the given sentence the piace is linked with 'the coffee without sugar' and is conjugated by that.
You may find this list of indirect object pronouns helpful also. http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare117a.htm
Going off comments here and from before. Could someone explain why I can't say: Il caffe senza zucchero gli piace?
Hi - I don't understand why 'gli' - plural - is used ahead of 'piace' etc., etc., IF the subject is singular and male - 'he' or lui. Please explain use of 'gli' in this sentence - how and why it is employed, say, instead of: Lui piace ... Thanks/Grazie!
Would "Mi piace il caffè senza zucchero" work to mean "I like coffee without sugar"?
could you use "gli" for a girl also or do you need a different pronoun. I was a bit confused by this kind of form, as someone in the comments said I am also used to the form "A lui/lei piace".
Also out of curiosity does anyone know which of these forms is more common?
I'm finding clitics So hard and we're still only on the present tense! How many more irregular/idiosyncratic idioms has my poor little old brain got to get round?!
Because it's almost impossible for a computer system to have all possible variants of a response. If you think this should work (and while it's odd English it's not entirely wrong) feel free to report it. But if you're going for a closer to the Italian rather than to the English (He likes coffee without sugar) idiom, then it should be "To him is pleasing the coffee without sugar"