"Offre la casa, dottore!"

Translation:It is on the house, doctor!

April 23, 2013

This discussion is locked.


idiomatic sentences like this need some explanation or warning, or something, of nature, "Idiomatic: try to guess the meaning of this"


That is my #1 complaint with Duolingo so far - Sentences like these should be in a separate section because they generally don't translate well for those trying to learn.


To the ones who say this is idiomatic: I think it's the other way around.

«It's on the house» literally means that something is on top of a house, though most people say it meaning, idiomatically, that the house offers something to someone for free.

On the other hand, «offre la casa» literally means that the house (bar, café, host, etc.) is offering something to someone, e.g. "la casa offre la birra (a te)".

To further stress my point, this is how the English expression "it's on the house" is said in other languages:

  • Spanish: «Invita la casa» (lit. the house pays) or «cortesía de la casa» (lit. a gift from the house).
  • French: «C'est offert par la maison» (lit. it's offered by the house) or «c'est la maison qui l'offre» (lit. it's the house who offers it).


How do we know that the house is the subject of this sentence rather than the object? That is, how do we know it's "The house offers" and not "He/she offers the house"?


The ability of inverting the subject with the verb and the object or even omitting it altogether in an Italian sentence makes this effectively impossible.

So "offre la casa" could actually mean either of these:

  • She/he offers the house.
  • The house offers. (i.e. it's on the house)

In order to rid this sentence of its ambiguity, you could respectively say:

  • Lei/lui offre la casa. (explicit subject)
  • La casa offre. (normal word order)

By normal word order I mean Subject-Verb-Object (SVO), as is the case with all Romance languages.

More on word order and implicit subjects:


I should have read this before, instead of letting one of my hearts go away


Duolingo really needs a section on idioms.


There was a lesson at Christmas. I think those are best saved for when someone finishes normal language lessons. None of the lessons made any sense at my level.


this sounds like a compulsive proposal to the second person (you, doctor, OFFER THE HOUSE!


Come on- this is idiomatic.


I think Duo is a great way of learning idioms. I was stunned by this one, translated it literally and then when I saw the suggested answer I was all "ahA!". Great fun.


I personally think that idioms are all very well if you know that they exist - perhaps a warning to "think laterally" or "this one's a bit outside-the-box" might help. Even then it's a bit daft when many people are trying to learn with limited additional resources - or, in my case, when the additional resources provide no help with idiomatic phrases.

Fascinating as an idiom might be once you know about it - i agree to that - it is quite frustrating and demoralising to many learners when they are used to trip you up. In this software it does feel rather like you're being set up when they appear out of the blue.

I am not a beginner in language learning - just a beginner in Italian - but I know that I don't like being given challenges that are impossible, whatever the circumstance.


Your idea is the perfect thing to spend lingots on (hence it also has the advantage of being optional). I really like the idea of offering on the lingots page some special functionality like having a little warning, like 'think laterally' (maybe there should be an image of the owl with one raised eyebrow ;-), or maybe even a direct warning that it is an idiom. I would give up some lingots for that, and I know they were looking for ideas on how to spend lingots in order to encourage even more learning.

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It would be a pretty simple fix for DL to simply present such phrases first in multiple choice, leading us to learn the idiom before having to translate it directly.


So... Is this sentence speaking to the doctor and saying "its on the house"?


This is far too early to introduce idioms.


Could I say also "Offer the house, doctor!"? Sorry for ignorance, I'm not a English native speaker. Thanks in advance for any help:).


I am a native English speaker. We would say It's on the house, doctors if we wanted to let the doctors know that stuff was free, or we are paying for it, or whatever.

'offer of the house, doctors' seems to me a reasonable interpretation, although we would never say that way in English. It seems close to some of the other languages listed above; like the way it would be said in French.


Thank you, xyphax:)


Probably means "It's on the House, Doctor." or "It's on us"


This does not mean 'on the house'


I put He offers the house, doctor! It was right...


What does "doctor" in the sentence do? Do we speak with the doctor?


That's how I see it. Just like, 'it's on the house, friend'.

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