"Hanno alcuni libri."

Translation:They have a few books.

April 27, 2013

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is there any logic when do we say "a few" and when "several"? Are these interchangeable in English? Before "Hai alcuni libri" was translated as you have several books", and now "Hanno alcuni libri" means they have a few books.


though it is vague, in English "a few" generally means 3 or 4, while "several" means 5-9


Not in my English! "A few" means "not very many", but depending on the context that could still be a very large number! (Only a few of the stars that exist are in our galaxy, but that's a hundred billion or so...)


That's a good point. A few can mean a minority of a larger population as well as a small number of things.


"A few" is alright here i get it.How about "some"?According to duo alcuni means a few,some ... I mean not to mention the amount but to mention the kind of them.For example history book,physics book...how can an italian understand it (i mean amount or kind) when he hears this sentence? Is it another one depending on context or is there any other word meeting the meaning like the way i write above?Thanks


Why not. They have few books?


My question too. I think the answer is alcuni is 'a few' not just 'few'.

Our answer, They have few books, would be Hanno pochi libri.


Why does DL not accept "The have some books"? Some=a few, right?


I responded "Anno alcuni libri" and, much to my surprise, they marked my answer as correct! I know this is incorrect and I should have responded "Hanno....". My previous question was marked incorrect ONLY because I did not spell "ragazze" correctly (I typed "raggaze"). So, they give a little, they take a little.....all good with me. Still learning! ENJOY!!


Could it not also mean 'They have not got any books'?


That would be negated (and singular): Non hanno alcun libro.


That's how the language works:

  • Non ho alcun libro: I don't have any books (I have none)
  • Non ho alcuni libri: I don't have some books (I might have many, but not some specific ones)

Just like "any" in English, you can't use the singular in an affirmative sentence, but contrary to English you don't normally use it in the interrogative form either:

  • Do you have any books?: Hai qualche libro? / Hai dei libri?


Okay, so it can be read more as: alcun = any; alcuni = some?


In these contexts, yes, but the are many other contexts where it doesn't work, like the interrogative example I cited above; another example could be "you can buy it in any shop" - in Italian it would be "puoi comprarlo in qualunque negozio (not alcun).


Ora capisco. Grazie!


I think these terms are as vague in English as in Italian. It perhaps depends not only on context but also on tone of voice.


Would "Hanno dei libri" another way of saying They have a few books?


I'm wondering this too, does anyone know the answer? Are the contractions of di + an article and the variants of "alcun_" the same?


I answered "they have quite a few books" because in a previous exercise a translated alcuni as "a few" and was corrected to quite a few. Duo said it should be "they have got a few books". I don't understand why my answer wasn't accepted.


It's still a bit confusing to me when "alcuni" means "several" or "a few". Is there an explanation for this or is it one of those things that you end up getting used to as you learn more of the language?


'Some' and 'a few' are interchangeable terms in English.

'They have a few books' is very different to 'they have few books' though; the latter is more of an observation with an intention of drawing attention to a lack of something (in this case, books).

The former is just another way of expressing/describing a small group of somethings.


does Italian not distinguish between 'a few' and 'few' in the sense that English does?


few - pochi/poche (little - poco/poca)

a few - alcuni/alcune (a little - un po')


I agree with mycroft! Also, there is a difference between 'they have a few books' & 'they have few books' but I don't know how one is supposed to know which this is.

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