"Non si scrivono mai cose a penna."

Translation:One never writes things in pen.

April 27, 2013

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Putting aside the falsity of the generalization, why isn't the passive equally acceptable? I put "Things are never written in pen" -- wrong!


Sorry but I think the English is fine here. It's just that very rarely does anyone in English use the pronoun "one". We might say something most along the lines of "Nobody ever writes in pen"


Why is the word for "one"=si paired with the verb form for loro?


This is the so-called "impersonal pronoun". Si can be used to form passive-like sentences easily. Using this formula, "si" must be followed by either a third-person singular, or a third-person plural form of the verb (in this case, either "scrive" or "scrivono" and nothing else). The verb must agree with the plurality of the subject (if the subject is singular -> si scrive, but if the subject is plural -> si scrivono)

An example:

In Inghilterra, si beve il thè con del latte.

this means:

In England, tea is drunk (--> people drink it) with milk.

"Thè" is the subject, "si beve" is the predicate, and since thè is singular, the predicate has to be the third-person singular form of the verb.

In Duo's example, the subject is "cose", which is the plural form of "cosa", so the predicate "si scrivono" is a third-person plural form of the verb. (if it was "cosa", in singular, the predicate would have to be "si scrive", not "si scrivono".)

I gave quite a long answer, but I hope I could help everyone confused about this.


Applause for a very good explanation!!!


Your explanation might have been long in your opinion… but it was definitely a useful and helpful one… thanks :)


Grazie! Adesso questo è chiaro per me.


surely 'by hand' is a better English translation?


Now I don't know what the Italian means; when I hear that someone doesn't write in pen, I assume they instead write in pencil. When I hear they don't write by hand, I assume that they instead type it up. I don't know which of these the Italian implies....


...or perhaps "in ink"?


"one never writes things in pen" - this so doesn't sound like English


The impersonal construction "si scrive" > one writes/we write. The plural "si scrivono" > one writes. I have another problem: Does one write IN PEN? I wouldn't > with a pen.


If Italians can talk about things being "nel piatto" (in the plate, when they mean on the plate) then we Brits can say "IN pen" One does indeed write "IN pen" or "IN pencil" or "IN crayon" or "IN biro" or even IN quill-tipped feathers from the duolingo owl, but it would be equally correct to say "One writes with a pen." :)


Okay, thanks, I learned something.:))


it sounds so weird. "one never writes things in pen". I know English, but what exactly does it mean?


This brings back memories of primary school. We were required to write with pencils until our penmanship was judged good enough to "write in pen" at which time we were formally presented with a pen formed with the 'proper' grip to encourage continued excellence. All very formal. All very 1950s America.


Similar in 1960s Britain. I think "in pen" is OK, and "One never writes" is correct (one (!) hears things like this from time to time) if a little stilted. But I think "Things are never written in pen" should also be considered a correct translation.


What does this English sentence mean???


definitely no good English, sorry, but please adapt it, no one says "in pen"


I thought scrivono meant they write??


Could this mean that one doesn't write in ink? Some people use a pencil when they do crossword puzzles.


Is it wrong to say: "things are never written with a pen"?

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