"She likes animals."

Translation:Le piacciono gli animali.

April 29, 2013

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I don't understand the grammatical construction of the correct answer. Can anyone explain it for me, please?


You could say piacere is a verb that functions the opposite way you're used to. The object causes the subject to like it. Here are a few examples:

  • Mario likes Chiara/Chiara piace a Mario/A Mario piace Chiara
  • The woman likes the book/Il libro piace alla donna/Alla donna piace il libro
  • The man likes the shoes/Le scarpe piacciono all'uomo/All'uomo piacciono le scarpe


The way I remember it is the Italian word doesn't mean "like" it means "is pleasing to". So, "Le piacciono gli animale" can also be written "Gli animali le piacciono". The animals are pleasing to her. - She likes animals. "Le scarpe piacciono all'uomo" - The shoes are pleasing to the man - The man likes the shoes. By remembering "is pleasing to" it also reminds me that I need an "a" in there for the person who is doing the liking unless you use an indirect object pronoun like "le" or "mi" or "gli" etc.


Why not 'lei'? From memory, this business around 'piacere' was one of the reasons I gave up learning Italian with Grandad when I was a teenager!


"le" is the indirect object pronoun "to her/for her". "lei" is the subject pronoun "she"

In the sentence, "I will give her it.", the "I" is the subject, the "it" is the object, and the "her" is the indirect object. You can tell the "her" is an indirect object because you can rewrite the sentence as "I will give it to her" and it still makes sense.


Ah. We hadn't covered those yet. Makes sense.


This construction really was difficult to understand. An Italian told me it's passive, which made sense to me when checking the sentences, and that "le" is the dative. But this is too complex to understand since we have not had the dative yet and we can only guess this verb is being used in the passive by the subject.


So the action is performed on the animals? Not on "lei." At first I thought there was an error in the question/answer, but now I'm thinking they haven't taught me something important yet.


Yes, this always gets introduced to the student before the grammar in its construction is covered. The "le" is the indirect object (a.k.a. Dative) pronoun. It is not the subject. It means "to her". The thing being liked is the subject. The way I remember it is, don't think of it as "like", think of it as "is pleasing". Then the sentence construction will make sense. This is just a clash between the way English works and the way Italian works. Unfortunately, it is a really common thing to say, so it always gets introduced before you are ready for it.

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