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  5. "La chiave è sul mobile."

"La chiave è sul mobile."

Translation:The key is on the piece of furniture.

May 5, 2013



It's funny because in English 'mobile' is something that moves. It is very counter-intuitive that it means 'furniture' in Italian, which actually doesn't move!


Think of it this way: when you move to a new house, you are moving all the (moveable) furniture to that house ( which in turn is immobile, unmoveable)


To olefattguy: in fact, since its origin, 'mobile' means something that can be moved, or something movable, e.g., something that can be taken out of a place and put in another one.. I hope I have helped. Greetings. February 19, 2016.


English also has words to distinguish between household items that are "moveable" vs. "unmoveable." The English word furnishings is used to describe moveable items such as furniture, curtains, rugs, and pictures -- in other words, items that are not fixtures. The singular noun furnishing, while seldom used, is a legitimate English word. However, it is unlikely that a speaker of English would say The key is on the furnishing, since our linguistic conventions require the use of a more specific word.


In English, we would not say a piece in that context.


In my everyday language (Indonesian) "mobil" is the word for "car" so it made perfect sense to me to put keys on a car... I had no idea.


Hey, i am indonesian too, looks like i am not the only one :')


Actually you can "move" the furniture, but you cannot move the house itself or the appliances (like the toilet or bathtub). That's the difference between furniture and everything else and that's why the root "mobi-" is used :)


Well, Nowadays You Can Move The House.


I think it might go back to ancient Roman law. Items that were immovable (for example, land) were governed by different rules of ownership than items that could be moved. It is rather nice that knowledge of Roman law might help with modern Italian vocabulary. Of course, I could be wrong.


In Spanish (which i learned first) furniture translates to "muebles" so i had a small clue. I assume it's similar in other romance languages. It's very frustrating though when a word looks similar to something completely different and I mess up every time.


"Móveis" in portuguese. :-)


Pero no nos habían enseñado esta palabra antes de este ejercicio, o si??? creo que por eso es la discusión en este momento. A penas conocimos la palabra mobile, y que significa mueble.

Diego de México.


I studied other European languages and now, especially wit with Spanish, i am constantly mixing them up. Easy to understand with alk the roit words yes, but i get jumbled trying to speak them and which wird belongs where at times


In persian we have the word "mobl" which means armchair so it's easy to be remembered for me


This word is similar 8n ither European languages


Other Romance Languages, Certainly, I Highly Doubt There's A Similar Word In German, Or Russian, Or Greek, Or Bulgarian.


The problem is that it really is impossible to translate this sentence into English without mentioning the particular piece of furniture the key was left on. The logical solution to this problem is for Duolingo to accept whatever piece of furniture the student wishes to nominate, such as cabinet, chair, sofa, etc. Duolingo's own translation does not make sense in English. One would never say this.


The problem is that it really is impossible to translate
this sentence into English without mentioning the particular
piece of furniture the key was left on.

I agree with you. No native speaker would say, "I left it on the piece of furniture" -- (unless for some reason they didn't really know what to call that particular piece of furniture, I suppose, but hardly likely.)


I also agree - I opted to translate it as sideboard and got it wrong, of course. I realise the exercise here is to learn Italian, but in English furniture is a collective noun and we tend to name items of furniture. Duolingo needs to recognise this when providing translations if it is to be truly useful for all learners i.e. in Italian you might say 'mobile' but in English we would not say 'on the piece of furniture' unless there were only one piece in the room and you didn't know what it was called!

  • 2157

The problem there, though, is that since "mobile" means the broad category "furniture", you can't translate it as "sideboard" any more than you can translate "cibo" as "strawberry".


Agreed, which is why I knew it would be wrong as I wrote. However, I find it difficult to write something that is clearly not reasonable English so I am willing to be marked wrong from time to time just to see what DL will accept. Of course, keys on the furniture would be quite acceptable .


But the Italian sentence has the exact same problem - il mobile doesn't indicate what piece of furniture it is. Italian also has specific words for chair/table/couch/etc... So Duolingo shouldn't accept chair or sofa here because that's not a correct translation for il mobile.

I agree it is a bit of a useless sentence but so are many of the other sentences we get (I am never going to use - for example - gli elefanti sono i tuoi, or chi è l'uomo nella vasca? among many others)


No one would say that sentence in US. If we didn't know the piece of furniture for something unusal we might resiet to "thingy" or something as we Americans can be crude, but simple!


Thingy Is Far Too Formal, I'd Say "Thingamajig" Or Something Like That.


It is confusing because in English furniture refers to the entire meublement, every chair,sofa etc in the room( or even house). In italian un mobile is one of the chairs, sofas etc. Luckily (for me) it is the same pattern as in Swedish, but I too was confused(albeit in the other direction) when I was learning this in English, way back when...


What an elegant word - meublement! Grazie.


BUt this word, mobile, until here wasn´t been taught, was it? That´s why, the discussion over here is about this particular word. I heard Mobile in the audio, but i didn´t know that word yet. Only as all you say, like the mobile, the cellphone, or something that can be moved. but not this concept in italian.


in this sentence wouldn't there be reference a specific piece of furniture?


In the old days in the old county, as I remember, furniture was very sparse, so, saying "sul mobile" made perfect sense if there was only one (or two) pieces in a room.


Very interesting.


We are in 2014 :)


Clearly it's a very empty room...


María... la chiave!!


Native Russian and Ukrainian speaker here. In my languages real estate also means literally "The Unmovable" :)

And now I understand where the word for furniture ("mebel'") has come from. ;)


I see you're leaning Hebrew.
In Hebrew (and in Aramaic, which isn't on Duo), real estate is: נדל"ן
(pronounced nadlan) which is an abbreviation of 'immovable property'

And in law (in the English language) 'real estate' (land and buildings) is referred to as immovables.


I don't believe DUO is trying to teach the word "furniture", SherryShel, they are actually trying to teach the word "mobile", because Italian is spoken here.


GRAZIE!! Qua se parla l'italiano.


La donna è mobile. Qual piuma al vento, muta d'accento e di pensiero.


In English, we would never say, "The key is on the furniture." or, "The key is on the piece of furniture.", so I put, "The key is on the cabinet.", which is something we could say in English. However, this was rejected.


I also wrote cabinet... Is it wrong?

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"Cabinet" is a specific piece of furniture. "Furniture" is a broad category. They are not interchangeable.


I don't see anyone saying 'on the furniture'. That's just silly, since 'furniture' is most often said in referring to multiple items. The translation doesn't reflect an actual sentence in this respect.


Interestingly, French takes the opposite approach by using immeuble - immobile.


Usually a sing. noun ends with 'a', so is 'chiave' an exception or am I missing something?
i would think it to be 'la chiave"/le chiave if it is an exception what would it be like in the Pl?

  • 2157

Yes, it's one of the exceptions. Some words are -e in the singular and -i in the plural, and you just need to memorize whether they're masculine or feminine.


1) singular nouns with the ending "a" are feminine nouns, and form their plural with the ending "e"
2) singular nouns with the ending "o" are masculine nouns, and form their plural with the ending "i"
3) singular nouns with the ending "e" are feminine/masculine nouns and form their plural with the ending "i"
4) irregular nouns

you can consider the (3) "irregular nouns", but in reality there are a lot of nouns in that category
1) 35% - 2) 35% - 3) 25% - 4) 5%


Who refers to a piece of furniture in normal speaking?


It's confusing but I just say furniture for mobile or mobili


Yes it allowed me 'furniture' but we'd never say it.


I know that a cell phone is a "cellulare," but could "mobile" also refer to a phone, following the British usage?

  • 2027

You can say "telefono mobile" or "terminale mobile" but they are both technical terms. "Telefonino" is a popular synonym.


Notice that chiave is unique in that it is feminine and ends in -e and then plural ends in - i , which is usually how a masculine noun works. This has tripped me up a few times.


Every singular noun that ends with -e ends in -i when turned into plural, regardless of the gender...at least, that's what my Italian teacher said.


I still can't find my key! which piece of furniture? the couch. the table?


In arabic, "mobilia" which meens furniture


I just find this sentence annoying because if you were going to say this sentence, wouldn't you normally specify what piece of furniture it was instead of just saying furniture?


I have written "The key is the piece of furniture" x)


As others have noted: furniture is mobile, whereas cupboards, closets, some counter tops and other fixtures are not. "Fixtures" is an important term in lease and rental documents.

Secondly, the translation to English is awkward since furniture is a plural and could mean the entire house contents. So if you were to answer someone with "the keys are on the furniture" this very vague and obtuse reply might result in your getting an insult in return, since someone looking for their keys would like a specific location, not "furniture" which is scattered throughout the entire house.


We would just never say that in English.


In English "Keys" is often used for a singular set of keys. I.e my car key and house key are on the same chain and I refer to it collectively as "keys". Is this the same in Italian or would a set of keys be "la chiave"?


"La chiave è sul mobile" for "mobile" there are three solutions in the help: piece of furniture, moving and mobile. But Duolingo accepts only "piece of furniture" or "furniture". Why?


Because the meanings "moving" and "mobile" are in turn a verb and an adjective, both of which would be hard to place a key on...

  • 310

No, a mobile can be an object which hands from the ceiling and revolves, used particularly to hang over cots. So mobile would make sense, in a weird way..


Yes but mobile in Italian means mobile the adjective (ie. she is mobile) it doesn't necessarily mean mobile (the object that hangs from the ceiling) in English.

  • 310

Very true :)


It Sounds Like You're Describing A Ceiling Fan... I've Never Heard Mobile As A Noun, Except As Short For "Mobile Phone" Or "Automobile".


I'd like to know the answer to that too ... the english translation of the sentence is clumsy and would not be used


this one has me confused-i put a piece of furniture -wrong but i ask my self which piece of furniture- the piece of furniture- wouldn't piece suggest more than one-help


Got it wrong too. I am guessing Duolingo is just pushing my buttons and making me think about the words here. Like some of the other sentences, you wouldn't usually say this in English or Italian, or any other language!


I get that this is not a useful piece of English, but if I were to hear this in Italy, where should I go to find the key? To a dining chair, armchair, sofa, table... what?


"piece of furniture" has a general meaning (table, sofa, bed, fridge, ... are pieces of furniture), therefore in this case it is wrong to translate "... è sul mobile" with "... is on the piece of furniture" because if I tell you "La chiave è sul mobile" I mean a definite piece of furniture. So I would translate "mobile" with "cabinet", that is a more appropiate word in this type of sentence.


But The Problem Is This Sentence Doesn't Specify Which Piece Of Furniture, If Somebody Asked Where Their Keys Are, And Got This Response, I'd Expect Them To Reply With "Quale Mobile?", "Which Piece Of Furniture?".


La chiave è sul mobile pezzo.


in german it is möbil so it was sort of familiar to me!


mobilia موبيليا is also furniture is Egyptian Arabic.

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It's pretty clearly a loanword, though.


How do you get that long of a streak!?!?!? Amazing!

  • 2157

One day at a time. Use up the occasional streak freeze.


Every now and then I run a word through Google Translate. "Mobile" translates to English "Mobile." "Furniture" translates to "Mobilia". Piece of furniture translates to "Pezzo di mobili". When I use some other apps they sometimes have typos and things. And since I don't speak Italian, if resources don't agree, it's hard for me to know if I'm learning something incorrectly. :(

  • 2027

I don't think Google Translate is a good resource for lerners: it often gives very odd translations, and it gives no grammar information in its "definitions". My suggestion is to choose a good dictionary, and if you want to investigate further on some expressions, use online resource (e.g. http://dictionary.reverso.net gives a number example sentences that are translated by humans).

Now, regarding your examples: "mobile" translates to "mobile" only when used as an adjective, not as a noun. "Mobilia" is a quite accurate translation of furniture because it is a collective noun (it is singular), while "mobili" is just the plural of "mobile". On the other hand "mobili" is more frequent, both in spoken and written Italian. "Pezzo di mobili" is completely wrong: no italian speaker would use this expression, that almost sounds like an insult.


Thank you for the explanation.


Google Translate Is Notoriously Bad, Quite Often You Can Translate Something Into A Language And Back And You'll Get A Sentence That Not Only Is Completely Different From What You Originally Entered, But Also Makes No Sense, I Think Once I Put Some Sentence Through All Languages And It Turned My Perfectly Valid Sentence, Not Involving "One" Of Anything, Into The Number One.


Yeah, I remember that "mobile" and others (French: meuble, Swedish: möbel, Danish & Norwegian: møbel, German: Möbel(stück), Romanian: mobilă, Portuguese: móvel) precisely because it doesn't move, so the contradiction sticks in my mind. :D


Where in the Italian phrase does it say "the piece"? I am not sure "mobile" includes "the piece".

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Different languages say things in different ways. Italian is not just a word-for-word cipher of English. We say "piece of furniture", they say "mobile".


Yes, I agree. However, the translation is not incorrect to just say on the furniture since the Italian sentence did not specify what the piece of furniture is or that it is "a piece". I think both translations should be accepted that's all.


Can't understand speaker


Duolingo should correct this answer. It's wrong as no one world wide says "I put my keys on this piece of furniture"! As well they should correct the three suggestions for 'mobile'!


THE KEY IS ON THE FURNITURE shows wrong why?


Perchè "furniture" è intesa tutta la mobilia, mentre in questo caso si vuol indicare un mobile (non uno in particolare però). L'ho tradotto con "cabinet" ma non l'accetta. Mi piacerebbe sapere se nel parlato usano "piece of furniture".


I can say :The key is on the furniture.


why is the translation requires "a piece" of furniture. Where does it require "a piece"?


That's Just How English Works, "Mobile" Refers To A Singular Object Like A Chair Or A Table, While "Mobili" Means Furniture, However In English Furniture Is A Mass Noun, Like Water, Thus You Say "Piece Of" To Specify One Individual Object That Is Furniture.


I would have expected the sentence to be more specific, otherwise the question is asked, which piece of furniture. On the other hand why a 'piece of furniture' anyway, why not just 'it is on the furniture.


Is "a piece of furniture" correct english?


Yes, it is.
There are situations where you might say "piece of furniture".
But no one would use it in the above sentence.
One would simply refer to the piece of furniture the key is on by its name.
e.g., Table / Desk / Cupboard / Couch.


It doesnt say piece. And I put the above without the word piece


Furniture is a non-count noun, but it is also a collective noun: a cover term for a class of individual items. Such nouns imply plurality, but are singular in form.
In order to specify that you are talking about a single piece of furniture,
(without specifying the type) you indeed refer to it as "a piece of furniture".

What probably bothers you, is the fact that this specific sentence is unnatural in English due to the fact that for the sake of clarity, one would prefer to say what type of furniture they are talking about.
e.g., "The key is on the couch / desk / coffee table".


This might be a good translation, but it makes no sense in English


Why did I get it wrong, for putting: the key is on the furniture.


While "furniture" is grammatically singular, as it is a non count noun,
it is also a collective noun in meaning, that is used to refer to the group.
When wanting to specify in English that you are talking about one,
you say "a piece of furniture".
This may not be so common, as in day to day life you'd mostly name the type of furniture, but it is the proper way to describe a single piece of furniture without specifying the kind.

Plural: i mobili = the furniture.
Singular: il mobile = the piece of furniture.


Saying "piece of furniture' is very awkward in American English. People are more likely to either name the piece of furniture of just say "the key is on the furniture".


I don't understand where piece is in the sentence

  • 2157

Italian and English are not mirrors of each other. The Italian word "mobile" is being translated into English as "piece of furniture".


In English, Furniture Is A Mass Noun, While The Italian Equivalent Is A Count Noun. A Couch Is A Mobile, So Is A Chair, Or A Table, And You Could Also Say They're Pieces Of Furniture, However Saying "The Couch Is A Furniture" Or "The Table Is Furniture" Don't Make Much Sense In English, If You Have All Three Things Together, In Italian You Have Dei Mobili, Some Furniture, While In English You Have, As Stated Before, Some Furniture, Or Some Pieces Of Furniture.


Meubels, in Ditch.


a piece of furniture??? really duo lingo


Does anyone else have difficulty understanding the female enunciation, but not the male enunciation?


So it is ever just furniture and not piece of furniture? In English we can just say they set things all over the furniture, usually moaning about the kids!


Of course we can just use the word furniture in English- e.g. 'I am buying furniture for my new house'. Your example suggests a number of things spread over a number of pieces of furniture, which can collectively be termed 'the furniture'. Unless the set of keys has been split up and spread around, it would be very unusual not to specify on which piece of furniture they are to be found. The main point here is that furniture is a generic and collective term. In English, if we wanted to find the keys, we would name the specific piece of furniture...that is why the sentence is difficult to translate. I suspect that Italians would also specify the item of furniture, unless there were only one piece of furniture in the room.


That is a very odd sentence.


Mobile could be a cell phone in this case, or a car. The english translation in inaccurate.


First of all, we have a "new" concept in English: our mobile. To be fair in current Italian this is called "il mobilo". However "The key is on the piece of furniture" is just ridiculous in English and would never be said. I propose replacing this question with "La chiave e sul mobilo" meaning "The key is on the smartphone".

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That would only be a valid translation if actual native Italian speakers meant it that way when they said this.


Sounds reasonable enough, assuming that a tornado has ripped through the house. Dov'è la chiave? La chiave è sul mobile.


"On the cabinet" should be accepted. "Cabinet is a piece of furniture. When you tell someone that the key is on a piece of furniture you would specify the piece of furniture. GET REAL DL.


Please DL would you put your key somewhere else! This sentence does not translate well into English. I am not even certain that Italians would be that vague when describing where the key is situated. In both languages you would have to be more specific if you you wanted the key found, unless the room had only one piece of furniture in it...even then you would most likely say -'on the table/chair/desk' etc.


Do You Live In A House With Only One Piece Of Furniture?


No logical sentence


perchè mettete 3 soluzioni sbagliate?


Quali mobili? Dimmi solo dove è la chiave!


In The sentence before it was without peace, that's why I used sui mobili and o faild, how stupid


For god's sake, who on earth says "the key is on the furniture " furniture is not a piece! It is not a distictive noun and it implys plural! if you want to teach the word furniture put it in different sentence.


(American English speaker) We need to learn to think in Italian. I was taught this word "mobile" in another course also, to mean "a piece of furniture," i.e., something that can be moved. BTW when I visited Italy I'm pretty sure I saw a sign that said "Immobili" to mean how we would say "Real Estate," something that cannot be moved.


Another sensible reply - it is a different language and we need to remember that it can't all translate back into our own language perfectly. Have a lingot.


I think they're trying to teach Italian, since this is an Italian course. Hence trying to teach "mobile" and what it means.


Have a lingot for stating the obvious. Somebody has to say it.

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