"La chiave è sul mobile."

Translation:The key is on the piece of furniture.

May 5, 2013

This discussion is locked.


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)


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


You're absolutely right. I'm English and I would never say 'The key is on the piece of furniture' as it would sound strange. I would say 'The key is on the furniture' even if it was only one piece but I guess that they are trying to put it in the context of the Italian grammar.


Duo isn't trying to teach you what to say in English. They are trying to demonstrate that mobile doesn't mean furniture, mobili does. Mobile means piece of furniture. I doubt an Italian would say this this this way either. But a mover giving instructions might use the word in the singular. Since Duo isn't a phrase book, they aren't teaching you even this sentence. They are just teaching you about the Italian vocabulary, grammar and syntax that go into it.


I agree with this, but if we are translating onto English DL should be more careful with English grammar.


THE KEY IS ON THE FURNITURE was accepted (my answer)

[deactivated user]

    You are right, but mobili = furnishings, not furniture.......mobile = a piece of furniture (singular)


    In a previous sentence in this exercise mobili was translated by Duolingo to furniture and now mobile means furniture. How do you know when to use mobili and when to use use mobile?


    Mobili (plural) means furniture. Mobile (singular) means "piece of furniture".


    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.


    Si, unless the house belongs to Baba Yaga!


    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


    'Wird' belongs to German. End of (with humour).


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


    In a legal sense, furniture is movable property, while real estate including buildings is immovable (at least in continental law, I don't know what it's like in common law)


    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.


    That's wrong. In German, Möbel refers to furniture or a piece of furniture, while buildings may be called Immobilien (as in, "I have invested money in 'Immobilien'". Normally buildings would be called Gebäude). Norwegian has møbel for one piece of furniture.

    Out of interest, I just looked up the Russian word - it's мебель, which reads as "mebel".


    Latin has affected many languages well beyond romance languages. And French has directly affected other languages as well, like English, German and Russian. Here is a list of words in various languages who originate from the Latin root word. Obviously some of these words probably are more related to mobile than furniture, but the ideas do seem to relate to each other.



    As an adjective...Mobile means mobile or fickle or inconsistent.


    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!

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    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 .


    The difficulty is just the example being a bit odd. They want to teach "furniture" and reinforce "keys", which is great, but maybe they're not ideal for one simple sentence.

    Better to have "the hotel/ their house/ my aunt has some lovely furniture..." or "we need to buy some new furniture for our home/ son/ bedroom..."

    Meanwhile you could have a whole section in which different people leave their keys, glasses, wallets, etc, on different items of furniture in different rooms...


    I opted for cabinet and that was marked incorrect too.

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    "Cabinet" is too specific. That's like translating "shape" as "triangle".


    Any piece of furniture should be marked as correct.


    Helen - the whole point of this exercise is to teach that mobile actually doesn't mean furniture, since the English word furniture is an uncountable noun with a plural meaning. Mobile refers to just one piece. It's admittedly a silly sentence, but Duo's sentences aren't designed to be a phrase book but to demonstrate certain points about Italian that will help you form your own sentences correctly.


    or even just 'furniture'


    Yes, they didn't accept cabinet either.


    I think the best English equivalent is something like Whatsit, Thingummy, or Whadjamacallit.


    Or even better Whatnot, which I think was an item of furniture in Victorian Britain.


    I thought whatnot was more like a tchotchke, to use a Yiddish term (I think). Small decorative items, not furniture. But my suspicion is this sentence would never be said. Duo has to come up with an exercise using mobile in the singular because we don't have a single word like this. But I don't think it's probably used much by any about their own piece of furniture, since they all have names or at least functional descriptions. I suspect this word really only is used much in manufacturing or warehouses or other situations where one piece of furniture is the same as all the others, even if ones a desk and ones a chair.

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    tchotchke is pronounced like Chachi but with a "k" sound before the "i" sound. It rhymes with "watch key".


    Wondering how you pronounce tchotchke! But my dictionary says a whatnot is a bit of furniture with shelves to display ornaments.

    • 1225

    “I left my keys on the doo-dah”.


    Yes, nobody wold ever say this. I think the best, reasonable, english translation would be 'side' or 'sideboard'. At least in my family, any piece of furniture becomes "the side" (coffee table, kitchen table, sideboard, side table, sofa etc.) when talking about where we have left the keys.


    I don't think this sentence is really supposed to be one that is ever said. I think Duo was just trying to find a sentence to illustrate that the English word furniture only has a plural meaning, while the Italian word has both a singular and plural. They struggle equally with the reverse situation in Italian where uva actually means grapes, not grape, so you have to say acino d'uva to indicate just one. I doubt that they use the word mobile in the singular in Italian very much, except for maybe moving companies or furniture warehouses where the type of furniture it is might not be important. But it is important for English speakers to understand this. I have suggested elsewhere that maybe it might have made more sense if they simply defined mobili as pieces of furniture when used in a sentence like Mettilo tra quei due mobili - Put it between those two pieces of furniture.

    As for side, I wouldn't have a clue if someone told me to put in on the side. We have an expression put it to the side, but that's much different as it just means it's not part of the current transaction or it should be saved. I might extrapolate the meaning if I thought you means one of the pieces of furniture that actually contains the word side, like side table, but never sofa, kitchen table or especially coffee table which is generally in front. The only noun I generally hear represented simply by the word side, is side dish in a restaurant. (What do you want for your side?).


    Ah, maybe it's just a case of local/regional dialect then. "Side" is used pretty often where I live to refer to an arbitrary piece of furniture or fixings (If some told me "put the key on the side" I would put it on top of a piece of furniture - the point is that the key is out, rather than away in a drawer). But I understand that the point of this sentence is to demonstrate that "mobile" can be used in the singular in Italian. When using "mobile", would it be used to refer to an arbitrary bit of furniture? Because I can't see how it could be used to refer to a specific piece of furniture in a room where there are multiple pieces.


    I don't think it would be used often by most people. In the examples I gave in above, a mover or a furniture warehouse, whether something is a desk or a chair may not really be an issue, let alone not needing to distinquish between types of tables, etc. It may be simply a question of move this piece over there, and I have heard English speakers refer to one piece of furniture as a piece, which would be the equivalent. If you saw an advertisement for a six piece living room set, you might want to inquire what "pieces" were. That ad in Italian would use probably say sei mobili, although we absolutely couldn't say six furnitures, and the question in Italian would ask quali mobili. So even though this isn't using the singular mobile, it does translate mobili as pieces of furniture, rather than just furniture, which is another look at the same difference between the words in the two languages. So, although I doubt you'd ever hear this sentence in Italian, you will need to build on the idea that mobile means a piece of furniture which means mobile may be translated as pieces of furniture.


    Or maybe the table. Duolingo needs a good course in colloquial English. What's frustrating is that if you give a correct answer but it is not absolutely literal, they mark it wrong. This could confuse a language student.


    The whole purpose of this exercise is to teach the word mobile as a sigular word. You can't do that by teaching it as any other word. That might confuse some English speakers, but it shouldn't confuse a language student. Duo isn't teaching English here, that's a prerequisite. It's teaching the word mobile in Italian, which absolutely does not mean table, although a table can be in the set of possible items. Mobile doesn't mean furniture either, mobili does. The only correct way to translate mobile is piece of furniture. The fact that you never speak of a single piece of furniture except by it's type suggests that you will probably never use this Italian word in the singular. I suspect it's not very common in Italian either. But you have to understand to use the plural to mean furniture, rather than the singular.


    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)


    But picking the chair for example is simply wrong. It's best not to use that sentence in a (beginner's) course at all.


    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.


    We are in 2014 :)


    Clearly it's a very empty room...


    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.


    The pronunciation of "mobile" is totally wrong.


    I agree, I hope you have reported it.


    The italian pronunciation MOBILE is not correct at all


    María... la chiave!!

    [deactivated user]

      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 learning 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.


      The Duolingo voice that is speaking this sentence is pronouncing the word for furniture as "mobayl", not as "mobeelay". Does anyone at Duolingo check this stuff?


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


      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?


      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%

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      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.


      The word 'mobile' is mispronounced by the awful childish voice, it should be 'mobilay' not 'mobile' as in moveable/or capable of moving.


      If you know Spanish, you can use this way to remember mobile:

      mobile > muebile -- o often splits into ue when stressed in spanish (dormir > duermo). It happens with other words too, sueño = sonno (ñ originates from 2 n's), muerto = morto, cuenta = conto

      muebile > mueble -- there's often an extra "i" in "bile" words that isn't there in Spanish. posible = possibile, adorable = adorabile


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


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


      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.


      The blonde cartoon guy in the red track suit pronounces "mobile" in English for some reason.

      Currently the pronunciation here in the sentence discussion (as of 24 Jan. 2022) is fortunately still correct.


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


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


      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.


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


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

      [deactivated user]

        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


        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)


        Who refers to a piece of furniture in normal speaking?


        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.


        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.


        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.


        I understand the "concept" that what one language has as a group noun, another language may treat differently. But since most places has several different pieces of furniture with different functions. It seems to me that this word mobile would only be useful in more abstract discussions of furnishings. I don't see people saying Mettelo sul mobile instead of Mettalo sul tavolo (or scrivano or sedia, etc). Am I correct, or is this just my English brain?

        • 2570

        ❛The key is on the item of furniture.❜ should be accepted.

        • 3040

        This is not the place to make that request. You will need to enter that as your translation, get marked wrong, and then before moving on to the next question, hit the little flag icon and report "My answer should be accepted."


        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...


        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.


        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


        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.


        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?


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


        It's not möbil but Möbel in German.

        • 1167

        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!

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


        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


        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.


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


        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


        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

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        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?


        Why should my use of the word "furniture" be marked wrong. How do I know that the wanted "a piece of furniture" as an answer.


        The key is on the item of furniture - this should be an acceptable answer. Item is equivalent to piece

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        Flag it and report "My answer should be accepted."


        This is the most unnatural sentence in English...


        How you meant to know if its got an e or an i at the end when they both sound the same?

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        They don't sound the same. "e" is pronounced like "ay" or "eh" and "i" is pronounced like "ee" or "ih".


        I need to wash my ears out!


        What is the difference between indicating furniture in general or stateing a piece of furniture? Your not specifying which piece.


        For the most part I think you are right. I don't think that someone would probably say this. All that Duo is really pointing out is that, while furniture is a group noun in English, it is a standard noun in Italian, with both a singular and a plural form which take the expected singular and plural verb forms. I suspect the singular has relatively little use, but it is probably used more frequently than we would say piece of furniture. This sentence wouldn't tell the person where the key was very well, though, unless there is only one piece of furniture in the room or the piece was something unusual which didn't match the standard categories of furniture we tend to use.


        This just does not sound good English, I would never say it! You would specify where you had put the key ie on the table.

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        Content and grammar are two different things. Just because it is unusual to say does not mean there's anything inherently wrong with it.


        I am not saying that it is wrong, but I think that the test is whether anyone would actually say it! It makes translation awkward and stilted.

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        And therefore more memorable and more successful in teaching vocabulary. Unusual sentences are a long-standing tradition in foreign language education.

        Could you please keep the conversations together by replying directly instead of making a new top-level comment?


        In English we would specify the piece of furniture or at least would say on the furniture rather than on the piece of furniture.


        I mostly agree with you. Certainly saying that something is on the piece of furniture is only going to be helpful if there is only one piece of furniture in the room. But there is a reason to translate mobile as piece of furniture, since furniture is a group noun in English, but countable in Spanish. And coming up with a sentence that uses the phrase piece of furniture, yet sounds reasonable in English, is probably quite a challenge. To keep these sentences fairly basic and within our ability to translate, you will find some awkward sentences when there is a difference in how a word or expression "works" in the two languages.


        The key is on the furniture is not accepted


        There is always a strange translation when one language uses a collective noun where the other language uses a singular and a plural form. The word furniture is a uncountable group noun. But il mobile refers to a single piece, so I mobili is actually the translation of furniture. Mobile is translated as a piece of furniture. The same thing happens in Italian with the word la uva. La uva actually translates as grapes, so if you want to talk about a single grape in Italian, you have to say acino d'uva.


        No. I am italian.
        Un acino d'uva means something like a single grain of the bunch.
        If you mean a single grape you have to say "un grappolo d'uva".


        It's a short-coming of English, but I just would never say' on the piece of furniture' but rather name the item of furniture. Furniture is more of a generic/ collective noun.


        I don't think it's a shortcoming of English at all. I suspect no one would really say this in Italian either, unless there was either only one piece of furniture in the room, or some piece of furniture that you have no idea what it's supposed to be. It's simply not helpful to say on the piece of furniture when there are different pieces in the room. But I think we have to give Duo a break here. It's just hard to come up with a rather basic sentence out of context that uses furniture as a singular word. I'm sure in context it isn't that uncommon, but out of context, I think any such sentence would sound strange.


        Hi I'm a bit confused. How do I know that it is a piece of furniture. I put " The key is on the furniture." and got it wrong? Is it only because "mobile" is singular and the singular in English for "furniture" doesn't exit so it must be " a piece of furniture"?


        You diagnosed it perfectly. There are often several of these words that don't match in terms of number between languages. That also explains this weird sentence. I'm sure you will find examples of mobile used in Italian as a singular word, but not that much in an everyday way.


        The hints say "mobile" in English but when you use it you loose a heart

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        Next time, flag it and report a problem with the hints.


        Anyone else hear him say "la chiave sul mobile"?


        That wouldn't be unusual I suspect. Since chiave ends in an "e" sound and obviously è has only that sound it would be normal to have the sounds blend so that you hear only one. This is common in romance languages. Luckily Italian is spoken slower than Spanish, because with all the extra vowels, everything would elide together.


        In the UK we have this turn of phrase, "It's on the side" to mean that it is on some unspecified surface anywhere in the nearest 5 miles, but you'll have to look a bit harder if you want to find it because I can't remember where exactly!


        I don't think this is a standard expression in Italian. I just think it's hard to come up with a simple sentence that uses mobile in the singular.


        I understand the use of mobili as a collective noun, but when in actual conversation would you say mobile rather than the specific piece of furniture?


        I don't think it is of much use colloquially. I think you might hear it a lot if you work for a furniture related business like a factory, store, delivery service, moving company, etc. If only for written policies covering the handling of individual pieces, it would be used quite a bit. But it would never really be used in a sentence such as this, unless the furniture was so strange that no one knew what else to call it.


        Hi everyone, I'm Italian and I can tell you that we generally use the word "mobile" to indicate the position of an object in relation to a piece of furniture (above, below, in front, behind or next to it) and we do it to indicate a part of the furniture: dresser, sideboard, cupboard, display cabinet, ...; instead we call some furniture by their name: table, sofa, sink, refrigerator, bed, desk, ... So I say "the keys are on the bed" and not on the "mobile". Now I ask you: could "cabinet" be the word equivalent to "mobile"? Or is there no equivalent word?


        Word Reference suggests armadio, mobile or armadietto as translations for cabinet. But that brings up another question. Many things call cupboards or cabinets, especially those in a kitchen, are considered fixtures, not furniture, as they are permanently attached to the wall. Is that a common distinction in Italian?


        Sono italiana anche io, I have heard "sul mobile "used but saying the word and pointing to the piece of furniture that is referred to.


        Literally no one in Italy or England nor anywhere else would use this sentence. You'd state what furniture not "piece of furniture".


        You are absolutely correct. But you do find mobile used in the singular in Italian. But those sentences are either too complex or require too much context to work here. Just take this like one of the "use the word in a sentence" statements from a spelling bee. Duo just wants you to understand that the singular form is for one piece. We don't have a word like that in English, but it's not a difficult concept.


        Mobile works differently from the word furniture in English. Furniture is a collective noun. It is singular in form but plural in meaning. Mobile is singular in both form and meaning. This means that the only correct way to translate furniture is mobili, and mobile has to be "piece of furniture". This sentence sounds strange because mobile really isn't used in the singular very much by the general public, but has its place in some discussions like techniques to refinish a piece of furniture.

        This is the direct opposite of what happens with uva in Italian. In Italian uva is a collective noun, so we have to translate it as grapes. To refer to a single grape, we have to say acino d'uva.


        We don't use "piece of furniture" in modern English, unless it is a bill or something. We would say the key is on the furniture, or the key is on the (chair, table, etc.).


        I don't think many Duolingo sentences are offered because they think that you will need that particular sentence, and that is certainly true of this one. I doubt an Italian would ever say this Italian sentence either. The sole purpose of this exercise is to teach you that it is mobili not mobile that translates as "furniture". We don't have a single word that means a single piece of furniture that does not name the furniture. Italian does and the plural of that word is equivalent to our singular group noun, furniture. This is the exact opposite of the situation with the Italian word uva. Uva means grapes, not grape. If you want to refer to a single grape in Italian you have to say acino d'uva. But the fact of the matter is that there aren't a lot of circumstances where you would say either acino d'uva or piece of furniture. But you can't be a fluent speaker and not know when and how to use these singular forms. So Duo comes up with perfectly "correct" sentences using them that no one would probably ever say. And it's all to teach you that mobile means piece of furniture not furniture, so sidestepping the issue isn't demonstrating your knowledge.


        Sounds like something the most unhelpful husband would say. That's great. but which piece of furniture is it on, paul?!


        I tried to use only the word "furniture" instead of "piece of furniture" and it's wrong. I think this translation is a little bit funny.


        The point that Duo is trying to make here, admittedly somewhat awkwardly, is that the word furniture is a group noun, a singular word with a plural meaning. But mobile is an actual singular, so its plural form is the actual translation for furniture. The only logical way to translate mobile is with piece or item of furniture. You will see this more clearly if I use the sentence Ho sei mobili nella mia camera da letto. You can't say I have six furnitures in my bedroom. You have to say I have six pieces of furniture in my bedroom.

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        Who says piece of furniture??


        I doubt that mobile is used in Italian in the singular very often, at least colloquially, either. I'm assuming piece of furniture will appear time to time in furniture related businesses. But the point is that the English word furniture always assumes a plural, while mobile actually does refer to only a single piece. Because you say it with one word instead of three, mobile is probably more common to say in Italian, but I don't know how often you would need to say it anyway. Another way to show this difference would be to define mobili as pieces of furniture. It is the plural form of a singular noun. Even then I don't think the are a lot of times that would make sense in English. But I suspect if someone wanted you to pose for a picture, the sentence Mettiti tra quei due mobili (stand between those two pieces of furniture) would be quite natural in Italian, and rarer, but not really strange in English.


        Fool me once sull mobile


        Why isn't this just "The key is on the furniture"?


        Words like furniture, equipment and merchandise in English are singular in Form but plural in meaning, and uncountable. If you buy furniture, you often may be offered a three piece living room set or bedroom set. You have to call each a piece so you can count it. But the Italian word mobile is a countable noun with the plural form mobili. In almost all cases, it's mobili that's the correct translation for furniture, since you are generally speaking about the aggregate. But when you see mobile, you know they are referring to a single piece of furniture, one desk or table or chair, etc. The problem is that we don't have any common sentences that would use that word, although it might certainly be used in a furniture factory, warehouse or by a moving company. I don't love this sentence, it's never been said by anyone. But it is pointing out that we need to figure out how to refer to a single piece of furniture, maybe one we didn't know what to call.


        So am I to assume that whenever I see "mobile," "a piece" is a part of the word? I keep thinking of a mobile over a crib, and I picture tiny coffee tables and sofas swirling over a baby's head. I wonder what the Italian is for that type of mobile, even though my babies are now 24 and 19, respectively.


        It's a little more nuanced than that. Mobile is also an Italian adjective meaning pretty much the same thing as its English cognate. So that mobile for a child's crib is called una scultura mobile - essentially a mobile sculpture. Mobile as a noun, however, does refer to a single piece of furniture.


        You will probably see the adjective mobile more frequently than the noun. Most people don't talk about furniture in terms of pieces very often, except of they are talking about a six piece set, and that would use the plural anyway in Italian. I suspect that the singular is mostly used by furniture movers or warehouse workers simply talking about moving things around (Put that piece of furniture over there). But since furniture is a collective noun, grammatically singular but with a plural meaning, it is important for us to understand that furniture is translated as mobili, and the singular form needs to have the word "piece".

        The opposite thing happens with the Italian word uva. Uva means grapes, so if you want to refer to a single grape in Italian, you have to say acino d'uva.


        Wrong pronunciation?


        Did he not pronounce "mobile" with two syllables, as if it were English?


        Yes he did and it is wrong I hope you have reported it as I have done.


        A couple of the new characters mispronounce some words. You can use Forvo to hear native speakers pronounce "mobile":

        Split into syllables, for pronunciation: -bi-le
        IPA: 'mɔbile


        Where do you get the word piece in the Italian version?


        'Un mobile' means one piece of furniture.


        The narrator's diction for this particjlar sentence was very poor,


        The audio was not good it sounded like mobel!!!


        I wish that DL would remove this sentence as it has prompted more comments than almost any other I've come across in the DL Italian tree. It does not translate well into English and is teaching nothing. I doubt that an Italian would use the word 'mobile' in this way to describe where the keys were either....unless there was only one piece of furniture in the whole room (a prison cell...but not likely there would be keys there!). English speakers- please just accept that the only way you will get this sentence marked correct is to write 'furniture', even if it is ridiculous. The DL Italian moderators have long been absent and things won't change. For those who are interested, the origins of this word is the distinction between 'mobile', objects that are movable (e.g. furniture) and 'immobile' , things that are fixed (e.g. real estate, land).


        It doesn't sound like she is pronouncing the l. Sounds like mobi


        WHY is MOBILE pronounced in english here?


        The man pronounces the word "mobile" the Englis way (moubail) instead of the Italian one (mobile). So funny.


        a piece of furniture is very vague. It could be anywhere in the house. I find that od.


        It sounds like DuoLingo is pronouncing chiave with a "soft C" instead of a "hard C". I assumed it would be pronounced similar to Chianti.


        It wasn't excepted for me!! It said the correct sentence is the key is on the piece of furniture- even in Spanish they wouldn't say piece of furniture.


        I think you mean accepted, not excepted. They have different meanings.


        My mom who was Italian used mobile to refer to her dresser, which is more specific when trying to locate a key. I used on the dresser for mobile instead of a piece of furniture and was marked wrong. How would you know what piece of furniture without being specific?


        Said no one. Ever.


        The pronunciation of 'mobile' sounds English, not Italian. Is that wrong or is an English pronunciation what the Italians use?


        "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.


        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. :(


        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.


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


        I tried to use only the word "furniture" instead of "piece of furniture" and it's wrong. I think the translation in this sentence is a little bit funny.


        The English sentence is incomplete

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        What makes you say that?


        I see no possessive...pretty fast and loose DuoLing


        There is no possessive to see in either the Italian or the English, so there is nothing to be fast and loose about.


        "on the piece of furniture?!?!?!?" on the PIECE???? how am I supposed to get that?


        That's simply the best translation of the Italian word "Mobile", There's an inherent difference in how furniture is referred to in English and Italian, In English "Furniture" is a mass noun, Thus an individual item of it is just that, And item or piece of furniture. Meanwhile in Italian, "Furniture" is a count noun, With a singular item of it being "Un mobile", And multiple being "Dei mobili". While one could argue simply "Furniture" should be accepted here, That would be a very silly thing to say in English, And I'd argue "Furniture" is more similar to the meaning of "Mobili" than "Mobile".


        what a silly, clumsy piece of language


        All this is simply to point out that the Italian word for furniture has a singular form, although the English word is uncountable. We add "piece of" to make a countable. But I doubt that many Italians use it to refer to any furniture in their house. I assume that you probably hear it mostly used by movers or people who work in a warehouse. But you still would have an Italian looking around for a specific piece if you used mobile instead of mobili to talk about the furniture.


        You must be really joking.


        i think cabinet should be accepted


        No. While I agree this is a ridiculous sentence, it's this particular ridiculous expression to make a specific point, which you are ignoring with your answer. The point is that the word mobile is a word that indicates a single piece of furniture, which we don't even have a single word for. They have intentionally not specified whether the "mobile" was a cabinet, desk, bed, chair, table, etc. The thing that makes this sentence ridiculous is that no one would refer to a piece of furniture in their house or office as "the piece of furniture". Most people would only use that term if they weren't quite sure what the function of the piece was, which is not very common. But someone who worked in a furniture warehouse or a moving company might just talk about moving this piece over there without specifying the type of furniture it is because they are just pieces of furniture to them - things to be handled as part of their job. So while this sentence does not really a lot of sense, changing the keyword to make it make sense defeats the whole purpose.


        What awful language is this, mobile is supposed to mean 'a piece of furniture' really??


        English. Yes, really.


        "The key is on the cabinet." was not accepted. Cabinet is a piece of furniture.


        Sorry but I do not think you are correct 'mobile' is a generic word meaning a piece of furniture which is unspecified.


        "Cabinet" not accepted although Google translate gives it as a translation for "mobile" and it is a lot more natural than "piece of furniture" in this context. Reported


        I am not a native speaker, but having spent some time in italy, I believe "mobile" can also mean a cabinet or file drawers. I answered; The key is on the cabinet and was marked wrong. Would a native speaker, please help explain why.


        how would say that like that,


        how say that, never heard that been said in that contest


        On the cabinet should be accepted.


        Absolutely not. The whole point of this exercise is that mobile refers to a single piece of furniture, but it could be a bed, a table, a sofa, a desk, etc. We don't have a word that translates to mobile, but people do talk about a furniture piece. This is not a sentence that you are likely to ever hear. The closest thing would La chiave è su quel mobile, if the person didn't know what it was or if they worked in a furniture warehouse where they didn't really care. But you do have to remember there's a singular form.


        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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