"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!

December 2, 2013


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)

December 2, 2013


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.

February 19, 2016


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.

July 28, 2014


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

August 26, 2014


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 :)

August 20, 2014


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.

February 17, 2015


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.

August 2, 2016


"Móveis" in portuguese. :-)

April 24, 2017


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.

February 15, 2017


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.

December 24, 2014


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.)

May 9, 2017


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!

June 9, 2017

  • 1947

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".

June 9, 2017


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 .

June 9, 2017


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)

July 22, 2017


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...

July 15, 2013


What an elegant word - meublement! Grazie.

February 8, 2015


Ah, but the word is amueblement.

May 9, 2017


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.

February 15, 2017


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

May 5, 2013


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.

July 5, 2013


Very interesting.

December 23, 2014


We are in 2014 :)

August 4, 2014


Clearly it's a very empty room...

July 22, 2017


María... la chiave!!

July 31, 2014


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. ;)

October 29, 2014


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.

December 5, 2014


GRAZIE!! Qua se parla l'italiano.

February 8, 2015


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

May 29, 2016


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.

November 4, 2014


I also wrote cabinet... Is it wrong?

February 3, 2015

  • 1947

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

August 14, 2016


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

January 31, 2017


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?

May 29, 2017

  • 1947

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.

May 30, 2017



May 30, 2017


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%

January 28, 2018


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

June 5, 2013


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

February 4, 2014


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"?

January 11, 2014


Le chiavi

June 24, 2014


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

August 23, 2014

  • 1818

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

January 26, 2015


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.

January 10, 2015


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.

June 15, 2015


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.

November 13, 2016


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

April 29, 2017


In arabic, "mobilia" which meens furniture

October 27, 2018


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

May 4, 2019


Who refers to a piece of furniture in normal speaking?

June 13, 2019


"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?

January 12, 2014


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...

February 4, 2014

  • 129

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..

May 1, 2014


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.

July 22, 2017

  • 129

Very true :)

July 22, 2017


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

July 26, 2014


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

September 30, 2014


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!

July 18, 2015


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?

November 14, 2015


"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.

July 9, 2016


La chiave è sul mobile pezzo.

September 15, 2016


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

January 8, 2017


mobilia موبيليا is also furniture is Egyptian Arabic.

May 13, 2017

  • 1947

It's pretty clearly a loanword, though.

May 13, 2017


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

December 7, 2018

  • 1947

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

December 7, 2018



December 7, 2018


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. :(

August 1, 2017

  • 1818

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.

August 2, 2017


Thank you for the explanation.

August 2, 2017


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

January 28, 2018


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

March 13, 2018

  • 1947

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".

March 13, 2018


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.

March 13, 2018


Can't understand speaker

June 9, 2018


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?

February 1, 2019


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'!

February 6, 2019


THE KEY IS ON THE FURNITURE shows wrong why?

May 28, 2019


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".

May 30, 2019

  • 1947

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

May 30, 2019


I can say :The key is on the furniture.

June 13, 2019


Cosa mobile?

August 18, 2015


That is a very odd sentence.

July 14, 2017


perchè mettete 3 soluzioni sbagliate?

August 28, 2017


Quali mobili? Dimmi solo dove è la chiave!

October 6, 2017


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

May 25, 2018


No logical sentence

July 2, 2017


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

December 26, 2013


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.

August 8, 2014


(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.

August 20, 2014


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.

March 19, 2015


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

March 15, 2015


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

March 19, 2015
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