1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "How do we write her surname?"

"How do we write her surname?"

Translation:Come scriviamo il suo cognome?

May 17, 2013

42 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wichito390

Why sometimes Duolingo uses "il" and some others not?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MDL421

What's wrong with come NOI scriviamo il suo cognome? I want my heart back!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

Italian 101:
Verbs already contain the subject in them so that io, tu, lui, lei... don't need to be expressed.
This implies that when you use the personal pronoun as a subject, then you put extra emphasis on it.
So adding noi here would be like saying 'how do we, and not you, write ...'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DustinWenk

Wth is it suo and not sua.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

Because cognome is a masculine word.
"Suo/sua/suoi/sue" refers to the gender of the things that is possessed, not to the gender of the possessor.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VicAnnells

cognome is masculine?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jessica_chant

yes. some words ending in 'e' are masculine and some are feminine. In this case it's masculine, so when it's plural it becomes i cognomi


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stevefowler50

How would you ensure "she" was made clear


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

You would need to rework the sentence. Suo does not carry any info about the gender of the possessor.
Ex. Come scriviamo il cognome di Maria?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roman.sc

can I write: "come scriviamo il suo cognome di lei?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

only (and I strongly underline 'only') if you really really really want to emphasise that it's hers. In a real life situation you will not say suo... di lei.
Even in that case, you'd probably omit suo (come scriviamo il cognome di lei).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roman.sc

grazie mille!


[deactivated user]

    I would like to know this too


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tikidog

    Why does this use a different structure from "Come si scrive"? I would think the answer should be "Come ci scriviamo..."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mukkapazza

    Come si scrive = how does one write (this word, the famous person's name...)

    Come scriviamo = how do we write (this word, the famous person's name...)

    Come ci scriviamo = how do we write (to one another, for one another...)

    Pronouns are pretty complex because they rarely follow one single rule. Sometimes just getting used to the way they work is more effective than memorizing lists of rules.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tikidog

    Ah, I think I understand now. Thanks so much for the useful explanation!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

    In this case "si" is not a reflexive pronoun (eg "lui si lava"; "lei si veste") but an indefinite pronoun which means "one", "you" (ex "qui non si parla di politica", one does not talk about politics here).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DerrickTizzard

    Can "come" mean "how" and "like"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2520

    Only in the sense of "Do it like this" and never in the sense of "I like your shirt."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OlderThanRome

    In what kind of situation would you ask this question? Why would "we" write a someone's surname differently than someone else?

    To put it differently, is this just another quirky Duolingo sentence, or is there a meaning that I've missed?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

    Well, there are countless situations where the spelling of a word can be difficult, especially with names. English speaking countries have spelling bee contests for that reason :-)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OlderThanRome

    Alright, thanks for your reply. So the question asks for the correct spelling? Does it mean the same as "Come si scrive..."?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

    yes, you're correct. The meaning is the same (more or less) :-)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Einzelheiten

    How do we know when to put "suo" and when to put "il suo". I have been losing hearts both ways- for putting in "il" and for leaving out "il". What's the rule?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/myrois

    Generally, when using possesive adjectives you need to use the article unless refering to direct family.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatherineK536469

    Is there anyone who can help me with the question"Come scriviamo il suo cognome" if i translate it into english, it can be his surname or her surname?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

    Only context will tell.
    The gender of Suo/sua/suoi/sue matches the thing possessed, not the owner


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eric.verdi45

    Why is il used here?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndersonMarian

    Why do we need to write "Il suo cognome" in this sentence instead "suo cognome without "il"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2520

    All possessive noun phrases must have the definite article, unless it's a singular close family member.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris783722

    Oh, now that makes Sense! I have been baffled by this because I did not use il mio figlio or il mia sorella and git it correct, but this called for a 'il" because it belongs to many people (cognome), not singular, but more like a plural. Is my reasoning correct??? But how about "il mio nome"; would that be correct as well?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2520

    No, it doesn't apply to the word for "name", just singular unmodified family members, like madre, padre, sorella, fratello, etc. And the fact that more than one person uses it does not make it plural. Many people can share one single thing. It is still one name.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MattL279

    Why cant i say ...la sua cognome? Does this not make more sense as it's about a woman? Not sure i understand!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2520

    Possessives in Italian are like all other adjectives. They must agree with the noun they go with. "il cognome" is masculine, so all modifiers that go with it must be in masculine form, including possessives. It doesn't matter whose it is.

    This has been discussed on this page before.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Angel509

    Where is her in this sentence?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2520

    Come scriviamo il suo cognome?

    It's the il suo. The possessive needs to agree with the thing possessed, just like any other adjective. It's irrelevant whether the owner is male or female.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CoomberEric

    I decided to specify that it's, "her," surname by writing out: Come scriviamo il suo cognome di lei

    And that was marked incorrect. Is it outright wrong or just unnecessary because in context you'd probably know that you're talking about, "her," whoever she is?

    Thank you!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muttley_

    That would translate as 'How do we write her surname of her'. Quite awkward.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
    Mod
    Plus
    • 2520

    It's either "il suo cognome" or "il cognome di lei", but not "il suo cognome di lei".

    Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.