"How do we write her surname?"
Translation:Come scriviamo il suo cognome?
Using the pronoun in this sentence would make it sound unnatural. Besides, this is a question so you would put the pronoun after the verb (*Come scriviamo noi il suo cognome?)
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
Why does this use a different structure from "Come si scrive"? I would think the answer should be "Come ci scriviamo..."
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.
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).
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?
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).
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?
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 :-)
Alright, thanks for your reply. So the question asks for the correct spelling? Does it mean the same as "Come si scrive..."?
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?
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.
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?
Only context will tell.
The gender of Suo/sua/suoi/sue matches the thing possessed, not the owner
Why do we need to write "Il suo cognome" in this sentence instead "suo cognome without "il"?
All possessive noun phrases must have the definite article, unless it's a singular close family member.