"I pesci vivono nell'acqua."

Translation:Fish live in water.

May 30, 2013

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Would a native speaker of Italian always include the articles in this sentence? Could one correctly say, "Pesci vivono in acqua?"


No, the articles MUST always be used


The translation should read "The fish live in the water". Poor English by DL.


No. When we say fish, in general, live in water, which they do, we do not use "the". Only when we are talking about specific fish do we use "the" in English. Italian, on the other hand, uses articles when talking about things in general.


Not sure why I can't reply to your last post so I'll reply here. That link you've posted doesn't contradict anything I've said, nor does it describe any sentence that is similar to my example. Besides, I'd rather trust my native Italian friends (over someone who learnt Italian in America) whose idea I've conveyed. I'd suggest speaking to some natives yourself as well, so you can understand the topic better.


You evidently don't understand what I'm trying to tell you. What you said was that Duolingo was using "poor English" and that the translations should be "The fish live in the water". The English sentence that Duolingo wrote is a correct translation of the Italian sentence. Both the Italian sentence and the English sentence are saying that fish in general live in water, in general. That is why the English sentence does not have "the" in it twice. And the article on Italian grammar that I showed you says that Italian does use articles when talking about things in general while English does not. I'm not trying to be smart with you, but I think you should talk to your Italian friends again and show them this thread and the link I gave you and ask their opinion about what I'm telling you.


That's wrong, you do not require articles when talking about topics in general. You can say "Il gatto bevo latte" or "Il gatto bevo il latte", the former generalising the fact that the cat drinks milk, the latter stating that the cat drinks a specific milk. This isn't my theory, but my native Italian friends told me this. Besides, DL also teaches this in many exercises, so either DL are wrong (in which case this exercise shouldn't require articles) or they are right (in which case they should fix the other exercises).


Italian, unlike English, does use articles when talking about things in general, which English does not do, and Duolingo does not explain this, that is why so many people are having difficulty with this. thoughtco.com/italian-definate-articles-4055936 Scroll halfway down the page to "When to Use Definite Articles".

Another good article is: https://blogs.transparent.com/italian/using-the-definite-article/


I understand and agree with you in this case should translate as " the fish live in the water." because "Nell' acqua".


almost never the articles must be used lol


No, they don't need to be ALWAYS be used


Nope, we don't say "pesci vivono in acqua" but pay attention: for us (Italian people) the word "pesci" is plural and countable, while in English is uncountable and the verb "live" is required. Anyway, the Duo translation is not good, if not wrong ...I am studying English language, by the way... I'm Italian


in english 'fish' can be plural and countable. it can also be singular and countable. it isn't an abstract idea nor a liquid or powder, nor cut up pieces of (which aren't alive). because it lacks an 's' or 'es' doesn't make it uncountable. that isn't the test. the verb 'live is only required when you are talking about multiple fish. 'a fish lives..." "the fish live/lives..." here is a page on usage. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fish

there is another equivalent countable word in English--'fishes'.


Thank you...


'in acqua' is used in some expressions such as 'in acqua fino alle ginocchie' 'knee deep in water', 'in acqua cattiva' 'in deep water' (in trouble). I think I have seen 'in acqua' in a post on the performance of a boat performance hydrodynamically. I don't remember the quote.

  • 1790

I am a bit puzzled by sentences like this - it seems both 'Fish live in water' and 'The fish live in the water' would be correct - ? What if you want to say the latter as distinct from the former? Is there any way to do this in Italian?


I believe you would use "these/those fish live in water" to make the distinction between fish in general and some specific fish. So "Questi / quei pesci vivono nell'acqua"

The same would I suppose apply to the water, this/that water? Can a native speaker confirm?


100% correct. This ambiguity exists and you can remove it by using something like "quel/quello/quella/quei/quelle" (those). Normally, however, the context suffices. So in summary I can think of:

  • I pesci vivono nell'acqua => [The] fish live in [the] water
  • Quei pesci vivono nell'acqua => The fish live in [the] water
  • Quei pesci vivono in quell'acqua => The fish live in the water


I am just guessing, but I think in Italian you cannot express this distinction.

"Fish live in water" is a general statement about the species 'fish'.

When we say "The fish live in the water", we are talking about specific fish which we have talked about before or which we have seen before. The same way "the water" refers to water we have already talked about or that we have seen.

However, I find it strange to have "the" both in front of fish and in front of water.


Why live not lives?


Because 'fish' is in plural.

  • 1790

Would "The fish live in the water" also be a correct translation?


Yes. That was accepted.


I wrote 'the fish are living in the water' it was incorrect, but why?


It's because, the sentence is in present tense and not present continuous tense


The Italian present tense (presente) is used for both the English present and present continuous tenses.

So, yes, that should be correct.


Phillip, it's incorrect because you wrote "the fish". It should just be "fish". The Italian sentence is talking about fish in general, not specific fish. Read the comment I wrote to MikeGGP1 for a more in depth answer.


The Italian sentence can be either a general statement or a specific statement. One would need to tell by context. In the English, both "the" words could be there or not (and the verb could be "live" or "are living").


No, not so based upon how Duolingo chose to translate the sentence. "The" completely changes the meaning of the sentence in English from a general statement that all fish live in water to the fish we are talking about live in water. Adding "are" also changes the meaning in English from fish in general live in water, as opposed to living somewhere else, to fish are indeed living in the water, as opposed to there are no fish in the water at all. However, the Italian sentence can be translated into either the simple present tense or the present continuous.


If one translated "Fish live in water" to Italian, it would be the one given. If one translated "The fish live in the water" to Italian it could be the same Italian sentence. The Italian sentence is ambiguous as to general or specific. If one didn't have clues through context and wanted to remove the ambiguity that it is specific, one could use "Quei pesci vivono nell'acqua" (or "Quei pesci vivono quell'acqua"). We have no context, so translating to general or specific are both possible.


No duh they live on water!


I think Duolingo needs to do some instructions on the concepts along the way to help its students understand better.


I thought that vivono was wine but i knew that wouldnt make sense


Is "The fish are living in the water" a correct answer?


No, it's not because it's present tense and not present continuous tense.


If Giovanni 'vive in Messico' why don't 'pesci vivono in l'acqua'. They are both permanent states. No?


I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, but to correct your Italian, first, remember your article "i" before the noun "pesci," and second, "nell'acqua" is the (mandatory) contraction of "in l'acqua" (which is a contraction of "in la acqua").


Grazie, Maggie. My question is specifically about the word "in". Giovanni vive in Roma. Why don't fish also "vive in acqua" rather than nell'acqua?


you don't say......


First lesson with the word nell' in it. In all the other lessons, it was just "nel" with one L and no apostrophe. Both seem to mean "in the," so why use nell' sometimes and nel all other times before?? thanks!


Hi Tomas. "nel" is the contraction for "in il" for masculine singlular nouns. "nell' " a contraction for "in l' ", which is itself a contraction for "in la" and is for singular feminine nouns starting with a vowel. Hence "nell'acqua" ("in the water"). There is a useful table in the Tips and Notes screen when using the computer browser (rather than the app): https://www.duolingo.com/skill/it/Prepositions/tips-and-notes Hope this helps.


Very helpful. Grazie


Correct it please!!!! I pesci vivono nell'acqua - The fish lives in (the) water or just in water. DOT


The fish live in the water is marked incorrect?


I PESCHI is many fishes?!?!?!?! Il pesche vivono nell'acqua. Non capisco niente perkele vittu saatana.


why does "nell'acqua" translate to "in water" and not to "in THE water"?


The translation should read "The fish live in the water". Poor English by DL.


No. Duolingo's sentence is correct. "Fish live in water" means fish in general live in water. "The fish live in the water" means the specific fish we are talking about live in the water to which we are referring.

Italian uses articles when talking about things in general while English does not. https://blogs.transparent.com/italian/using-the-definite-article/


I thought in English 3rd person singular it has to be "fish lives in water"... It was wrong!?


"I pesci" is 3rd person plural, "Fish live in water".


Fish is a countable, plural noun in English, therefore 'live' must be used.


I think the thing is that while translating from Italian to English its not necessary to put "the", "a" or "an" because in English we do not give much importance to put these.

BUT this is not the case while translating from English to Italian because Italian do gives importance to these.

The thing is simple, whichever language you are translating to the rules of that language will be applied to the sentence.


No, in English, we do give a lot of importance to articles. There are very clear rules for their usage, which doesn't seem to be the case in Italian where the word "the" seems to be thrown in, or left out, at the whim of the speaker. I say this because that is what we see being done in this course with no clear explanation by the course creators on when to use or not use the Italian words for "the" in sentences like this. We have been told by people taking this course, who seem knowledgeable, that it is proper to both put the definite article "the" in sentences referring to "things in general", which is never done in English, or to leave it out.

Since this course was created, people have been asking for a clear explanation of this seemingly inconsistent use of the Italian definite articles, but none has been provided.


@benton. 1 Well, I didn't said it as per the sense of grammar but speaking habits of native speakers. Well, I am neither a native English nor a native Italian speaker. But I have heard native English speakers not giving importance to the articles. In Duolingo I saw that it gave importance to articles in Italian but not in English so I thought that Italian speakers give importance to the articles.


Hi Arpit. No, we always use articles all the time, and in the proper places. We do make grammatical errors but leaving out articles is not one of the mistakes with which people have a problem. ; )


just a thought, your conjunction table is really confusing. like the masc plurals have gl and then an i on a separate line. and ex nel, nello, nella when is it o and when a and when nel? Nel masc in front of a vowel nello in front of a consonant? and then translation are written vertically sin...ce. yikes any help for writing tables?


Simple - silly computer question and I apologize for my ignorance; how do i get out of discussion, do i click on LEARN at the top left? sometimes, i think i lose my place


If you are doing your lessons on a computer, go to the top of the page and click on "Following Discussion", which is in blue. That will take you off this discussion page so that you will no longer get email when someone makes a comment on this discussion page

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