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gli uomini = the men
l'uomo = the man
How could you distinguish between writing in sugar, as in sugar spread on a table; and writing in sugar, as in using sugar as the "ink" to write on a bare surface.
If that isnt clear think of these things: Writing in sand on a beach, contrasted to writing with glue and colored sand on paper.
I think you are confusing rules for gli with rules for lo, they are not connected. "gli" is used for masculine plural nouns beginning with a vowel, "i" is used for those beginning with a consonant. "Lo" is for singulars beginning gn, z, s+consonant and p+consonant. Hope this helps.
This sentence is:
- an excellent brain test. Do you really understand the words?
- a practice of the plural article for uomo: gli uomini.
- a practice of nello in front of words with z or s+consonant.
- a lot of fun, which makes it 10 times more likely you will remember the two points above.
- a chance to read the best comment page ever and to learn an additional meaning of the Brasilian word for sugar.