1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Troubleshooting
  4. >
  5. Many different ways to say th…


Many different ways to say the same thing.

I wish this site would address the fact that, as in English, there are many ways to say the same thing in Italian that are acceptable. When finding help via other online translation programs, different translations show up and apparently they're all fine. I hate that I'm "punished" in this program by having to begin all over again without clear explanations why I made a mistake! For example, the various verb endings depending on which pronoun is used is very confusing! It's not clear to me which ending is used with which pronoun. This should be broken down into smaller lessons for each for more effective retention of the information.

October 16, 2014



There are lots of free advice for Italian Grammar on the internet and most other languages are the same. You can also buy Italian grammar books from most good bookstores and they don't cost all that much. Duo's style is that we learn by our mistakes just like a child does, a style used in lots of language programmes such as Rosetta Stone. However this style does not suit everyone and it may be that you will have to seek another programme if this applies to you.

But before then just google "italian Grammar" or spend a few dollars on a book (Ebay may have some cheap ones). If you are in the UK the BBC publish a good one for about £8 or Collins have one for a similar price.

There will always be some areas of grammar that these books will not fully cover but that's what these forums are for. I have received some excellent advice from some very knowledable Duolingers which has helped me no end.

I see you are learning Spanish as well as Italian and verb conjugations in both of these languages are very similar, so learn one and you will at least understand the other. The hardest part of verbs is learning the irregular verbs but that is something you just have to learn by heart and it is only by regular use will they become second nature.


Being a professional teacher, we don't reinforce learning with negativity, rather we focus on the positive and the progress a child makes. Also, brain studies have shown that adults learn differently than children do because our brains reconfigure during puberty up to around age 25. Therefore, the approach of teaching needs to be different when teaching adults rather than children. I've tried the program of Rosetta Stone and it is very good, but expensive. I guess I'll just keep searching to find what's best for me.


You're expecting way too much from a computer program. Since Duolingo's approach is based on translation, the amount of mistakes you can make is virtually infinite. It would be impossible to give you personalised feedback on each and every mistake you make. Also, each sentence has thousands of possible translations and each correct translation has to be manually entered by a contributor. Again, it would be impossible to accept every conceivable translation. You can help make Duolingo better by filing a report whenever you think your translation should be accepted, but complaining is not going to change anything.

If you want immediate personalised feedback, you need to take a language class or hire a private tutor, but comparing Duolingo to a language class is not fair.


Well, Christian, we live in a world that demands perfection from everyone and everything; "There's no room for error, ever!" a former boss told me when I was teaching children. Why wouldn't we demand the same of computer programs! Even if they're free! Forty years ago, I"d be paid a living wage, having a doctorate in Education. Today, I'm being paid the same as someone starting at WalMart-but perfection is still expected! There are almost 7.5 billion of us walking the earth as opposed to 3.2 billion when I was born in 1966. There are more of us competing for fewer jobs. Error is not acceptable! Welcome to the 21st Century Christian!


I think one of duo's weaknesses is that you basically have to learn the grammar as you go through trial and error. I never really struggled with this because I had a lot of formal teaching before starting here but I bet it's immensely frustrating to someone just starting.


You are so right! I'm about as green as they get so I'm frustrated that this program expects so much from a total beginner. I'm actually an ESL teacher (English as a Second Language) and I would never throw this much at my beginners and I certainly wouldn't penalize them for making mistakes! Thanks for your input. :-)


I wish I could help ya but I know a combined maybe 40 words in the languages you're learning. All I can offer is keep at it and I bet there will be a breakthrough soon. I dont think Duo intends to penalize but to make sure that you grasp the material before building on it but it sure feels like punishment sometimes.


I salute you for taking on Italian with no prior exposure to it. Many of us get nailed for translations that aren't exactly what Duolingo wants. It's especially galling when my translation to English gets dinged when I know full well that it's fine. I'd advise caution relying on online translators. Those that I've tried, e.g., Google Translate, Worldlingo and Paralink, have all provided me with many translations that even I knew were wrong. I'm not surprised that some are rejected by Duolingo.

The advice from psionpete is spot on. Knowing the conjugations of the common verbs make things much more coherent. Duolingo is nice for practice and for learning nouns and modifiers, but for me it falls down with conjugations, tenses and moods. It's tough to learn these by trial and error, but I'm accustomed to making mistakes. Additionally, I urge you to read the comments included with the questions. I've learned more from these than from the exercises. There are a lot of very knowledgeable and helpful users.

There are many free online resources for Italian, too many to list here, and probably twice as many for Spanish. I've found two self-teaching books to be very helpful: Italian, by Edoardo Lébano and Practical Spanish Grammar, by Marcial Pardo. They have everything you need to finish your trees.

Hang in there.


Thanks very much. I'm still trying. I've gotten some programs from the local library because they're free. It's just a matter of doing a little each day, but the world is negative enough without hearing that game show "loser" sound on this program. Thanks for the support!

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