"Cosa pensa il popolo?"

Translation:What does the people think?

June 18, 2013

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What is the difference between "la gente" and "il popolo"? I thought, "il popolo" are the citizens of a state ("il popolo italiano"), which would translate "the italian people (singular!)". "La gente" are the people on the street (plural). If this is so, the answer in the lesson should be: Cosa pensa il popolo - what DOES the people think.


'people' is a collective noun. So it is "what do the people think"

Read this to understand when collective nouns are singular and plural http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/collectivenoun.htm


Technically speaking, it is a singular noun with a collective sense. It is singular. "Peoples" is the plural of "people," which is singular. Many people [persons] have been wrongly taught that "people" is the plural of person; actually, the plural of "person" is "persons."

While it sounds unsavory, "what does the people think" is the grammatically correct answer. Just because many persons say "I'm good" when they ought to say "I'm well" doesn't mean that both are grammatically correct.


> Many people have been wrongly taught that.

Did you use "people" as the plural of "person"? I just want to understand: I'm an Italian speaker and I'd like to be sure if I learned something wrong! ;)

  • 1646

"people" can be the plural of "person". You would say "a person is at the door", or "people" are at the door". The plural "persons" has more a connection to law or rules. "a maximum of 14 persons may occupy the lift" You would say "a thousand people were in the square". Generally "people" if they cannot be properly counted.


Ha...you see how easy it is! I've been trying very hard to overcome the 30+ years of incorrect English grammar. Good catch.


Tank you for the teaching!

  • 1646

I took this to be the singular of 'peoples' and used 'does' instead of 'do'. I do not understand the Italian well enough to know whether it is the plural of 'persons', or the singular of 'peoples'. However, 'do' is often used for this sort of noun referring to a group of people, and usage would dictate that it is acceptable.


Unluckily it is not accepted by Duolingo.


I did read the sugested article and this is what they say : "Because people behave as both herd animals and solitary creatures, collective nouns can be either singular or plural, depending on context.[...]

People often behave in the same manner, doing one thing in unison with the other members of their group. When these people are part of a collective noun, that noun becomes singular and requires singular verbs and pronouns."

The suggested question mostly makes sense if you expect a collective answer. So "What does the people think?" should be accepted.


i think so, "il popolo" refers to citiziens of a region or state. like "il popolo napolitano" or "il popolo tedesco"...


You wouldnt say what does the people think. What do the people think or what does the person think

  • 1646

I had "what does the people think", which was marked wrong. Technically it is correct. However, language is democratic and "what do the people think" would be correct by common usage.


How do you know when to put the verb before the noun like this? Would it be incorrect to say "Cosa il popolo pensa"?


I wonder the same myself. Does anyone have an idea?


Doesn't "popolo" refer to "populace" ?


(this is a guess, not an answer)

Isn't popolo like the "group of people who lives somewhere"? Like a unity?

The Italian people plus the Brazilian people make two peoples?


popolo has different undertones:

  • Community, population: "il popolo ebraico veniva perseguitato" = Jewish people was persecuted ; and it can be plural: "Immagina che tutti i popoli vivano in pace" = Imagine all the people living life in peace ;
  • Populace, working-class: "Il popolo unito non sarà mai sconfitto" =The people united will never be defeated ;
  • Subjects: "il popolo non ha pane - Che mangino brioche!" = the peasants had no bread - Let them eat brioche! ;
  • Crowd, Mass: "il popolo acclama il tiranno" = The crowd praises the dictator .



Exaclty like Portuguese (povo).

  • 1646

In English the article is required in this usage, so "The Jewish people was persecuted" or "Jewish people were persecuted"


yes, that´s right.


I'm no expert but I know the word can be translated to populace, they are kind of the same thing. But I am sure an expert knows better and knows there is a different word for populace.


Isn't "gente'' a better word for people though?


I learned that "people" is the plural of "person", so pay attention: "gente" is singular ("genti" is plural) it indicates ordinary people. It could be ok in this context but it is not in general a good translation for "people"


It does seem that 'gente' would be more colloquial...like 'les gens' in French...


The way I read this to be translated is: The people, what do they think? Can someone help me understand why this is not correct? TIA


Pensa should have been un the loro form there I believe


since "il popolo" is singular it is in the lei/lui form


Couldn't this be translated as: What does he/she think about the people?


That would be: Cosa pensa del popolo?


shouldn't this be "pensano" ( they think) instead of "pensa" (you think) ?


That was my thought. Reading above, it seems like (if I'm reading it right?), people are saying we should treat "the people (they)" like "the population (it)"--as a collective thing, rather than group of folks. So, rather than "they think" it would be something more like "what does it think?"


If this is referring to what a group of people think shouldn't the verb be 'they think' pensano rather than he/she/it thinks?


A group is a singular noun so grammatically it is followed by a singular verb.

A group of children is large The child is large. Groups of children are large. The children are large.


Isn't people a collective o person?


In Italian there aren't collective nouns: popolo is singular (popoli the plural) it means a lot of people or a population. if you indicates two people you say "due perone" you don't have people enogh to make a "popolo" ...it's hard to explain

  • 1646

It may be, but in a slightly different sense it is singular.


The big brother is watching


I translated this as singular (as it should be in this context) and received an error with a plural verb add the "correct" response.


Sounds like the speaker is pronouncing "popolo" strangely with emphasis on the final "o". Anyone else think that?


(native italian speaker) I think it is because the question mark gives to the sentence a particular cadence and rithm.
but the speaker sounds a bit unnatural even to me.


I don't understand ... I wrote what does he think of the people. PLEASE HELP!!!

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