"She has some relation with that group."
Translation:Lei ha qualche rapporto con quel gruppo.
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According to Maiden and Robustelli, the singular alcun and alcuno are unheard of outside negative expressions and rare in those (meaning the same as nessun/nessuno). This sentence requires a singular.
In the plural, alcuni/e means a few, while plural qualche (invariant) roughly means "the odd" as in "These are all supposed to be screws, but check anyway; I'm always finding the odd nail."
"A Reference Grammar of Modern Italian" (Maiden and Robusttelli, 2000, p. 152)
The meaning of this English sentence is itself unclear. "She has some relationship with that group" would be better. As for the "rules" of Italian grammar outlined below, I suspect that most native Italian speakers a. don't know them, b. have better things to do than learn them. Meanwhile the cues and "correct" answers on Duolingo Italian are often faulty, but "reports" get no response; in contrast to Duolingo German. Why is that?
the cues are not meant to be answers, just possibilities in some context. the correct answers admittedly don't always refer to the mistake, and this is unfortunate. the english is constructed to give a sentence that may not be the best english but allows you to return to it from the italian sentence which is the focus of the lesson. english sentence A leads to italian sentence A and vice versa, no paraphrases. not what one 'means'. not the 'i wouldn't say that' better choice. because there is no word-for-word equivalence between the two languages this is sometimes a little harder to achieve than at other times
Patrick, I agree. I think it's just that here, the result is ambiguous, and it leaves us uncertain about the meaning of what we are learning. There are ways to rephrase it to keep it close to the Italian, and still be clear and good English. For example, even switching "rapport" for "relation" would help, as a relation can also be a person in English, and that's the main reason people are confused.
My (NB non-native) understanding is that the partitive di+def.article is used for "some" when this signifies an unspecified quantity (=>plural) or amount (=>singular), eg dei bambini = some children, del vino = some wine.
In the case of "some relation" though, quantity/amount is not really an issue - "some" conveys that the nature of the relation is unknown, not that the quantity of it is (whatever that might mean), so maybe that makes its use less appropriate here.
There is a strong element of conjecture in this though, and I would be grateful if a native speaker could either confirm or contradict it!
This is a very common confusion, which arises because quello (and quella and quelle too) can either be an ADJECTIVE ("that boot" = quello stivale) or a PRONOUN ("that one" = quello). But it is only quello stivale because of the initial letters of stivale namely the 's' followed by a consonant (remember the rules for definite articles). If you wanted to say "that group", the word being gruppo means that you need quel, not quello.
This distinction (between adjective and pronoun) is true of questo ("this..." as well as "this one") too, but in that case the inflections are exactly the same for both adjective and pronoun, so you don't really have to worry about the distinction: masculine singular=> questo, feminine singular=>questa, masculine plural=>questi, feminine plural=>queste. Easy.
For quel(lo), however, there are one set of endings (the easy set, analogous to questo above) for the PRONOUNS, viz quello, quella, quelli, quelle, (for "this one" and "these ones") but a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SET of endings (depending on the initial letter(s) of the following word) for the ADJECTIVES.
These follow the same rules as for the definite article, namely...
quell' for singular noun phrases (both masculine and feminine) beginning with a vowel eg quell'animale, quell'ape "that animal, that bee"
quello for masculine singular ones beginning with any of 's+ consonant, 'z', 'ps', 'pn', and 'gn' eg quello zoo "that zoo"
quel for masculine singular ones beginning with any other consonant eg quel gruppo "that group"
quella for feminine singular ones beginning with a consonant eg quella persona "that person"
quegli for any masculine plural ones beginning with either a vowel or else any of 's'+consonant, 'z', 'ps', 'pn' and 'gn' eg quegli animali, quegli zoo "those animals, those zoos"
quei for any other masculine plural ones eg quei gruppi "those groups"
quelle for all feminine plural ones eg quelle persone, quelle api "those persons, those bees"
These may seem complicated but they are effectively just the usual rules for the definite article with "que-" stuck on the front. It is counterintuitive that the PRONOUN quello should inflect like an adjective (ie simply) while the ADJECTIVE quel(lo) should inflect like an article (ie complicatedly), but there it is!
One final note: unlike quello, quella, and quelle, which as I say can all function either as pronouns or adjectives, quelli can only ever be a pronoun - it is not a possible form for the adjective. It is a common mistake to write eg (WRONG!) "quelli gruppi", but that would be like saying "those ones groups". "Those groups" must be (RIGHT!) quei gruppi instead.