You can say that in Italian with no ambiguity:
Preferisco quello nero = I prefer the black one.
Preferisco quel nero = I prefer that (shade of) black.
When you use "nero" as a noun, its article is "il", so you have "quel" and not "quello".
so then it's not possible (or just not done) to use "black" alone as a color? the italian would have to state explicitly "the color black"?
Surely it's the same in english? To say "the black" isn't proper english, nor does it make any sense. When referring to the color, you've got to say "the color black"
In the US one might use "the black", depending on context. For example: "Would you like to ride the roan horse or the black? I prefer the black." Some times the "one" is understood by the context. Duolingo is assuming a context that is not provided.
You might also say "I prefer that black" if there are a selection of tones/textures of black.
An American would also say "I prefer that black" when presented with a choice of different shades of black.
A British person would also say "I prefer the black" in the context of choosing colours
You might well say I like that green, that red or that black. Or just that black. I spend my time with a woman who likes a lot of advice on clothes. :-)
if i go clothes shopping, its quite common for me to ask who i'm with (for example) "Do you like (this dress in) the black or (in) the blue?"
Also. you might say "i prefer THAT black. (although if its much lighter than black it's grey, so it's probably more likely to say it with "that blue" for example.)
How do we surmise that they're referring to 'one'? I read that as 'I prefer black'. Can anyone shed any light on this?
According to 'Collins easy learning Italian Grammar': "When you want to say 'this one', don't translate 'one'. Use questo if what you're referring to is masculine, and questa if it's feminine. The same goes when you want to say 'that one': use quello, or quella.
In this sentence "quello/a/i/e" is a pronoun (used only without a noun) meaning "that one/those ones". When used as an adjective (only before a noun phrase) it behaves just like the definite articles: quel/quello/quell'/quella/quei/quegli/quelle. So if an adjective was required in this sentence (before a "pure" consonant as in "nero"), it would have been quel:
- Preferisco quel nero (adjective + noun) = I prefer that black
- Preferisco quello nero (pronoun + adjective) = I prefer that black one
Thus, even if "I prefer that black" is grammatically correct, it is not a correct translation of "Preferisco quello nero".
That to me sounds unidiomatic. I'd say either 'I prefer that black one' or 'I prefer THE black (one)'.
Quello is the full form of the word, but it changes like the definite article according to the noun that follows it (see http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare112a.htm for some examples). So, if quello modifies a noun that starts with a consonant other than an impure s or z, it changes to quel (i.e. "quel ragazzo").
Since quello precedes a noun that starts with st, z, etc (like "lo" does), I was surprised too that this phrase uses quello and not quel. But I did a Google search for this sentence and found plenty of examples. My best guess (and I'm not an expert at all) is that in this sentence quello isn't modifying nero, because nero isn't a noun. Really, quello translates to "that one" rather than "that" when it stands all by itself and doesn't modify anything, so it just remains in its full form. That's my best guess, anyway.
Why isn't "I prefer that black" accepted? When choosing shades of color this sentence is acceptable in English.
Don't offer fascist as a translation if you don't want me to use it duolingo
It comes into the translation with the use of 'quello' since it is not modifying a noun starting with s, gn, pn, x, or z.
Quello nero = that black one / Quel nero = that black
Why is it not 'I prefer this black one' (English is not my first language, but I thought I knew the difference between this/that, and in this case, why is it always translated with 'that'? We don't have context to know whether they point to a dress close to us, or further away?)
I prefer that black(one) . I do not know why Duolingo says it is wrong . You can add one and omit it .
That's not correct English I'm afraid. You would say "I'd rather have that black one" but that is not actually a valid translation of the Italian above though the meaning is roughly the same.
to fault my "I prefer that black", is to seek the perfect English. but this is Italian lesson, and while my English is obviously clumsy it transliterates EXACTLY the Italian original sentence. as I said on a previous occasion, don't mount the high horse correcting the English if you don't want your often far from perfect English translations to be questioned.