"Our brothers are mechanics."
Translation:I nostri fratelli sono meccanici.
Shouldn't "Nostri fratelli sono meccanici." also be acceptable since we are talking about family members? (i.e. leaving out the definite article)
No, the rule about family members doesn't apply if it's plural or modified: it's "nostro fratello" but "i nostri fratelli", "il nostro fratello avvocato" and "il nostro fratellino".
this is now the third construction I have seen for the "Someone + is a / are + profession(s)". I'm thoroughly confused now... I've seen as correct answers:
1 - "someone + fare + article + profession" 2 - "someone + essere + di + article + profession" 3 - "someone + essere + profession"
Specific examples of this are as follows:
1 - mio cugino fa l'avvocato 2 - i miei genitori sono degli avvocati 3 - i nostri fratelli sono meccanici
Yeah there are three ways of saying it, but let me elaborate on your points:
1 - Mio padre fa l'avvocato, i miei zii fanno i giornalisti: I'm referring to the "role" my father and my uncles have, as in "my father works as a lawyer". Probably the most common form.
2 - Mio padre è un avvocato, i miei zii sono dei giornalisti: I'm referring to them as a specimen of their profession, as in "my father is a lawyer". Note that a retired or unemployed worker can still be referred to like this.
3 - Mio padre è avvocato, i miei zii sono giornalisti: I'm referring to the profession as a predicate, i.e. being a lawyer is an attribute of my father. It's more or less the same as 2.
The nuances are barely noticeable, so people choose one or the other depending on habit.
f.formica, So "dei/degli" is kind of like the plural of "un"? Can you say "I miei zii sono alcuni giornalisti" and it mean the same as "...dei giornalisti"?
No, any other translation of "some" doesn't work in this case; dei/degli do indeed work pretty much as the plural of an indeterminate article, and in this form they're called articolo partitivo (http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare125a.htm).
I said "i nostri fratelli fanno meccanici" and it was rejected. Should it not be accepted, according to your #1?
No, when talking about professions you can't omit the definite article when using fare and you can't use one when using essere; in the latter case the meaning just changes to being a specific mechanic.
So, is there any reason that the hints were actually translations of "mechanical" (or possibly "mechanics" as in the science)?
As the current hint for mechanics is meccaniche, I thought meccanichi was correct as well, yet it is not.
Meccanico (s) -> Meccanici (pl) (not meccanichi) Meccanica -> meccaniche (not meccanice)