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  5. "Butterflies are insects."

"Butterflies are insects."

Translation:Le farfalle sono insetti.

July 12, 2013



Hmm, it marked me wrong for typing "Le farfalle sono gli insetti" and instead suggested "Le farfalle sono degli insetti." What's the rule for degli?


Degli is a combination of 'di', meaning of, by or from (sometimes). Gli is of course the plural male article. What you wrote translates to 'The butterflies are the insects'. While duolingo's 'degli insetti' was more right (Butterflies are of the insects), just dropping the articles altogether and saying 'Farfalle sono insetti' would be the best option, I think.

  • 1210

Maybe I could help here : )

just dropping the articles altogether and saying 'Farfalle sono insetti' would be the best option

Farfalle sono insetti. is wrong because you can't drop definite article in front of farfalle as in English.
Articles are also used speaking in general, in particular about general categories of things like here, that can be subjects or objects of sentences e.g.

La farfalla è un insetto.
(A butterfly is an insect.)
Le farfalle sono insetti.
([The] Butterflies are insects).
Mi piacciono le farfalle.
(I like [the] butterflies.)

la feminine singular / le feminine plural

When the article is coupled to the subject it's never dropped except when we have two or more countable nouns /uncountable nouns (= e.g. names of languages, colors, sports, food/material ect.) e.g.

L'oro e l'argento sono metalli preziosi.
Oro e argento sono metalli preziosi.

(Gold and silver are precious metals.)

L' inglese è una lingua universale.
Inglese è una lingua universale.

(English is an universal language.)

Gli studenti e gli insegnanti sciopereranno domani in piazza.
Studenti e insegnanti sciopereranno domani in piazza.

(Students and teachers will strike tomorrow in the square.)

however the phrases without article are used for informal speeches;

when the article is coupled to the object instead you could omit it sometimes, but it depends on the case anyway, for instance with the verb to like in my example the article needs.

it marked me wrong for typing "Le farfalle sono gli insetti"

About Philster's phrase, in Le farfalle sono gli insetti., gli (the) is wrong because in this type of sentences only the subject that belogs to the general category takes the article (butterflies).
To be correct, Philster's phrase should continue, making the speech specific and having to add an article, e.g.

Le farfalle sono gli insetti più belli del mondo.
(Butterflies are the most beautiful insects in the world.)

Concluding, I wrote when it's possible to omit the article in detail here:


Degli is a combination of 'di', meaning of, by or from (sometimes).

delle is a partitive article, it serves to indicate an indenfite quantity or, like here, a part of all (subcategory of insects), so it's not the articulated of , that is it only has its form but a different function. Literally it means something like some type of in this specific sentence.

Continue to read my replies here for further information:


Good luck.


i did not read the full version because of the evening ;-) but i am really thankful for your explanation concerning "you may not drop THE SUBJECT'S article" - this was exactly what i had not understood before / so far.

thanks a lot! :-)


The 'degli' used here would be the partitive article, meaning 'some'. We don't use it in English in an expression like this but I think Italian requires it, so their expression would translate as 'Butterflies are some insects'. This is obviously true, though not how English would phrase it.


It was "Butterflies", not "THE butterflies". Then why "Le farfalle"? Why not enough "Farfalle"? "Butterflies" has not a definite article, why "farfalle" should have it?


Agreed, Duo allows this in SO many other sentences!


Read the tips

[deactivated user]

    I got this wrong because I hadn't been taught "degli" yet. I wrote "Le farfalle sono gli insetti".


    I said also just farfalle, why le farfalle?? It asks butterflies, not the butterflies.


    Lol "le farfalle sono elefanti"


    Farfalle like the pasta :o


    That's exactly what it's named for.


    Why isn't, "... i insetti" fine?


    When the noun starts with a vowel you cannot use "I", but "gli".


    'i' means 'the' so you wpuld be saying butterflies the insects, but if you use 'sono'(which means 'are') then you are saying 'Butterflies are insects'


    Spiacente, mistake!


    I thought in Italian they use the article with all nouns. Then why is i insetti wrong?


    Why! Le farfalle and not gli insetti


    Why? Because that is Italian instead of English. Emy__3 gives an explanation on this subject (almost on top of this page). It remains difficult.


    Why not put gli insetti


    As of March 2021, "Farfalle sono insetti" is accepted


    Why is it "sono"? I thought it was "siete".


    "Sono" means I am / They are. "Siete" mean You (guys) are [it's the plural form of "you are", as if you're addressing more than one person].

    Hope that helps!


    The hint said that 'butterflies' was 'farfalla' not 'farfalle' so I got it wrong


    Because it's singular and plural forms: Farfalla (s) Farfalle (pl)


    Weird. I typed in "farfalle" and i got it right. :/


    ach, ich verstehe die italienische Artikel gar nicht...:(


    Farfalle sono schmeterlink


    What about "I farfalle sono insetti"?


    It's "Le farfalle". La farfalla = the butterfly, le farfalle = (the) butterflies.


    I tried that and marked me wrong. Not sure the rule here.


    How can i say i m in italian?!


    how to know the difference which one masculine word & feminime word


    But it doesnt say "the" at all


    why is it "le" and not "i"?


    Butterfly is a female noun: la farfalla, le farfalle.


    Why is the article le present even though there is no the in the english translation?


    Gli insetti - It is not wrong!!!!


    Same, I put le farfalle sono gli insetti and got it wrong


    Confused as to when you must use the plural modifier before a plural noun. I wrote le farfalle, but said that gli insetting in the same sentence was incorrect. Why?


    When is it e and when is it sono?


    There is no "The" why I have to put "Le" ?

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