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  5. "He tells her that it is impo…

"He tells her that it is impossible."

Translation:Lui le dice che è impossibile.

July 26, 2013



I don't know, but I thought "la" was the direct pronoun for "her". Sigh...


Yes, but you need an indirect object pronoun here, which is "le.". He says to her that...


The sentence does not say "he says to her", it says "he tells her". Same thing to you, but for beginners this is just plain annoying. If Duo used "he says to her", then fewer people would complain and more people would understand. What a concept!

What we need is a list of Italian verbs that use indirect pronouns that also have the word "to" or "for" implied but not written. Because sometimes "dire" is "tells" and sometimes it is "says". Sometimes "parla" is "talks" and sometimes it is "speaks". Etc.

Sadly, it seems that memorizing that verb list would be the only way to get it straight, since looking for visual cues-- like the word "to" in a sentence-- is not going to happen on these exercises.


It is not the Italian so much that is a problem here, but, as you point out, the (presence/absence of) implied prepositions. We omit them in English and the word does not change, but, since the Italian uses different cases, it makes a difference. Try the simple sentence: He tells her lies. A verb cannot have two direct objects in English; "lies" is the direct object of the verb "tells". We can rewrite the sentence: He tells lies to her. If you can correctly add "to" in such a case, then you know it is an INdirect object. In Italian, the sentence would be: Lui le dice bugie (He tells her lies.) But Italian can also express the preposition by saying, "Lui dice bugie a lei" (He tells lies to her.) "Her" is the indirect object in both cases, just expressed differently. Hope I didn't make this more confusing than it needs to be...


Thank you. Now all Ive got to do is remember..


You explained so well!


Perfect explain. Thank you.


Very clear, thank you, jgbachand.


You're right...there are some verbs that take a direct pronoun in English, but an indirect pronoun in Italian. I do just try to memorize them as I come across them. Here's my list so far if it helps: chiedere/domandare, consigliare, dare, dire, insegnare, interessare, mandare, mostrare, offrire, portare, prestare, regalare, restituire, rispondere, spedire, scrivere, spiegare, telefonare


Is this a big time for people to drop out@?


No, don't give up. Maybe this is just a hard concept to grasp but since most of us feel the same way at least there is company in your misery.


It's doubly frustrating because there is absolutely nothing in the notes/tips for Clitics that explains this. If you read the notes it says that "le" is the Clitics pronoun ffor "them" and "la" is the clitic pronoun for "her". There is no mention that actually you sometimes use "le" for "her" depending on the verb, which actually makes this really hard to learn.

There seems to be quite a lot of questionsike this throughout the Italian course. Although we can learn the answer and just accept that is just what you have to do to pass that question, it doesn't help us to understand why thus we haven't learned anything except the answer to one specific question and for all we know it may just be a bug with the question.


i don't know if they've updated the hints and tips page but take a look at the 'indirect objects' header, it mentions 'le' being used for 'her'.


Yeah! Looking like it! It's terrible this section! Sad.


I think the best thing to do is to study it in another format then return to Duolingo to practice.


Don't leave Peggy,you've come so far it's just trying to get our heads around a truly foreign idea (


I agree that 'He tells her' sounds like a direct object , but considering that the verb dire means 'To tell, To speak, To say'. It becomes obvious that ' To speak to her, To say to her clearly takes an indirect object in this case. Equally if the sentence was 'He says good bye to her it again is clear that the HER is indirect.


That really helped thank you


What does indirect here mean? This phrase "he tells her" : 1. How is it indirect? 2. How can it be direct?


Think of it as "He says to her". In English, we say "He gives her," but it actually is "He gives TO her". These are indirect objects. A Direct Object is " He gives IT (D.O) to "HER" (I.D.O.). Hope this helps.


In Deutsch: Er sagt ihr, das ... "ihr" ist Dativ, deshalb "le"!


If I'm able to construct a sentence in Italian to an Italian, I will not worry about all these grammatical rules. Just putting anything together so that someone may understand and excuse me for not knowing the rules would alone be a miracle. I'm turned off by all these details.


That's my sentiment exactly, CarolPapal1! Let's get down to the actual talking part, so I can speak to my inlaws!


it doesn't matter if the English is "he tells her" or "he says to her", the verb dire in italian will always require a preposition before the person to whom it is said


If this helps at all, I'm struggling with this too (telling when to use the direct vs indirect object form).


Ahhh, I understand now. Thanks!


Wow, that helped, thanks!


We just wrote IO LA AMO???


'Her in that sentence is a direct object. What do you love? Her/la. In this sentence he tells, or says, what? That it's impossible, but he says it to her. Here 'her' is an indirect object so we use le.


Verbs of communication (dire, parlare, etc.) always use indirect object pronouns. Why? Search me. Just another rule for the list...


Very clear, thanks, Viaggiatore.


So is there a list of indirect object pronouns?


The basic indirects used before the verb, to answer to/for whom:

Me - mi

(casual) You - ti

Him - gli

Her - le

Formal - Le

Us - ci

(proper) You - vi

Them -gli


Why do we need an indirect object pronoun, such a thing even sounds like it is completely unnecessary to have in a language.


object direct ( ask for complement)- io- mi , tu -ti, lui- lo, lei -la, noi-ci , voi-vi , loro masculine - li, loro feminine- le. ( ti amo, la amo, lo amo ) object indirect (don't ask for complement) io- mi, tu - ti, lui-gli- lei- le, noi´- ci, voi- vi, loro- gli. ( le piace la frutta) to me,, to you ... -- per me, per te


Thank you this is the clearest explanation ive read!


There is no pronoun "glie" and none like "ce" and "ve" after a pronoun.


I don't agree with this (Portuguese) site about "glie" (This is better: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare168a.htm) and anyway it doesn't say anything like "per ce" and "per ve".


Think of it as 'He told [something] to her'. Unfortunately in english we're just as likely 'to tell (someone) (something)' and avoid any notion of 'to'. Possibly we're too sloppy for our own good with english grammar!


We were never taught it...or any grammar actually. I learnt what I know about English grammar intuitively and by studying other languages much later in life. Politicians in the UK were and still are endlessly interfering with education.


This is a rubbish lesson. They dump us straight in to the tricky subject of Italian pronouns mixing both direct and indirect together without giving any clues. This is where the usefulness of Duolingo runs out for me.


Is this like any child would learn?


when should I use "la" and when "le", so confused!


"la" is the direct object; "le" the indirect. For example, "Lui la porta dentro la casa" - he brings (carries) her into the house. But, "Lui le porta la collazione" = He brings [to] her breakfast or He brings breakfast to her. The problem may be the word "dice" because it may sound like it takes a direct object, but "he" is in fact telling it TO her. Hope this helps a little...


Thank you for helping us. I find this lesson too complicated


Thanks for your tips. It Helsinki so much :-)


This whole section is full of drama, l'amo, io non l'amo... now he tells her it's impossible... it's a whole soap opera! :-)


Italian seems to be more idiomatic sometimes than regular. To avoid complete frustration, I recommend supplementing your duolingo w a book or online source that shows the rules. There is only so far you can go with sheer memorization.


Thanks Kate - that would be a big help. Do you know of a good one in English?


While learning French I found the Living French book by Knight very good. Initially I found learning italian very difficult. But, after breaking the "ice" with Duolingo, I will use the Living Italian book, which like Duoling now, also has short stories.


The problem with sentences like these it takes you half an hour to figure out how to construct it!


TO EVERYONE WHO IS STUCK ON THIS ONE, I'VE BEEN GETTING THIS ONE RIGHT ON DL FOR AGES, AND I'M NATIVE ENGLISH the sentence is literally 'he - to her - says - that - it is - impossible' the 'le' word means TO HER, as in 'he says TO HER', not just 'her', which you're right, would be la. PHEW!


am i right that this in english would translate better into italian as 'he says TO HER that it is impossible' i.e. 'Lui LE dice che è impossibile' as the notes say below under 'indirect objects, third person, singular'



It's frustrating that the lesson doesn't follow the tip. Reinforce the general rule, then have new tip and lessons for next rule


I think what this discussion thread demonstrates is that Duo, despite being a fabulous learning aid, is not enough to learn a language from scratch on its own. I always work with a dictionary and have a good grammar book to hand. Collins are very good.


'La' was used for 'her' in a different sentence in this lesson not its 'le:, makes no sense why Duo Lingo would confuse us like this. No consistency but it guess you get what you pay for, ie get shit for free.


Close but no cigar. When dealing with pronouns 'la' is 'her', but 'le' is 'to her'; it's the difference between direct and indirect.


Thank you, Chel451498! Would it be possible to write out all if them, so that we understand when to use what? This is the hardest and most confusing lesson ever. Also, I don't understand the difference between direct and regular. For instance, why can't I say Lui sta fra io e tu but must say Lui sta fra me e te? There is no "to" here.


Hi, I hope not to answer too late :) Anyway, 'io' and 'tu' of your sentence are pronouns in the subject form (example: I eat, you eat -> io mangio, tu mangi); while 'fra me e te' is because they are not the subject of the sentence, but an indirect object. It is the same word you would use for this example: I walk with you -> io cammino con te; I do this for you -> io faccio questo per te. it's complicated to explain in a message. hope it helps :)


Chel451498 your explanation is clear and concise. I will apply it to my thinking and hope it works. Grazie


Thank you! I was wading through the numerous complaints of "why don't they tell us everything, so we can memorise an entire language?" And "I'm so confused!" looking for the one hero with an explanation to help us learn.


Not getting the structure of these sentences


Why is it è and not sia?


I said "Le dice ciò è impossibile." and it was marked wrong. I assume it objected to "ciò" but I remember learning ciò, meaning that, in another lesson and I saw it on the list. Was this really wrong? What am I missing?


Is thete a way then to distinguish telling her and telling him or Not? Thatceould be pitiful in light of adhetence to old grammar


What is there that refers to "HER"


"le" is used as a feminine indirect pronoun in this instance.


In Duolingo's chart of indirect objects (third person), the options are "glie, le, Le." Although like THMARCHI my initial instinct was to use "la."


Why was outting lei in there wrong


Is the word Le. Refering to her.


Just implying doesn't work when your traslation in english doesn't indicate the added "thought". I have studied other laguages and it is hard to just think that way when english sentences are put down wrong. I know you just expect us to memorize but you also know these so called rules are not a constant. You think you got it and then find out it doesn't apply at all cases.


Much easier to understand if you examine the English syntax. He tells (a statement about impossibility) to her. The statement itself is the implied direct object. "Her" (with "to" implied) is the indirect object. As a feminine indirect object, the correct clitic is le, not la.


Not well explained in the courde


DL just got finished telling us that "le" is plural and "la" is singular in the feminine. So should it not be "la" for her accordingly? Rae F. Or Formica, would you clarifyonce again please. I hope DL pays you for your trouble someday.


The tips seem quite basic. Suddenly we're hit with indirect object pronouns. Clearly, I need to add some extra study to my app based learning.


I am old and confused.


Your age is not the issue here. We have not been taught indirect objects and this case is one of them. "Le" is the indirect object of the verb to tell and means " to her". Yes, "her" is usually la when it is a direct object,"la" amo = I love her. And if you were speaking of more than one feminine thing like apples, you could say, lui "le" ama= he loves them. I hope I have not given you misinformation. We have enough of that in this world already. Hang in there. IT WILL become easier as you go along.


Me too. I'm seriously thinking these Clitic Pronouns aren't worth the bother. It's easier to say something in full.


I'm ready to quit, too. This is so confusing!


I understand there are many comments to scroll through on this sentence, but your answer is probably there. I say that as what is your question? Why le vs la?

When dealing with pronouns 'la' is 'her', but 'le' is 'to her'; it's the difference between direct and indirect. In this sentence, he tells/says what? It's impossible. 'It' being the direct pronoun. He tells/says this to whom? 'Her', so 'her' is the indirect pronoun = le.


It would be more helpful if Duo introduced all the pronouns used for direct objects first and focused on only these for a while, then introduced the indirect objects in a second focus. To mix them up right from the start is a good way to confuse beginners.


I quite agree! Most of us have had a difficult time with this issue.


Yesterday I thought I was fluent in Italian. Today Clitics and I'm punched back into reality.....I'm a beginner.


OMG my head is exploding!!! le not la....I get it when I look it up but I would need a pen and paper to figure it out. After 20 minutes I could use this sentence correctly. Hope the Italians I speak with are patient.


Hope it's not too late but before giving up get yourself a copy of the book "English Grammar for Students of Italian" by Sergio Adorni and Karen Primorac. It is the most useful reference book I have come across and it gets more use than any other by me in the last two years since I began to study Italian. Hope it's okay to recommend on Duolingo's site!!!


Thanks so much for that. I too feel like giving up right now. Maybe the book will save me.


Just what I was looking for! Thank you


La is the good answer i thought


Same. Why is 'le' the correct answer?


right. la amo but le dice and both mean to her. what's the deal ? how to know which one to use????


i'm learning clitics slowly, i hope i'm right here.

'la amo' = i love her - not i love TO her (i love him would be 'lo amo'

la in this case is indirect female for 'HER' not 'TO HER'

'le dice' = says TO her, 'gli dice' would be says TO him.

le in this case is indirect female 'TO her', not just 'HER'

please do other research online, don't just quote me on this, im not a native italian however i've been getting more and more clitics right on DL for a while now. hope it helps!


Why is this not la instead of le ( he tells HER)


Le is sometimes "them" feminine and sometimes singular "her" Utterly confusing

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