La tua / tua

  1. "La torta dolce è la tua."

  2. "La cucina è tua."

This is something I came across when I was doing a lesson. My question is: Why is there in the first sentence an article before "tua" but not in second sentence? Does this difference have an important reason?

January 13, 2015


I think it depends. In this case the article LA gives emphasis to the fact that that is really your cake. Maybe you baked it. Saying "La torta dolce è tua" basically could have the same meaning, but the article LA is stressing the concept of the cake being without doubts yours.

Like, think of a baking contest :D

You can easily say "La prima torta è mia, la torta dolce è tua"; you are saying which is yours and which is not. It's absolutely correct, but you're not necessarily expressing "ownership".

When you say "La prima torta è LA mia, la torta dolce è LA tua" instead, you are actually "insisting" on the fact that, yes, that first one is your cake, you baked that cake, that is really your cake! Likewise, you're also saying that the other cake is not yours, you didn't bake it, but I did, that's my cake!

It's not necessarily a rule though. And I think the use of the article to stress the concept may vary depending on which region you're in.

January 13, 2015

I feel empathy for you! This is exactly what new learners struggle with, and something that the writers of the Italian unit (I can't judge other language units, personally) have not considered.

If you want to encourage people to learn a new language, introduce a concept: "il tuo/ la tua", and then stick with it. Don't provide sentences later on that ignore the rules that were just taught. Even if it is common to say it both ways, stick to one way. Most of us will never know the difference, and we will never use both ways of saying it.

Consistency is the key. If you are told that a word means something then don't provide four other ways of saying the same word. At least, not in the first third of the lessons/ tree. Wait until our understanding is better and then throw idioms and slang into the mix.

Thijmen98, once you get used to the way that Duolingo operates here, you learn to grimace and ignore little things like the missing "la" in your sentence example. You just accept it and move on.

But it is very frustrating, especially as a beginner, to see all of these inconsistencies because you're looking for structure, not for odd examples.

January 13, 2015

So, you're saying that there is not a real rule for using "la" before "tua" and for not using it?

January 15, 2015

An Italian may instinctively know when to drop the "la" but if I have to stop and try to decide if I'm describing a direct object, while I'm also translating in my head, then I'm gong to just put the "la" in, and hope that the person I'm talking to will understand.

My guess is that always using "la tua" will not be a problem, but of course Duolingo is programmed to reject certain phrases so you might lose some progress here, temporarily.

January 15, 2015

Thank you very much for your help! I think I understand it now! :)

January 15, 2015

It's not only a question of emphasizing, also a grammatical one.

The possessives (mia, tua etc.) can be used as possessive adjectives (la mia macchina, le tue sorelle: referring to a noun) or as a pronoun (La macchina è la mia: standing for its own).

In the case above you have in case 1) the possessive used as a pronoun for its own and in case 2) used as an adjective (because of the verb "essere" it's used pronominal).

You always have to use the definite article if the possessive is used as a pronoun, ONLY in case of the verb essere you can omit the article (using it as a pronominal adjective).

Le biciclette? Ho visto cadere la tua. Quella in piedi invece è (la) mia.

January 13, 2015

Try to change "tua" with an adjective, i.e. "good". In English you would say:

  1. The sweet cake is the good one

  2. The kitchen is good

"La tua" works a little like saying "the yours (one)" (even if in English it's not correct).

Also, think about saying "La torta dolce è quella tua". This sentence is not entirely correct in Italian. I'd say it could be informal/regional use, but maybe it can help to understand how "la tua" works.

P.S. Saying "La torta dolce è tua" could be perceived like "Here is the sweet cake. It's yours if you want it, take it!" but "La torta dolce è la tua" means "The sweet cake is the one you made/own". Meaning it's already yours and maybe you just won a contest for the sweetest cake, I don't know ;)

January 14, 2015

So when something (the cake) is already yours, you say: "La torta è la tua" And when you give the cake to someone, and in English you could say "Here you are the cake is yours", in Italian you say: "La torta è tua"

January 15, 2015

The article "la" is almost like adding stress to the word "yours", in English.

  • The cake is yours. La torta è tua.
  • The cake is yours. La torta è la tua.
January 15, 2015

Well, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are giving something to someone because the meaning can change in a different context, but in that case I'd say "La torta è tua" works better than "La torta è la tua".

Another tip:

  • Di chi è la torta?
  • È tua. ("La torta è LA tua" doesn't make sense here).

  • Qual è la torta che dobbiamo mangiare?
  • È la tua. ("È tua" doesn't make sense).
January 15, 2015

Thank you very much for helping me! It makes a lot more sense now! :)

January 15, 2015
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