In reply to other postings in this thread: There's a difference between indefinite articles ("a couple") and numerals ("one couple"). "I see a couple" is the normal, unspecific usage. "I see one couple" puts the stress on exactly one as opposed to more. In Italian and many other languages the indefinite article is the same as the numeral for one: "una coppia". You emphasize "coppia" for the indefinite article and "una" for the numeral: "vedo una COPPIA" vs. "UNA coppia è sposata ma le altre non sono". Same as in English: "I see a COUPLE" vs. "ONE couple is married but the other ones are not".
But 'a steak' doesn't say only one, either. At least, it doesn't in English (think about this example: I am looking for something to read in the doctor's waiting room and the receptionist tells me 'there is a magazine on the table'. When I find there is more than one magazine I do not think she said something incorrect.)
If a person is after one magazine to read, and she can find a magazine on the table, the options for conveying this information are: 1. 'there is one magazine on the table' 2. 'there is a magazine on the table' 3. 'there are magazines on the table'
Now imagine two circumstances: A: there is one magazine on the table B: there are 5 magazines on the table.
In circumstance A, both 1 and 2 are true. In circumstance B, both 2 and 3 are true.
So the most general of the three sentences is sentence 2, the one using the indefinite article. And if I know that magazines are to be found on the table, but I don't know how many are there (or don't care because I just want there to be at least one), sentence 2 is the one I should use.
I think you're all correct, but are arguing over what should be said and English as actually spoken. An English receptionist will often say, 'There's a magazine on the table,' even when she knows there's more than one. Back to the original comment, us British would say, "I cook steak weekly," in this context. "I cook a steak weekly," sounds wrong to me, even though it is correct and more precise. The lesson I take from this (and many similar instances) is that literal translations between languages often don't equate to the same meaning. And this is why when you say something quite correctly in another language you often get odd looks because it's not how they would express the same concept :) If Duolingo accepted all variants we wouldn't get these good discussions that help us understand our languages better.
I see what you are trying to say, but in English the word "a" still indicates a single object. "Some" or "many" are words you can use to better describe a situation in which there are more than one. This is true in italian also:
Un uomo = a (single) man Degli uomini = some (multiple) men
In your example, yes, a receptionist might say "there is a magazine on the table" because she is unsure of exactly how many there are. As you said, she knows there is at least one, and so used "a magazine" to convey this.
She was correct in saying that there was at least a single magazine, but no one would say "a magazine" to refer to multiples. The receptionist in your example was only saying "a magazine" BECAUSE she was unsure. She was not refering to all of the magazines on the table--just the one she hoped was there.
Steak can be a mass noun (like milk) or a countable noun.
"I cook a steak" is one steak. "I cook ten steaks" is ten whole steaks.
"I cook 10 grams of steak" (not "of steaks") is a very small mass, "I cook 10 kilograms of steak" is a huge mass!
"I cook steak" means you're cooking an unknown amount of steak. "I cook steaks" means you're cooking an unknown number of steaks.
It is interesting to note that there were no protest on the number of steaks for the translation of
Mangio bistecca il venerdì
• [ Every Friday I eat a steak. ]
Well, it is good that many do not agree with cooking just a steak, after all, food taste better with company, so one should cook more.
• Cucino una bistecca settimanalmente.
• [ I cook a steak weekly. ]
Perhaps that statement is made by a bachelor who cook a steak for himself once a week, who knows.
Perhaps there would be less protest if the statement is as follows:
• Lui cucina una bistecca per la sua madre settimanalmente
• [ He cooks a steak for his mother weekly. ]
I would imagine that there would be quite a roar here if DL were to have this translation exercise:
• Lui cucina un vegetariano settimanalmente
• [ He cooks a vegetarian weekly. ]
I mean, rabbit is a vegetarian, isn't it?
Oh well, this will go well I suppose:
• Lui cucina un pasto vegetariano settimanalmente
• [ He cooks a vegetarian meal weekly ]
I suppose the following would go very well with the lovey-doveys
• Lui cucina una bella cena a base di bistecca per la sua ragazza settimanalmente.
• [ He cooks a nice steak dinner for his girlfriend weekly. ]
So, now spell settimanalmente backwards.
I felt the EXACT same way. Not just for spelling it, but pronouncing it and even just remembering it in general. This was, I think, the first "long word" I had really come across, and I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh, I'm never going to get this!" Since then, there have been far shorter words that I completely forgot how to spell and similar-length words that somehow seemed easier to remember.
Looking back now, I kind of laugh at myself for thinking settimanalmente was hard. (You will, too, one day, if you stick with your lessons!)
What I'm saying is, it gets easier. The terrain you stumble across now, you will sprint across one day. :)
If the Italian means that it is one time per week, It seems that "I cook a steak once a week" or "I cook a steak every week" would be the more likely/natural translations into English. I understand that "once a week" and "every week" don't have the adverbial "-ly" ("-mente") element, but they still sound better.
In italiano non si usa affatto dire "cucino una bistecca settimanalmente". Siamo soliti dire "una volta alla settimana" (once a week). "Settimanalmente" si usa invece in espressioni del genere: "Ogni quanto esce la rivista?" - "Settimanalmente. E' un settimanale: esce in edicola ogni sette giorni".
Settimanalmente comes from: settimana (week) + l + mente (ly)
'-mente' (in this case '-lmente') as an ending usually corresponds to the '-ly' ending in English. And like the English '-ly' it generally makes the word into an adverb. Sometimes (like in this case) the ending of the word being modified changes slightly to accommodate the -mente ending. (A different example: the adjective rapido = fast/quick, if you want the adverb you use rapidamente = quickly)
Adverbs of definite frequency, like weekly, are usually placed at the end of the sentence. They never go in the middle of the sentence.
I would say "I weekly cook a steak" is actually wrong ( I'm not a native speaker.)
If we want to emphasize the frequency then sometimes we can use the adverb at the beginning of the sentence: "Weekly, I cook a steak." (But in this case it sounds a bit strange) note: since there is no emphasis in Italian sentence then this translation shouldn't work here.
birkos: There's nothing wrong with 'beef steak'. It should be reported. Some think it's redundant, but as you point out it's really not given other varieties of steak available. In the southern US we have something called a "chicken fried steak" which is a beef steak, fried as you'd fry chicken. Here the qualifier is important to distinguish this steak from a regular steak. Not quite the same situation as yours, but certainly similar.
I would not say in British English 'I cook a steak weekly' unless I was trying to emphasize that it was only one; if I was emphasizing that I eat meat/ this kind of meat, I would say 'I cook steak every week' I almost never use 'weekly' as an adverb, only as an adjective eg 'my weekly budget'.
Well.....perhaps if we were in a physics class, discussing the rate of steak cooking. That's the only context in which I could imagine "I cook a steak per week". Also...."a steak per week" suggests to me sort of an average rate of steak cooking. And, I feel really silly typing that last phrase.... But, anyway, so say I cook two steaks one week, and zero the next. Then, on average, "I cook a steak per week".
As far as English is concerned we say" I cook steak weekly" which could mean one steak or twenty steaks. While it is true that steak is the cut and could also mean fish as in a salmon steak when one says steak in the US without an adjective it is assumed to be beef. No one would say" I cook a steak weekly" as opposed to saying I cook two steaks weekly. It's similar to saying I cook pasta weekly. No noe would say I cook one poun or two pounds. It's simply pasta. Same goes for fish. One would say "I cook fish weekly" or"I cook pork weekly" or "I cook chicken weekly". In the US we would not numerate how many of these are being cut. It has nothing to do with the number of magazines etc. It's just the way we say things here. The end!
Unlike "steak" all nouns mentioned by you could be uncountable, so it's the normal way to express plurality:
- "I cook pasta weekly"
- "I cook fish weekly"
- "I cook pork weekly"
- "I cook chicken weekly"
- "I drink water daily"
Countable nouns should be in plural:
- "I cook steaks weekly", not "I cook steak weekly"
- "I eat apples daily", not "I eat apple daily"
I could say 'I cook a steak weekly' and it would sound natural - but that's because I am a one person household.
You're right that in a multi person household it would sound unusual to say 'I cook a steak weekly' and not 'I cook steak weekly' (the former raises questions such is everyone is sharing one steak? Is the rest of the household is having something else for dinner?)
I think the problem is that 'weekly' is an adverb not an adjective and as several others have pointed out, it should go at the end. A similar "appearing" sentence such as "We eat our daily bread" or "We pay the monthly rent" actually are different because here 'daily' and 'monthly' are functioning as adjectives not adverbs. So e.g. you could say "We pay the monthly rent every two weeks." versus "We pay the monthly rent monthly-- meaning once a month, on the 1st" for example. Or "We eat our daily bread every morning." And so forth.