"Usi spazzolino e dentifricio dopo ogni pasto."

Translation:Use toothbrush and toothpaste after every meal.

March 12, 2015

86 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mrlukens

I find it odd that the English doesn't include the article "a": "Please use a toothbrush and toothpaste..." Dropping the article doesn't sound like standard English to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julia800203

I agree! Without the article "a" before "toothbrush" it doesn't sound like standard English to me either. (I'm a native speaker and an English teacher.) I have reported it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rangdo
  • 1752

Ditto. But I don't hold out much hope. The Italian tree is notoriously badly maintained.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gabejosh

poor Italian tree! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

But there is no "please", nor an article, in the Italian sentence! We probably should not make up our own sentences to translate?

"Usi spazzolino e dentifricio" = Use brush and toothpaste
"dopo ogni pasto" = after every meal

To me it sound just like a message from the health department.

Did you know that the ending "-ino" is an Italian diminutive?
Una spazzola = a brush
Uno spazzolino = a small brush
Uno spazzolino da denti = a toothbrush

Then again I don't think an Italian would say "Usi spazzolino da denti e dentifricio . ." but rather just "Usi spazzolino e dentifricio . ."


[deactivated user]

    You are not alone with yoir point of view. Every English speaking person in the world would use A . There are so many bad English phrases on DL that I have given up using the Ios app because I got fed up loosing health bars due to DLs very bad English.. And where the Please comes from god only knows.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Francesco817465

    Absolutely agree. From previous form with DL I suspected I would be faulted for inserting 'a', so was not surprised.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Madeleine863330

    That's because it's not good English!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BevanJarvis

    I believe the article-dropping is a result of using the subjunctive. Neither "uno spazzolino" nor "lo spazzolino" is completely satisfactory, since the toothbrush's existence is hypothetical. (In a sense, it's both "a toothbrush" and "the toothbrush" at the same time.) The English is just a direct translation. It sounds strange because English speakers don't use the subjunctive anywhere near as much as Italians.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michael398080

    Where did the "please" come from in the Italian sentence?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dejota333

    Duolingo doesn't really cover the imperative well. The imperative is used for commands, advice, and suggestions in Italian, whereas we tend to think of it only as commands in English. When it comes the imperative, the forms for Tu and Lei are exactly the same as in the present indicative except for -are verbs, where the endings switch. So with usare, in the present indicative, usi - you (informal Tu) use and usa - s/he/you (formal Lei) uses. With the imperative, usa - use! (Tu) which is probably a command, usi - use! (Lei) which is probably more a suggestion or soft request which is why they put "please" in there. As an example, in "(Tu) Usa spazzolino e dentifricio dopo ogni pasto!" you're telling someone in the informal sense maybe a child that doesn't brush. In, "(Lei) Usi spazzolino e dentifricio dopo ogni pasto." you're making the suggestion to someone formally that you don't know as well, so in English, to soften what would seem as a command, we'd say "please". Hope that helps.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

    Dl is teaching us how to be polite, and that is very important in Italy!

    Usa spazzolino e . . ! = Use toothbrush and . . !

    Usi spazzolino e . . ! = Please/ Use toothbrush and . . . /Sir/Ma'm!

    Imperativo di Usare
    tu . . . . usa !
    Lei . . . usi !
    noi . . . usiamo !
    voi . . . usate !
    Loro . . usino !


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlfredMond1

    I agree with your explanation for why "please" could be used in the translation, but it should not be required in the translation. Surely in a situation as delicate as you described, the Italian sentence would end with "per favore" or "per piacere".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BevanJarvis

    In fact it would be redundant, as the "please" is already implied. Including it in the Italian would itself be a bad translation. (Or at least a bad rendition of the original Italian.)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusieOpperia

    Thank you! That was a perfect explanation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeniferAird

    Thanks, better that DL explanation!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/James_1986

    But the word please isnt there in Italian, so you are wrong. If its not there how can we translate it, you're just as bad as Duolingo!


    [deactivated user]

      I don't understand either why there has to be 'please' in this sentence.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

      Usi is the formal imperative form indicating that this is said to somebody you in English would either say Sir or Ma'am to, or soften the imperative by saying Please.

      I think DL is simply trying to help us understand this.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BevanJarvis

      Duo doesn't insist; it's just a way of expressing the tone. Another way of looking at it is that "usi" (the Lei form of the imperative) is also the subjunctive, so the speaker is suggesting a hypothetical situation in which the person addressed is brushing his/her teeth. That makes it milder than a direct instruction. (The tu form, "usa", doesn't have this connection, so is more like a command.)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linda96564

      But it does insist, because it won't give you a "correct" unless you say please, so you can't move on to the next lesson.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JasonSheepspeed

      Yes! It needs the article 'a' to be correct english in this case. As we make mistakes in Italian, they have made a mistake in English. It is not all bad though, Duolingo is fantastic and that rarely comes out in the forums. Constructive criticism, I suppose....


      [deactivated user]

        I agree, a little. But how ironic, A language learning platform making a schoolboy error ..... In the native language.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ScarletteChase

        If you want to talk about schoolboy errors, how about capitalizing articles and prepositions in the middle of a sentence?

        I get that Duolingo has errors and it can be frustrating, but it is free and a pretty good tool for language learning, so all things considered, you're getting way more than you paid for. If you want higher quality instruction, try buying a textbook or hiring a tutor, but even the best textbooks will contain typos and such, and tutors are only human.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/greenhenry

        I agree it seems odd. However I think they are thinking of something like a sign in a bathroom e.g. in a hospital. In that kind of specialized context, English signs often do omit the article.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RichardWil528737

        Use A toothbrush... wasn't accepted. But surely it sounds more natural in English.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gymtimidator1997

        use A toothbrush. i love how this course never fixes anything


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ado125900

        Where is Please in the translstion?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mhershon

        In the US, we say, Use a toothbrush....


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Liz191178

        there is no indication of polite form with this imperativo....you indicated correct sentence to include 'please'....how about 'pure' if you want polite?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horatio_D

        I reported "Brush your teeth with toothpaste after every meal." as a more usual instruction that a dentist may give a patient. It is much more natural than the awkward English translation suggested by DL, and conveys the same sentiment even though it is not a word for word translation. Reluctantly I cut and pasted DL's strange English to complete the session.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BevanJarvis

        The "Lei" form used is not appropriate for a dentist talking to a patient, but rather the reverse - someone speaking to a person (such as a social superior), to whom they wouldn't normally give instructions. The result is the social awkwardness of giving an instruction without it sounding like one. (Hence also the notorious "please".)


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horatio_D

        Thanks for pointing out the situation I posed did not fit the Italian social scale. If I were ever in the situation of giving the advice to a cardinal, in English, I may include a prefix sweetener such as "Please", "Don't forget", "Just a gentle reminder", however the basic clause could be the same. Perhaps the example is applicable to a child's reaction to his grandfather having bad breath.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horatio_D

        10 months later the example has come up again and I once again have to copy and paste Duolingo's English translation to get past. Only someone with dementia would pick up a nail brush, hair brush, toilet brush or other inappropriate brush with the toothpaste after a meal - "Use a brush and toothpaste after every meal." should be accepted.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BevanJarvis

        That's more or less what's going on. Etymologically and broadly, "spazzolino" means "little brush" - toothbrush is a secondary meaning.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlfredMond1

        I wrote "Use a toothbrush and toothpaste after every meal" which was marked wrong. The word "please" is not present in the Italian, aand therefore should not be required in the translation. The construct "use toothbrush" instead of "use a toothbrush" is simply poor English.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sfiesta

        how's "You use toothbrush and toothpaste after every meal." incorrect here?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/greenhenry

        It's incorrect because you need the article 'a' before 'toothbrush'... but DL doesn't understand that either!


        [deactivated user]

          I would say that it isnt, if you do a direct word for word translation.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aliaskirara

          Nothing, your traslate is right if you didn't hear the imperative intonation of the voice. Anyway, don't worry, it's really hard to pay attention to the intonation with a mechanical voice, especially if you aren't a native speaker. Maybe, here, it could be better to have a phrase more easier with the classic exclamation point, I don't know.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RodParker-

          I can see how 'please' might be used to convey the politeness imied by use of 'Lei' form ('usi') but this does NOT mean that 'Use a toothbrush ...' should be marked as wrong!


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeoPenta

          The sentence definitely needs an "a" before toothbrush


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sandslane

          There should be an 'a' here - use a toothbrush... I can't think of anyone who would use this sentence as it is. It sounds like someone is saying it who doesn't know English.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VSELF11

          I think "Brush your teeth..." should be accepted.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kelly562815

          Said no one ever. You'd say, "Brush your teeth after every meal."


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TamaraEvan15

          I agree with mrlukens. Instead of the indefinite article ("a") I used the possessive: Use your toothbrush.... It was rejected.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MannMike1

          In English, we would say, a toothbrush.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MannMike1

          In English, a toothbrush would be correct.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ILF17

          There is no "please" in the EN sentence any more.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Asher990182

          Should it not be 'usa'?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paulmacd

          I think I'd agree with you (usa=2nd person imperative), unless DL is using the Formal You imperative (usi).


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy.leihong

          I think 'usa' is also correct, for 'tu'. Here 'usi' is for 'Lei'(formal you) .


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BevanJarvis

          Technically, yes, but as noted above, the 'tu' form is more like a command. The "please" indicates the polite 'Lei' form. (At least, that seems to be what Duo means by it.)


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roy.leihong

          I don't think so. It is normal to use "please", even speaking to family members.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BevanJarvis

          Normal in English speech... My point is that the "tu" isn't a polite form, so doesn't represent a "please". The "Lei" form is closer. That's what Duo seems to be getting at by insisting on "usi" and with the "please" in the translation. That's all.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/greenhenry

          I think it's using the Lei form because it's the kind of instruction you would see on a sign, like 'Please wash your hands' above a sink. But it's giving the wrong English translation; the indefinite article 'a' is missing.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GirlRedE

          Why does the English translation include "please" when the Italian doesn't?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jack386237

          There is no please!


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gill328589

          This as others have noted is a ridiculous insistence on ommitting the 'a' before toothbrush, forcing users into quite incorrect English. Bad English is unfair on non native speakers quite apart from making Duolingo look silly


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StevenMcBrien

          I'm sorry, I'm trying of late not to make negative comments on this wonderful free software, but this English translation is an insult. Please change this guys, no native English speaker would ever phrase this sentence in this way.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/paulmacd

          I think you need to follow the procedure shown here https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/204752124-How-do-I-report-a-problem-with-a-sentence-or-translation- My understanding is that the moderators look at these reports, and usually don't have time to read through the discussion forum postings (Someone please correct me if I am wrong). There is a good general discussion on the use of the sentence forums here:
          https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/12159900/Tips-for-using-the-Sentence-Discussion-forums


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanni405418

          Please is not part of the correct answer. there is no Per Favore in the sentence


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/59JohnF

          Surely 'a' is needed before 'toothbrush'


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giuseppe777570

          "Brush your teeth after every meal". rejected. Sorry but that's the way a native anglophone would say this. Their translation is worthless.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

          Perhaps, - but I do not think your's is a good translation of the Italian sentence.

          "Usi spazzolino e dentifricio" = Use brush and toothpaste
          "dopo ogni pasto" = after every meal


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RodParker-

          But learning a language involves more than acquiring a set of word-for-word swaps. Knowing that Italian speakers and English speakers tend to say things in different ways is also important. Idiomatic expressions which are very commonly used (e.g. 'brush your teeth') should be accepted even if they are not word-for-word translations.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

          I agre, and many Italian parents also tell their children:

          "Brush your teeth every day" = Lavati i denti ogni giorno.

          . . but that's a totally different sentence and I do not think mixing them up help us learning.

          I think this sentence is more like what you might find on the cardboard of a toothpaste package, or perhaps in a message from the health department.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Madeleine863330

          Apart from the translation is bad English!


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lindabelli4

          this should be " Use A toothbrush and toothpaste..."


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WilliamMor453282

          You're kidding me! "use your toothbrush and toothpaste after every meal" not accepted. Who's brush should you use?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Richard259225

          even if i used the word please, (which is not in the sentence) I would never speak like this translation. It sounds terrible.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Miriam298384

          where is the please?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Miriam298384

          where is the please in the italian version


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/grandma714783

          Where did the please come from, English uses an a before a noun and ogni can be each as well as every.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laura964337

          Italian doesn't have "please" but the English was marked wrong without it.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sid996012

          Use toothbrush and toothpaste or toothpaste and toothbrush. is the same


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertBoot6

          4th person to point out that "please" appears nowhere in this sentence, formal commands do not imply a "please". Anyone moderating?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John242575

          "Use a toothbrush and paste" there's absolutely no need to repeat "tooth" as the meaning is obvious from the context.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

          . . but "spazzolino" is a small brush and "dentifricio" is toothpaste . . . so in Italian it's the other way around.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jfiterre

          My answer should be accepted


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/username29472

          It's "a" toothbrush. Stop being moronic.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RichardWil528737

          I've been following this discussion with interest for the past few months now: "use toothbrush" is not actually incorrect, but it's the sort of thing you usually find only in official notices: "Wash hands before leaving" (in a public lavatory); "Take steps to second floor" (in a shop); "Use low gear" (a road sign). Why you should need an official notice about using a toothbrush is beyond me, however; nor would it be the way your dentist would speak to you. (Interestingly, British dentists now advise leaving a gap of at least two hours between eating and brushing your teeth, because the acid produced by eating - particularly sweet things - damages your tooth enamel more with vigorous brushing.)


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mrlukens

          @richardWil528737 I agree, it makes sense in a written notice; Duo's answer isn't wrong. Without any context to indicate that we are reading this very peculiar instruction, however, we are all left wondering why the article "a" is left out and where the "please" came from. I fervently wish they would fix what amounts to a trick question and replace it with "Wash hands before leaving" or one of your other good examples.

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