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  5. "Qual è il cane?"

"Qual è il cane?"

Translation:Which is the dog?

December 26, 2012



I translated "Qual è il cane?" as "Which dog is it?", which was marked as wrong. Is this not a correct translation? It means the same thing as the 'correct' answer of "Which is the dog?", and it sounds like more natural English to me.


Here it is important to note the function of the words. "Qual" is the interrogative pronoun, functioning as the subject of the sentence. "Cane" is the predicate nominative. The "è" between them functions as the = sign.

In your translation "which" becomes the interrogative adjective, and "dog" becomes the subject of the sentence. "It", which doesn't appear anywhere in the Italian sentence, has appeared magically to become the predicate pronoun.

The question is fundamentally asking: which (out of the many options) is the dog? Your translation is fundamentally asking: which dog (out of a group of dogs) is it?


Nicely explained thx.. I still think the English sentence would make more sence if they add "one" to the options: which one is the/a dog?


Great explanation for this usage. The sentence I saw with "Qual" before this one was with the possessive pronoun, e.g. "Qual e il tuo cane?" and there I think that either "Which dog is yours?" or "Which is your dog?" would be acceptable translations into English (if anything, I"d probably use the first more than the second, even though the second is grammatically closer to the Italian). By removing the possessive pronoun, it reveals both a grammatical and meaning/usage difference "Which x is...?" and "Which is...?"


@christopher Thanks for your help.


Should the answer be "Which one is the dog?" Asking out of many different things, one of them is the dog


That is what I answered from out of the suggested words and it was accepted.


Why is it " which dog is" wrong then?


Christopher you are a language guru excellent comment to how one must use "qual".


It's like a question you would ask a 2 y/o - which one of these is the dog. "Which dog is it" implies you know it's a dog.


The English translation doesn't make sense.


I agree with you. I can't think of a situation where one could use this sentence on it's own.


You've gone to the park with a Martian, whom you're currently teaching about different Earth animals. You point out to the Martian: "Look, there's a guy with a dog and a horse." The Martian, not knowing much yet, says: "Which is the dog?"


you are so funny thank you.Jae633849


Ex. 1You are learning Italian and you are at the park with an Italian exchange student who is learning English. He asks you this question.

Ex. 2 You are taking your baby for a stroll in the park and the child sees many different animals. You kneel down and ask the child this question.

Ex. 3 You are learning Italian on Duolingo's website and they ask you to translate this phrase.

Jae's explanation may be imaginative, but it was by using imagination that he found an answer for you. Next time before you relegate a phrase to the scrap heap, remember that many of the people here make (made) their living as writers. But most of all, don't be so quick to give up- you can do this.

[deactivated user]

    Marking this comment down is silly. People need to know that its is the correct usage here as a possesive. It's ALWAYS means it is.


    Blame autocorrect. It tends to switch them around inconsistently.


    'Which dog is it?' is now accepted :)


    I have tried the same translation: "Which dog is it" and that was accepted. I find the question: "Which is the dog" a little bit strange, and at the level of very small children. I see in my mind a group of animals and I ask, which of them is the species dog?! :)


    which dog is it ? Che cane e'


    My doubt is why is it not written "qual'è il cane"


    I am a student of 4 years and I also thought the same thing.

    It seems like the question should fundamentally be "Quale + è + il cane?" but we contract that to "Qual'è il cane?" as you wrote.


    I was wondering the same thing...


    The one that goes 'woof woof'.


    Laughter's a good thing. Grazie :-)


    Thank you, Kanin. Just like Terry Pratchett's dog.


    The English sentence lacks a noun. It should be "Which one is the dog?"


    the one with four legs


    No, also other animals can have four legs. :)


    Why is 'Qual'è il cane' wrong?


    Duolingo: "Qual è il cane?" Me: "Colui che agita la coda."


    in the vocabulary hints there is a "what" translation for "qual", but when typed it is reported as a mistake


    I wrote "what is the dog" and I got it marked wrong


    In previous comments it was said that quale has only two forms - quale for singular and quali for plural. So where did qual come from?


    Correct me if I got it wrong, but I believe 'quale/i' is the question word 'which', which should be followed by a noun, and 'qual' is the interrogative pronoun 'which one', which should be followed by a verb.


    As far as I understand it:

    Qual is a contraction of Quale - which used in front of e' (and in front of other words starting with the letter e)

    Quali is the plural of Quale


    it's like find the dog out of 100 other animals, anyway that can train your attention;)


    I kept getting this wrong because "cane" and "carne" sound almost the same to me. Then I went back to double check and realized that it's "la carne" and "il cane," so "il cane" is the only possible answer here. I'm not fluent yet in any language that has grammatical gender, so one more thing to learn to keep track of. LOL


    Which is the dog is very bad English!!


    I think this is the correct translation. The question then becomes, if you wanted to ask "Which dog is it?", how would you phrase that in Italian - Quale cane è?


    what does this mean? it might me grammatically correct but it doesn't have sense. which is a problem for a lot of the examples on this site.....


    Not the one meowing, that's for sure.


    The one between your pinguin and her hungry bear. But definitely not the one in the boot ...


    I notice that there is no elision. This potentially changes the meaning. Qual'è = Quale è and means "which is it". In this case Qual è was used without the apostrophe, Qual è = "what is it" (when referring to a potential choice). Qual è la torta = What is the cake? Qual è il cane = What is the dog?


    "Which one is the dog" seems like a better answer


    I heard carne, not cane. I realize "il" was the key to getting it right, but the gentleman's voice is not as clear as the woman's.


    In audio version is really hard to recognize "cane". I clearly hear "tane". Both in slow and quick motion. Have listened the audio ubout 10 times


    It's in the mirror


    I don't hear "il" in normal speed audio.


    The barking one


    The one that says woof.


    I was told I had used the wrong word when 'qual e il cane' is exactly what I wrote from listening exercise.


    The one wirh the waggily tail!


    I made it right. Qual é il cane. But I was wondering : why do you say: qual cane, but quale ragazzo. Both words are maschile ? Can someone help?


    Ich lach mich kaputt, ich habe nicht hund sondern fleisch übersetzt, fand ich nicht ungewöhnlich bei all den vegetariern hier...


    The one dressed as a spaceman playing subbuteo,mof course! Allora!


    The one that barks


    Where's the dog?! I'll do you one better, who's the dog?
    I'll do you one better, which is the dog?!

    I had to.


    Whats going on! I wrote it correctly, and got it wrong.


    I wish that voice would speak more clearly. I get may things wrong, because of that.


    Could not hear the " IL" Part


    This really does not make sense in English. As in, you would never say this


    Why is it " which dog is " wrong then?


    Could it also be translated as, "where is the dog?"? The hint for "qual" gives me which, where, and that...

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