"He needs a towel."
Translation:Ele precisa de uma toalha.
This article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_grammar says that contractions like this are acceptable in formal writing in Portugal, but In Brazil they are avoided in writing. So, it seems, we can add this to the list of differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese.
Thanks Paulo, you should edit the Wikipedia article to reflect the truth :-)
I was thinking about "dum(a)" in speech. I guess whether you can tell someone is saying "dum(a)" or "de um(a)" depends on their accent. If they normally pronounce "de" like "dje" and you heard "dum(a)" you know, if not, then in fast speech "de um(a)" could sound like "dum(a)".
Yes, without context (and there is very little on Duo), then the 3rd Person pronouns are necessary except when referring to an "it" but even then "it" often gets a pronoun too. This is because the 3rd Person conjugations can refer to she, he, it, you, we (a gente), and the present conjugation also often can be the imperative (command) for 2nd Person. And then, with "ter" the 3rd Person without a pronoun in Brazil often becomes, "there" instead of "have" (not so much in the other Portuguese speaking places).
Eu conjugations are easier as those are unique, as are the "nós" and true second person "tu" and "vós" (still used in north of Portugal).
Also outside of Brazil (and it turns out inside some parts of it) the preposition "de" with "precisar" is retained and not dropped with additional verbs. And... "dum/a" is more common. :)
Are we sure The Owl is a he? =}