I started with the 'right' translation, but then I thought that no one would ever say that in English, so i went with 'I want something to drink', and was marked wrong. Is the sentence given actually good Italian, as the supposed English equivalent is rubbish?
Just like in English, in Italian there is a distinction between "I want to drink something" ("Voglio bere qualcosa") and "I want something to drink" ("Voglio qualcosa da bere"). It's a difference between wanting to drink and wanting a drink.
There is a difference in meaning between the two forms, although in many cases they could both be used.
"I want to drink something" ("Voglio bere qualcosa") has the emphasis on the drinking. Implies that I already have the drink, or can easily get it myself. Also implies that I am thirsty and want to drink it now.
"I want something to drink" ("Voglio qualcosa da bere") has the emphasis on wanting it, ie. wanting to have it in my possesion. Implies that I do not already have it, perhaps asking someone to bring me a drink. Does not necessarily mean that I am thirsty - perhaps I want to have it prepared to take it with me to drink later.
Often both forms are applicable, such as if I need to get the drink (or am asking for one), and want to drink it straight away. However if I already have a selection of drinks in front of me, it would not make sense to say "I want something to drink". If I want to pack a bottle of water into my rucksack to go out, it would not make sense to say "I want to drink something".
I think you are being overly pedantic and your implied distinction between 'to' and 'a' is not something that a UK English speaker would agree with. Both statements imply you are thirsty so I cannot see a clear distinction (not does my wife who was a teacher for 37 years and studied language development). US English may be consider them to be distinct from one another but any difference is far too subtle for a basic DL foreign language course and only leads to frustration and annoyance for the inconsistent appoach that DL takes to literal and paraphrasing translations
I agree entirely. I have taught English all my life (in England) and I see no distinction. Very little notice is taken on this Italian course of points made by British people,
tekkytyke, i hear you. though remember duolingo is largely built by volunteers. i don't think they are trying to frustrate or confuse folks.
The same is true in American English. "I want to drink something" and "I want something to drink" would be considered equivalent in meaning and entirely interchangeable in most contexts. (There my be a few contexts in which they had ever-so-slightly different connotations, but those are rare.) The only difference I can see between them is that "I want something to drink" sounds more natural, whereas "I want to drink something" sounds like something you are more likely to read in a book than to hear in everyday conversation.
"Voglio qualcosa da bere". Maybe they didn't think of that, maybe they drew the line.
I agree, this program is VERY inconsistent when it comes to "Anglicising" translations. In English, you would generally say "I want something to drink". I''m reporting it.
Because it's not literally what's being stated - Viaggiatore has already given the correct translation of your sentence. True, they have equivalent meanings, but are not exactly the same thing written/sounding ;)
Really? Is not the cardinal rule of translation that it must make sense to the receiver? Try translating from English "the trouble and strife gave me and me china Barry White for dinner last night" directly word for word into Italian and getting even remotely near the actual perceived meaning.
that sentence doesn't even make sense in english! so I don't think I'll be attempting to translate it anytime soon ;)
I'm not following how this is adding to the discussion of this very simple statement/translation… I find duo is more forgiving with the more complicated sentences, tends to be more literal with simple ones such as this. As I had said, the literal translation is the one that's accepted; sure, sometimes Duo will take an equivalent statement as a correct translation, but often times (such as here) it does not. As can be plainly seen from Viaggiatore's comment, the two statements have different italian translations, so it would be best for beginning students to recognize this fact instead of getting so bummed about making a mistake. I don't think a professor of italian would accept "I want something to drink" for "voglio bere qualcosa," so why should it be accepted here?
No, it's not, but only non-native speakers use the constructions they want in English.
Literal meanings are irrelevant "I want something to drink" is probably more common English in usage, means the same and would be understood in any language. It needs adding as a correct translation
"I want something to drink" is not a good translation? Why is that? Please help me :)
There are different mesnings: "I want to drink something" - you want a beverage of some sort. "I want something to drink" - you may want a straw or a soups poon.
Sorry that is wrong. 'I want something to drink with' would be what you could have said if you wanted a straw or a spoon. 'I want something to drink' OR 'I want to drink something' DO mean the same in English
So annoying that DL does not accept "I want something to drink." Their given version is so very unnatural - why do the people on this Italian course never heed native English speakers?
Nothing whatsoever. That is the way most people would say it in English. I suppose DL are using the literal translation from the word order in Italian, but I would have thought that the whole point of learning a language is to understand that although word order may differ between languages it still conveys the same meaning.
Perhaps it is a basic sentence that can be built onto - I want to drink something...hot (di caldo) something cold.. (di freddo) etc. Giving you conversational building blocks to expand on.
Why I can't say: I want to drink anything. ? Why must be "something" and not "anything"?
This is a very tricky bit of English. You would say "anything" when it was negative. So it is: "I want to drink something" but "I don't want to drink anything."
If qualcosa means "something" or "something else" according to the drop down translation, why is is wrong to translate this as " I want to drink something else":? Only wish there was a little more explanation and so many points.... As others have said, we wouldn't ever say "I want to drink something" ...
"Something else" would be "qualcos'altro." "Qualcosa" by itself does not have this meaning.
Bere is the infinitive - to drink. Beve is the 3rd person singular of the present tense of the verb Bere. Lui/lei beve; .. he/she drinks or is drinking This is basic verb stuff, any verb book will explain it.
One of Duolingo's little foibles is these totally unrealistic translations. In the Subjunctive section they have a literal translation which reads 'it is not necessary that you out out the hand'. No English speaker would say that but it's Duolingo and it's free!
As a native speaker of English (American) I would interpret "I want to drink something" as equivalent in meaning to "I want something to drink." The only difference is that the former isn't the word ordering a native speaker of English would normally use. I can't even think of a context in which I would say "I want to drink something."
I put, "I want something to drink." Which is the more natural way an American would say this. It wasn't accepted, but I've put in for it to be
The two translations are equivalent in meaning, and since the point of language is to communicate "meaning," I think either should be acceptable. Both are grammatically correct.