1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "Al gatto piace il cane."


"Al gatto piace il cane."

December 27, 2012



Piacere is better interpreted as "is pleasing". So a more literal translation is "The dog is pleasing to the cat". Hence the 'Al' which is the contraction of "a il" or translated "to the".


"To the cat the dog is pleasing"


Don't understand the usage of "Al" here. Why isn't it "Il"?


"al gato le gusta el perro"


Hold on, they just went through explaining that the "likee" goes first and the "liker" goes last. This sentence is reverse!


This caught me out too...

"In Italian Jane likes John becomes John piace a Jane. The sentence structure is reversed, and the conjugation of piacere reflects what is liked, not who is doing the liking. Other verbs such as mancare (to miss) work the same way."

I don't understand this piece of grammar is about now.


Definitely the example (being in reverse) makes the concept tricky to learn. For first timers, examples should be structured exactly like the sentence being learned. Set us up for success, please!


Its because they changed the order, but not the grammar. In Jane Likes John, the translation is John piace A Jane. In the sentence, AL gatto piace il cane, we have the same structure but in different places. you could say Il cane piace al gatto. Or A Jane piace John.


Ooooh, now it makes sense. Duolingo should really tell us because I was confused. Thank you MayMai!

  • 427

This is the same thing that caused me to miss this.


To the cat = Al gatto

It (the dog) pleases = piace

The dog = il cane

The dog pleases (to) the cat =

The cat is pleased by the dog =

The cat likes the dog


I was confused by many different uses of piacere in Duolingo and this helped me understand: http://www.rocketlanguages.com/your-community/italian-vocab/mi-piace-ti-piace-ci-piace-etc


This is the poorest explanation on DuoLingo yet, and absolutely none of your comments are making any sense. Please, for the love of humanity, someone explain it simply how to determine whether the sentence is in normal order or has to be reversed.


As long as you always translate "piace" as "is pleasing" then the rest should fall into place. "Al" is "To the", so "To the cat, the dog is pleasing". You could also write it as "Il cane piace al gatto" which is "The dog is pleasing to the cat" if that's easier to understand, though it's not how someone would usually say it, as far as I know.

As for determining when it takes this form, you just learn. Certain words are just like this.


Thank you! Do you always have to use "al" with piace? or could you say "Il gatto piace il cane"?


I could be wrong, but I think Italian is pretty serious about the "al."


Agreed. Otherwise how can you tell who likes who, if you don't put "al"?

http://italian.about.com/od/verbs/a/italian-verb-piacere.htm (sometimes no "a" because with a+pronoun -> particella pronominale)


Thanks, Royastar. That is a really clear and helpful explanation of this sentence structure which is tricky for us English speakers. It helped a lot!


So it's like "the dog is like by the cat"?


I'm still confused-- where everyone seems to think "to the cat the dog is pleasing" is the literal translation, in the little 'helper' duolingo window it introduces "John piace a Jane" to mean Jane likes John. The subjects are reversed.

Are the subjects in "al gatto piace il cane," not replaced in the translation, then? Why isn't it "the dog likes the cat" in English?


Notice that in their example "John piace a Jane", the "a" is before Jane, not John. The subject and object can be reversed as long as you keep the "to" before the right word. "John piace a Jane" Could be "A Jane piace John". They mean "John is pleasing to Jane" and "To Jane, John is pleasing", respectively.


Ah. Thank you. You are wonderful.


Their example is wrong, isn't it? Because they say they're translating "John likes Jane" which should be "A John piace Jane" (or "Jane piace a John) right? To John Jane is pleasing? They switched John and Jane in the example, and then they talked about reversing order and made it super confusing.


'A tutti piace l'odore dei gatti."

Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.