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  5. "Il ragazzo mangia la mela."

"Il ragazzo mangia la mela."

Translation:The boy eats the apple.

December 28, 2012



I want to know what the difference between 'il' and l'


I'm just muddling through this course too, but if I'm understanding things correctly, then il is used for masculine nouns that begin with a consonant, (il ragazzo)and l' is used for masculine nouns that begin with a vowel. (l'uomo) Can somebody more experienced chime in on this?


Excellent you got it l'uomo il ragazzo


Tnx this helped me alot i failed this course 5 times


omg so have i. i always get comfused with it


Its easy. in french as the same of italian exist one thing called liasion. The liasion is when the next word that you will use starts with a vowel then you use l' instead of "il" or "la"


We have a similar convention in English. The singular article "an" is used instead of the article "a" when it comes before a word that starts with a vowel as in the following examples: He has a dog, a cat, and a bird. They have an elephant, an ostrich, and an octopus.

"An" is even used in cases where the word sounds like it starts with a vowel (instances with a "silent" consonant at the beginning of a word): We live in a house. (the "h" is not silent, use the article "a") Give me an honest answer. (silent "h" use the article "an") We talked for an hour. (silent "h" use "an")


If you want to know when to use "il, l', la, gli" etc. Go to this link it's VERY helpful:



Why is apple one of the first things you learn in any language on Duolingo?


Probably because it is one of the first nouns we learned in English as children. It's one of the first words we learn in English (at least in books or in school) because it is at the beginning of the English alphabet.
Also, apple is pretty widely distributed throughout the world, so it is a safe choice for a noun, unlike gooseberries or lychee fruit, for example. :-)


I don't know. it's also a basic food we learn in English too


I put "melo" instead of "mela" and it told me not to confuse the two. However, they both mean "apple" in Italian. Can anyone tell me what's wrong or if I missed something?


melo is an apple tree, mela is an apple


why is it "la mela" why is an "apple" feminine ? why not "il mela" ?

  • 2573

Short of an extended history of the evolution of a language, the answer to any "why is it this way" question is always "because it just is."

The best answer doesn't really address the question as it's asked, it just helps you to remember what the rules are.

In Italian, if a noun ends with "o" when it's singular and "i" when it's plural, then it's probably masculine. If it starts with a vowel, then singular "the" is l' and plural "the" is gli. If it starts with an "impure s" (which is to say, "z" or "s" as part of a consonant cluster") then singular "the" is lo and plural "the" is gli. If it starts with any other consonant (including "s + vowel") then singular "the" is il and plural "the" is i.

If a noun ends with "a" when it's singular and "e" when it's plural, then it's probably feminine. Singular "the" is la and plural "the" is le.

If a noun ends with "e" when it's singular, then you just have to memorize whether it's masculine or feminine.


Confused about the words definte and indefinite

  • 2573

Definite: particular, specific. "the" is the definite article because it specifies which particular thing you're talking about.
Indefinite: not particular or specific. "a/an" is the indefinite article because it doesn't matter which particular thing, any will do.

I saw a large dog today. (I'm assuming there are multiple large dogs in the world. I saw one of them, but I haven't gotten around to saying which one.)
I saw the large dog today. (Either there's only one large dog in the world, or I already mentioned it and now I'm referring back to it.)

Are you the president? (If you're in the USA, this can only refer to the current head of state.)
I am a president. (It's a title that can apply to many different positions. I'm the head of a company, but not the leader of a nation.)


So is l' masculine or feminine?

  • 2573

It can be either. It's a contraction of lo, which is masculine, and a contraction of la, which is feminine. l' comes before any vowel, basically. You'll have to know whether the noun is masculine or feminine.


So it's kind of just neither masculine nor feminine?

  • 2573

Strictly speaking, it's both. Which it is depends on the factors I described above. But in practice, the difference between "it's both" and "it's neither" is virtually non-existent. :-P


I am just having a hard time wrapping my head around this. I wrote A boy is eating an apple. The boy eats the apple just sounds weird!

  • 2573

"a boy" vs "the boy"

When we say "a boy", we are not specifying any particular boy. It could be any random boy at all.

When we say "the boy", we are referring to a previously specified boy.

Many languages do the same thing. "Un ragazzo" is "a boy" and "il ragazzo" is "the boy". Both are perfectly grammatical, but the meaning is different.


Question: We are eating dinner and my daughter is distracted and I want to tell her to eat her food. Should I use "Mangi" or "Mangia" when telling her to eat?

  • 2573

The second person singular imperative of "to eat" is "mangia".



Mangia il tuo cibo!


How do u know if something is masculine nouns or feminin

  • 2573

For the most part (because no natural languages are perfectly regular) you can tell the grammatical gender of a noun in Italian by how the word ends:

If a word ends in -o in the singular and -i in the plural, it is masculine.

If a word ends in -a in the singular and -e in the plural, it is feminine.

Some irregular nouns end in -e in the singular and -i in the plural. You just need to memorize whether they are masculine or feminine. Also, there are some masculine words that end in -ma. These tend to derive from non-Italian sources.

You can also tell from the article that comes right before it:


I want to know the difference between mangia-mangi


In other words, "mangi" is "you eat." "Mangia" is he, she, or it eats. "Mangia" can also be the command form, as you will learn later on.


Il was not an option

  • 2573

The next time something like that happens, take a screen shot and submit a bug report:


The boy eats the apple: il ragazzo mangiA la mela.... but the girl eats the apple: il ragazzo mangiO la mela.... i am confused, why is it feminine with the boy and masculine with the girl and the apple is always feminine?

  • 2573

No, that's not how it works. Verbs don't have gender agreement, only adjectives. And nouns don't change to agree with other nouns. "La mela" will always be feminine, no matter who is eating it. Your brother does not become your sister just because you are female. Also, the verb only conjugates to the subject. Nothing else matters.

Regular verbs follow a pattern:


So both "il ragazzo" and "la ragazza" use "mangia", and "io" uses "mangio" no matter whether the speaker is male or female.


'La' can be 'her' AND 'the'. Also is 'her' and 'the' right. Somtimes is Duolinge...


I did the right answer

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