"Il ragazzo ha una mela in tasca."

Translation:The boy has an apple in his pocket.

December 30, 2012



There is no article or possessive in this sentence that can be translated 'his' or 'the'.

December 30, 2012


I would not say that I have something if someone else has it... so I wouldn't say that the boy has an apple in someone else's pocket (because then I would rather say that someone else has the apple, not the boy)...

Thus, the sentence must be referring to the boy's pocket (does that make sense?). And the possessive is not needed explicitly (I think).

September 28, 2013


Here DL is teaching us that in Italian you assume (unless otherwise stated) that clothes belong to the person who is wearing them. In this sentence the pocket therefore is assumed to belong to the boy and the otherwise needed his (= sua) is dropped.

January 30, 2015


We don't normally add the possessive when it agrees with the subject and it can be easily deduced by the context. In some cases you may add it and it just sounds a bit redundant, in others it sounds wrong. Ex. Prende la bici e se ne va = he takes his bike and leaves; Prende la sua bici e se ne va = (still correct, but a bit redundant); Lei tiene una forchetta in mano = she has a fork in her hand ("nella sua mano" would be wrong); Mi lavo la faccia = I wash my face (of course it's my face, whose face should I be washing?)

October 9, 2015


Give it a couple of decades, and you'll be dropping reflexive verbs in Italian altogether... we have in English and we get by fine.

February 26, 2019


Meanwhile, I'll stay stuck on this DL intro to prep level to italian for several decades.

All other levels I sail through. Prepositions? I can't graduate level 1.

March 2, 2019


i'm still far from fluent, but i'd like to add that in this context, possessive only used when the object doesn't belong to the subject. This is similar in Bahasa Indonesia, but weird/unusual in English.

August 17, 2018


So...this is just normal in Italian. For clothing, I don't have to use the possessive pronouns. What about other examples like "The man's apple is in his car" or "The girl's apple is on her table". Do you still drop the possessive pronouns in such scenarios?

May 7, 2019


But I think, this sentence should put the specific possessive to verify

September 27, 2018


It has been explained in another forum by a native Italian speaker (my mistake I didn't copy the link). She said it's a matter of daily speaking, it sounds off-putting using the possessive pronouns in this case.

January 14, 2014


Be that as it may, when they provided the exact same sentence earlier, it included the word "sua". Why have it there, but not here?

June 19, 2014


You are right! I wondering that "why" they translate "his"....

September 27, 2018


There may not be an article indicating "his" but would you really say "He has an apple in pocket" in English? Translation is more than a one to one correspondence between the words of each language.

December 31, 2012


I'm not looking for a one to one correspondence, but this translation contradicts everything I've been taught about Italian possessives. My point is not that I think it should be translated "He as an apple in pocket", but that the original sentence should have been "Il ragazzo ha una mela nella sua tasca".

January 1, 2013


I'm thinking that this is an italian figure of speech. It's kind of similar to how we say at home instead of at my home.

January 4, 2013


Good comparison

November 7, 2014


Or "at THE home". Clearly no one says it like that.

September 15, 2017


A native speaker weighed in on this in another thread and mentioned that Italians wouldn't ever use a possessive here because the verb implies "his pocket" or "your pocket" without another word to specify. It has less to do with grammar, and more to do with the way that it's just the way the phrase "in tasca" happens to be used in Italian.

February 8, 2013


Yeah that's why I'm confused too. I'm not looking for a perfect translation but I hate when it throws things like this at you without explaining the change (especially when it stressed the whole section about using pronouns to indicate possession)

September 16, 2014


That is really the concept of immersive teaching, I think--throw real examples at you, instead of grammatical explanations, and let the neural net in your brain start absorbing the models, without the distracting metadiscussions about models and reasons.

It is a more modern way to teach language, and one that duoLingo appears to embrace.

October 6, 2015


Shame it doesn't work for me.

September 21, 2018


That is what I wrote and was marked wrong. I understand what everyone has been saying in the dialogue above, but it's really difficult when you have been lead to believe that adding these pronouns is so important, and then in other cases it can be dropped. It's hard to know when it is ok to do so and when it is not. It may be redundant, but I wonder if it is so grammatically incorrect to add sua tasca that it is marked wrong. I did however check this sentence with google translate and they too leave out sua.

January 22, 2019


I'm here ready to argue with "pen in hand". I don't see why you wouldn't be able to say the same with this boy's apple.

January 8, 2013


I'm here to sing about how I've got brass "in tasca", and also "ho bottiglia".

Like "pen in hand", having something "in pocket" is a valid, if rarely used, English idiom, and makes sense in the limited context of the Italian text which is given, even if that is not the intended translation.

Thanks to the people here for clearing up the Italian side of things.

July 24, 2013


Lol just don't mention the rather less correct "ain't gonna use it" in the next line or so. Totally agree with you E_M_F. And I think exposure to idioms is totally necessary, but maybe Duolingo should just place an icon after the answer so that we understand that is why it is this way :)

July 24, 2013


Even though 'in pocket' is wrong English, I gave that as the answer, as there is no indication otherwise, & lost a heart :-( But the answer provided by DL was 'in a pocket'. Surely it should have been 'in una tasca' in that case. I beleive that 'nella sua tasca' or 'in sua tasca' would have been more appropriate.

July 1, 2014


you know the hearts aren't real, right?

August 28, 2014


I think you actually CAN say correctly "he has an apple in pocket" in English, it's just not heard very often.

July 18, 2014


I wanted to write in his pocket, but seeing that duo is always so specific I did it literally. I wish they would decide. Obviously in English we would never say in pocket.

March 27, 2013


Don't Brits speak this way, i.e. "in hospital" vs. the American form, "in the hospital"?

April 10, 2013


Yes, in hospital, like at school - I think we must just learn & accept that some things are idiomatic!

March 31, 2014


Yes, some things may be idiomatic, and I think it's great that we're learning them. But like a previous poster mentioned, it would be helpful if there was either 1) some consistency in usage or 2) an explanation of the fact that this usage means the same thing as the previous sentence (earlier in the same practice session) that was written "in sua tasca"...

June 19, 2014


Yeah they speak like in the north of England, mostly in and around the Yorkshire region.

October 14, 2014


I think Duolingo needs to stop with these idioms, or at least save them for higher levels.

July 2, 2013


you are correct. I am taking this as a refresher course, having studied Italian for many years. Duo just finished teaching possessives, and in stead of reinforcing the lesson, throws in and idomatic phrase. mi non piace questo

September 17, 2013


And worse, in the same practice session, I was given the exact same sentence, that time as "in sua tasca"...

June 19, 2014


Shouldn't it be "nella tasca"?

January 29, 2013


Would anyone elaborate why this isn't an acceptable answer? Does "nella tasca" translate to "your pocket"? (As shown in an online translator)

April 28, 2013


in another thread about this same issue just said it sounded weird. it (apparently) sounds like you are specifying a particular pocket out of many: so you could say nella tasca dei (?) pantaloni, to specify the pant pocket, but if its understood which pocket the person is talking about then "la" is not used

June 7, 2013


I'm a little confused: when do you use "in" as supposed to the different forms like nel, negli, nella etc. which are declined according to the noun that they modify?

January 7, 2014


Agreed. Wouldn't it be "in sua tasca"? Or whatever the possessive for him/her/it happens to be in this case

December 31, 2012


'in tasca' is more of an idiomatic expression, where it doesn't match up literally translated to English, but the full 'in his/her/its pocket' meaning is inferred. Just one of those language-specific subtleties that make you proud when you internalize.

January 29, 2013


I wrote that he has an apple in a pocket. Duo didn't like that. Was afraid it would ❤❤❤❤❤ around if i wrote the/his pocket. Gone is the heart.

November 21, 2013


"in tasca" appears to be idiomatic and it would be really helpful if Duolingo were to indicate that.

February 4, 2014


English is sometimes like this. Ex. "Pencil in hand, I began to write the letter."

March 27, 2014


Why is not "nella sua tasca" ?

May 4, 2014


I have another issue with this sentence, namely, how does one know when to use in over other words which translate into the English word in?

June 23, 2018


When is 'in' used and when is 'nel'?

July 5, 2018


Why not nella tasca?

September 16, 2018


A big THANK YOU to all that take the time to help me understand. Your explanations keep me going. I love Duo Lingo and your explantons help me over the inevitable obstacles!

February 12, 2019


Agree with the last comment. Also, I think maybe the reason why it is not "nella" tasca is exactly because it is always taken to mean in "his" pocket. Including "la" could perhaps disrupt this meaning.

May 20, 2013


Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe that both English phases are valid, with rather subtle difference in meaning. However if 'in tasca' so strongly implies 'his pocket' that we cannot translate without 'his' or ' the', what would be the Italian equivalent of 'in pocket'?

August 27, 2013


If I write "The boy has an apple in the pocket." that would be incorrect?

January 21, 2014


Duolingo says that the correct answer is :

The boy has an apple in "a" pocket.

Where does this "a" come from anyway?

February 19, 2014


Hello! I have a few questions concerning "in". When do I use the Italian word "in"? Does it mean the same as nel/nella/...? Could I use "nella" in this sentence and say "Il ragazzo ha una mela nella tasca"? Thanks!

March 19, 2014


Why is it "in" and not a form of "nel"

March 29, 2014


They shouldn't count it wrong the translation of 'apple in pocket' then.

June 6, 2014


Two things haven't been explained yet. First, why do we use in instead of nella here? Second, why isn't there the use of "la sua" here?

Please help us.

August 31, 2014


the voice lady is definitely better than the previous one but Italian cadence makes it seem like she say "in a tasca"

November 7, 2014


this is the first noun we've come across with no article!

November 27, 2014


... Or is he just a happy chappy?

December 13, 2014


wait...last time they wrote it different....

April 4, 2017


And i know how to use it!

April 29, 2017


ha una mela nella tasca doesn't say in his pocket

May 23, 2017


No it does not.

"Il ragazzo ha una mela in tasca" is a perfect italian sentence, - but the direct translation "The boy has an apple in pocket" is not a good translation.

May 24, 2017


The word sua is missing from the sentence

May 30, 2017


There is not any possesive article of the word "tasca"

July 20, 2017


In tasca is in pocket not his pocket

January 27, 2018


Where's the "his" in the Italian part :-/

February 14, 2018


There is no "his" word in italiano sentence.

April 9, 2018


"La tasca" is feminine. Why isn't it "nella tasca"?

August 6, 2018


Here you have the answer to the question re "Il ragazzo ha una mela nella sua tasca." "Sua" is implied, non e vero?

September 1, 2018


No possession

November 19, 2018


I agree with all commentators. Dear Owl, your traslation is confusing

February 7, 2019


It is hard to imagine that the boy has the apple in somebody else's pocket

February 7, 2019


does "in" mean "in (possesive here or 'the')"?

nel tasca = "in the pocket" nella sua tasca = "in his/her pocket" in tasca = "nel tasca" or "nella sua tasca"

Am I understanding it correctly?

December 27, 2013


returna mia heart

October 28, 2014


I want to be able to put an entire apple in my pocket. Thanks for the unrealistic standards Duolingo. Hehehe

December 31, 2014


Is that what they're calling it these days...

November 24, 2013


THis needs to be fixed!!!!! en la sua tasca

June 13, 2013
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