"Il ragazzo ha una mela in tasca."

Translation:The boy has an apple in his pocket.

December 30, 2012

This discussion is locked.


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


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).


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.

If somebody is pointing with 'la mano' wearing 'il cappello' or washing 'la faccia' it is safe to assume it is that persons hand, hat and face. If he/she was pointing with a hand belonging to somebody else, etcetera, then that would have been clearly stated.


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?)


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.


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.


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.


What if it is not his bike. I translate this as 'he takes the bike'. How would I know that you were saying it was his bike or someone else's?


You can easily wash someone else's face. .(A child or sick person for example.)


Yes you can, - but then that would have been clearly stated.

When the possessive is dropped you can assume the most common and obvious to be the fact.

[deactivated user]

    In China, they save face, and you can wash your son's face, so yes, it is needed to say you are washing YOUR face.


    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?


    I have worn someone else's jacket. Is it everything just assumed unless stated otherwise? This is a very hard thing for me to grasp after a life time of specifying everything. Im putting on my shoes. Im putting on shoes. This seems like more of a way of thinking about things than a language thing.


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

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    Inferring something is one thing and explicitly referring to it is another thing altogether. I think here is a lesson on an Italian idiom.


    I think that makes total sense!


    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.


    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?


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


    But "in tasca" is correct Italian. The translation should be correct English, but that is not possible if you leave out "his" or "the".


    You can't expect them to mould the Italian sentences around the English one. They are different languages. A literal translation will not always be required, and more importantly will often be incorrect.


    That's exactly what the other person is saying!


    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.


    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".


    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.


    Out of curiosity, I tried a few examples on Google translate. It seems for a few things it is "in xxx" in Italian, while for others it's "nel xxx" or a variation of nel. Here are examples I tried: Lui ha una mela ..... (He has an apple...)

    in tasca (in the pocket), in bottiglia (in the bottle), in mano (in the hand), in bocca (in the mouth), in frigo (in the fridge), in cucina (in the kitchen), in casa (in the house), in salotto (in the living room), in bagno (in the bathroom),


    nel portafoglio (in the wallet), nella borsa (in the bag), nei pantaloni (in the pants), nel cappello (in the hat), nello stivale (in the boot), nella scarpa (in the shoe), nella tazza (in the cup), nell'orecchio (in the ear), nel culo (in the ass), nella stanza (in the room).


    Did you really put an apple into his ass? Naughty boy


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


    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.


    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)


    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.


    Shame it doesn't work for me.


    It is probably going to work and fail to different levels for different students, and also depend how you supplement Duolingo.

    Many recommend supplementing Duolingo with other sources, especially to add more reading and listening.

    But also it can be helpful to watch explanatory videos about any difficult topics by other teachers on youtube (or wherever), because watching more explanatory videos can help: different teachers may explain differently, and may choose different examples.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 :)


    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.


    you know the hearts aren't real, right?


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


    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.


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


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


    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"...


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


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


    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


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


    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?


    Shouldn't it be "nella tasca"?


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


    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


    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!


    Why not nella tasca?


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


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


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


    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.


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


    We do this in English, too: The girl, pencil in hand, begins to write.


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


    '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.


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


    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?


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


    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!


    ...And yet the very next question asked me to picked "Il ragazzo ha una mela nella sua tasca" from three options translating The boy has an apple in his pocket

    See: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/502240


    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.


    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'?


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


    Duolingo says that the correct answer is :

    The boy has an apple in "a" pocket.

    Where does this "a" come from anyway?


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


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


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


    ... Or is he just a happy chappy?


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


    And i know how to use it!


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


    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.


    The word sua is missing from the sentence


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


    In tasca is in pocket not his pocket


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


    There is no "his" word in italiano sentence.


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


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


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


    Where in HIS (sua)?


    Please read the other comments. This has been answered numerous times. Including at the top of the page.


    I thought "nella tasca" was "in [his] pocket"? The audio definitely sounds like "in" but I thought I must be mistaken, mis-hearing perhaps because we haven't been introduced to "in" as an Italian word yet.... That was a bit of a curve ball.


    In tasca = in pocket


    In tasca = in his pocket?? Why in HIS pocket?


    Please read the comments. This has been answered numerous times including at the very top of the page.


    Care to elaborate?


    I am perplexed why the possessive pronoun is implied in this sentence when the sentence stands as it is in English


    That's why nobody believes in boys.


    That must be a very large pocket!


    This is annoying because you can NEVER know when articles are assumed in the sentences. DL is random in this aspect. Sometimes it is required; other times it's dropped. At this level, there NEEDS to be consistency.


    I don’t see the word for ‘his’ in the Italian phrase so did not write it as I often get dinged for putting in such words to make the English sound more English



    In this case, the word "in" represents "his". Italian has many articles like this, ones that don't come out as they may seem. The word "in" originates from Latin and in that case you will find it can be used to represent "in his/hers" as well.

    Hope this helped!


    Where is his in the italian sentence?


    The autogenerated voice is saying "tasta" for me, not tasca! Reported jul 2020


    It's the first time I hear "in"


    DL does not recognize the word ragazzo


    'The boy has an apple in pocket' should be accepted as correct


    It shouldn't be accepted, as it's not correct English. There are some posts at the top of the page that explain how this sentence works.


    Il ragazzo ha una mela Nella Tasca - - why is this wrong?


    Read the rest of the comments - there are good explanations.

    nella = in the, so would only be used with sua: nella sua tasca

    If you drop the possessive pronoun, you need to drop the "la" and you're left with in.

    This is done when there is no confusion over whose pocket contains the boy's apple!


    Why does it include his


    Same comment like others


    Fed up with apples, give the poor chap a pear !


    В этом разделе перпутыны два вопроса и два ответа. В одном "парень имеет яблоко в своем кармане" , перевод : просто "....в кармане", а в след.случае наоборот.


    В этом разделе перпутыны два вопроса и два ответа. В одном "парень имеет яблоко в своем кармане" , перевод : просто "....в кармане", а в след.случае наоборот.


    I agree. I should have gotten this one right.


    I'm really struggling to find out when to use in or nel, nello, nella, ect(for all in a di da su) Also sometimes a and in are exactly the same but one is correct and one is wrong


    Who can explain this- why 'in tasca' but not 'nella tasca'?


    It is rather obvious that the pocket belongs to the one wearing it and whenever the owner is obvious Italians drop the extra weight of the possessive construction, here "in + la sua tasca", (nella sua tasca), and shortens it to just "in tasca".

    And the apple is in his pocket, - not in the pocket.

    Ehhh . . . hope this was of at least some help.


    How come "in" is allowed to be spelled in English but "nello" is not?


    Where is "his" in italian translation?


    Why 'in tasca' is ' in HIS pocket'?


    There is only "in tasca" which means in pocket


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


    Since there's no "sua" included, the answer without "his" should be accepted.


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


    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?


    returna mia heart


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

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