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"Il ragazzo ha una mela in tasca."

Translation:The boy has an apple in his pocket.

December 30, 2012

113 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dripdrip1

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/microphone83

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).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MelusineLarina

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?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolarBear667564

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gingin448790

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JanAdiputra

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Russell204109

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaurelMont6

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ron449068

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hector290697

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ron449068

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sonexay1

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Esther485620

I think that makes total sense!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chieu308246

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RifkyAkbar

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LINBUR0100

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sonexay1

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fiyalka2

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tom567806

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Domi655

That's exactly what the other person is saying!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/imbi

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dripdrip1

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".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/styxenthusiast

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WFsvHJ

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),

vs.

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).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pogodziej

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/apophenia

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hayley_t

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)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/filipmc

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnthonyDou430804

Shame it doesn't work for me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisa79533

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/copesettic

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrFoard

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Curlygirly

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 :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/r4ace

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mariannarelli

you know the hearts aren't real, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melaninja

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Polyglotta

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shanoodle

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EstelleTweedie

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LINBUR0100

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"...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/a-muktar

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/damnthisaccount

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JxPatrizia

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LINBUR0100

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mariaelena256

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Merriam-Webster

Shouldn't it be "nella tasca"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ziggKogg

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jmarzw

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stardustnight

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marikawait

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joeliscano

Why is not "nella sua tasca" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/trick_master

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheChadsMaestro

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nautilusp

Why not nella tasca?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdrianTAMW

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/swiatko2

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kevinmorton

'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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gullideckel

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jarinhumphrey

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/minimi1984

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elliefi

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elin.7-1

...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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maggie314

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Curlygirly

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nj0tr

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'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ldcm.92

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alchoburn

Duolingo says that the correct answer is :

The boy has an apple in "a" pocket.

Where does this "a" come from anyway?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aeworu

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/passionfruit12

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rilesmiles

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrSunshine251

... Or is he just a happy chappy?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wildflamer17

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/H.G.Stolk27

And i know how to use it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fevy99

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marninger

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnthonyCie4

The word sua is missing from the sentence


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ugurcukkk

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuliemanFa

In tasca is in pocket not his pocket


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Claudio_Manofaro

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SuleKucuk

There is no "his" word in italiano sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Elena75121

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Douglas381466

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrisRoze

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrisRoze

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Olga115684

Where in HIS (sua)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aidian5

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rachelvaug285797

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SilvieV.

In tasca = in pocket


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SilvieV.

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aidian5

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aidian5

Care to elaborate?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paolo336608

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bhanu_Pratap_

That's why nobody believes in boys.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WillT0930

That must be a very large pocket!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KoriSears

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JaneClarke491299

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aidian5

JaneClarke,

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KayLi160760

Where is his in the italian sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/speaktorob

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rose131773

It's the first time I hear "in"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarekPrn

DL does not recognize the word ragazzo


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PotatoGirl00

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Don_Abramo

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dgasim

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tebo33unm

returna mia heart


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brucehopson2000

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

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