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I am studying Italian on Duolingo, and I was asked to translate

"The pink shirt is hers"

I have translated the sentence to

La camicia rosa e la tua

but was corrected to

La camicia rosa e la sua

I can't seem to distinguish between the two - when should I use one and not the other ?

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    It seems that you should study Italian possessive adjectives. Notice also that the third person singular of present indicative of the verb "essere" is "è" with an accent. – Charo Nov 16 '16 at 18:35
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    Once in a while someone arrives here from Duolingo with a clueless question. I trust the goodwill of these people; I trust a little less the effectiveness of Duolingo. – DaG Nov 16 '16 at 18:37
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In this case the shirt belongs to a person which is neither the speaker nor the person listening, but a third different person.

So you translate "la camicia rosa è la sua".

If you say "la camicia rosa è la tua" you would translate "the pink shirt is yours", meaning that it belongs to the person you're talking to.

Have a look to Italian possessive adjectives if you want to learn more.

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5

The possessive adjectives in Italian are

first person singular: mio/mia/miei/mie
second personal singular: tuo/tua/tuoi/tue
third person singular: suo/sua/suoi/sue
first person plural: nostro/nostra/nostri/nostre
second person plural: vostro/vostra/vostri/vostre
third person plural: loro

The list is in the usual order, with the full declension for the masculine and feminine form, singular and plural. Note that the plural third person form is invariable.

These adjectives are also used as pronouns, so they correspond to the English forms

first person singular: my/mine
second person singular: your/yours (archaic: thy/thine)
third person singular: his/her/hers/its
first person plural: our/ours
second person plural: your/yours
third person plural: their/theirs

The difference between Italian and English is that in Italian the adjective agrees with the gender of the possessed thing, whilst in English it agrees with the gender of the possessor.

Since the English pronoun is in the third person singular, the same should be used in Italian:

La camicia rosa è sua

The same sentence would translate the English The pink shirt is his.

The suggested translation by Duolingo is disputable: in this case the article in front of the possessive is not at all required: it can be used for special emphasis in standard Italian; however, some varieties of Italian use it regularly and it may sound strange to people like me.


By the way, la camicia rosa e la tua means a very different thing from la camicia rosa è (la) tua. The latter is the pink shirt is yours, the former means the pink shirt and yours. Never forget the accent on è (present tense, third person singular of essere).

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