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Italian Language/Direct/Indirect Objects

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I am currently working on Direct/Indirect Obj  - BooK;Prego 8th Edition Chap. 6.  I am confused by direct and indirect obj in terms of Whom(direct) and To/For Whom(indirect)  See example out of Prego book 8th edition page 134 below: Exercise # L'insegnante-  I got these 3 wrong

#3   Le ascolto con attenzione (answer key is  "la/lo")   and I put "Le" for the answer
         This could go either direct or indirect:  to her, I listen with attention or "her" I listen with attention
         There is a subtle difference in the: "Whom OR To Whom" part

#8    La offro un caffe un giorno (answer key is "le or gli")  and I put "la"
         This could also be :  to her I offer or "her I offer"
         HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT IS 'TO HER' OR JUST 'HER'  in similar sentences!!

#9   La  mostro foto della mia famiglia  (answer key is "le or gli")  I put La
         Her, I showed the foto makes more sense than "to her I showed the foto"

Thanks so much in advance for your help.  I'm really sruggling with these objects

Answer
Hello,

First of all the 3 examples that you mention with the answer key "la/lo" as a direct object of the transitive verb “ascoltare” (#3), "le or gli" and "le or gli" as indirect objects of “offrire” (#8) and “mostrare” (#9)  respectively , are correct because such Italian masculine or feminine singular  pronouns are required by the verbs used in those sentences, i.e. “ascoltare”, “offrire”, “mostrare”.
Italian direct and indirect obj in terms of  "Whom"(direct) and "To/For Whom"(indirect) depend, in fact,  on the verb of the sentence whose construction you can see in the dictionary where you can  find some examples such as “ascoltare qualcuno” corresponding to “to listen to somebody”, “offrire qualcosa a qualcuno” corresponding to “to offer something to somebody" or "to offer somebody something", and “mostrare qualcosa a qualcuno” corresponding to “to show something to somebody" or "to show somebody something", since both “to offer” and “to show” can use the person whom/to whom you are offering/showing  something either in the direct object  or in the indirect object, differently from the Italian verbs “offrire” and “mostrare” which require the indirect object for the person whom/to whom you are offering/showing  something.


That being stated, please note that:

1)in #3, since the answer key is  "la/lo", you should have written “La ascolto con attenzione” (I listen to her...) and “Lo ascolto con attenzione...” (I listen to him) where both  the feminine singular pronoun “la” and the masculine singular pronoun “lo” are the direct object of the transitive verb “ascoltare” which in Italian always takes  a direct object, whereas in English the verb “to listen” is a verb which requires an indirect object, i.e. “to her/ to him/ to them”.

As for what you wrote, i.e.  “Le ascolto con attenzione”,  I have to tell you that the  pronoun “le” in the feminine plural  would be the direct object of “ascoltare”  and would correspond to “to them” in the English sentence “I listen to them”, but the answer key was "la/lo" just to tell you that you must use a direct object in the feminine singular (la) or in the masculine singular (lo).

So, don’t forget that verbs which are transitive in Italian may be intransitive in English and vice versa.

For example, in Italian we say "ascoltare qualcuno" where "qualcuno" is the direct object, whereas in English we say "to listen to somebody" where "to somebody" is an indirect object.



2) in #8, since the answer key is  "le or gli",  you should have written “Le offro un caffè ….” ( I offer  her..) or “Gli offro un caffè …” (I offer him…)  where both  the feminine singular pronoun “le” and the masculine singular pronoun  “gli” are the indirect object of the  verb “offrire” which in Italian requires the direct object of what you are offering (“un caffè” in this sentence) and the indirect object of the person whom/to whom you are offering something (“le” or “gli” in this sentence).

As for what you wrote, i.e.   “La offro un caffè…”,  it is absolutely wrong because the verb “offrire” requires  the indirect object “le” in the feminine singular and “gli” in the masculine singular, since “le” stands for “a lei” and “gli” stands for “a lui”, both depending on “offrire”, since in Italian we say "offrire qualcosa a qualcuno" corresponding to "to offer something to somebody" or "to offer somebody something".


Therefore   your question “HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT IS 'TO HER' OR JUST 'HER'  in similar sentences“ makes no sense, because the Italian verb “offrire” takes the direct object of what you are offering and the indirect object of the person whom/to whom you are offering something (“le” or “gli” here), whereas  the  English verb “offer” can  take two objects as in “I feel bad that I didn't offer them any food”, but also a direct object and an indirect object as in “I feel bad that I didn't offer any food to them”.

To sum up, “Le offro un caffè” and “Gli offro un caffè” can mean either “I offer her /him a coffee” and “I offer a coffee to her/to him”, but in Italian we cannot say "La offro un caffè" where the feminine pronoun "la" would be a direct object which is absolutely wrong for the verb "offrire" always requires the indirect object of the person whom/to whom you are offering something.



3)in #9, since the answer key is  "le or gli", you should have written “ Le  mostro le foto della mia famiglia” (I show her…) and “I show him…”, where both  the feminine singular pronoun “le” and the masculine singular pronoun  “gli” are the indirect object of the verb “mostrare”  which takes the direct object of what you are showing ("le foto", here)  and the indirect object of the person whom/to whom you are showing something (“le” or “gli” here), whereas  the  English verb “show ” can  take two objects as in “ Let me show him this new book I've just bought”, but also  a direct object and an indirect object as in “You ought to show this book to him”.

As for what you wrote, i.e.“La mostro foto della mia famiglia", it is absolutely wrong because the verb “mostrare” requires  the indirect object “le” in the feminine singular and “gli” in the masculine singular , since “le” stands for “a lei” and “gli” stands for “a lui”, both depending on “mostrare”, since in Italian we say "mostrare qualcosa a qualcuno" corresponding to "to show something to somebody" or "to show somebody something".


As you can see, Italian direct and indirect obj in terms of  "Whom"(direct) and "To/For Whom"(indirect) depend on the verb of the sentence whose construction you can see in the dictionary where you can find some examples that explain how to use a direct/indirect object with reference to each verb.

Hope all is clear enough, though the matter is not so easy. Feel free however to ask me again.

Best regards,

Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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