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A Grammatical Look at Giving Gifts

The bellissimo music video Il regalo più grande (the greatest gift) is a reminder that some of the best gifts can’t be bought with money. If you check out the previous lesson, Gifts and Giving, you’ll be all set to understand what Tiziano Ferro is singing about.

Per cominciare (to start with), remember that in Italian, gifts (regali) are “made,” not "given," so we use the verb fare (to make):

 

Voglio farti un regalo

I want to give you a gift

Caption 1, Tiziano Ferro - Il regalo più grande

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

And let's not forget that other word for "gift," dono, along with its verb form donare, used in special, often more formal situations:

 

Vorrei donare il tuo sorriso alla luna

I'd like to give your smile to the moon

Caption 9, Tiziano Ferro - Il regalo più grande

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Let’s look at these lyrics from a grammatical punto di vista (point of view). Tiziano sings in the present tense at the beginning of the song: voglio farti un regalo (I want to give you a gift). He goes on to use the conditional vorrei donare (I would like to give). But further on in the song, he would like to receive a gift, and the grammar gets a bit more complex:

 

Vorrei mi facessi un regalo

I would like you to give me a gift

Un sogno inespresso

An unexpressed dream

Donarmelo adesso

To give it to me now

Captions 18-20, Tiziano Ferro - Il regalo più grande

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He again uses the first person conditional of volere (to want), "vorrei" (I would like), but turns the phrase around, which calls for the subjunctive of fare (to make) in the second person imperfect, facessi. Translating it a bit more loosely may help it make more sense: “I would like [it if] you gave me a gift.”

And finally, he uses the infinitive donare (minus the final e), the indirect object/personal pronoun me, and the direct object lo all in one single word, donarmelo.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

Learning suggestion:

Take a look at the conjugations of fare (to make, to do) and volere (to want). You might even be surprised to see that you know more conditional forms of these verbs than you thought, just from hearing them. Go one step further and take any of those conjugations, for example, faresti (second person conditional of fare), and do a Yabla search to find out how it’s used in the videos.

Learn more about Tiziano Ferro as he talks about his approach to writing songs, and about ecological awareness.

Grammar

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