Lezioni italiano

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Meritare (to deserve, to merit)

Let's look at a word used in a recent episode of Volare that has both a verb and a noun form. It's an easy cognate, but you might not think of it, since "to deserve" is the verb we would use in English, and alas, it has no cognate in Italian.

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So meritare is a good verb to know. The noun form is il merito. In English, we would usually say "Thanks to [someone or something]."  Or we might say, "The credit is all yours/his/hers/theirs." So, you'll probably understand these words when you see them, especially when they are in a clear context, but you might not add them to your vocabulary if you are thinking in English. They are worth adopting, though. "Being worth it" is another way to translate meritare!

È merito della signora se sono qui, eh. -No, Lei è qui perché se lo merita, non deve ringraziare nessuno.

It's thanks to the lady if I am here, huh. -No. You are here because you deserve to be. You don't have to thank anyone.

Captions 22-24, Volare - La grande storia di Domenico Modugno Ep. 1 - Part 9

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You might have noticed that the speaker uses the reflexive form of meritare, meritarsi. Both ways are OK, but when it's reflexive it feels a bit more personal (and it's a bit more complicated to use).

Il successo l'hai meritato.

Il succeso te lo sei meritato.

 

Let's look at some examples from Yabla videos:

Se hai una pessima idea di me, me lo merito.

If you have a bad impression of me, I deserve it.

Caption 72, Il Commissario Manara S1EP5 - Il Raggio Verde - Part 2

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Se questa operazione è riuscita, il merito è tuo. Brava, Sardi.

If this operation succeeded, it's thanks to you. Very good, Sardi.

Caption 26, Il Commissario Manara S2EP4 - Miss Maremma - Part 12

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Eh, va be', però bisogna avvertirlo, perché il critico ha dato tutto il merito a te.

Well, all right, but you should let him know because the critic gave you all the credit.

Caption 24, La Ladra Ep. 5 - Chi la fa l'aspetti - Part 1

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Pensavo di meritare di più dalla vita.

I thought I deserved more from life.

Caption 19, Il Commissario Manara S2EP10 -La verità nascosta - Part 13

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Poi sicuramente Pisa merita una visita con la sua torre pendente che non casca mai.

Then, of course, Pisa is worth a visit with its leaning tower that never falls.

Captions 75-76, L'Italia a tavola Interrogazione sulla Toscana

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As you can see in the final example, to deserve something and be worth something are very close. Sometimes they are interchangeable. They are in Italian too, so check out our lesson about valere (to be worth). 

Vocabulary

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