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"Pure" - Not Pure and Simple!

One of our Yabla subscribers has asked about the word pure. It does get translated differently in different contexts, so it can be a bit confusing. This one short word has a few different but related connotations. On the simple end of the scale it’s an adverb—another way of saying anche (also, too, as well).


In the following example, both anch’io and io pure mean pretty much the same thing. There’s no particular emotion attached to the word. It’s matter-of-fact.

Anch'io. -Anch'io. -Io pure.

So do I. -So do I. -Me too.

Caption 65, Un medico in famiglia Stagione 1 - EP2 - Il mistero di Cetinka Part 9

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In the example below, however, the meaning of pure is technically the same (meaning “also,” “too,” “as well”) but there’s some sort of emotion involved, as if one were saying, “not only is she pretty, but she’s smart too!” (as if that weren't to be expected...):

Bellina e pure brava questa Rubino.

Pretty, and also smart, this Rubino.

Caption 1, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP1 - Un delitto perfetto Part 8

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In the example below, pure is still an adverb, but this time gets translated as “even.” Let’s remember that anche can also mean “even” in certain situations. Some Italians will tell you that pure quite simply means anche. In fact, one could even swap pure with anche, and it would mean much the same thing.

È incredibile, fai pure finta di non ricordare.

It's incredible, you even pretend not to remember.

Caption 13, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP1 - Un delitto perfetto Part 5

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Below is another example where the sense of pure is “even.” We could use “as well” or “too,” but it would be a bit of a stretch. In fact pure is a way to raise your eyebrows without actually doing so. It adds an emotional element.

Eh, questo, fa resuscitare pure i morti!

Yes, this, will revive even the dead!

Caption 59, Un medico in famiglia Stagione 1 -EP2 - Il mistero di Cetinka Part 8

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The following example is one in which pure requires more than a one-word translation. It’s used in contexts where we would use “go ahead” in English.

Senti, se ti va di metterti nei guai fallo pure,

Listen, if you want to get yourself in trouble, go ahead.

Caption 5, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP2 - Vendemmia tardiva Part 9

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Fallo pure! can be translated as “go right ahead!” [literally: “do it nevertheless”].       

Pure as “go ahead” is also used a lot in offices and such places, where someone will either ask you to have a seat, or to go in. It can also be interpreted as “it’s OK if you…” since when you say “go ahead,” you’re giving permission. Here are some formal and informal examples:

Si sieda pure.
Go ahead and have a seat.

Siediti pure.
Go ahead and sit down.

Si accomodi pure.
Go ahead and make yourself comfortable. [Have a seat.]

Accomodati pure.
Go ahead and make yourself at home. [Also, as a sarcastic retort: "Be my guest!"]

Vada pure avanti.
Go ahead and lead. [After you.]

Vai pure avanti.
Go right ahead.
Go ahead and take the lead.
It’s all right if you go in front of me.

We often hear a more literary form of purepur, which basically means the same thing, although it’s considered a conjunction. It’s used to mean “though,” “although,” “yet,” and tends to occur before a gerundio (gerund) form of a verb, as in the following example.

Pur essendo partito in una situazione di un ristorante

Though getting its start as a restaurant situated

di fronte all'ortofrutta [fruttivendolo]...

across from the vegetable market...

Captions 1-2, L'arte della cucina - La Prima Identitá - Part 6

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It’s also frequent to find eppure (and yet, yet, still, but, nevertheless, all the same), which has the same root. In this case it’s a stand-alone conjunction and will likely be followed by a comma.

Eppure, il rischio vulcanico non ha mai allontanato i suoi abitanti.

And yet the volcanic risk has never sent its inhabitants away.

Caption 23, Linea Blu - Sicilia Part 9

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In the same vein, we have neppure, which like neanche means “not even.”

E per di più non è neppure la stessa persona

And what's more, it's not even the same person

Caption 1, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP3 - Rapsodia in Blu Part 13

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Tying it all together in context, just for fun:

Dialogo fra 2 maratonisti:

Francesca: Pur essendo anziano, vai forte! 
Massimo: Sì, ma vai pure avanti, ti raggiungo dopo la corsa. Mi sono allenato come un pazzo, eppure, sto facendo fatica. 
Francesca: Pure io sto facendo fatica. Fermati pure due minuti per riprendere fiato!
Massimo: Se tu ti vuoi fermare, fallo pure. Io non ci penso neanche! Neppure per sogno!
Francesca: Io pure non voglio fermarmi. A dopo!

Al traguardo...

Francesca: Ma... Sei arrivato prima tu! Eppure, eri stanchissimo.
Massimo: È vero, mi hai pure superato ad un certo punto, t’ho visto. Ma poi... puressendo stanco morto, ce l’ho fatta!


Dialogue between two marathon runners:

Francesca: Even though you’re old, you’re fast!
Massimo: Yes, but go ahead and go, I’ll catch up to you after the race. I trained like crazy, but nevertheless, I’m having a tough time.
Francesca: I’m having a tough time as wellGo ahead and stop two minutes to catch your breath!
Massimo: If you want to stop, go right ahead. I won’t even think of it! [No way!] I wouldn’t even dream of it!
Francesca: I don’t want to stop, either. See you later!

At the finish line...

Francesca: But... You finished before me! And yet, you were very tired.
Massimo: It’s true. You even passed me at a certain point, I saw you. But then... even though I was dead tired, I made it!


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