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Fare a Meno and Tale e Quale

The useful expression fare a meno (to do without) comes up in a recent installment of L'Arte della Cucina:


L'armonia non può fare a meno dei contrasti,

Harmony can't do without contrasts,

che possono essere numerosi.

which may be numerous.

Caption 14, L'arte della cucina - La Prima Identitá

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Let's take a look at each separate word.

Fare means "to make" or "to do" (see this lesson about fare).
A is a preposition meaning any number of things, mostly "at," "to," or "in," but not specifically "with," so we need to stretch our imaginations a bit, and accept the fact that prepositions don't always correspond. 
Meno has a couple of different meanings, including "minus," which in this case, makes sense.


At the same time, let's not forget that the most common translation for meno is "less," or, when there's an article in front of it, "least":

a meno che (unless)
almeno (at least)


See WordReference, for more about fare a meno.


In a recent episode of Dixiland, there's an interesting expression: tale e quale.


O forse l'autoritratto di Lolalù?

Or maybe the self-portrait by Lolalù?

"Tale e quale, Lolalù."

"Exactly like Lolalù."

Captions 43-44, Dixiland - Coppa di cioccolato

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If we take the expression apart, we have two principal words. Tale has a long list of definitions and translations. It can mean, as a noun, "that person," or as an adjective, "certain," "similar," "aforementioned," and more. Quale (which) has some different sfumature (nuances), but it mostly means "which," or "which one."

In English, we might also say "the spitting image of Lolalù." "To spit" in Italian is sputare, and in fact, sputare is also used to say pretty much the same thing: sputato a LolalùTale e quale is probably easier to remember and easier to say!


Merely connecting these words together with e (and) doesn't make a whole lot of sense, so it's best to think of tale e quale as an idiomatic expression, a compound adjective, you might call it, meaning "exactly the same." 

E a noi napoletani ci fa diventare tali e quali ai milanesi.

And she makes us Neapolitans become exactly like Milanese.

Caption 58, Moscati, l'amore che guarisce EP1 - Part 6

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Attenzione! In buying and selling, you might find this (without the conjunction): tale quale, which means "as is." 


Just for fun:

Non potevo fare a meno di andare dal parrucchiere. I miei capelli erano troppo disordinati. Appena sono entrata, il parrucchiere m’ha detto: “siediti pure, ho quasi finito.” Poi ha preso in mano un phon per asciugare i capelli di un altro cliente. Devo dire che quell' asciugacapelli era tale e quale al mio. Uguale uguale!... A meno che non fosse proprio il mio, rubato da lui. Sto scherzando... figuriamoci! Avrei fatto a meno della musica che era troppo forte, ma almeno mi ha pettinato molto bene, e in fretta. Dopo, non potevo fare a meno di mangiare un bel gelato.


I couldn't do without going to the hairdresser's. My hair was too messy. As soon as I went in, the hairdresser said, "Go ahead and have a seat. I'm almost finished." Then he took the blow dryer to dry another client's hair. I have to say that that hair dryer was exactly like mine. The same, identical!... Unless it really was mine, stolen by him. I'm kidding... no way! I could have done without the music, which was too loud, but at least he styled my hair nicely, and quickly. Afterwards, I couldn't have done without having a nice ice cream cone.


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