Future and Conditional in the First Person Plural

Daniela’s lesson this week explains how to form the conditional with verbs ending in “-are.” But endings notwithstanding, the first person plural of verbs will always have a single “m” in the future, and a double “m” in the conditional. So, aside from learning the conjugations, it’s important, as Daniela mentions, to be able to distinguish between -emo, and -emmo. Let’s focus for a moment on the first person plural of the future and the conditional. It’s a good chance to practice double “m’s.”

 

Here’s the future tense of potere (to be able to) and riuscire (to manage to), with one “m.” The narrator is about to show us some film clips, so it’s a sure thing.

In una serie di filmati, eh, nella [sic] nel tempo di una pausa caffè,
potremo vedere alcuni eh castelli, alcuni anfiteatri, alcuni templi, della regione della Campania.
In questo modo appunto riusciremo a parlare di tutte [sic] questi siti archeologici
e di quello che hanno significato su questo territorio.
In a series of film segments, uh, in the time of a coffee break,
we'll be able to see some, uh, castles, some amphitheaters, some temples, of the region of Campania.
That way, we'll be able to talk about all of these archaeological sites
and about what they represented in this territory.
Captions 9-12, Escursioni Campane: Castello Normanno - Part 1 of 2 

 

In the following example, we find the conditional, so in this case there are two “m’s.” Can you hear them? Try practicing the difference between potremo and potremmo!

Se ti invito a cena questa sera potremmo leggerli tutti.
If I invite you for supper tonight we could read all of them.
Caption 54,  Il Commissario Manara 1: Un delitto perfetto - Ep. 1 - Part 2  

 

Let’s look at some more examples. Try rolling them around on your tongue, making sure that the double “m” sits there a moment before pronouncing the “o.”

 

In the next examples, the meaning is clear. The autopsy is going to take place, so they will find out what they need to know. They use the future.

Se ci sono altre cose lo scopriremo dopo l'autopsia. -Qualcosa la sappiamo già adesso.
If there are other things, we'll find that out after the autopsy. -We already know something right now.
Caption 13, Il Commissario Manara 1: Le Lettere Di Leopardi - Ep 4 - Part 2  

 

In the following example, chef Gualtiero Marchesi uses se (if) plus the subjunctive in one clause, and the conditional in the other. This is a classic combination.

Noi finiamo sempre con l'aggiungere delle cose che saranno anche buone,
ma se provassimo a [sic: ad] approcciare il prodotto per il prodotto,
credo che scopriremmo un mondo nuovo.
We always end up adding things that may well be good,
but if we tried approaching a product for the product itself,
I think we'd discover a new world.
Captions 18-20, L'arte della cucina: Terre d'Acqua - Part 2  

 

For more about the conditional and subjunctive together see this lesson.

 

To hear more words in the future and conditional, look them up on a conjugation chart, at WordReference, for example, and then do a Yabla search of the conjugation you want to examine, so you can hear the verbs in context pronounced by Italians.

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Education and Educazione: Friends or Not?

English speakers think of school when they hear the word “education.” But educazione in Italian usually means something a bit different. Check out what Italian words correspond to the English “education.” Istruzione is a common one. This sounds like “instruction,” so we can understand it well enough, although we usually think of instruction as in “instructions” for how to do something. Titolo di studio is another one. This is about what diplomas or degrees you have. Formazione is another. This refers to what one has been trained in. Gli studi corresponds to “studies,” and refers to the schools one has attended, and what someone has majored in, but English speakers can easily forget that educazione is more about upbringing, and teaching one’s children (or pets) to behave, than about going to school.

 

Here are some reminders from Yabla videos.

 

If you’ve been following La Tempesta, you know that Paolo, a Venetian unemployed wealthy factory-owner’s son has suddenly taken on, against his will, responsibility for his brother’s adopted son, an orphan from Russia. They are both having a rough time of it. The following comment (from this week’s new video) is from a meeting with the school principal after the kid got in a fight. They are not talking about book learning here.

Ma prima di metterlo in classe con i bambini normali,
bisognerebbe educarlo.
But before putting him in a class with normal children,
one should teach him some manners.
Caption 10, La Tempesta: film - Part 11 of 26 

 

In the following example, we’re talking about a dog. For Caterina, the dog is part of the family so she talks about him as if he were a person (with bad manners).

Sempre in giro a ficcanasare questo cagnazzo... Lo devi scusare Malvina, è un gran maleducato...
Always snooping around this old dog... You have to excuse him, Malvina, he's really bad-mannered...
Captions 42 - 43, Il Commissario Manara 1: Vendemmia tardiva - Ep. 2 - Part 6 of 17  

 

In the following example, Manara has called his boss in the middle of the night for something he thought was molto importante and urgente. His boss didn’t appreciate it per niente (at all)!

Non si azzardi più a chiamarmi a quest'ora, maleducato!
Don't you dare call me again at this hour, how rude!
Caption 55, Il Commissario Manara 1: Il Raggio Verde - Ep 5 - Part 12 of 14 

 

In actual fact, his boss uses maleducato as a noun, as is common in Italian. Indeed, it’s a common insult to somebody who is not being polite. It implies that the person was brought up badly—maleducato—and therefore has no manners. The adjective “rude” in English gives the idea. “Disrespectful” could have worked, too.

 

P.S.

Male (evil, badly) is often used as a prefix, lending its "badness" to other words. It’s often truncated to mal. Male is both a noun and an adverb. Technically the adjective form is malo, as in: ha reagito in malo modo (he reacted in a bad way). But colloquially, people do say non è male to mean something’s not bad, even though male isn’t an adjective. A correct way to describe something as "not bad," would be with malvagio (wicked). These days, malvagio is usually used in the negative, to say “not bad,” in talking about something you’re eating or drinking, for example:

Non è malvagio questo vino (this wine isn't bad = it's drinkable).

 

Or a movie you’ve seen: 

Quel film non era malvagio (that movie wasn't so bad).

Maledire (to curse someone, to wish someone ill)
Maldestro (maladroit, clumsy)

 

There are plenty more words with mal where these come from. Take out your dizionario!
 

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When O's Become U's - Welcome to Sicily

One of Yabla’s current offerings is about Sicily. The Giuseppe Pitrè videos are peppered with phrases in the Sicilian dialect. As a matter of fact, although we call it a dialect, it’s actually a language all its own.

 

The Italian State was born only in 1861. Textbooks began being uniformly published in the Italian language as late as 1928.  Before that, different regions in what later became Italy had wildly different ways of expressing themselves, and in many cases still do.

 

Even now there are still plenty of people, mostly pensionati (retirees) by now, who have had only minimal schooling and never learned Italian, let alone to read and write. If they had children, the children became bilingual in order to both go to school and be able to communicate with their parents. So these languages are still alive, thanks also to folk traditions of theater and poetry, such as the ones described in the above-mentioned videos.

 

When you’re learning the language, it's hard enough to follow someone speaking Italian, let alone someone speaking in dialect, as in the Pitrè videos. Remember, though: You don’t need to actually learn Sicilian or any other regional language. But being in the know about some of a dialect's characteristics can enable you to enjoy the differences (and understand something) rather than being overwhelmed by them. Italy's linguistic diversity is part of what makes the country so interesting.

 

From these Pitrè videos, you’ll notice for example, that the “o” in Italian often becomes “u” in Sicilian. The “e” often  becomes “ie.”

Signuri mei, vi cuntu di Giufà [Signori miei, vi racconto di Giufà],
ca una ni pienza e milli ni fa [che una ne pensa e mille ne fa].

My gentlemen, I'll tell you about Giufà,
who thinks of one thing and does a thousand of them.

Vai Giuseppe, curri [corri]Curri [corri], fratello!
Go, Giuseppe, runHurry up, brother!
Caption 51, Dottor Pitrè: e le sue storie - Part 2 of 15

In the examples above, the pronunciation is decidedly different, but the words are the same as or similar to Italian.

 

Sometimes, though, vocabulary changes completely, or almost completely. One Sicilian word that comes to mind is picciotto (young man or boy). Just picking out that one word (and variants of it) can allow you to feel like you're in the know.

E ddu picciotto, un avennu né piccioli pi manciari, ci rissi [E quel ragazzo, non avendo nemmeno soldi per mangiare, gli disse]:
And that boy, not even having money for food, told him,
Se, cietto ca mi vogghiu mettiri in 'sta scummissa [Sì, certo che voglio fare questa scommessa]!
“Yes, of course, I want to make a bet!”
Captions 39-41, Dottor Pitrè: e le sue storie - Part 4 of 15

When the boy speaks, you’ll notice that, as mentioned above, the “e” in certo (of course) becomes “ie.” In addition, the “r” disappears altogether and it becomes cietto.

The more you listen to Italians speaking, the more you'll notice regional differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, and syntax, as well as in general inflection. It can be fun to guess where someone is from!

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The Mystery of the Hidden Pronouns

To form a sentence, we need a subject and a verb. For the moment, let’s stick to the most normal kinds of subjects: nouns and pronouns.

 

At the beginning of the following example, it’s fairly easy to find the subject and verb:

Dixi uscì di casa leggero più di una piuma leggera, perché non aveva ancora fatto merenda. 
Dixi left the house, lighter than a light feather because he had not yet had a snack.
Captions 3-4,  Dixieland: Il singhiozzo

 

If we look at the second part of the sentence, however, we see the verb avere (to have) in its simple past tense aveva (had). But where is the equivalent of the pronoun “he” that we see in the English translation?

That’s one of the tricky things about learning Italian. The pronoun is included in the verb.

 

It can be hard to find the subject if we can't see it! How can we tell what the pronoun would be if we can’t see it? Conjugation tables help in finding out what person the verb is expressed in but we also have to get used to the fact that we "get" more than we "see."

 

Here are a few examples of how this works:

Ho (I have)
Hai (you have)
Ha (he, she, it has)
Abbiamo (we have)
Avete (you [plural] have)
Hanno (they have)

 

We can’t always know if the implied pronoun is masculine or feminine, because “he” and “she” have the same conjugation. We have to rely on previous information in the sentence or paragraph to know more precisely which it is. In the example above, the subject is Dixi, the flying elephant, who, for our purposes, is a male. Since we’ve already mentioned him by name at the beginning of the sentence, we don’t need to repeat it. Aveva means “he had.” But we could also say:

Dixi non aveva ancora fatto merenda (Dixi had not yet had a snack).

 

So, the verb is identical whether the noun is present or not. The noun will only be repeated if we want to emphasize that it’s Dixi, and not someone else.

 

By the same token, if we wanted to include a pronoun, we could. If we needed to stress “he,” we could say:

Lui non aveva ancora fatto merenda (he had not yet had a snack).

If Dixi were a female, we’d say:

Lei non aveva ancora fatto merenda (she had not yet had a snack).

So aveva could mean “he had,” “she had,” “it had,” or just “had.”

 

In the present tense, it can be tricky to perceive or use the verb avere (to have) or essere (to be) in the third person singular because they’re both such short words, and not only that: Ha (has, he has, she has, it has) is written with an H but that H is silent! So what are we left with? A lonely “Ah” sound. È (is, he is, she is, it is) is short, too, and you need to be careful to use an open “E.” Otherwise, without the grave accent, it means “and.”

 

So not only do these two verbs go by quickly, but the pronoun “he,” “she,”  or “it” may also be hidden within it!

 

In the following example, we see that the subject of the paragraph is Villa Borghese. Once it has been mentioned by name, we don’t need to repeat it, as long as no other word gets in the way to cause confusion. We use a pronoun, just as we would in English, but it’s important to remember that in Italian, the pronoun is included in the verb itself, so we don’t see it. The second sentence uses the verb essere in the third person singular, and the third sentence uses avere in the third person singular.

Villa Borghese è un grandissimo parco.
Villa Borghese is a very large park.
È il più grande di Roma dopo Villa Doria Pamphilj e dopo Villa Ada.
It's the biggest park of Rome after Villa Doria Panfili and after Villa Ada.
Ha nove ingressi. Tutti diversi naturalmente.
It has nine entrances. All different, obviously.
Captions 2-4, Anna presenta: Villa Borghese - Part 1  

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Stare: Another Way of Being

In one of Daniela’s recent lessons, she covers an important modo di dire (figure of speech): stare per (to be about to).

 

Sto per cadere (I'm about to fall).

 

But let’s also take a closer look at the verb stare (to be). It’s so similar to essere (to be) and translates much the same way, but if we think of the word “state,” as in “the state of things,” so close in spelling to stare, it might help us see what this verb is about.

 

The state can be physical—how someone looks:

Anche tu, stai proprio bene. -Grazie, però tu hai un volto molto riposato.
You look really good, too. -Thanks, but you have a very rested face [you look rested].
Caption 2, Anna e Marika: Villa Torlonia - La Casina delle Civette 

 

Come sto con questo vestito?
How do I look in this dress?

 

It can be about how someone feels—about their state of health or happiness.

Come stai? How are you?
Sto bene (I’m good, I’m fine, I’m well, cured, healed).
Sta male. (He/she is ill, distraught, overtired, etc.)

 

Stare is often used in command forms that translate as “to be.”

Stai attento. Bene, bravo, bravo!
Be watchful [be careful]. Good, brilliant, brilliant!
Caption 29, Il Commissario Manara 1: Vendemmia tardiva - Ep. 2 - Part 6  

 

Lara, io... -Stai zitta, non dire niente.
Lara, I... -Be quiet, don't say a thing.
Caption 1,  Il Commissario Manara 1: Le Lettere Di Leopardi - Ep 4 - Part 13

 

We use stare for other commands like:

Stai tranquillo (be in a state of tranquillity [don’t worry])
Stai fermo (be still)
Stai qui (stay here)

 

We also use stare to construct the presente progressivo (present continuous/progressive) in Italian. We conjugate the verb stare and follow it with the gerundio (gerund) of the verb of our choosing.

Stiamo cercando di risalire al proprietario attraverso il numero del telaio.
We're trying to trace the owner through the chassis serial number.
Caption 44, Il Commissario Manara 1 - Vendemmia tardiva - Ep. 2 - Part 7

 

Questo posto mi sta distruggendo.
This place is destroying me.
Caption 5, Il Commissario Manara 1 - Vendemmia tardiva - Ep. 2 - Part 7

 

Although Italian tenses don’t always correspond to English ones as we would expect, the present progressive is an important tense in Italian. Marika explains it here.

 

Practice:

 

Stare is an ever-present, very important verb to be familiar with. When you get up in the morning, think about how you feel, how you look, what you’re doing at the moment, and what you are about to do. You can use stare for all these considerations. Here’s an example to get you started.

 

Ho dormito bene, quindi sto abbastanza bene, ma di sicuro non sto bene con i capelli così in disordine. Sto pensando alla mia colazione. Sto per mangiare gli ultimi biscotti, quindi ne dovrò comprare degli altri. Tutti questi biscotti mi stanno facendo ingrassare.

I slept well, so I feel all right, but for sure I don’t look good with my hair so messy. I’m thinkingabout my breakfast. I’m about to eat up the last cookies, so I will have to buy more of them. All these cookies are making me gain weight.

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A Few Ways to say "A Lot"

Parecchio, molto

No, papà è che c' ho parecchio lavoro da fare, sono un po' sotto pressione.
No, Dad, it's that I have quite a lot of work to do; I'm under a bit of pressure.
Caption 14, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 7 of 11 

Parecchio might be less familiar to you than molto.

Ho molto lavoro (I have a lot of work).

 

Like moltoparecchio is used as an adjective and in this case has different endings depending on whether it modifies a masculine or feminine noun and depending on whether it’s plural or singular.

Il lavoro is masculine, so it’s parecchio lavoro or molto lavoro.

Ci sono parecchie cose strane.
There are a lot of strange things.
Caption 62, Il Commissario Manara 1: Un delitto perfetto - Ep. 1 - Part 7 of 14

 

La cosa is feminine and it’s plural, so we say parecchie cose or molte cose.

 

But like moltoparecchio is also an adverb. In the following example, parecchio could easily replace molto.

Mi piace molto il posto e poi ho ritrovato vecchi amici e la zia è deliziosa come sempre.
I like the place a lot and then I met up with old friends and Aunt is charming as always.
Caption 11, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 7 of 11 

 

Un sacco

Un sacco is quite colloquial, as is “bunch!” Sacco translates as “bag,” or “sack, so imagine a big bag of something!

Non fare questa faccia, vedrai che ti farai un sacco di amici.
Don't make that face. You'll see that you'll make a bunch of friends.
Caption 9, Caption La Tempesta: film - Part 9 of 26 

 

Tanto

Tanto is another word for a lot. Like the other words above, it can be used as an adjective:

E... insomma, dopo un tempo che in quel momento non sapevo stimare se era tanto o poco
And... in short, after a time, which in that moment I couldn't assess whether it was a lot or a little
Caption 53, Anna presenta: Il mio parto 

Certo che firmo per la barella, non avevo tanta scelta.
Ofcourse I'll sign for a gurney. I didn't have much choice.
Caption 30, Anna presenta: Il mio parto 

 

Tanto can be used as an adverb as well.

Non andavo tanto veloce, ma mi hanno fatto la multa.
I wasn’t going very fast, but they gave me a ticket.

 

It’s always good to know several different ways to say something. Variety is the spice of life!

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If at First You Don't Succeed: riuscire

Daniela has taken us through different kinds of verbs and how they interact with verbs in the infinitive.

 

Here’s a quick overview so you can get up to speed.

 

She started out by explaining modal verbs and other verbs that work like modal verbs. These verbs don’t need any preposition between the conjugated (modal) verb and the verb in the infinitive. See: Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + Verbo all'infinito and following. Here’s an example.

Non posso andare al cinema stasera. Devo studiare.
I can’t go to the movies tonight. I have to study.

She then gave us some examples of verbs that take the preposition di (of) between the conjugated verb and the verb in the infinitive. See Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + Verbo all'infinito +preposizione “di”

Ho deciso di andare al cinema da sola. Ho dimenticato di ritirare dei soldi al bancomat.
I decided to go to the movies alone. I forgot to get some money at the ATM machine.

 

In her most recent lessons, she has talked about verbs that take the preposition (to) between the conjugated verb and the verb in the infinitive. See Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + verbo all'infinito + preposizione “a”

Se non ho gli occhiali, non riesco a leggere.
If I don't have glasses on I can't manage to read.
Caption 19, Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + verbo all'infinito + preposizione “a” part two

 

Daniela talks about several verbs in this context but let’s take a closer look at the verb riuscire because, although commonly used in Italian, it can be tricky to translate and has some important nuances.

 

Riuscire means “to succeed.” In the following example, it makes sense to us.

Sono riuscito a convincerlo della mia innocenza.
I succeeded in convincing him of my innocence.

But Daniela’s example above would sound a bit stilted with the verb “to succeed”:

If I don't have my glasses on, I don't succeed in reading.

In English, we would likely use the modal verb “to be able” or “to manage.”

I can’t read without my glasses.
I’m unable to read without my glasses.
I can’t manage to read without my glasses.

Remember this saying when thinking about the verb riuscire: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

 

Non riesco (I can’t) implies that I am trying, but I’m not succeeding. Non posso (I can’t) on the other hand, could mean any number of things having to do with permission, ability, money, etc. So riuscire (to succeed) is a bit more specific than potere (to be able to).

Riesci a inquadrarla? -Sì.
Are you able to get a shot of it? -Yes.
Caption 16,  Anna e Marika:  Hostaria Antica Roma - Part 4

You could use the verb “to succeed” here, but it would sound a bit odd in conversation.

Are you succeeding in getting a shot of it?
Will you succeed in getting a shot of it?

Here’s another example:

e poi, quando riuscivamo [ad] avere due lire,
and then, when we succeeded in having two liras [a couple of dollars],
Caption 13, L'arte della cucina: La Prima Identitá - Part 15

We could also say, “when we were able to get a hold of two liras...” or “when we managed to get a hold of two liras...”

 

In the negative, riuscire can be used for saying “I give up.”

Non ci riesco (I am not succeeding in it/I can’t manage it).

The ci here refers to “in it,” or “at it.”

 

But using riuscire in the negative implies that you gave something a try. If you say non posso, we don't know anything about why you can't. Your mother won’t let you? You don’t know how? It’s against your religion? Riuscire, on the other hand, implies you are willing, but unable.

 

Riuscire is one of those verbs you might not use immediately while learning Italian because it’s easier to use potere (to be able to). Understanding how Italians use riuscire is handy, however, and once you are accustomed to hearing and reading it, you will probably start using it, too!

 

Marika uses riuscire in her presentation of Yabla. Her advice is sound!

Se invece non ci riesci, non ti preoccupare, ti devi solo allenare.
If you don't succeed in it, don't worry, you just need to practice.
Caption 32, Yabla-Intro: Marika

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Colloquial Speech

This lesson looks at some colloquial expressions from the last segment of Stai lontana da me, a comedy. 

 

When asking for confirmation of what you have said, here’s one way:

Dico bene?
Am I saying it well [am I right/am I telling like it is]?
Caption 27, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17 

 

The prefix ri is similar to “re” in English: it's used to repeat something:

Hai ridetto Monica.
You re-said “Monica” [you said “Monica” again].
Caption 42, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

 

Niente di niente is colloquial but used quite a bit in everyday speech. In fact, there are two instances in this segment. We can translate it colloquially: “no nothing,” or, in correct English: “nothing at all.”

E in due anni zero litigate, niente di niente. È un vero paradiso.
And in two years, no fights, no nothing. It's true paradise.
Caption 49, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

E poi a Sara non è successo più un incidente. -No, no, niente di niente.
And then Sara hasn't had any more accidents. -No, no, nothing at all.
Captions 62-63, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

 

Stra is a prefix meaning “extra” or “over.” It’s used quite a bit to mean “super” or “mega” in colloquial speech, although there are more mainstream words with this prefix, such as stravecchio (very mature or old), stracotto (as an adjective, “very well-cooked”; as a noun, “meat stewed a long time”), stravedere (to think the world of), straviziare (to overindulge).

 

Jacopo’s client used very colloquial speech:

...Cioè perché stra-pesante, cioè una noia totale.
...That is, because super heavy duty, that is, a total bore.
Caption 51, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

 

His use of cioè (that is) is very close in meaning to "I mean," in English, which some people sprinkle throughout their speech. Ciò is one of those words that in the beginning was two separate ones:  ciò (this that) and è (is).

 

Quasi quasi literally means “almost almost.”

Quasi quasi non ci lasciavamo. -Ciccì, cicciò due palle dottore, a noi ci piaceva litigare.
We were seriously considering not breaking up. -Yatter, yatter what a downer, Doctor. We liked fighting.
Caption 52,  Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

Some alternative translations:

We were seriously thinking of not breaking up.
We were of a mind not to break up.

 

Here’s an expression to justify asking someone a question. Most Italians know this expression or saying, and some use it automatically. In English, we might say, “There’s no harm in asking.”

Poi, domandare è lecito, rispondere è cortesia.
Besides, asking is permissible; answering is good manners.
Caption 57, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

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Word Order Options with Modal Verbs and Object Pronouns

Object pronouns can be very tricky to use because there isn’t just one way to construct a phrase. Especially when dealing with modal verbs, which go hand in hand with infinitives, the object pronoun can go either before the conjugated verb or after the infinitive. The trick is that, as we shall see, the pronoun actually gets attached to the infinitive, which loses its final e

 

Let's look at an example.

 

Here, the object pronoun comes just before the conjugated verb volere, which is modal.

Possiamo dire: ho comprato un'auto nuova. La vuoi vedere?
We can say, "I bought a new car. Do you want to see it?"

Caption 46, Marika spiega: I pronomi diretti

 

Here, on the other hand, the object pronoun not only follows the infinitive, it's attached to it. In order to attach it, the final e of the infinitive vedere is omitted.

Oppure: ho comprato un'auto nuova. Vuoi vederla?
Or else, "I bought a new car. Do you want to see it?"

Caption 47, Marika spiega: I pronomi diretti

 

Practice:

There are several pieces of dialogue in a recent episode of Commisario Manara that lend themselves to having their word order changed as explained above. Why not give it a try, and consult the solutions at the bottom of the page to check your answers. If this is new to you, then go right to the solutions, and see how they differ from the examples.

 

First, find the elements: the conjugated verb (likely modal), the infinitive verb, and the object pronoun. The next step is to rephrase the sentence, changing the position of the pronoun. 

 

1)
Eh, me lo potevi dire anche domani in ufficio, no?
Uh, you could have told me that at the office tomorrow, couldn't you?
Caption 4, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11 

2)
Hai detto delle cose bellissime. Non scordarle. Funzionano.
You said some very beautiful things. Don't forget them. They work.
Caption 22, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11 

3)
Però non voglio, io non voglio perderti.
However, I don't want, I don't want to lose you.
Caption 10, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11

4/5)
Lasciami lavorare. Appena ho i risultati, te li vengo a riferire.
Let me work on it. As soon as I have the results, I'll come to report them to you
Caption 19, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11

6)
Va be', buona notte e scusami tanto per prima, eh. -Non devi scusarti.
All right, good night, and sorry for before. -You don't have to apologize.
Caption 21, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11

7/8)
E di che cosa mi volevi parlare?
Ti volevo parlare di una situazione finanziaria.
And what did you want to talk to me about?
I wanted to talk to you about a financial situation.
Caption 29-30, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11

 

Here are the examples and their solutions, for a quick comparison. 

1)
Eh, me lo potevi dire anche domani in ufficio, no?
Eh, potevi dirmelo anche domani in ufficio, no?

2)
Hai detto delle cose bellissime. Non scordarle. Funzionano.
Hai detto delle cose bellissime. Non le scordare. Funzionano.

3)
Però non voglio, io non voglio perderti.
Però non voglio, io non ti voglio perdere.

4)
Lasciami lavorare.
Mi lasci lavorare?

5)
Lasciami lavorare. Appena ho i risultati, te li vengo a riferire.
Lasciami lavorare. Appena ho i risultati, vengo a riferirteli.

6)
Va be', buona notte e scusami tanto per prima, eh. -Non devi scusarti.
Va be', buona notte e scusami tanto per prima, eh. -Non ti devi scusare.

7)
E di che cosa mi volevi parlare?
E di che cosa volevi parlarmi?

8)
Ti volevo parlare di una situazione finanziaria.
Volevo parlarti di una situazione finanziaria.

 

Don't forget to read the examples out loud to see how they feel!

 

As you follow this and other videos, and as you start speaking in Italian, hopefully, you'll start to feel comfortable with these different word order options.You’ll start noticing these constructions in most videos you look at. 

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Sapere sapere sapere

Sapere sapere sapere. We keep coming back to the same verbs, but there’s always something more to learn!

 

We have already covered the verb sapere (to know, to know how to, to have the flavor/smell of) in previous lessons. But this week, Daniela talks about sapere once again. This time she discusses the most common meaning of sapere: to have knowledge of something. She explains how to use sapere in this sense, when followed by a verb in the infinitive rather than by a noun.

 

She explains about using the preposition di between conjugated sapere and the verb in the infinitive:

Allora diciamo: sappiamo di essere i più forti. I più forti.
So we say, "We know we're the strongest. The strongest."
Caption 22, Corso di italiano con Daniela - Verbo + Verbo all'infinito + preposizione DI - Part 3 of 3

So di essere in ritardo.
I know I am late. (Or, I know that I’m late.)

The preposition di is generally translated as "of," but the trick here is that in English we don’t use the preposition “of” in this kind of situation. We either use “that,” as in “I know that I am late,” or we don’t use any preposition at all, as in “I know I am late.” All in all, sapere plus di plus infinitive is a construction that is difficult to match up in English, so we just have to assimilate it as best we can.

 

Let’s look at some more examples of sapere plus di, so you can get a feel for it.

Uno stupido non sa di essere stupido (an idiot doesn’t know he’s stupid).
 

Sappiamo di doverti delle scuse (we know we owe you an apology).
 

Sai di essere l’unica persona in grado di risolvere il problema (do you know you are the only person able to solve the problem)?
 

Sapete di camminare in mezzo alla strada (do you know you are walking in the middle of the road)?
 

Sanno di infrangere la legge, ma non gli importa niente (they know they are breaking the law, but they don’t care).
 

Leonardo sa di essere stato scorretto con me (Leonardo knows he has not been fair with me).

 

One of the other ways sapere gets used is to mean “to know how to.” Daniela has explained this in another video lesson:

Per esempio, io posso dire: Luca sa nuotare.
For example, I may say, "Luca knows how to swim."
Caption 19, Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + Verbo all'infinito - Part 1

 

Here are some additional examples of this meaning. It should be mentioned that in this case, sapere acts like a modal verb, such as “can,” “must,” “may,” etc. Remember that with modal verbs, there is no preposition before the infinitive.

Non so parlare spagnolo (I don’t know how to speak Spanish).
 

Roberto non sa cucinare (Roberto doesn’t know how to cook).
 

Non sapete leggere fra le righe (you don’t know how to read between the lines).
 

miei genitori non sanno ballare (my parents don’t know how to dance).

 

And let’s not forget that we can also use sapere before a noun.

Sai l’ora (do you know the time)?
 

So quello che dico (I know what I’m saying). 
 

So l’inglese (I know English.)
 

Di quella canzone, Gianna non sa abbastanza bene le parole (Gianna doesn’t know the words to that song well enough). 

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