Italian Language/reciprocal verbs

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Question
Dear Maria,

Can you please tell me if all reflexive verbs can also  be used to indicate a reciprocal meaning, or are only certain reflexive verbs capable of also being used to indicate a reciprocal meaning.

The reason I ask is that my dictionary uses the designation “uso reciproco” for some reflexive verbs, but not for all reflexive verbs.

For example, “lavarsi” is designated as a reflexive verb, but not as a “uso reciproco”.  But other verbs such as “vedersi” are designated as both a reflexive verb and as “uso reciproco”.

To make matters more confusing for me, some verbs I have learned are reflexive and also have a reciprocal use, are not designated as "uso reciproco" in the dictionary.  For example, I have learned that the reflexive verb “darsi” has a reciprocal meaning, but this verb is not designated “uso reciproco” in my dictionary.  I am therefore wondering why some reflexive verbs with a reciprocal meaning are not designated as “uso reciproco".

Is it possible that all reflexive verbs can also be used reciprocally, but that dictionaries just do not include the reciprocal designation for all?

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

not  all reflexive verbs can also  be used to indicate a reciprocal meaning, but only certain reflexive verbs  are capable of also being used to indicate a reciprocal meaning.

For example,  in your dictionary “lavarsi” is designated  correctly as a reflexive verb, but not as “uso reciproco”, while e.g.  “vedersi” is designated correctly as both a reflexive verb and as “uso reciproco”.

As for “darsi”, it has a reciprocal meaning  only in some expressions such as  “darsi del tu” (to be on first name terms with),  “darsi la mano”  (to shake hands) and “darsi una mano” (to give somebody a helping hand), but  not in other cases, and therefore this verb is not designated  “uso reciproco” in your  dictionary.   

To conclude, some reflexive verbs are not designated as “uso reciproco" because they have a reciprocal meaning only in some specific expressions.

Best regards,

Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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