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Italian Language/use of "condizioni" and "le mie"

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Question
Dear Maria,  

My question is about the following sentence:
“Era in condizioni migliori delle mie.”

Would you please tell me if my following translation is correct:
“It was in better condition than mine.”

I am very confused as to why the word “condizioni” must be expressed in the plural number.  

Can you please explain why “condizioni” is plural in this sentence.  Is “condizioni” a “pluralia tantum noun”?  Or, is “condizioni” one of those special nouns (that have no special grammatical classification or name) that are used in the singular in English, but must be used in the plural in Italian to express the same thing?

I am also wondering why the possessive pronoun “le mie” must be expressed in the plural number? Can you please help me to understand why the plural form “le mie” is used  in this sentence instead of using  the singular form “la mia”  This is quite confusing because the verb “era” (it)  is singular, so it would seem that the possessive pronoun (la mia)  would also be in the singular.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

Actually the  correct translation for “Era in condizioni migliori delle mie” would be: “He/she was in better conditions than mine”, because the past tense “era”(“imperfetto”, in Italian) refers to a masculine/feminine subject pronoun  in the 3rd.person singular as in “Lui/Egli era in condizioni migliori delle mie” or “Lei era in condizioni migliori delle mie”.

Therefore, “era” does not correspond to “It was”, that in Italian would be “Ciò era”, but to “He/She was”, and  the possessive pronoun cannot  be in the singular, since it refers to the plural feminine noun  “condizioni”.


As for the plural number “condizioni” - which is not a “pluralia tantum noun” nor one of those special nouns  that are used in the singular in English, but must be used in the plural in Italian to express the same thing - I have to tell you that  we can say either “Era in condizioni migliori delle mie” or “Era in una condizione migliore della mia”.

As you can see, in “Era in condizioni migliori delle mie” the word “condizione” is used in the plural  preceded by the preposition “in” without the article, whereas in “Era in una condizione migliore della mia” the word “condizione” is used in the singular, but it is preceded by the indefinite article “una”.


With regard to the possessive pronoun “le mie” in “delle mie, it  must be expressed in the plural feminine number because it refers to the plural feminine noun “condizioni”, as well as in “ Era in una condizione migliore della mia”  the agreement is in the singular number “della mia”, as it refers to the singular noun “condizione”.


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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