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Italian Language/present tense + "da" + time expression & "do" for emphasis


Salve Lauren,

I am trying to extend my comprehension and use of [present tense + "da" + time expression] constructions. My current understanding is that this formula is equivalent to how we use the Present Perfect tense in English. For example:

Scio da un anno. (I've been skiing for a year.)
Prendiamo lezioni d'italiano da molti mesi. (We've been taking Italian lessons for many months.)
Da quanto tempo stai a Roma? (How long have you been staying in Rome?)

Are the above constructions correct, and are the English translations appropriate? If so, are the following correct:

Da tre o quattro anni a questa parte trovo che i tessuti sentetici migliorano grandemente. (For three or four years now, I have found/noticed that synthetic fabrics have improved greatly.)

If not, would you please show me how you would write the above English sentence in Italian?

Separately, in English, we often use the verb "do" to emphasize various expressions:

I do intend to stop smoking.
I do wish it would rain already.
I do have the money.

Is there an equivalent construction in Italian using a verb, or the emphasis would need to be accomplished through alternative means (i.e., "Ho veramente i soldi" )?

Grazie in anticipo e tanti saluti!!

Hi Jerrod,

Many thanks for your question.

Yes you are correct, the 'da' structure in Italian is roughly equivalent to our present perfect tense in English. So whereas Italians uss the structure present tense + da + time expressions to describe an event that began in the past and is still going on in the present, the English equivalent would be 'I have been ...... for ......'

Therefore, the three translations that you have provided in English are spot on and show your understanding of the concept :)

The other sentence that you have provided me with (starting da tre o quattro anni) is also correct. The key thing to remember is that anything starting with 'da' must be continued in the present tense. It is very tempting to use the past but that would be incorrect.

As for using 'do' to emphasise in English, you are correct in thinking that in Italian, you must use a different word to show emphasis too. This is typically done through stressing the pronoun at the beginning of a sentence. Given that usually you would just say, ho i soldi, if you really wanted to stress the fact you would say 'io ho i soldi' or 'ho i soldi io' This is definitely the most natural way of doing so.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Italian Language

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Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I have spoken Italian fluently for more than 12 years so I am very confident to answer any questions about the Italian language. I am also competent in Roman Dialect if there are any questions relating to this.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) Received the top grade in the whole of UK for GCSE Italian, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Italian Consulate Completed my two-year A Level in 1 year with a grade A country. Carried out many translation jobs for a wide range of clients and topics including self-help, literature and exam papers. For personal reference, I have also translated Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo and 2 of Francesco Totti's book.

El Pensador, University of Bristol

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