Italian Language/sia pure a distanza

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Dear Maria,

I am trying to understand the phrase -  “sia pure a distanza” in the following sentence:

Un’ultima annotazione: in questa mia risposta ti sto dando del “tu” anziché del “Lei” perché ormai mi pare quasi di conoscerti, sia pure a distanza.

Can you please tell me if “sia pure” is composed of the verb “sia” and the conjunction “pure”.

Would you also please tell me the best way to translate “sia pure”

Would you also please tell me if the expression “a distanza” has a special meaning.

Would you also please tell me the correct translation of “sia pure a distanza”


Thank you very much.  I very much appreciate your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

the expression  “sia pure” in the sentence :“Un’ultima annotazione: in questa mia risposta ti sto dando del “tu” anziché del “Lei” perché ormai mi pare quasi di conoscerti, sia pure a distanza” is  grammatically composed of the verb “sia”(present subjunctive of “essere”) and the adverb “pure”, but when used together “sia" + "pure” becomes a conjunction whose correct translation  is  “however”.

Therefore, “sia pure a distanza” would mean “however at a distance”.

So, the best way to translate “sia pure” is just “however” as in “Ebbe bisogno di un aiuto, sia  pure modesto” ( he needed help, however little it was);”Allora dovetti partire, sia pur a malincuore”( At that point I was obliged to leave, however unwillingly).

As for “a distanza” in the above-mentioned sentence, it means that I have a feeling I know you, though we are so far apart, you in the U.S. and  I in Italy.

To conclude,  the correct translation of “sia pure a distanza” is “however at a distance”/” however  far apart”.

Best regards,
Maria


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you very  much for your help.

Can you please tell me if there is a difference in meaning between “sia pure”  and “pure”.

Or, are “sia pure” and “pure” synonyms that both mean “however”?

If “sia pure” and “pure” are synonyms, can you please tell me how to decide which to use.


Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

first of all “sia pure” and “pure” are not synonyms.

As I’ve already said, “sia pure”  is grammatically composed of the verb “sia”(present subjunctive of “essere”) and the adverb “pure”, but the verb  “sia" +  the adverb "pure”, when used together, becomes a conjunction whose correct translation  is  “however”, as you can see in the examples I’ve mentioned in my previous answer.

As for the adverb “pure”, that in this case  is synonym of “anche”,it  can mean “also”, “too”, “as well”,  as in the following sentences:

-“Tra gli ospiti c'era pure/anche il sindaco” (the mayor was also among the guests);
-“Lei  pure/anche si sbaglia” (she is wrong as wel) ;
-”Spero ci sarai  pure/anche tu”( I hope you'll come too);
-“Lui conosce bene il Francese, lo Spagnolo e  pure/anche  il Russo” ( he knows French and Spanish well, and Russian too).

Moreover the adverbs “pure” /"anche" can  mean “even”  or “so” as in :“Si è venduto tutto, pure/anche i mobili di casa” ( he sold everything, even the furniture); “Lui è Inglese, e la moglie  pure” (he is English, so is his wife).

Also, the adverb "pure" can have an emphatic  sense as in “Si deve  pur campare!”(you've got to live!)or a concessive sense as in: “ Vieni, entra pure” (please come in);  “Andate  pure”(you may go); “Fate pure  con comodo” ( take your time); “Parla pure liberamente” (you can speak freely); “Sedete pure” (please be seated).


Lastly, “pure” can also be a conjunction and then it can be used as:

-a coordinate  conjunction meaning “but”/”yet” as in "Sarà anche vero, pure stento a crederlo” ( it may even be true, but I doubt it); “Non ha neanche telefonato, pure sapeva che lo stavamo aspettando” ( he didn't even telephone, yet he knew we were waiting for him ).

-a subordinate conjunction meaning “even though”/”even if” as in “ Pur non essendo un cattivo pianista, non ha successo” ( even though he isn't a bad pianist, he isn't successful); “Pur volendo, non riuscirei a farlo” (I couldn't do it, even if I wanted to), etc.

To conclude, I have to repeat that  “sia pure” and “pure” are not synonyms.

Best regards,
Maria

Italian Language

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

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

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.