Italian Language/sia pure a distanza
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.
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”.
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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.
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.