Italian Language/translation


Dear Paolin

Can you please explain why my dictionary (Collins English to Italian) has translated “mi saluti sua moglie” as “my regards to your wife”

I would have thought that “mi saluti” means  “you give to me your regards”  where “mi” (to me) is an indirect object pronoun and “saluti” is the 2nd person singular form of the verb “salutare” (to give one’s regards).

Thank you very much for this help.



Hello dear Rich,

you are right, your literal translation is grammatically correct... but for the tricky matter of the Italian polite form: "lei". Once again, it makes us puzzled! No fear, dictionaries help of course, and we are doing our part.
We say "dare del lei" to indicate a peculiar Italian construction. Instead of the 2nd person singular, we use the 3rd person singular. It means politeness and respect towards the interlocutor.

In your example, the typical 3rd person singular has been used to mean the polite formal expression. "Mi saluti sua moglie" is referred to a direct interlocutor. As you properly said, the standard 2nd person would be "Salutami (tu) tua moglie". In the polite 3rd form it is written as if "tu" were... "egli": "Mi saluti (egli) sua moglie".

You can also read about this topic here: That explanation had been helpful for another reader and I hope that it can help you too.
If you need more examples or explanation, please ask again, as usual; thank you and good bye, have a nice day,


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I'm mother tongue; I graduated at Classic Lyceum (100/100), studying classic Italian language and classic Latin and Greek. The 5 years long daily exercise in translation from ancient Latin and Greek to modern Italian taught me to appreciate a correct italian translation and/or text composition. I graduated at University in Law studies and Jurisprudence, learning to appreciate deep differences between a strictly specific and technical language and other styles. I'm currently PhD candidate in Philosophy of Law. I read fiction, classic novels, philosophical books and papers, legal books and papers.

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Italian mother tongue; diploma at Liceo Classico (100/100; year 2001); Laurea at University (110/110 cum laude; year 2008); PhD in Law: Philosophy of Law and Sociology of Law

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