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QUESTION: Cara Maria,

La mia domanda riguarda la frase:   “Spero di esserti stata d’aiuto.”

Per favore, potresti dirmi se la mia traduzione è corretta:  “I hope to have been of help to you.”

Per favore, potresti dirmi se “esserti stata” è  un infinito passato attivo.   O, “esserti stata” è una copula?

Per favore, anche potresti dirmi perché il pronome complemento indiretto “ti”  è attaccato al  verbo “essere”.

Molte, molte  grazie.

Distinti saluti,

Rich


Dear Maria,

My question concerns the sentence:  “Spero di esserti stata d’aiuto.”

Can you please tell me if my translation is correct:  “I hope to have been of help to you.”

Can you please tell me if “esserti stata” is an active past infinitive.  Or, is “esserti stata” a linking verb?

Can you also please tell me why the indirect object pronoun “ti” is attached to the verb “essere”.

Thank you very, very much.

ANSWER: Caro Rich,

la tua traduzione è corretta.
Quanto ad “esserti stata”, si tratta dell’infinito passato attivo del verbo “essere”, non di una copula, cioè del verbo che collega  il soggetto di una frase alla sua parte nominale, altrimenti detta “predicato”, di solito costituita da un sostantivo o da un aggettivo.
Vedi ad esempio: “Il tuo amico è un bravo ragazzo” ,”Il tempo  è bello”, etc. dove “bravo ragazzo” (sostantivo + aggettivo) e “bello” (aggettivo) sono i predicati, mentre il verbo “è”  si chiama “copula”.

Invece, in “Spero di esserti stata d’aiuto” il verbo “essere” è accompagnato da un complemento indiretto (“d’aiuto”), che in questo caso si chiama “complemento di vantaggio”, mentre il pronome complemento indiretto “ti”  attaccato al  verbo “essere” si chiama “complemento di termine”.

Infine, il pronome complemento indiretto  “ti” si unisce encliticamente al verbo “essere” in “esserti”  per una questione di stile, dato che dire o scrivere  “Spero di esserti stata d’aiuto”  è molto più scorrevole  che non dire o scrivere “Spero di essere stata d’aiuto a te” dove il pronome complemento indiretto  “a te” risulta pesante in questo contesto.

Insomma, lo stile ha un ruolo importante nella costruzione di una frase.

Concludo complimentandomi con te per aver ripreso a scrivermi in Italiano e soprattutto per non aver fatto errori, a parte l’errata collocazione del termine “anche” nella frase  “anche potresti dirmi” invece di “potresti anche dirmi” o “potresti dirmi anche”.

Cordiali saluti.
Maria


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

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Welcome back!!  I hope you had a wonderful vacation!!

Thank you for your help with this question.  I hope you will not mind a follow-up question.  

I am trying to understand the use of the preposition “da” in the following sentence from your answer:

Quanto ad “esserti stata”, si tratta dell’infinito passato attivo del verbo “essere”, non di una copula, cioè del verbo che collega  il soggetto di una frase alla sua parte nominale, altrimenti detta “predicato”, di solito costituita da un sostantivo o da un aggettivo.

Would you please tell me if my following translation is correct:

As for “esserti stata”,  it deals with the past active infinitive of the verb “essere”,  not of a linking verb, that is to say of the verb that connects the noun of a sentence to its nominal part  otherwise called “predicate”,  usually made up with a noun or with an adjective.

As you can see, I have translated the preposition “da”  as the English preposition “with”.   Can you please tell me if this is correct?  

Can you please also explain to me why the preposition “da” is used in this sentence.   Does this have something to do with the fact that “da” is used for descriptions?

I was also wondering if the preposition “con” could have been used instead of “da”.  

Would it have also been acceptable to say:  "di solito costituita con un sostantivo o con  un aggettivo" (usually made up with a noun or with an adjective).

Thank you very much for your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

As for your translation  of my phrase “Quanto ad “esserti stata”, si tratta dell’infinito passato attivo del verbo “essere”, non di una copula, cioè del verbo che collega  il soggetto di una frase alla sua parte nominale, altrimenti detta “predicato”, di solito costituita da un sostantivo o da un aggettivo”, you should have said:

“As for “esserti stata”, it is the past active infinitive of the verb “essere”, not a linking verb, that is to say the verb that connects the subject noun of a sentence to its nominal part, also called “predicate”,  which is usually  a noun or an adjective”.

As you can see, I’ve used:

1.“it is” instead of “it deals with”;

2.“also” instead of “otherwise”;

3.“which is usually...“ instead of  “usually made up with...”;

Here are the reasons why I made  such changes:

1.the English  verb “to deal with” is used in  sentences like e.g. “The book deals with  his travels “, that corresponds to “Il libro tratta dei suoi viaggi”, whereas “si tratta dell’infinito passato attivo..” simply means “it is..”, as I could also have said “Quanto ad “esserti stata”, esso è l’infinito passato attivo...”.

2.”otherwise” is used in sentences like e.g. “She couldn't do otherwise” (“Lei non potè  fare altrimenti” / ”Lei non potè fare diversamente”), whereas “altrimenti detta” corresponds to “also called” (literally, “chiamata anche”).

3. “usually made up ...” is used in phrases like e.g.  “The organization is made up of three separate divisions” , i.e. in Italian “L'organizzazione è costituita da  tre sezioni separate” where the preposition “da” introduces  the  indirect object “tre sezioni” depending on the verb “costituire”.

Note that when we  have said  “....parte nominale, altrimenti detta “predicato”,  di solito costituita da un sostantivo” , I could also have said: “parte nominale, altrimenti detta “predicato”, che di solito  è un sostantivo..”, i.e. “.“ which is usually a noun..”.

To sum up, I have to point out that each language has its idioms and its peculiar constructions that are quite different from one another so that often the translation cannot be literal.

Hope this can be helpful to you.

Finally, I thank you  for welcoming my return from a very  beautiful vacation.

Best regards,
Maria


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

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you very much for your help with this question.  

I am still having a very hard time understanding why the preposition “da” had been used in this sentence.

Can you please tell me if  “da” is used in this sentence because “constituita” is in the passive voice?

Can you also please tell me the literal meaning of “da” in this sentence?    Maybe, this will help me to understand.

Thank you very much for your help and for your patience.  I just really hope to be able to understand why “da” is used.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

the preposition “da” had been used in my sentence “Quanto ad “esserti stata”, si tratta dell’infinito passato attivo del verbo “essere”, non di una copula, cioè del verbo che collega  il soggetto di una frase alla sua parte nominale, altrimenti detta “predicato”, di solito costituita DA un sostantivo o da un aggettivo” simply because  the past participle “costituita” is just in the passive voice, as you say.

The literal meaning of “da” in this sentence could be BY as in “This Company was formed BY a group of wealthy merchants”(Questa  Compagnia era formata DA un gruppo di ricchi mercanti) where BY depends on the passive voice “was formed” and governs an indirect object of Agent.
See also "The motion was carried BY unanimous vote" (La mozione fu sostenuta DA un voto unanime")

Anyway, as you know, each language has its peculiar constructions that are quite different from one another so that often the translation cannot be literal.
In fact, English uses “made up with” for “costituita da” and then it seems that “da”  literally corresponds to “with” that usually however means “con” in Italian.

I really hope that this  will help you to understand  why “da” is used.

Best regards,
Maria

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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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