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Italian Language/placement of "altrimenti"


Dear Maria,

My question is about the adverb “altrimenti”.

I am trying to learn how to place the adverb “altrimenti” in a sentence.  

Can you please tell me when “altimenti” should be placed before the verb,  and when “altimenti” should be placed after the verb?  Are there any guidelines that I can follow in order to do this properly?

I am confused because I have seen “altrimenti” sometimes placed after the verb, and at other times placed before the verb.  For example:

altrimenti detta  =  also called  
altrimenti sarň  =  otherwise I will be
fare altrimenti =  to do otherwise

Thank you, very, very much.



Dear Rich,

in general, we place  the adverb “altrimenti” as follows:

1)before the verb when it is used in expressions like “altrimenti detto” as in “Jacopo Robusti, altrimenti detto “il Tintoretto” (Jacopo Robusti, also called “il Tintoretto” or “Jacopo Robusti, alias “il Tintoretto”), where “altrimenti” means  that someone/something can also be called in a different way.

2)after the verb in phrases like e.g. “Non ho potuto fare altrimenti”( I  couldn't do otherwise);“Devi agire altrimenti”(You must act differently);”In quella circostanza non  poteva fare  altrimenti” (In those circumstances he cannot  do otherwise); “Sai benissimo che io la penso altrimenti” ( You know quite well that I think differently )where “altrimenti” means  that someone could not act/think differently.

Anyway, the word “altrimenti” can also be a coordinative conjunction instead of an adverb.
For example we say :” Devi partire subito, altrimenti perderai il treno”( You must leave at once, or else /otherwise  you'll miss your train); “Non mi sento bene, altrimenti sarei venuta a trovarti”, “Controllati, altrimenti sarň costretto ad intervenire”, etc. where “altrimenti” means “in caso contrario” (else/otherwise).

As you can see, the word “altrimenti”, when used as a coordinative conjunction, is usually placed before the verb, though in colloquial language we could also place it at the end of the sentence like in "Devi partire subito, perderai il treno, altrimenti ”; “Non mi sento bene, sarei venuta a trovarti, altrimenti ” where the word "altrimenti" is pronounced with a specific intonation of the voice just to express the sense of annoyance.

Hope this can be helpful to you.
Best regards,

Italian Language

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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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