Italian Language/Questo non si fa!


Hi Paolin - can you please tell me which is the better way of
translating the above:

a. One doesn't do this!


b. This isn't done!

Tks & Regards


your question is interesting, because "Questo non si fa" can be used either to express reproach or to mean the simple description of common behaviors:

a) Questo non si fa! Chiedi subito scusa!
- One doesn't do this! You should apologize!
This tends to express that you shouldn't behave the way you do. It usually implies reproach. It doesn't simply constitute advice for the interlocutor: it is a sort of rule or command, directed to somebody who should specifically know that token or is being specifically trained about it - such as a child, a soldier...;

b) Questo non si fa! Dovresti comprendere meglio le usanze locali.
- This isn't done! You should better understand the local customs.
This tends to express that even though what you are doing is wrong, it is somewhat not your fault if you don't understand it yet - maybe because you are a foreigner, for example.   It is also in a sense more "up to you" to learn or to ignore the token. Anyway, if you learn you will be socially acceptable and nice, otherwise you will remain a stranger to that context, people and society.

Another expressions, similar to "Questo non si fa", is "Non si fa cosė": it can be used both in the (a) and (b) cases.

Only for (a):
Non fare cosi!
Non puoi fare cosė.
Cosė non va.

Only for (b):
Non si usa fare cosė.
Non si usa.
Non č consuetudine fare cosė.
Non č consigliabile fare questo.

Please, tell me if you would like to receive more Italian examples or more precise indication about a specific context.

Thank you for your question,


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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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