Italian Language/translation

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QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Would you please tell me if the following sentence is translated correctly:

“Mi piacciono”
They are pleasing to me.    or      I like them.

Can you also please tell me if it would be possible to include the subject pronoun – “loro” (they) in this sentence and say:

“Loro mi piacciono.”
They are pleasing to me.

If this is acceptable, would you also please tell me if I am correct in placing the object pronoun “mi” between the subject pronoun “loro” and the verb “piacciono” as shown above.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

I think that “They are pleasing to me“ corresponds to “Mi sono simpatici” /”Essi/loro mi sono simpatici” rather than to “Mi piacciono” whose translation is just “I like them”.

I have, in fact, to point out that “essere simpatico” and “piacere” can have a different translation, according to the context.

For example,”Questi libri mi piacciono” or  “Le sorprese mi piacciono”  translate as “I like these books” and “I like the surprises” respectively, not as "These books are pleasing to me" and "Surprises are pleasing to me",  for both “Questi libri mi piacciono” and “Le sorprese mi piacciono”  cannot be replaced by “Questi libri mi sono simpatici” and  “Le sorprese mi  sono simpatiche” .

Instead,“Quei ragazzi mi piacciono” is the same as “Quei ragazzi mi sono simpatici”, i.e. “Those boys are pleasing to me” as well as "I like those boys".


As for “loro”, it is possible to include the subject pronoun “loro”/”essi" (they) in the sentence “Mi piacciono” and say: “Loro mi piacciono” in the sense that they are pleasing to me (“Loro/essi mi sono simpatici”).

In Italian, however, the subject pronoun is not necessary, simply because almost always it is the ending of the verb  or of  the  predicate adjective that indicates the singular/plural  number and the masculine/feminine gender as in e.g. “Mi è molto simpatica” (She is very pleasing to me”) or “Mi sono molto simpatici” (“They are very pleasing to me”).

Anyway, the subject pronoun is necessary when the context does not indicate the gender as in “Mi piace molto”  where it would be necessary to add the subject pronoun as “Lei mi piace molto” (She is very pleasing to me) or “Lui mi piace molto” (He is very pleasing to me).

Lastly, you are  correct in placing the indirect object pronoun “mi” between the subject pronoun “loro” and the verb “piacciono” in “Loro mi piacciono” where the pronominal particle “mi” stands for “a me” which is a “complemento di termine”(indirect object).

Best,

Maria


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

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Can the verb “piacere” be used with pronouns to say things like -  “I like him”,  “I like you”  ,  “I like it”,  “I like them”, etc.

I understand that “Mi piace” can mean “I like him” and that “Mi piacciono” can mean “I like them”, but how can I include pronouns for the words “him” and “them” in the Italian sentence?

To try to explain my question:   To say “I like wine” the word “wine” becomes the subject of the Italian sentence as “Mi piace il vino”.   If I wanted to say - “I like him”    or “I like them”   do the words “him” and “them” become the subject of the Italian sentence?  If so – how is this expressed?  Do I use a subject pronoun as in “Lorro mi piacciono” (I like them)   and “Lui mi piace” (I like him) ?


Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

In Italian  the verb “piacere” cannot be used with direct object pronouns to say things like -  “I like him”, “I like you”, “I like it”, “I like them”, etc., because the Italian verb “piacere” requires a subject, not a direct object like “to like”.

In fact, “I like him” corresponds to “Egli/Lui mi piace” where the direct object “him” becomes the subject of “piacere”.

Similarly, “I like you”,“I like it”,“I like them” correspond to:”Tu mi piaci”, Ciò/Questo mi piace”, “Loro mi piacciono” respectively.

In short, you cannot include direct object pronouns for the words “him” and “them” in the Italian sentence, simply because “to like” is a transitive verb that requires a direct object, while “piacere” is an intransitive verb that cannot have a direct object.

As you say, in fact, in “I like wine” the word “wine” becomes the subject of the Italian sentence as “Mi piace il vino”.
 
Also, in “I like him” or “I like them” the direct object pronouns  “him” and “them” become the subject pronouns of the Italian sentence, i.e. “Egli/Lui mi piace” and “Loro mi piacciono”.

To conclude, the different construction of "to like" and "piacere" depends on the fact that "to like" is a TRANSITIVE verb, whereas "piacere" is an INTRANSITIVE verb.


Hope this can be helpful to you.

All the best,

Maria


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

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you for all of your help with this question.

Just to make sure that I understand correctly:  Can you please verify that it is correct to use the verb “piacere” with subject pronouns to say the following:

Lui mi piace.
Tu mi piace.
Loro mi piacciono.
Esso mi piace.

Would you also please tell me if the following translations are correct or not:

Lui mi piace.  -  I like him.
Tu mi piace.  -  I like you.
Loro mi piacciono.  -  I like them.
Esso mi piace.  -  I like it.

Thank you so much.  

I hope you do not mind these questions.  You have already helped me so much with this topic.   I just want to make sure that I have understood correctly.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

I am always glad to help you.
So, you have used correctly  the verb “piacere” with subject pronouns in ”Lui mi piace” (I like him) and  “Loro mi piacciono”(I like them).

But, as for “Esso mi piace” ( I like it), you should have said “Ciò mi piace” or better “Questo mi piace” instead of “Esso mi piace”, since the pronoun “esso” is now quite obsolete in Italian.

Lastly, in “Tu mi piace” (I like you), you should have written “Tu mi piaci” as “piaci”  (not “piace”) is the 2nd.person singular of the present indicative of “piacere”.

Moreover, I have to point out that “I like you” can correspond to “Tu mi piaci” (2nd.person singular) or to “Voi mi piacete” (2nd person plural), just because the English pronoun “you” can refer to only one person or to many persons.

Best,

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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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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