I am struggling to find anything on the internet to explain the usage of "gradire" in Italian. My italian friend said he would always us it when being polite instead of piacerebbe/vorrebbe to ask someone if they would like something, e.g. a drink. I've never been taught by my teachers to use it, so his response was quite a shock to me as maybe I haven't been as polite to strangers as I could have been.
Could you explain how it is used and in what different contexts?
First of all it’s not wrong nor unkind to use the conditional forms “piacerebbe/vorrebbe” instead of the verb “gradire” in sentences like the following:”Le piacerebbe bere un caffè con noi?” or “Vorrebbe sedersi qui con me?”.
Anyway, we often use the verb “gradire” when we want to ask someone if he/she would like something such as a drink, a cup of tea, some coffee, etc., as in for example :“Gradisce un tè?” (Would you like a cup of tea?), “Gradisci un caffè?” (Would you like some coffee?), “Gradite una bibita ? “(Would you like a cold drink?), “Gradisci un bicchiere di vino?” (Would you like a wine glass?), etc.
Please note that we use the verb form “Gradisce”(3rd person singular) when we are addressing to a person we are not familiar with, whereas we use “Gradisci”(2nd person singular) when we are addressing to a person we know and are familiar with, and lastly we use “gradite” (2nd person plural) when we are addressing to many persons.
Also, we use the verb “gradire” in sentences like the following:
-“Gradirei che venissi anche tu” (I’d like you to come too)
-“Gradirei conoscere il tuo parere” ( I’d like to know your opinion)
-“Ho gradito molto la vostra visita” (I have greatly enjoyed your visit)
-“Gradisco sempre la tua presenza” ( your presence is always welcome)
-“Non gradisco affatto simili scherzi” ( I really don’t appreciate jokes like that)
-“Gradire un invito” (to receive an invitation with pleasure)
-“Gradire un regalo” ( to be pleased with a gift )
-“Accetto una fetta di dolce, tanto per gradire” (I’ll take a little slice, just to oblige )
-“Voglia gradire i miei migliori saluti” (please accept my best greetings)
-“Gradirei essere informato” ( I'd appreciate being informed )
-”Gradirei che loro fossero presenti”(I’d like they to be present)
-“Gradirei tanto conoscerlo” (I’d like to know him), etc.
Lastly, we can use “gradire” in sentences like “Certe piante gradiscono la luce del l sole” (some plants do well in the sun).
Hope this can be helpful to you.