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Question
Dear Maria,

I understand that Italian Infinitive Phrases that act as subjects are called “Proposizioni Soggettive”, and that Italian Infinitive Phrases that act as objects are called “Proposizioni Oggettive”.

But, I do not know how to identify Italian Infinitive Phrases that act as adverbs or adjectives.

Would you please tell me the correct way to identify such phrases in Italian.

For example, would you please tell me the correct name of the proposizione - “ad aiutarmi” (that is being used to modify the adjective “gentile”)   in the following sentence:  

Sei molto gentile ad aiutarmi così tanto!
(You are very kind to help me so much!)

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

It is true that  Italian Infinitive Phrases that act as subjects are called “Proposizioni Soggettive” (such as "Viaggiare è bello")  and that Italian Infinitive Phrases that act as objects are called “Proposizioni Oggettive” (such as "Penso di partire domani"), but  there are no Italian Infinitive Phrases that act as adverbs or adjectives.

As for the correct name of the proposizione  “ad aiutarmi” (that is being used to modify the adjective “gentile”) in  “Sei molto gentile ad aiutarmi così tanto!”, I’ve already said that “ad aiutarmi” is a causal clause as the infinitive “ad aiutarmi” explains the reason why we think that someone is so kind.

Note that “ad aiutarmi” stands, in fact, for “perché mi aiuti”/" dato che mi aiuti" which are causal clauses.

Also note that in Italian we often use the infinitive mood instead of the indicative or subjunctive mood in subordinate clauses that we call “proposizioni implicite”.

For example:” Sei molto gentile ad aiutarmi così tanto!” instead of “Sei molto gentile perché mi aiuti  così tanto!”; “Parlò così a lungo da annoiare tutti” instead of “Parlò così a lungo che annoiò tutti”, etc.
As you can see, the infinitives “aiutarmi” and “annoiare” are “proposizioni implicite” which stand for a causal clause and a result clause respectively.

To conclude, I have to point out that we call  “proposizioni implicite” the subordinate clauses which  use the infinitive, the participle or the gerund instead of the indicative or the subjunctive.

See for example: “Camminando di questo passo, non arriveremo mai” instead of “ Se camminiamo di questo passo, non arriveremo mai”; “Avendo letto il libro, te lo restituisco” instead of “Dato che ho letto il libro, te lo restituisco”; “Venne per chiedere aiuto” instead of “Venne affinché chiedesse aiuto”, etc.

Hope this is clear enough.

Best regards,

Maria

Italian Language

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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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