QUESTION: Dear Maria,
Would you please tell me if what I wrote in the following sentence is correct or not:
“Io apprezzo moltissimo che mi hai detto quanto avrei dovuto scrivere.”
I was trying to write the following:
“I very much appreciate that you told me what I should have written.”
Thank you so much.
ANSWER: Dear Rich,
here’s the correct way to say “I very much appreciate that you told me what I should have written”:“Apprezzo moltissimo il fatto che tu mi abbia detto che cosa avrei dovuto scrivere”.
Please note that:
-the pronoun “io” is not necessary as it is implied in the 1st person, present indicative “apprezzo”.
-before the conjunction “che” (that, in English) you need to put the noun “il fatto”, since “….apprezzo moltissimo che mi…” is a literal translation which is not so good in Italian.
-instead of the past indicative (passato prossimo) “hai detto”, it is correct to use the past subjunctive (congiuntivo passato) “abbia detto”.
-instead of “quanto” in “quanto avrei dovuto scrivere”, it’s better to say “che cosa”.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Maria,
Thank you for your great help with this question. I very much appreciate your telling me the correct way to write this sentence.
I hope you will not mind a follow-up question.
I am having a difficult time understanding why the past subjunctive - “abbia detto” should be used in this sentence instead of using the passato prossimo - “hai detto”. I was therefore hoping that you would help me to understand the reason that the subjunctive should be used.
Please note that I used the passato prossimo because it is a fact that I very much appreciate your help, and I thought that using the passato prossimo would express this fact, where as the subjunctive would not have expressed this as a fact.
Thank you, in advance, for your help with this issue. I so much want and hope to be able to understand the use of the subjunctive in this sentence.
the past subjunctive “abbia detto” must be used in the sentence “Apprezzo moltissimo il fatto che tu mi abbia detto che cosa avrei dovuto scrivere”, instead of using the “passato prossimo” of the Indicative mood “hai detto”, simply because in many subordinate clauses it’s correct to use the Subjunctive mood instead of the Indicative, so that “Apprezzo moltissimo il fatto che tu mi HAI detto che cosa avrei dovuto scrivere” is wrong, since “che tu mi abbia detto” is a subordinate clause depending on “il fatto che”.
See also: “Il fatto che tu mi abbia aiutato è stato molto importante per me”; “So che ti dà fastidio il fatto che egli parli troppo”; “Ritengo che abbia avuto grande importanza il fatto che loro ti siano stati vicini in quella triste circostanza”, etc. where we use the subjunctive instead of the indicative as well as in “Penso che tu mi abbia aiutato molto”; “Ritenevo che mi fossi stato vicino per un sentimento di amicizia”.
On the contrari we use the indicative in subordinate clauses depending on the verb “sapere”, as in e.g. “So che mi sei amico” or “Sapevo che avevi molti affettuosi parenti”, where we use the indicative to express a real fact.
To conclude, I have to tell you that the use of the subjunctive requires a very good knowledge of Italian language and its shades in the sequence of tenses and moods that we have inherited from Latin language.
Unfortunately I cannot help you more.