Italian Language/Translations

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QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Would you please tell me if I have correctly translated the following sentences:

[1]  Difficile crederti.
To believe you is difficult.

[2] Avergli creduto è stato un errore.
To have believed in him was a mistake.


[3]  Essere creduto è importante per me.
To be believed is important for me.

[4]  Essere stato creduto bugiardo mi ha offeso.
To have been believed deceitful offended me.   

Would you also please tell me if the following sentence is correct where I have used the direct object pronoun “lo” instead of using the indirect object pronoun “gli” :

[5] Averlo creduto è stato un errore.     
To have believed him was a mistake.

I just wanted to make sure that I am correct to think that the direct object pronoun “lo” gives a slightly different sense of meaning to the sentence than the use the indirect object pronoun “gli”.     Can you please tell me if I am correct to think that sentence #2   means:    “It was a mistake to have thought highly of him” where as sentence #5 means: “It was a mistake to have believed what this person said”.

Thank you    


Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

Your translations are correct,  except the  sentence #2  where you should have written “To have believed him was a mistake” instead of “To have believed in him was a mistake” which in Italian would be "Aver avuto fiducia in lui è stato un errore".

Please note that in “Avergli creduto è stato un errore” the verb “credere” means “to believe somebody”, i.e.  “to think that somebody is saying the truth” (not “It was a mistake to have thought highly of him“, literally meaning: "E' stato un errore avere avuto grande considerazione di lui"), while “to believe in somebody” (credere in qualcuno /aver fiducia in qualcuno /fidarsi di qualcuno) would correspond to “to trust someone because you think that he can do something well or that he is a good person”.

As for “Averlo creduto è stato un errore”, it means : “To  have believed it/such a thing was a mistake” in the sense that “It was a mistake to have believed what has been said”.

To sum up, “Avergli creduto è stato un errore” (To have believed  him was a mistake) is different from “Averlo creduto è stato un errore” (To  have believed it/such a thing was a mistake) because the indirect object pronoun “gli” in “avergli creduto” refers to a person, whereas the direct object pronoun “lo” in “averlo creduto” refers to a thing, not to a person.

Best regards,

Maria


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

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you very much for your help with this question.  I very much appreciate your answer and the example sentences that you have included.   

I am very sorry that I still cannot understand the use of “gli” in sentence #2:   
Avergli creduto è stato un errore.
To have believed him was a mistake.

It is hard for me to understand the use of the indirect object pronoun “gli” being used for “him” in this sentence.  I understand that “gli” means “him”, but I just cannot understand why the indirect object pronoun “gli” that means “him” is used in this sentence instead of using the direct object pronoun “lo” that means “him”.

Can you please explain?  I have tried to figure this out for myself, but I now realize that I must have misunderstood some important grammatical point about Italian object pronouns.   I really need to correct this misunderstanding.

Thank you very much.  I appreciate your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

the use of “gli” in sentence #2 “Avergli creduto è stato un errore” stands for “a lui” which is an indirect object because the Italian verb “credere” takes exactly the indirect object (“complemento di termine”  in Italian), not a direct object such as “lo” (“complemento oggetto” in Italian), unless it is used as a transitive verb as in "Ti credevo innocente" which stands for "Credevo te innocente" where "te" is just a direct object/complemento oggetto.

In short, “Avergli creduto è stato un errore” stands for "Avere creduto a lui è stato un errore” where "a lui" (i.e. "gli")  is called “complemento di termine” in Italian.

It is hard for you to understand the use of the indirect object pronoun “gli”  for “him” in “Avergli creduto” because  both “gli” and "lo" correspond to the English pronoun “him”, whereas in Italian there is a great difference between “gli” (indirect object, “complemento di termine”) and “lo” (direct object, “complemento oggetto”).

See for example:

-“Gli ho parlato”, i.e. “Ho parlato a lui”( masculine singular, indirect object, “complemento di termine”);
-“Le ho parlato”, i.e. “Ho parlato a lei” (feminine singular, indirect object, “complemento di termine”);
-“La vidi fuggire”, i.e. “Vidi fuggire lei” (direct object, feminine singular, “complemento oggetto”);
-“Lo sentii parlare”, i.e. “Sentii parlare lui” (masculine singular, direct object,  “complemento oggetto”);
-“Li  ho aiutati”, i.e. “Ho aiutato loro”( masculine plural, direct object, “complemento oggetto”);
-"Le ho sentite gridare", i.e. "Ho sentito loro gridare" ( feminine plural, direct object, “complemento oggetto”);
etc.


Hope this can help you, considering that Italian and English are two different languages with different grammar rules.

Best regards,

Maria

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