Italian Language/Causal Clause

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Question
Dear Maria,

Thank you for your help with this question.

I am very sorry to say that I did not mean to ask about a “casual clause”.  I now realize that I should have written “causal clause”.  Please accept my apology for making this mistake.   Although I am not anything near to being an expert in English grammar,  it is my understanding that in English a “causal clause” is a type of adverbial subordinate clause.  

Thanks to all of your great help, I think that I now better understand what is meant by a “causal clause” in Italian syntax.  

But, just to make sure that I do understand correctly, I hope you that will not mind another question.

Can you please tell me if I am correct to think that a “causal” clause (preposizione causale) is the same thing as an “implicit subordinating clause (preposizione subordinata implicita).

For example, in the sentence:  “Sei molto gentile ad aiutarmi così tanto”  (You are very kind to help me so much)  the clause -  “ad aiutarmi così tanto” can be called both  a “causal clause” and/or an “implicit subordinating clause”.

Thank you very much.

Very Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

Apart from the misunderstanding about “casual” instead of “causal”, I have to repeat that in Italian syntax   a “causal clause” is not  a type of adverbial subordinate clause, but a subordinate causal clause which contains the idea of cause.

Such an idea of cause can be expressed in an implicit way, as in e.g. “Sei molto gentile ad aiutarmi così tanto” ( proposizione causale implicita) as well as in an explicit way as in “Sei molto gentile perché/dato che/ giacché mi aiuti così tanto” (proposizione causale esplicita) .

So, it’s not  correct  to say  that a “causal” clause (proposizione causale) is the same thing as an “implicit subordinating clause” (proposizione subordinata implicita) because an “implicit subordinating clause” (proposizione subordinata implicita) can be a causal clause as well as a result clause, a purpose clause, an object clause, etc., so tha we must specify what kind of clause it is (proposizione finale, causale, consecutiva, temporale, etc.).

For example, we can say “Venne da me per parlarmi”  where “per parlarmi” is a “proposizione finale implicita” (purpose clause or final clause ) whose explicit form would be  “Venne da me affinché mi parlasse” which however is not often used for we prefer the implicit form.

See also “Fu tanto cortese da aiutarmi”  where “da aiutarmi” is a “proposizione consecutiva implicita “(consecutive/result clause)  and “Fu tanto cortese che mi aiutò” where “che mi aiutò” is a “proposizione consecutiva esplicita”.

To conclude, in the sentence:  “Sei molto gentile ad aiutarmi così tanto”  the clause  “ad aiutarmi così tanto” can be called both  a “causal clause” and/or an “implicit subordinate CAUSAL clause”; in the sentence “Fu tanto cortese da aiutarmi”  the clause “da aiutarmi” ” can be called both  a “RESULT/CONSECUTIVE clause” and/or an “implicit subordinate CONSECUTIVE clause”; in the sentence “Fu tanto cortese che mi aiutò” the clause “che mi aiutò” can be called both  a “RESULT/CONSECUTIVE clause” and/or an “explicit subordinate CONSECUTIVE clause”, etc.

I realise that such a difference between an implicit subordinate clause and an explicit subordinate clause is not so easy to understand, but in Italian syntax we use both  implicit subordinate clauses and explicit subordinate clauses, even if we must specify what kind of clause it is (proposizione finale, causale, consecutiva, temporale, etc.).

Hope this can be helpful to you.

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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