Italian Language/use of "di"

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Question
Dear Maria,

Would you please help me with the following Italian expression:

“Prego di accettare le mie scuse.”
(Please accept my apologies)

Would you please tell me if I am correct to think that:

[1] “prego” (literal meaning  - I pray) is being in this sentence as the first person singular form of the verb “pregare” to mean "please"   [2]  that the infinitive form of “accettare” (literal meaning- to accept) is being used as an imperative to mean "accept", and  that [3]  “le mie scuse” means “my apologies”.

But, I do not understand why the preposition “di” must be included in this expression.  

Can you please explain why “di” must be  included.  This would help me so much!!

Thank you very much.  I really appreciate your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,


the sentence  “Please accept my apologies” translates correctly as “Per favore, accetti le mie scuse” or “Per  favore, accetta le mie scuse”, depending on the fact that you are addressing to a person you are not familiar with or to a person you are familiar with.

As for “ Prego di accettare le mie scuse”, it is wrong, because you should say “La prego di accettare le mie scuse” or “Ti prego di accettare le mie scuse”, once again depending on the fact that you are addressing to a person you are not familiar with or to a person you are familiar with.

Therefore  it is  correct to think that in” La prego di accettare le mie scuse” or “Ti prego di accettare le mie scuse” :

[1] “Ti prego” /”La prego” is being used as the first person singular form of the verb “pregare” to mean "to please" as a verb, not as an adverb which in Italian corresponds to “Per favore”, “Per cortesia”, “Per piacere”.
See for example:”Per favore, smettila!”(Please, stop it!);”Per piacere, sii gentile con I miei amici!”; "Puoi aiutarmi, per cortesia?";etc.

[2] the infinitive form of “accettare” (literal meaning- to accept) is not being used as an imperative to mean "accept", but as an infinitive depending on the verb “pregare” as in “Ti prego di accompagnarmi a casa”, “Vi pregai di aiutarmi”, “ Ci pregò di parlare in suo nome”, etc.
As you can see, the preposition “di” must be included in this expression because it is required by the verb “pregare”.


[3] “le mie scuse” means “my apologies”.

On the contrary, in “Per favore, accetti le mie scuse” or “Per  favore, accetta le mie scuse”  it is  correct to think that:

[1] “Per favore/cortesia/ piacere” is being used as an adverbial expression to make a request more polite.  

[2]  “accetti”/”accetta” is being used as an imperative to mean "accept"

[3]  “le mie scuse” means “my apologies”


Lastly, note that in Italian the interjection  “prego” is  usually associated with politeness as in  “Entrate, prego!”; Posso aprire la porta? Sì, prego!”; “Prego, si accomodi!”; “Posso entrare? Prego, entri pure!”; “Posso prendere questo libro? Prego, lo prenda pure!”;  etc.

Also, we use “prego” in replying to “Grazie” as in “Grazie dei bellissimi fiori. Prego”;  “Grazie di avermi aiutato. Prego”; La ringrazio di cuore. Prego”;etc.

Hope this is clear enough.

Best,

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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