You are here:

Italian Language/past participle / auxiliary verb

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Would you please help me with the following sentence:

“Data la situazione, non partivo.”
Given the situation, I did not leave.

I am wondering about the use of the past participle “data” in this sentence.  Would I be correct to think that the past participle “data” is being used as a “preposition” in this sentence?    The reason I ask this question is because I have learned that the English past participle “given” is being used as a "preposition" in the English version of this sentence.  I was wondering if this was also true in Italian.  

If this is true, can you please tell me if there are any other Italian participles (past participles  and/or present participles) that can be used as prepositions.

I am also wondering about the translation of “non partivo” as “I did not leave”.  It is my understanding that the auxiliary verb “did” must be present in the English version of this sentence in order to express negation.  I just wanted to make sure that I am correct to think that this is not also true in Italian.

Am I correct to think that a form of “to do” is not required in Italian in order to express negation?

Thank you so much for all of your great help.  

Very Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

In  the sentence “Data la situazione, non partivo”  or better “Data la situazione, non partii” (with the “passato remoto” instead of the “imperfetto” ) the past participle “data” (in the feminine singular referring to the feminine noun ”situazione”) is not used  as a “preposition”  like in English, where  the past participle “given” is being used as a "preposition" in the English version of this sentence.  

In Italian, in fact, the past participle “data” implies the auxiliary  verb “essendo” or “essendo stata” so that “Data la situazione” stands for “Essendo data la situazione” or  ”Essendo stata data la situazione”.

Such an auxiliary verb is always omitted in sentences like e.g."Data la situazione",  “Data la sua  giovane età”, “Date le attuali difficoltà “, “Dato il suo temperamento irascibile”, etc.


As for “I did not leave” (non partivo/non partii), you are right in thinking  that the auxiliary verb “did” must be present in the English version of this sentence in order to express negation.  

But a form of “to do” is not required in Italian in order to express negation simply because the negation is expressed by means of the negative adverb “non”.

See for example: “Non posso partire”, “Non venne a trovarmi”, I miei amici non sono ancora arrivati”, “Non devi avere paura”, etc.

Have a nice day,

Maria


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

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you for your help with this question.  I hope that you will not mind a follow-up question.  

I do not understand why “essere” has been used as the auxiliary verb in the sentence - “Essendo data la situazione, non partii”.  My dictionary and my verb book about conjugation both indicate that “avere” is the auxiliary verb that should be used with “dare”.

Can you please explain why “essere” is used as the auxiliary verb with “dare” in this sentence.  

Thank you very, very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

The verb “essere” has been used as the auxiliary verb in the sentence - “Essendo data la situazione, non partii”, whose current form is  “Data la situazione, non partii”, simply because “essendo data” is the PASSIVE voice of the present gerund  of the verb “dare” whose auxiliary verb is “avere” in the ACTIVE voice.

See for example:

-”Avendo dato il libro al mio amico, non posso prestartelo” (“Avendo dato”: active voice, past gerund, auxiliary verb "avere");

-“Essendo stata data al mio amico la possibilità di fare una bella vacanza, ne approfittò volentieri” (“Essendo stata data”:passive voice, past gerund, auxiliary verb "essere");

-“Gli ho dato il mio aiuto in quella triste circostanza” (“ho dato”: active voice, past tense, auxiliary verb "avere");

-“Gli fu dato un aiuto da parte di tutti” (“fu dato”: passive voice, past tense, auxiliary verb  "essere").

To conclude, “essere” is used as the auxiliary verb with “dare” in the  above sentence because “essendo data” is a PASSIVE form composed of the gerund "essendo" and the past participle "data".

Best regards,

Maria
_________________________________________________________________________
Note that:

-"dando" is the present gerund, active voice
-"avendo dato" is the past gerund, active voice, auxiliary verb "avere".

-"essendo dato" is the present gerund, passive voice, auxiliary verb "essere"
-"essendo stato dato" is the past gerund, passive voice, auxiliary verb  "essere"

Italian Language

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Maria

Expertise

Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

Experience

Over 25 years teaching experience.

Education/Credentials
I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.