Forum Rocket Italian Italian Grammar Lesson 5.6 Sentence - Technical Breakdown Request

Lesson 5.6 Sentence - Technical Breakdown Request



Hi there,


For the sentence:


Te li regala Enrico?
Does Enrico give them to you?


Why isn't it:


Te li Enrico regala? That's how I always want to translate it in my head.


Can I get an explanation why the English translation is written the first way? Is my way wrong? I know Italian has a certain flexibility with word order sometimes.







I don't think either way is incorrect, especially because Italian sentences can be rearranged for emphasis. 


In this case, I think it depends on what you want to emphasize. In the first version, Te li regala Enrico, the subject of the sentence is “li”, them. Because the way Italian works, the sentence is more literally “to you they are given by him, Enrico.” Regala already indicates that he/she is the giver, so Enrico is really only there to specify who gave them to you.


I'm guessing that if you put Enrico before regala, it would be more like “to you, they, by Enrico, are given”. It really emphazes Enrico, instead of they and sounds funny in English. If you wanted Enrico to be the subject, it would be a lot easier to say “Enrico te li regala”.



Hi James, 


thanks for your question! What an interesting observation.


Following up on what Nicholas correctly stated (thanks Nicholas!), in Italian there's a certain flexibility when it comes to move around the words within a sentence. This is used to emphasize different parts of the sentence itself. 


Let's take your phrase:

Te li regala Enrico?
Does Enrico give them to you?


In this case, the emphasize is not on Enrico but rather on the first part of the sentence (more specifically the fact that “they are given to you”).


However, even the following construction would be correct:

È Enrico che te li regala?

Is it Enrico that gives them to you?


In this case, the subject (Enrico) is positioned right at the beginning of the sentence to emphasize the name of the person giving them to you.


I recommend checking out lesson 5.6 “Putting Direct & Indirect Object Pronouns Together”, I'm sure it will provide useful information:


Hope this helps! :) 


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