19.6 Indirect Sentences: Part One Language
19.6 Indirect Sentences: Part One
Language & Culture Lessons
This language lesson will teach you how to relay information using indirect speech. In the cultural note we are going to learn a little bit
more about Italians abroad.
Who Said What? - Indirect Speech
Think back to our conversation about neighbors. In Italian as in English, we can have two ways to report a fact: using direct speech or
Let's see some esempi (examples) of the two:
Maria: “Roberto, tu non devi mangiare troppo!”
Maria: “Roberto, you don't have to eat too much”
Maria dice che Roberto non deve mangiare troppo.
Maria says that Roberto doesn't have to eat too much.
Maria dice che Roberto non deve mangiare troppo - Maria says that Roberto doesn't have to eat too much
As you can see in the written Italian, direct speech is distinguished by the two virgolette ( “ “) or frecce ( « ») to open and close the
quotation. You find this commonly in newspapers, business correspondence, quoting law or rules and even in everyday conversations.
But let's focus on the indirect speech!
Indirect speech is not only used for gossip between friends or neighbors but also to report facts and events that have been spoken or
written, especially in the newspapers.
When transforming the sentence from direct to indirect, you just need to:
• Conjugate the verb used to report (“dire” to say/to tell, “riportare” to report, “riferire” to report, “comunicare” to communicate, etc
and add the preposition “che”.
"La politica in Italia è una vergogna"
Politics in Italy is a shame
Roberto dice che la politica in Italia è una vergongna.
Roberto says that politics in Italy is a shame
"Cucinare è un'arte"
Cooking is an art
Maria dice che cucinare è un'arte
Maria says that cooking is an art
Cucinare è un'arte - Cooking is an art
As you can see here, in both examples there are no other changes in the sentences – just the reporting verb and “che.”
Now that we’ve distinguished what the difference is, let’s talk about sentences that are a bit more involved. Most of the time, in indirect
speech you do need to make changes to some parts of the sentence.
“io tornerò a casa presto”
I'll come back early
Maria dice che lei tornerà a casa presto
Maria says that she will come back early
“io lavoro fino a tardi stasera”
I work until late tonight
Roberto dice che lui lavora fino a tardi stasera
Roberto says that he works until late tonight
Roberto dice che lui lavora fino a tardi - Roberto says that he works until late tonight
Basically the changes affect:
the subject, which in these cases changes from “io” (I) to “lei” (she)
the conjugation of the verb according to the subject in the dependent sentence (io tornerò – lei tornerà / io lavoro – lui lavora).
It is said...
Transform the following sentences from direct to indirect speech:
Maria dice: “I negozi restano aperti fino a tardi domani sera”
Maria says: “Shops are open until late tomorrow evening
Il quotidiano La Repubblica riporta: “La guerra in Afghanistan durerà altri due anni”
The newspaper La Repubblica reports: “The war in Afghanistan will last two more years”
Mia nonna mi ha detto: “goditi la vita”
My grandmother has said to me: “enjoy life”
Il telegiornale riporta: “L'economia italiana sta migliorando”
The television news reports: “the Italian economy is getting better”
Carla ha detto: “Adoro mangiare la pasta”
Carla has said: “I love to eat pasta”
Lei ha detto: “Mi piace andare alle mostre”
She said: “I like to go to exhibitions”
Gino ha raccontato: “Cinque anni fa vivevo a Los Angeles”
Gino said: “Five years ago I used to live in Los Angeles”
It is said...
Maria dice che i negozi restano aperti fino a tardi domani sera
Maria said that shops are open until late tomorrow evening
Il quotidiano La Repubblica riporta che la guerra in Afghanistan durerà ancora per molto
The newspaper La Repubblica reports that the war in Afghanistan will last two more years
Mia nonna ha detto di godermi la vita
My grandmother has said to me to enjoy life
Il telegiornale riporta che l'economia italiana sta migliorando
The television news reports that the Italian economy is getting better
Carla ha detto che adora mangiare la pasta
Carla has said that she loves to eat pasta
Lei ha detto che le piace andare alle mostre
She said that she likes to go to exhibitions
Gino ha raccontato che cinque anni fa viveva a Los Angeles
Gino narrated that five years ago he was used to live in Los Angeles
Addresses and Postal service
Since 2000, the Italian post office, Le poste Italiane has been partially privatized leaving the state as major owner. It serves the whole
country except the Vatican which has its own postal service.
To make the service operate better, they require that the address in the letter or package has all the criteria in order: first and last name,
street with the number after, zip code with village or city, and finally country of residence. Esempio:
Via della Rosa 11
10010 Torino – Italia
Mail can be also be addressed to the local post office by adding “fermo posta” after the name of the person and the post office address.
Some cities still have the remains of the medieval past in the names of the street or localities. In Tuscany for example borghi, which
means ‘boroughs’ and contrade, ‘districts’ are still current used. Venice has its calli, lanes and corti, yards!
Magnifico! You have successfully completed this lesson!
Ci vediamo presto ... See you soon!
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