Translation:It is important for the husband to make up his mind.
Italian is my mother tongue, and I speak english very fluently. Language is to communicate concepts, so what is the purpose of saying it one way vs the other?
Let me put this into context:
"È importante che il marito decida di procedere" It is important that the husband make the choice to proceed. (vs other choices)
"È importante che il marito si decida di procedere" It is important that the husband make up his mind to proceed. (Where proceeding is the only expected outcome)
One is choosing a variable, the other is resolving to continue. That's how I see it at least. Are there cases in which this would not make sense?
I would say that in English the expressions "to decide", and "to make up one's mind" are almost synonymous, the difference being the implication that "deciding" is generally quick and decisive, whereas "making up one's mind" may involve vacillation and procrastination. Would it be correct, then in view of what you say, that a closer translation of "decidersi" would be "to commit oneself"?
Thanks for your explanation, would you be able to explain the reason "si" is necessary in the sentence?
The verb is "decidersi," but it means to come to a decision or to make up one's mind. There is no emphasis on doing it oneself or for oneself in the Italian sentence, so translating it as "decides himself" or "decides for himself" is not correct. Often the reflexive pronouns are not translated in English.
I said "decide for himself" and it was wrong. Sounds good to me though!
What is the function of "si" here? I haven't been able to come up with a plausible reflexive meaning for decidere.
However , there seems to be a subtle difference in meaning, no? Decidersi woukd mean make a decision for oneself, whereas decidere would mean to decide something.
According to these sites:
They do have quite a difference, "decidere" meaning "to decide", where "decidersi" means "to decide after thinking for a long time", or something like that...
I believe the difference between "decidere" and "decidersi" is the same as between "décider" and "se décider" in French. So for instance, when someone has been hesitating between several options for quite a while, "decidersi" ("se décider" in French) is used. For a more general concept of making a decision, one will use "decidere".
Yes, i think "decidersi" is like: "to decide to do something" and "decidere" like: "to decide something".
Thanks for the links. I guess that I can accept that it translates same way whether or not decidere is used reflexively.
I think that 'decides himself' or 'decides for himself' should be accepted
Hmm.... the sentence I had immediately before this one was "It is necessary for the husband to die" ... now he has a choice ... the plot thickens!!!
yes it's important that he decides but in the other sentence the husband has to die...love the cheery italian voice computer lady
This is one example of a sentence where it is still common to use the old subjunctive form in modern English:
"It is important that the husband decide" (not 'decides') is still good English.
Could this be correctly translated as "decide himself"? And if not, why not?
In general, the subjunctive is used for situations involving opinion or uncertainty. "e' importante che', like many expressions involving "che" implies opinion, but certainly not certainty. The word "che" is a useful signal that the subjunctive should be at least considered. As always, that there are plenty of exceptions prevents it from being a rule. Hope this helps.
I put "should make up his mind", which was turned down because of the word "should". Ridiculous.
Is this the same husband that somebody has decided must die? Sounds rather like Hobson's Choice to me!
Duolingo is saying that the correct is "it is important FOR the husband to decide". With this " for", the meaning seems to be that the husband regards the decision as something important to him. However, I think the sentence in Italian carries the idea that it is important to somebody else that the husband makes up his mind. So, wouldn't be wrong to use this "for" in such a way? Any thoughts?
I believe Duolingo or some native Italian/English speaker has to tell us the meaning here. The translations "It is important for the husband to decide." and "It is important that the husband decides." have two very different meanings. In the first sentence the importance is on the decision and it affects the husband; however in the second one, the important thing is the husband to become the decision maker, regardless of the decision, and it affects someone else. At least this is what I get. I would appreciate some explanations.
I agree. In the first translation it is important only for the husband that he makes up his mind. In the second translation , it means that it is important for everyone else in general that he makes up his mind.
dgurkut: As a native English speaker I have to say that believe you're overthinking it. I honestly don't see any appreciable difference between the two sentences. To suggest one is in my opinion splitting hairs.
Thanks for the answer. However, when I think of this context, I cannot convince myself that these two are the same:
"The husband has been there several times, while it is the first time for the wife. It is important that the husband decides." (the husband should be the one who decides.)
"The husband has been there several times, while it is the first time for the wife. It is important for the husband to decide." (the husband is expected to decide and the decision he is going to make is critical for him.)
So are you telling me that these two have exactly the same meaning and are interchangeable? I think there's a nuance.
dgurkut: The problem is you're injecting a very complex, call it nuanced, hypothetical scenario into the discussion which may or may not bear out your opinion. My problem with it is that scenario is not implicit in the given sentence, hence my original comment to the effect that you're overthinking it.
In general i enjoy your comments and explanations.
This time, however, I thing you are wrong (and so is Duo).
Duo's translation means that the making up of the husbands mind is essential to himself and himself only.
In the correct translation it is important to other people (and maybe himself as well), that he makes up his mind. This is not a hypothetical question.
In English "it is important for X to do Y" could have both of those meanings (that doing the thing is important for X or that X's doing Y is important in general). The Italian sentence, as you note, has the second meaning.
In English, I prefer to differentiate between the two interpretations to remove ambiguity.
"It is important FOR the husband to decide" - Important for him.
"It is important THAT the husband decides" - Important in general.
Subsequently, I believe Duo's Italian text should read "Che" for "That", and "Per" for "For", and therfore Duo's English translation does not match the Italian, which should read "È importante per il marito a decidere."
You may prefer to make this distinction, but "It is important for the husband to decide" also does mean "It is important that the husband decide."
For these sentences, we like to have a variety of sentence types in the default English translations to reflect the different ways that the subjunctive can be translated. Some use the infinitive (like here) and others use "that." Many variations are accepted, however; they are just not the first listed. Your answer is in the database and should be marked correct.
Hello mmseiple, and thanks for your comment. I am aware of the usage of "that" and "for" as you point out, but my comment was really in support of titofhr's conception of the ambiguity between the Italian sentence, and the English translation; and I'm sure other students had the same.
If I see a chance to remove ambiguity, then I do so, even in defiance of grammar; which is why I wrote "I prefer..." instead of, "It is wrong to....".
Anyway, my point was that the English translation is ambiguous to the original Italian sentence, and should not deserve to be exhibited as the first choice.
"It is important that the husband himself decides" is common usage when emphasis is on the need (for that person) to come to a decision without any outside interference. The emphasis of "himself" demonstrates that noone is better placed to make a decision having knowledge of all the facts of the situation and any possible future implications of the decision made. Me, myself and I ask please accept dear Duolingo
MeroeOMER: it may indeed be common usage, but that's not what the sentence is saying in my opinion. The fact that a reflexive verb is used, does not in and of itself justify the inclusion of a "-self" in English. For example: scusarsi: to apologize. Ci siamo scusarti: We apologized, not We ourselves apologized or even We excused ourselves. It's just We apologized. The same holds for the above example.
Dear Can of Tomatoes, Your input much appreciated….however I suppose my interpretation was more one of "legalese". Speaking as a lawyer.
Speaking as an editor, it should be "decide," not "decides." The subjunctive lives, even in English!
In English, "myself," "yourself," "himself," etc. are used in a couple of different ways. One is as an intensifier ("I myself believe that"). In this case, you would not translate it with a reflexive pronoun in Italian. The reflexive pronoun ("si") here does not put emphasis on doing it by oneself or for oneself. "Decidersi" simply means to come to a decision or to make up one's mind.
The forms above can also be used with a reflexive action ("The cat licks itself"), where the object of the verb is the same as the subject, but "decide" does not work that way. Basically, "The cat licks itself" is reflexive because it means "The cat licks the cat." "The husband decides the husband" does not make any sense. "Decide" is not reflexive in English, so it's not appropriate to use a reflexive pronoun in this case.
mmseiple: Thanks for your really clear explanation. I totally agree with you on this.
In Italian we can decide ourselves. This is where English being my second language becomes a problem... Thanks for the breakdown. Mystery solved. We all need Duolingo for English.
Why is this sentence tested in at least 6 out of 18 excersises in this lesson??
Decidere is a reflective verb and requires "si" or some reflective pronoun? So "si dicida" that the husband decides , present, yet "to decide" was stated.
I put 'make his mind up' which was marked wrong but 'make up his mind' was given as the correct answer. Grrr! 07/4/16
WOW...how did you read my very mind! I was thinking exactly the same :O :O :O
Ulmik: You can say: "important that the husband decide/make up his mind" in which there's no "for". But if you phrase it without the clause then you need "for" : "It's important FOR the husband to decide/make up his mind". You can't express it without either "that" or "for".
In Italian I read : 'It's important that the husband makes up his mind'. I think that to translate that with 'it's important for the husband to make up his mind' means something completely different.: In the first translation , it could mean that is important IN GENERAL, for everyone, that the husband makes up his mind. In the second translation it seems to mean that it is only for the husband important to make up his mind.
If you're including the reflexive for emphasis meaning he and no one else decides, then to clarify that, you should/could move it to before the verb: "It's important that the husband himself decides." If you're not including it for emphasis, then it's incorrect english because in English the verb to 'decide' is not reflexive.