Can someone explain why the informal way is "Scusa" (Tu) and the formal way is "Scusi" (Lei) and not the other way around? I thought it was wrong and looked it up and it's right. But I don't understand why, i was expecting the "i" ending to be used with the "Tu" form, like with other verbs... I'm probably missing something big, sorry if this is a silly question.
FedericoBa: The informal imperative forms and the informal indicative forms for tu in the case of the -are verbs are reversed. -are verbs switch from -i to -a [scusi > scusa]; -ire and =ere verbs do not! They're the same as the indicative forms. Why only -are verbs? Chi sa?
i understand sei to be the more familiar form and siete the more formal or polite. In a situation where you do not know the person's name, wouldn't it be more appropriate to use the polite form? I ask this based on my knowledge of Spanish, but maybe the italian does not have a strict división between the two. I have seen several examples in previous lessons where I would expect the formal address and DL uses the familiar one.
it probably would be, but just a tangent, the siete version is rarely used for formal, at least in my understanding the Lei / Loro versions are typically used, and siete is reserved for formal writing. I've heard siete might be used slightly more in southern Italy, but that Lei is still more common.
I could also hear "Scusa, chi sei?" being used as a snarky way of putting somebody in their place. Any thoughts from others?
Thank you for the prompt response. This is helpful, but I'm not clear how lei/loro would be used to say "who are you". Would it be "Scusa, chi lei?" lit., Excuse me, who is she? Do you say this when you are speaking directly to the person whose identity you want to know? (You would use lui for a man, i suppose.) Wouldn't this confuse the person you are talking to, especially if they think you ought to know who they are?
So, first things first, "scusa" is actually the 2nd person singular imperative version of the verb "scusare" (http://www.wordreference.com/conj/ItVerbs.aspx?v=scusare) so when you use a different pronoun, make sure you conjugate the verb accordingly.
"Lei" is used as formal you for both male and female singular, and "Loro" is used as formal for plural, both male and female. I guess it could be confusing, but that's where context is important. Also note that in writing "Lei" and "Loro" are capitalized when used as formal you. So, if you want to be formal about it, it could be "Scusi, chi è (Lei)?" Notice the change in conjugation of "scusare."
I don't think so, because you're asking them to do the excusing. "Scuso" would be "I'm excusing." You could say "Mi scusi, chi sei?" "Scusi" would be more formal, "scusa" more informal. Check out http://icebergproject.co/italian/2013/01/11-basic-expressions-to-master-in-italian/