"Ciò è esattamente quello che vi sto offrendo."

Translation:That is exactly what I am offering you.

March 26, 2013

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What are the rules concerning when to use ciò or quel when saying "that?" Are they interchangeable, or is one or the other expected depending on where it's used in the sentence?

  • Use ciò to refer to a remark or statement somebody has made e.g.:

Person A makes a statement: Bla bla bla.
Person B: That is true but . . = Ciò e vero ma . . .

  • Use quello, (this), and questo, (that), to refer to everything else, - objects, persons, animals, etcetera:

I want that car. = Voglio quella macchina.

Ciò and quello/questo are not interchangeable when used like this.

But 'ciò che' and 'quel che' are fully interchangeable!

Both mean 'this that/what* or 'all that/what' . . . . .
. . . , - but remember that in English parts of this is often omitted and left implied, e.g. :

I don't agree with (this) what you just said = Non sono d'accordo con ciò che hai appena detto

All (that) I know is . . . = Tutto quello che so è . . .


For one thing "quel" is a demonstrative adjective, that is, it has to be used before a noun. I think you really want to know the difference between ciò and quello (used as a pronoun), which is a bit trickier.


Why must "quello que" be translated "what" and not "that which"?


Comment modified after reading Isola's comment. In modern English, at least in British English, "that which" is rarely used, "what" being to my ears much more natural, and the standard translation of "quello che" in this context, and its equivalents in other romance languages, such as "ce que" (fr), "lo que" (sp), "o que" (pt).




I'm a native speaker and I said it.....


OK, and in my mind I do the same, but only in my mind (or in my notebook), and then I convert it into normal, natural English.

I think we need to remember that many people do these courses in reverse (the best way, imho, or even better L2 > L3), and I think it is important that they don't get the idea that literal translations such as this are what people would normally say. This particular use of "what" is a standard part of English teaching for foreigners (and to be honest I explain it to students in terms of "that which"), and it can cause students a few problems (they often want to simply say "that"), so I personally think it better that we use natural language on both sides. :)


Touché, it's always dangerous making absolute statements where English is concerned, and it seems I was wrong to call it ungrammatical. But this is what it says in my EFL teacher's bible, Practical English Usage, by Michael Swan (concerning British English):

"that which used to be used in the same way as what ... (but) is very unusual in modern English:
We have that which we need. (Modern English: We have what we need)"

I have to say it sounds very strange to me and I would certainly advise my students against using it, but perhaps its use is more common in other parts of the English-speaking world. I can't find much about it in the internet, but these may interest you:




"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" (Shakespeare). Though "that which" is not used in everyday speech, it shows up occasionally in poetry, biblical translations, and older texts. It is also frequently used in mathematical proofs. (... for what it's worth...)


An opinion from across the pond...

As a native American English speaker, I would also use "what" and not "that which."

While it is still correct, and would most likely be interpreted correctly, I would refrain from using it as well, as it sounds awkward.


I understand and agree with the points that you all are making. For me, personally, though, when I am translating a sentence into English for Duolingo, it's to understand Italian better, which is why I favor literal translations over more commonly used or correct English. If I was doing a professional job of translating something from Italian into English, I would favor the phrases that are more understandable in the target language. People on this site tend to favor one way of translating over the other, but I don't think that makes either way wrong.


I don't think "that which" is grammatically incorrect, but "that" and "that which" in the same sentence sounds a bit clunky.


Does anyone else have trouble hearing whether she says "ti" or "vi"?


With all those that's in the sentence I used "which is exactly what I am offering you" No luck there.


In some cases "that" and "which" are interchangeable, but not here, I think. "ciò" is a demonstrative pronoun meaning "this/that", referring to something that has just been said. We can also use "which" to refer to something just said, and your sentence is of course perfect English, but "which" here is a relative pronoun (aka "sentential which"), and the meaning would be slightly different. In Italian I think it would be "il che":
"Il che è esattamente quello che vi sto offrendo"



I wrote the same and I think it should be considered a correct answer, The structure of the sentence refers back to a previous statement, so this almost feels like a dependent clause... maybe I'm stretching.


Not really, quello/ciò can mean 'this/that' or 'which', if you start a sentence you usually expect the former afaik

WarsawWill explained it really well above.


Cool, thanks. I guess my question is if you were saying my English translation in Italian, would it be expressed differently? If that makes sense. Not a question of great importance :)


A related question. What is difference between quello che and quel che? How do you decide which one to use


When did I learn 'cio'?????


Maybe the day you posted the question?

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