"Do not ask what they think, ask what they do!"

Translation:Non chiedete cosa pensano, chiedete cosa fanno!

March 31, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Why does the first "ask" have to be plural and the second singular? Can't they both be either?


Yes, it can be both plural or singular: however, be careful that the negated imperative second person singular uses the infinitive, so the two options are:

  • Non chiedete cosa pensano, chiedete cosa fanno!
  • Non chiedere cosa pensano, chiedi cosa fanno!


This is a ridiculous question to ask a beginning learner, particularly in this format. That concept has not been introduced, there would be no possible way to know that answer - and indeed I only learned of this rule from your comment.

Thanks for your explanation.


I'm not sure I understand why we need non chiedere and not non chiedi here. Is that a rule?


Yes, the tu conjugation in negative imperative always uses the infinitive: see http://italian.about.com/library/weekly/aa011900b.htm


Thank you for the link!


The article is great, thank you. Though for some reason Duo accepted "non domandi cosa pensano". Is it a mistake and I shall report it?


I wrote (chiedi/chiedi) and the system displayed to me the first you wrote above and this one as possible:

Non chiedete cosa pensano, chiedi cosa fanno!

Do I have three options then?


Honestly this third option is pretty awkward, as the first part of the sentence addresses multiple people and the second part addresses a single person. I think it's fine from a purely grammatical viewpoint though.


Va bene, capisco "il perché" di questo.

Poi la terza possibilità potrebbe essere (chiedere/chiedete).



Can't it be both "chiedi", as if you were telling this sentence to a single person?


No. The negated imperative for a single person uses the infinitive. See comments by f.formica


WHERE does it say this is 2nd person plural? I wrote non chiedi and was told it had to be voi not tu


"Non chiedi" is not imperative.


Thank you for your response. So... "Per favore chiedi....." is imperative, but not in the negative? For the negative I should only use the infinitive? "non chiedere....."


Yes; you can read other posts above, or https://www.thoughtco.com/the-imperative-mood-in-italian-4072739. The imperative mood is a bit of a patchwork, and the negative one for "tu" forms with the infinitive.


How did this find its way into revision of 'objects'? They haven't even introduced that verb before, never mind the extremely obscure construction! I have no comprehension of why 'non domandi' was rejected.


How on earth are we supposed to know that the negated imperative second person singular uses the infinitive? It's NOT a good way of teaching as it's only due to f.formica's comment (thank you) that we know this. I am a teacher - don't approve!


Isn't this the imperative?


Yes, it is; these sentences come up in other units as well, when relevant.


why is it wrong to write : "non chiedete cosa loro pensano, chiedete cosa loro fanno" ?


my answer ¨Non chiedere che cosa pensano, chiedono che cosa fanno!¨ the sentence is indicated with ¨they¨ so I used the loro form "chiedono" which was indicated as a wrong answer instead this example is shown using the voi form "chiedete". which is the ¨you¨ form why?


In English the subject can be omitted only if it's an imperative, so both "ask" and "don't ask" refer to "you"; "chiedono cosa fanno" would be "they ask what they do".


But how do we know that this "you" the "ask" is refering to is the "you" of the 2nd p.plural(voi) instead of the 2nd p.singular "you"(tu)?

I am thinking that, in Italian, when you give a command/advice to a single person you use the form "ere" because it is impossible to do the same with "-i". Am I right or just losing my mind studying too much?


In English you really have no way to know if you're addressing one person or more with "you"; although technically you're always using a plural (the singular would be thou/thee). In Italian it's immediately evident from the conjugation.

The form in -re is only used in negative imperative, as it's taken from the infinitive; it's not like it couldn't be in -i, using the same form is what French does for instance, but for historical reasons some parts of the imperative conjugation are "borrowed".

So for instance, for a singular "you", you have:

  • Chiedi! (positive imperative, informal - same as the 2nd person present)
  • Non chiedere! (negative imperative, informal - same as the infinitive)
  • Chieda! (positive imperative, formal - same as the 3rd person subjunctive)
  • Non chieda! (negative imperative, formal - same as the 3rd person subjunctive)


Thank you again sir. I'll work on this. A più tardi!


Imperatives are only in 2nd person singular (chiedi/non chiedere) or plural (chiedete), or first person plural (chiediamo="let's ask…") You don't ask a "they" to do something.


I wrote "Non chiedete cosa loro pensano, chiedete cosa fanno." Why is "loro" wrong?


Why not: "Non chiedere ciò che pensano, chiedi ciò che fanno!" ?


The hover over hints told me it should be the imperative, "chiedere", followed by "chiedete" the second time around; is this correct?


Grr i'm cross i got it wrong


"Non domandi quello che pensano, domandi quello que fanno."

Why is this wrong?


Spiacente, error in posting answer!


Why 'chiedi' is not good? 'You' can be singular, too!!!


Anyhow this question it was not shown before. I just had to guess how it would be and then I guessed wrong cause if the negative asking for the infinitive...


I wrote this exactly as in the answer and it says I'm wrong


I put 'non chiedere cosa pensano, chiede cosa fanno' why is that wrong?


Can someone explain this in simple terms?

Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.