"Do not ask what they think, ask what they do!"
Translation:Non chiedete cosa pensano, chiedete cosa fanno!
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
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).
Yes, it is; these sentences come up in other units as well, when relevant.
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.
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)
WHERE does it say this is 2nd person plural? I wrote non chiedi and was told it had to be voi not tu
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.