Il ragazzo porta il cane con sé ; the boy takes the dog with him.

This is a new one for me. I could guess what meant from the context but I haven't seen this before . How does "con sé " come to mean "with him"?

September 23, 2018


These are the tonic forms of the reflexive personal pronouns:

me stesso / stessa = myself (masc. / fem.)
te stesso / stessa = yourself (masc. / fem.)
sé stesso / stessa = himself / herself
noi stessi / stesse = ourselves (masc. / fem.)
voi stessi / stesse = yourselves (masc. / fem.)
loro stessi / stesse = themselves (masc. / fem.)

When there is no need to emphasize the pronoun, stesso can be dropped:

  • Lo compro per me (stesso). = I buy it for myself.

  • Fa tutto da sé (stesso/stessa). = He/She does everything by him/herself.

Adding stesso emphasizes the pronoun:

  • Sono orgoglioso di me stesso. = I am proud of myself.

  • Dovrebbero badare a sé stessi. = They should look after themselves.

Using the impersonal form, the masculine (standard gender) plural stessi is normally used:

  • Parlare con sé stessi. = To speak with oneself.

Quite a few people claim that when stands before stesso it should be spelt se stesso (without an accent). This old trend, which used to be taught in school ages ago, has been rejected by the most important linguistic institutions, being useless and sometimes even confusing (se also means "if", and se stesse can mean both "themselves" in feminine form, or "if he/she were").
So although se stesso is still grammatical, stick with (spelt with the acute accent) also when it is followed by stesso.

September 23, 2018

Grazie. The "sé stesso" with accent is a real eye-opener. Thankyou.

September 23, 2018

Grazie Civis! I had never heard of this! I will be asking my Italian language teacher more about this!

September 24, 2018

Let's hope your Italian teacher is not among the many who claim that sé stesso is wrong. :-D
If he/she does, you can show him/her this article by the Accademia della Crusca, where the topic is debated. It was published in 2007 and, in short, says that both forms are legit.
However, over the past few years, the school of thought that should be always spelt with the accent has become prevalent, and among those who claim so is Luca Serianni, the no.1 linguist whose word is (usually) law.
The Treccani dictionary says about this debate (1 b): "in these cases [i.e. before stesso] the pronoun is often spelt without the accent, yet without a plausible reason that justifies this".

September 24, 2018

Sé stesso??
Ordunque, tradisci il tuo amato Sabatini Coletti col Migliorini-Tagliavini-Fiorelli?
Ne sono piacevolmente sorpresa.

Meriti un lingot ........ ma anche tre (crepi l'avarizia!)

September 24, 2018

Grazie, gentilissima! :-D

Comunque l'edizione online del Sabatini-Colletti dice "anche senza accento".

September 25, 2018

"Sé" is a third person personal reflexive pronoun, it can be used for both genders, "con sé" can mean either "with himself", "with herself" or "with itself" depending on the context.

Not to be confused with "se" (no accent) which means "if".

September 23, 2018

Ciao puma. Grazie per questo. Another good one : va da sé = it goes without saying....

September 23, 2018

Ciao Lynnich. So glad you raised this one. Yet another gem from Civis. Tanti auguri...

September 23, 2018
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