The only real clue to this sentence is the "!" although even that is not enough. "Lasci" could be one of three things: present indicative, present subjunctive, or formal imperative. We could have (in accord with the "!") the imperative
(You, stranger or respected elder) "Let us be!" or "Leave us alone!"
But we could also have the indicative
(Surprise!) "You are letting us stay!" or "You are leaving us alone!"
The subjunctive is NOT used in this construction. The English modal subjunctive "You may let us stay" would not call for the "!" either. Possibly "?"
This is one of those sentences that I wish Duo would not use. It's a foolish attempt to make a point that could be better done another way.
I'm told that the command form for the formal you is in fact the subjunctive (typically with an exclamation mark terminating the sentence). The formal you in essence is an acknowledgement that the person to whom you are speaking is someone you would never presume to command because of his higher status, or out of your great esteem for him. So when you "command" him, you are merely expressing a wish that he do something. He doesn't have to comply, but you hope he will. Hence the use of the subjunctive to "command" someone who is "above" you in authority, or in esteem.
Thanks! I see your point about the 'lasci' v' 'lascia' and that makes sense in terms of the tenses. I still wonder how this 'command' is subjunctive though. I'm not understanding the use of subjunctive, rather than imperative, in this sentence. 'Ci lascia stare!' v 'Ci lasci stare'. Grazie!
:) I love this! So I can never impolitely tell 'Lei' to 'LEAVE ME ALONE!' Ahh... :) the respect the Italians have... So basically the sentence 'Ci lasci stare' is saying, 'Sir/Madam - leave us alone' and not 'You - leave us alone.' I don't know why I missed that. I use the subjunctive when I inadvertently bump into someone 'Mi scusi signora'. Grazie!
What giovaug says is correct.
As a little remark, you have to say lasciaci and not ci lascia (that would be indicative). You put the pronoun after the verb with imperative (lasciami, lasciati, lasciaci etc.), but you put it before the verb with subjunctive (mi lasci, ci lasci, lo lasci etc.)
Hi Amalate, I'm italian and you can be sure when i say "go to hell" to someone i don't use at all the polite 3rd person. So, for example, if you bother me, i say: "lasciami stare!" and, maybe, I add something else... The problem is in the sentence of Duolingo: they use the polite 3rd person and they require we litteraly translate it but, again, believe me: real spoken language, sometimes, is a little bit different...:)
The Italian imperative is a "relic" of late Latin, which used to have other moods, such as "hortative," etc. Gradually, those forms were displaced by the subjunctive, and that is the case in modern Italian. We can speak of "scusi" as formal imperative, or we can consider it subjunctive; the form is the same in any case, but the functions are different. The formal "you" requires the third person pronouns (Lei, etc.) and the corresponding verb form, which happens to be third person subjunctive AND imperative. So, no, "mi scusi" is not really subjunctive, although it looks as if it is, and in some ways acts as if it is (it doesn't take the attached pronouns, as d.batta points out). I hope this helps a bit.
Thank you very much amalate for asking the origininal question, persevering with your enquiry and then giving the "mi scusi" example. Ever since i went to italy for the first time with a vocab that went little beyond pizza i have been saying "mi scusi". I must have learned it as a fixed phrase. But only now with your post do i understand why scusi ends in "i" ! Will try to give you a lingot later - cannot at mo as on android app
Thank you amalate, d.batta, giovaug and others. Your postings are very useful information to get an idea about how easy it is to drop an Italian brick. I wish that I could learn more about this and hope, that DL might offer another Bonus Skill for such subtleties.
Thank you again for creating awareness!
These are good questions. First, "lasci" is both the subjunctive and the imperative of "lasciare." In Italian that it usually the case. The subjunctive would translate into English as "will/can/may you leave us," but Duo has kindly told us it is the imperative with the final " ! " It is simply an order: "leave us!" In the case of "ci scusi" you would not think of it as an order but a request, but it is still imperative, "excuse us." That expression shows the closeness of the imperative to the subjunctive, which would be "will you excuse us (please)."
"Stare" is a verb that can mean "be" as well as "stay". It is related to "essere," although they are not interchangeable. In this given sentence, a close literal English translation would be "Let/leave us be!" or in Duo's version "Let/leave us alone!" "Stare" is not an adverb, nor is this slang, but it is common, standard Italian. (Incidentally, this phrase without the "ci" could also translate McCartney's "Let It Be".)
imperativo presente [lasciàre] = present imperative
làscia (tu) .......... leave (informal, singular)
làsci (egli) .......... leave (formal, singular)
lasciàmo (noi) .......... let's leave
lasciàte (voi) .......... leave (informal, plural)
làscino (essi) .......... leave (formal, plural)
The imperative (l'imperativo) is used to give orders, advice, and exhortations.
When the shortened tu form of andare (va'), dare (da'), dire (di'), fare (fa') and stare (sta') is used with a pronoun (single or combined), the apostrophe disappears and the initial consonant of the pronoun is doubled (except for gli)
When object pronouns are used with the affirmative imperative in the tu, noi, voi persons, they follow the verb and are attached to it, forming one word. No matter how long the word becomes, the stress remains unaffected by the addition.
Examples: Spiegaci!, = Explain to us!, Girati! = Turn around!, Non tormentarmi = Don't torment me!, Sbrigati = Hurry up!, Chiamami! = Call me!, Scrivimi! = Write me!, Sta' zitto! = Shut up!, Lasciami in pace. = Leave me alone., Mettila dietro. (una bici) = Put it in the back. (a bike), Non dirmelo! = Don't tell me!, Non fare l'innocente. = Don't play innocent., Divertiti! = Enjoy yourself!, Dille di riprendersi. = Tell her to get better., Non preoccuparti. = Don't worry yourself., Calmati! = Calm down!, Digli di chiamarla. = Tell him to call her., Tocca a te! Your turn!, Si accomodi. = Make yourself comfortable., Trascinalo a scuola! = Drag him to school!, Coprimi! = Cover me!, Vattene! = Get out of here!, Concentriamoci. = Let's focus., Tienili! = Keep them!, Finiscila. = Finish it., Prendilo. = Take it., Non farti beccare. = Don't get caught., Lascia perdere! = Let it go! Forget it!, Dimmi quand'è iniziata? = Tell me when it started?, Girati, amico. = Turn around, friend., Non bere. = Don't drink., Aspetta! = Wait!, Guarda altrove. = Look away., Stampale per il numero commemorativo. = Print them out for the tribute issue., Passami papà. = Let me speak to dad., Rallenta, tesoro! = Slow down, sweetheart!, Passami il cacciavite. = Hand me the screwdriver., Accendila. = Start it up., Dammi lo straccio.= Hand me the rag., Ruota l’accensione. = Flip the ignition., Spegnila. = Shut it off. Beh, ascoltami. = Well, listen to me., Pulisci questa roba. = Clean up this mess., Passali alla prossima persona. = Pass them to the next person., Non darmi per scontata. = Don’t take me for granted., Non farlo di nuovo. = Don’t do it again., Fa’ ciò che ho detto. = Do what I said., Uniscili! = Join them!., Guardatevi. = Look at yourselves!, Fatemi vedere cos'avete fatto. = Let me see what you have done., Scusami! = Excuse me!, Muovete i piedi. Andiamo! = Move your feet. Let's go!, Dammi il telefono., Give me the telephone., Stammi bene. = Take care of yourself., Resta lì. = Stay there.