"Volendo, possiamo andare insieme."

Translation:If we want, we can go together.

April 18, 2013

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Gerundio is used often in dependent clauses where it has specific functions.

Temporal clause: "Camminando, pensavo a Giovanni (While I was walking I thought about John)". Here "camminando" can also be written "mentre camminavo" or "mentre stavo camminando".

Hypothetical clause: "Volendo, possiamo andare insieme (if we want we can go together)".

Causal clause: "Partendo domani ti ho comprato un regalo (as I am leaving tomorrow I have bought you a present". here "partendo" can be written "poiche' parto" or "dal momento che parto" or "siccome parto".

Concessive clause: "Pur studiando ogni giorno, non riesco ad imparare l'italiano (even if I study every day I can't learn italian)". Here "pur studiando can be written "anche se studio" or "sebbene studi" or benche' studi".

modal clause: "Ho raggiunto il faro camminando lungo la riva (I reached the lighthouse by walking along the shore)".


Very useful summary! One question regarding the sentence at hand. How do we know if the gerund refers to "if we want" or "if you want", referring to the communication partner? Thanks.


I believe the gerund refers to the subject of the conjugated verb, in the above example, 'we'.


Good idea! But couldn't it be "you"?


No, Germanlehrerlsu is correct. The subject of the participle and the subject of the main clause are the same. To be sure, whether in this case we say 'if you want' or 'if we want' makes little difference to the meaning, but in other cases it might. So stick with 'if we want''.


Yes, put another way, the gerund shares the subject of the main verb and expresses action that is simultaneous with that of the main verb.


ion1122, thanks for the confirmation. I appreciate it.


@SrijanH no, you can't.


So if i want to say " If you want , we can go together" I cannot use gerund as above?


I still don't understand why the subjects have to be the same....


You ask why the subjects "have to be" the same. The answer is that that is how Italian speakers use this construction.

Could it have been otherwise? Could it be otherwise in some parallel universe that we do not have access to? Perhaps.

But the reason the "rule" is what it is is that native speakers of Italian (or at least the majority of educated ones) use the construction in the way the "rule" describes.


Not at all, Teresinha. My point is about "rules" in a language. Some are more logical than others, but in the end they all come down to what most native speakers say most of the time.


Wow! You turned my doubt into total idiocy!


Teresinha: see my -- and other -- comments above. When using a gerund, its subject is the same as that of the following clause. If there were a diffentent subject in the introductory clause, then a conjugated verb form would be used. So if you meant, "If YOU want, WE..." then you'd see Se vuoi, possiamo.. I believe that's correct and leave it for others more knowledgeable to confirm or correct.


Hmmm.... Se vuoi,... that makes it clearer. Thanks!


I would argue though that in conversation, "if you want" sounds natural as well. Like "if you want, we could go to the park instead."


Yes, both sound natural, but they mean different things. For example, "I don't want to, but if YOU want to ..." versus "We are both of the same opinion. If WE want to ...".


I assumed "if you'd like" and it was correct.


benczurp, me too


Thanks, I was clueless about this and your explanation is clear and concise. Have a lingot!


Thank you a lot! You've deserved more than a Lingot! But here it is. ;)


This example of causal clause using gerund (partendo domani ti ho comprato un regalo) is not idiomatic in Italian. Better examples:

  • Non potendo volare, l'uccello rimane dov'è.
  • Essendo domenica, i negozi non erano aperti.
  • Essendo straniera, non me l'aspettavo.
  • Partendo domani, ti farò piangere.


Most helpful - thank you.


Biomax: GREAT explanation! Grazie.


Great summary! There's no way I'll be able to remember all that


Thanks, that's a great explanation!

Though at first I read "concessive clause" as "concussive clause", lol ("Hitting you over the head, I take your wallet...").


How do you know this stuff? Have a lingot.


I am currently in Italy and I have asked an Italian friend who is a language teacher about our problem. She said that volendo can be used with you, we, and even they (sentence different). It seems the best explanation is provided by pmm122 by translating volendo into willing. Even though it would be ackward in english it still conveys the meaning most clearly and lets us understand what is being said. Never mind the correct English translation, the object is to understand italian unless we all want to be professional interpreters. Haggling about the correct English translation is counterproductive and will not help us learn Italian. Volendo=willing is the best explanation. It would be great if some native Italians would comment on our difficulties in understanding Italian and guide us.


Thank you for pursuing this!


But does Duo accept that volendo=willing?


I think you missed his point. Willing is so we can mentally Translate. He was saying it is the most accurate meaning.


Would "Se vogliamo" work in place of "volendo"? And is the gerund able to be used to mean "if we want to" in Italian?


When it is the first word in the sentence it can indeed add 'if' to the verb, I understand.


Is that true for all gerunds, or specific to 'volendo'


I think it is true for all gerunds


"Se vogliamo, possiamo andare insieme" is okay. The second part of the question is not clear to me.


couldn't se vogliamo be used


"If you would like we can go together." is not accepted. Volendo can mean either "want" or "would like".

Duolingo really needs to loosen up with these kinds of things. It makes it very frustrating.


'Volere' is 'to want'. 'To like' is 'piacere'. 'Would like' is (i.a.) piacerebbe, conditional of piacere.


why does Duolingo not allow volere to be translated as "wish", as opposed to "want"? That's a natural way of saying it in English.


I said, We can go together if you like. Why is this incorrect?


Apart from the change in word order, volere means "to want" rather than "to like". So even though an English speaker might use "like" in this context this is not an accurate translation of volendo and so I presume that it has not been included in the list of accepted translations for that reason.



To me the most usual is gerund as in -ing participle, to make a continuous tense in English. Quite important the other cases though. But i am wondering if it is just a convenient way to say the same more analytical in these cases. For us, the learners from a different language background this way is easier. Gerund is not the same in all languages that already use it. In my native language is used with an adverbial use mostly, temporal use, in English is a noun actually.

I have met just only a few sentences like this one.


A couple of times, I've used "andarci" for this (because a place isn't specified, and the verb 'andare' feels like it needs some sort of location). Duolingo doesn't accept it, but I'd love to find out what a native speaker thinks. Wrong? Right? Sounds fine but means something different? Grazie in anticipo.


I haven't a clue where the "if" came from?


The gerund can express a condition in Italian.

This has been already explained in previous posts. Please check them before posting.


I'm very confused about continuous tenses and participles (here) being called gerunds. They all seem to be lumped together in Italian as gerunds.


Helen, be careful. Italian and English use different terminology.

In English we distinguish between a participle and a gerund. For example:
1. I can't stand his singing.
2. I can't stand him singing.
In 1 the -ing form is used as a noun. We call it a gerund. In 2 the -ing form is used as an adjective. We call it a participle.

In Italian there is a form called the gerundio. The Italian word and the English word "gerund" are obviously related, but they are not used the same way.

The Italian gerundio adds the endings "-ando" or "-endo" to the verb.
The gerundio is used (1) to indicate actions happening simultaneously with the main verb; (2) with "stare" to note an action in progress. So, for example:
1. Volendo, possiamo andare insieme = If we want, we can go together
2. Sto preparando il caffè = I'm making the coffee

In addition to the gerundio, Italian also has a form called the participio. It is formed by adding "-ante" or "-ente" to the verb. In modern Italian, this form is not used as a verb except in very formal language. The participio is usually an adjective or a noun. For example:
potente = powerful
amante = lover
agente = agent

Here is an example of using the participio in formal language:
Vivente il padre, i figli non ricevono l'eredità = The father living (being alive), the children shall not receive the inheritance.

Neither the gerundio nor the participio is used to translate the English "-ing" continuous forms. The simple Italian verb is used instead. (But note above the form with "stare".)


Thank you, Ion1122, for that very detailed explanation. I did suspect that something like this might be the case, but it's good to have if confirmed so clearly.


I've never really heard verbs being used in this way and I grew up to italian tv.


Volendo: Why not "if you wish"?


See the discussion on this page. The subject of the sentence is "we", not "you".


I put the sentence the other way round as I would when speaking English and thiscwasvrejected. Why?


"We can go together if we want" should be accepted, it comes more naturally in English, and the meaning is exactly the same.


What's wrong with "If you are willing, we can go together"? This version includes a passing recognition of the gerund, but DL didn't accept it.


I think it has been rejected because it requires "we" as the subject of the gerund. The general rule is that the subject performing the action that is described in the gerund must be the same as that of the main clause. There are exceptions but in these cases the different subject is clearly stated or implied, which is not the case here.


tonidapillipi: I agree with roman2095. In the absence of a subject (and dependent clause), it has to be assumed that the subject implicit in the gerund construction is the same as in the main clause.


But Duo accepted "If you want, we can go together."


I think that is a reasonable, if non-literal, translation as the speaker would not be suggesting it if he/she were not in favour of it. So, even though Italian grammar rules apparently say that the condition implied by the gerundio is that "we" must both want to go, it effectively just leaves the implied condition of the second person also wanting to go.


volendo is willing as in pmm123 example of God willing. if we want is se vogliamo and does not fit with volendo


A better more complete and literal answer I would think is ... "se stiamo volendo....ecc."


manlio.cornia@libero.it italiano, cerca corrispondente di lingua inglese per scambio E mail in inglese-italiano. Cheers-cari saluti


manlio.cornia@libero.it italian 78 years old, is looking for a correspondent in italian and english. Could you help me?


Odd sentence. Convaluted


Are you talking about the Italian or t he English sentence? Both look OK to me.


Volendo sounds on the audio like Voletto .,


She said voleto, not volendo. I've repoted it. 03.31.2018


For me too. I reported it 2015-08-21.


"if we want " where does this conditional construction come from ???


See the discussion above, biomax explains it well


Why did you not add in my last points to my total it should be 118. Not 103.
This sentence is improper english.

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