"No, non finché non lo apri."

Translation:No, not until you open it.

May 16, 2013

This discussion is locked.


is there a non too much in this sentence?


then how does it work? because i don't get it


In this sentence only one "non" is causing the negation. In some circumstances " non" doesn't negate things. This is a particularly tricky sentence because it has both types!! The clue is the word "finché" so approach with great caution!!

There are two ways to use "finché and you need to decide which is being used. Either "until the moment that" (until) or "for all the time that" (while) In the former case the use of " non" can be optional and does not change the meaning as in the above case. In the latter use the meaning is changed.

The apparently additional use of "non" is called pleonastic so you may wish to try googling that word or there is more info here: http://onlineitalianclub.com/free-italian-exercises-and-resources/italian-grammar/finche-finche-non/ Hope this helps :)


But wouldn't the second 'non' be optional in this sentence? Why does it still come up as wrong?


In my own attempts to understand this I had read that when used to express "until" the use of non after finché was optional but, as you suggest, this may lead to misinterpretation if that option is exercised in a way that is not clear.

It may be better to just think of "finché non" as meaning "until" and "finché" as meaning "while" and to hold an appreciation that this can be a bit of a grey area at times. I've modified my original post to reflect this and I sincerely hope I havn't confused more than helped!


I'm not sure if you have modified this, maybe the edit didn't go through. It still says "In the former case the use of "non" can be optional..." Or maybe it did and I'm just not thinking about it right :P Writing here because I can't reply to your last post, for some reason. Thanks for the great explanation, by the way :)


Thanks so much Chris. I went here to ask for an explanation, and you did a wonderful job. Next question for anyone. Why lo apri and not l'apri? I have a feeling I know already but a clarification would be nice.


Thanks, but if the additional use of "non" is pleonastic, wouldn't it mean that finché means "until" and not "while"?


"non finché lo apri" = "not while you open it" = "not as long as you open [or 'keep on opening'] it"

"non finché non lo apri" = "not while you do not open it" = "not until you open it"


Hi eighfowr. That's a good explanation. Now I get it, thanks.


Great explanation, formaggiamente. Thanks!


I really appreciate this type of explanation, and try to explain thing in this manner myself. Thanks for this!


I like this too :)


Instead, think of it as "No, not as long as you do not open it." Then all the "non's" make sense.


The double negative doesn't apply in Italian - no matter how many times you say 'non', it's still negative


it is tricky to understand even for us italians, but sometimes the double negative makes the sentence positive also in italian language

  • Non posso non aprire la porta = Devo aprire la porta
    I cannot not open the door . . . .= I have to open the door


Note that lo apri ((you) open it) can also be contracted to l'apri.


why did they use lo apri then and not l'apri?


is "la apri" correct as well? In case "it" is feminine?


yes, what you say is correct
here Lo/La are direct object pronouns (as already pointed by other people above), which must agree in gender and number with the object https://grammar.collinsdictionary.com/it/grammatica-di-apprendimento-italiano/object-pronouns

  • Not until you open it
    non finché non Lo (book/ tap/masc.sing.nouns) apri
    non finché non La (bottle/ door/fem.sing.nouns) apri

  • Not until you open them
    non finché non Li (books/ taps/masc.pl.nouns) apri
    non finché non Le (bottles/ doors/fem.pl.nouns) apri


it accepted 'no not until you open him' a handy phrase for a coroner if the cause of death is unknown


yeah definitely break it down: lo apri = you open it non lo apri = you dont open it no, non finche = no, not while

the literal translation as such no, non finche non lo apri = no not while you dont open it.

edit jan215: literal translation vs natural translation. natural: No, not until you open it


How would I know there is an it at the end of this? How would an Italian know for that matter?


Here "lo" is the indicator of the direct object pronoun "it"; it comes before the verb. I don't remember seeing it in the exercises before this case, so it seems likely that you would be first encountering it here.


Thanks for clearing that up, I still couldn't get over Io being just I, but this is actually Lo, so now I get it. Small L vs. Capital i seems to confuse me a lot in duolingo's font.


Really good point to bring up! I have had a problem with that too!


Encounter what? Lo coming before the verb indicating it following?


Yes, if I understood your question properly. I thought your question was about spotting the direct object - I apologize if I misunderstood.


No you got it. Thanks.


I am wondering if someone could please translate these for me: "non finché" "finché non"
"non finché non"



"non finché" = not while "finché non" = until "non finché non" = not until

Like the one of people above stated that "finché" is a bit of grey area as to when to use these but essentially this is what they mean.


Oh, and also this one:
"finché" thanks!


Could this also have the meaning of "not unless you open it"?


is "lo" being used as a pronoun in this case ?


It is the direct object pronoun for whatever is being opened, but to an English speaker it is back-to-front "it you open" rather than "you open it".


so 'lo' is referring to whatever is being opened and is it always back to front ?


Finché == as long as. "Until you open it" == "Finché non lo apri" (as long as you don't open it). "Not until you open it" == "Non finché non lo apri" (not as long as you don't open it). "No, not until you open it" == "No, non finché non lo apri (no, not as long as you don't open it). "You are mine until I die" == "Sei mio finché non muoio" (you are mine as long as I don't die. Would this be an accurate breakdown of how these sentences are constructed?


I have similar interpretation though I prefer to use the word "while" rather than "as long as". "No, non finché non lo apri" becomes "No, not while not (you open it)" = "No, not while you don't open it" is correct answer btw = "No, not while it isn't opened by you", which means the same as "Not until you open it", but the perspective is different.


So, does lo always mean it? I'm confused. Some help please?


No. "Lo" refers to a single masculine object or entity. It translates to "it" or "him". But obviously "him" doesn't make a lot of sense in this case.


Aaaaaah! Stupid "it"! Nobody needs u!


I'm no expert, but the way I had to straighten this out in my head was to translate it as: "No, not while you have not opened it". DL equates this to "not until you have opened it", with "Not While" = "Until". But to keep the meaning the same it has to go from "not while it is NOT opened" to "Until it IS opened". Both forms then indicate the object isn't yet opened in the present.


No, non finch non lo apri = No, not until you open it. Why not: No, not until you NOT open it?


You can't say that in English. See WanderingGator's comment above.


Yes, the Chris12345 explained it really well. I'll come back to that in the future.


Weird construction

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