1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "È importante che lei si guar…

"È importante che lei si guardi intorno."

Translation:It is important that she look around.

September 8, 2014

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Viktoria_Chance

why "she look" instead of "she looks"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/btimlake

This is a manifestation of the subjunctive in English – much more common in writing and relatively unheard in spoken language. Most verbs in the subjunctive take the indicative form, and so you see unusual (but correct) constructions like this one. I would say grasping this concept in English is more important for farther advanced speakers than the equivalent concept in Romance languages.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Radko-

Sick bruv, here is a lingot


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolarBear667564

I wouldn't worry about it. I'm a native English speaker, degree-level education (admittedly in the Sciences, rather than Humanities), and this sentence construction looks odd to me!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/arrotino

Why does this include "si"? Is it reflexive or passive? if so, why? Would the sentence function equally well without "si"?

edit: I checked WordReference.com (http://www.wordreference.com/iten/guardarsi). It gives definitions of "to avoid" and "to look out (for someone)" for guardarsi. Before I was merely puzzled by DL's translation; now I'm baffled.

re-edit: OK. I checked other sources. Guardare intorno and guardarsi intorno both mean "to look around"; however, the latter seems to be used much more often that the former. This one http://it.bab.la/dizionario/italiano-inglese/guardare-intorno even has an example with a penguin. Maybe that explains why penguins are in so many of DL's early exercises.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vastar

"Guardare attorno" and "guardarsi attorno" could be translated in the same way in English, but they have a distinctive difference in meaning in Italian. "Guardare attorno" means just to look around for something, but an Italian would just use other verbs instead of "guardare" in this case ("cercare" for example, maybe adding in a locative "qui" or "lì", or "dare un'occhiata" - dialectal though). "Guardarsi attorno" is much more vast: it could mean "to take a look around" literally, "to look out for oneself" as you wrote, but in a different context I could prefer "checking one's possibilities in the immediate vicinity" (both temporal and spatial). It's important to note though that in "guardarsi attorno" meaning "to look around", the "si" is neither reflexive nor passive: in this case "si" is bound to "attorno", meaning "attorno a sé". Hope this clears up some doubts.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/phywood

I think that literally it could be translated as "look around oneself." Italian is less precise with the subject's pronouns than English and more so with other pronouns.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vastar

Italian is not less precise with pronouns, it's just focused on other syntactical properties. And the "si" in "guardarsi attorno" is bound to "attorno", not directly to the verb, meaning it's neither reflexive nor passive


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jiglico

Are intorno and attorno equally used?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/phywood

I said that badly; I meant they use actual pronouns less frequently for the subject, while they use actual pronouns more frequently in other locations, where in English the pronouns would be implied. I guess I was trying to simplify my comment and just made it inaccurate--sorry.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vastar

Aaah no sweat, no need to apologise. Just thought it might be confusing for non-Italian readers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sharinglanguage

Same question here. "Si guardi" sounds like "look at herself".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/uroshu

What they actually mean by using 'guardarsi' in this sentence is that you should revolve around yourself (hence the word 'si') to see what is happening around you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

To look around oneself nearby - as opposed to looking around by moving from room to room in a house, examining each room from the basement to the attic? Or to explore a small garden area as opposed to exploring a city?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MelissaHoe2

I wondered why "si" - it looked for the drop down hints that she should look around herself, do i thought it meant internally. (I.e. examine herself)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vastar

"Take a look around" is not accepted? Maybe it's colloquial, but it coveys better the meaning of "guardarsi attorno".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Normano

On the dropdown menu "about" is listed for "intorno" but is marked incorrect if used in th translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Baboon

"Looks around" is much more common than "look around", in my experience, and should be an option too, even if it is not strictly correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/btimlake

This comment thread seems to get more attention than others that I follow. So if anyone is interested in reading a bit more about why "look" is correct:

https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/it-is-important-that.203214/

Money quote: "This version uses the present subjunctive. The present subjunctive in this construction was once less usual in British than in American English; but in the last twenty years or so, it has become more common (perhaps because of the increasing daily contact by email, etc. between Americans and British speakers). It seems the most formal version: I would be surprised if a member of my family said it to me, but less so if a headmaster said it about a pupil.

When I say "The present subjunctive in this construction was once less usual in British than in American English", I mean "it was less usual in the early to mid 20th century". In pre-19th century English, the present subjunctive was much more common."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stergi3

Actually we have 2 sentences in these cases, the main and the secondary one, that is introduced by a che. I cannot understand when we translate the italian subjuctive to a subjunctive (extinct or not???) in English and a pronoun introduced with a preposition, to for instance, or without, as an object to the main phrase and an infinitive. A rule of thumb?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeroeOMER

I prefer "It is important that she herself look/s around" much greater emphasis is given when either "himself/herself/themselves is used. Without it the sentence is more casual, the other not so…and the sentence does state: it is important that…….


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Myriam562119

I totally agree with Ben


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariaIramendy

I believe the word that it here is an Object in the Relative Clauses. Therefore, it can be omitted. Please be illustrated as to when that can be omitted. It's common to drop 'that' when it is the object of the relative clause it introduces. https://www.thoughtco.com/uses-of-that-1210017


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

One possible English idiom for this sentence is: "It is important that she keep a look-out", which means to be wary, constantly looking around for possible dangers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith352848

Why does "she look around" require the reflexive verb form?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/btimlake

Duolingoers Arrotino and Vastar have offered thorough answers to this question (in comments above). Essentially, "guardarsi intorno" has a slightly different meaning from "guardare" intorno and better fits this situation.

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