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"È importante che lei si guardi intorno."

Translation:It is important that she look around.

September 8, 2014



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


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.


No contextual evidence dictates subjunctive in English


I'm not sure what you're saying here – not even whether you're talking about this example or English in general. Do you have a question about this?


"It is important (that)" requires a subjuntive.


Oops! SubjunCtive.


The subjunctive is virtually unused in English nowadays. Certainly no native speaker would ever say "it is important that she look"; it would always be "that she looks".


"Certainly no native speaker would ever say … " is a bold assertion. In fact, people do use this form: people who care about precision, even in their spoken language. Maybe it's not useful for an intermediate-level language course, but it is accurate.


I have to disagree. While the latter may indeed be common, in much of the Northeast (yay, Boston) it is quite common for educated speakers to use the subjunctive with impunity :-)


I was born and raised in England. I would both say and write "it is important that she look". So, there is a counterexample to disprove your statement.


Yes, you're right about that. (It's of course important in Italian but definitely not to the same extent in English as you correctly note.)


Well, if you're a member of a highly educated circle of people, then, sure, I've have no issue believing that they speak that way, but HaroldWonh did say "virtually unused", and in that assessment he is 100%. Compared to the rest of America, these small enclaves of now mostly disused speech constructs are virtually non-existent. I was educated at any Ivy League school several decades ago, I met a lot of educated people from Boston and New York and other centers of enlightenment, and none of them would have used the subjunctive here.

Why? Because it doesn't add any nuance in this case. The idea gets across whether you use "look" or "looks", so the subjunctive here is vestigial at best. It's a distinction without a difference.


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!


It should be she looks


Subjunctive "look" is perfectly correct, though apparently not that much used by the younger generation.


You're right. She looks with an "s" ought to be accepted by Duo.


Because Duolingo uses American English not proper (UK) English. A British or Australian would say 'she looks around' - 'she look around' is incorrect English but then a lot of of American spelling and grammar is incorrect.


Not only are you wrong, you are also offensive and do not offer anything to this discussion. What a pitiful moment you must have had to bring the ridiculous British vs. American debate into a forum where people are trying to learn. I suggest you remove this comment.

To the point: the subjunctive is indeed proper usage in British English, though it is much less common than in Modern American English.

Ref: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv105.shtml


I agree that it was a little insulting to imply American English is 'wrong' However it is 'bastardised' (much in the same way as early English, anglo Saxon and later Shakespearian English has been) due to the fact all language evolves over time. Americans sometimes use phrases and contractions that 'jar' with UK English speakers. It does not make them 'wrong' . Same with spellings (although some American word spellings, for me at least, remove some unnecessary vowels (color - colour being an obvious one) However, the point is that DL originating from the US has a tendency to mark some UK English grammar 'wrong' ( some collective nouns are a good example where UK speakers (and the OE dictionary) allow singular or plural where US states singular only and rejects plurals)
In this specific answer UK speakers would indeed say 'looks' not 'look' in this context and in 62 year living and working throughout the UK I cannot think of 1 instance where someone has said to me "....he/ she look..for it". In spite of your BBC World service link, which is, in fairness aimed at people learning the language, in everyday use here in the UK, subjunctive is pretty much redundant. In fact, when it comes to Italian, (where we now live) most of our Italian friends tell us that most Italians have difficulty with conjutivo (subjunctive tenses) and particularly passato remote and they are only used in one or two regions (I think Sicily and Napoli).

'Vive la difference' and all that!!


I have some visual issues which make it difficult for me to read really long paragraphs. I skip over long paragraphs because I have so much trouble reading them.

I would be very appreciative if you and others were (SUBJUNCTIVE - OMG!!!) to break up your comments into more paragraphs. It doesn't have to be a lot of small paragraphs, but 3 or 4 would have enabled me to read your comment. (I use smaller ones because it makes it a lot easier for me to proof-read what I've written.)

I'm not singling you out - I picked your comment at random for this comment.


Thanks, Ben, for that riposte!


I want to make it clear that "It is important that she look around" IS, in fact, correct and proper English use of the subjunctive, for those who may be misled by annveitch's post stating that it is incorrect.


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.


"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.


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.


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


Are intorno and attorno equally used?


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.


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


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


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.


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?


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)


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


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


"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.


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:


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."


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?


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…….


I totally agree with Ben


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


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


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.


Regardless whether it is grammaticly correct or not, it is unnatural and would sound incorrect if anyone said this


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.


Around for what ???


Correct it to she lookS


This is colloquial


To add to this discussion, it may also be correct ti say: "for her to look around". The lack of the "s" in look certainly sounds rather odd


You can say that subj definition is she look. But not She go ....She shop for... And so you won't here "that she look only looks. 3rd person singular English.

As for reflective with Guardare in 3rd person singular, Guardi, this is from Word Reference guardarsi intorno look around which is si attached to infinitive.


That she look around? Looks around should be the right choice, but there is no looks, just look...


I'm beginning to think that whoever made these sentences up does not know how to speak English. They sound like they just got off the boat!


It is important that she looks around.


Buongiorno! Although DL's translation is acceptable, it is actually better to translate the verb with an "s": It is important she looks around. (The so-called subjunctive tense is hardly used in conversation; in fact, even in writing, it does not often appear, nowadays.) In fact, the use of "that" can be discarded in conversation.


I would translate: that she LOOKS around




It is important that she looks around.


As far as I know, it is correct "she looks" not "she look"


She look ????? Are you serious ???? Please change into proper English.... she looks or to look


She LOOKS not she look


"She look", slowly clappin'


Lei can be translated also with "you"


If it is Lei (the formal you) not lei.


"look" is the correct English subjunctive - it's just not used very much in English. Hardly at all. So your reaction is more than normal. At some point, when a word is not longer used by most of the speaking population and another form is used by them, then the other form should become technically the correct version. We just haven't gotten there yet.


I just came across this discussion and am shocked at all the posts claiming that the subjunctive "look" is wrong. To me it is perfectly natural, in fact definitely preferable. I disagree with the idea that any perfectly correct English that has lost its currency should be considered "wrong".


Must be looks not look

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