"Qualcosa mi dice che lui le abbia trovate."

Translation:Something tells me that he has found them.

June 9, 2013

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I keep hearing "provate" instead of "trovate"...


Why le? Isn't it femal singular imdirect pronoun? We should use li, right?


Not here, here it's plural feminine direct pronoun. 'le' = them. Because it's find them, not find to them.


The sentence is wrong. "Qualcosa mi dice che lui le ha trovate" is the right form. The verb is related to 'dire', then it shouldn't be subjunctive.


Jacopone83: section b(vii) Langenscheidt Italian grammar subjunctive "the subjunctive is used when the verb of the main clause is a statement or denial. for instance, dire-to say, tell; spiegare-to explain; or significare-to mean. but if the main verb denotes certainty the subordinate clause requires the indicative." Langenscheidt lists six examples that illuminate this issue. this sentence does NOT denote certainty and so it requires subjunctive in the subordinate clause. dire does not negate the subjunctive; certainty does.


Again, I'm sure that the indicative is the correct form. But since you are unwilling to believe to an italian native speaker, who has a PhD in italian literature and teaches italian to foreign adults, I'm giving some more explanation and examples. When I say that "something/someone tells me that..." it's a reported speech. If I report a sentence, then I should consider the certainty or uncertainty of the - in this case metaphorical - speaker. Not mine. And I can show the attitude of the speaker by using different verbs. "Dire" denotes certainty.

Direct speech: Anna dice - "Paolo le ha trovate" Reported speech: Anna dice che Paolo le ha trovate.

I can add something: "Anna dice che Paolo le ha trovate, ma io non credo che lui le abbia trovate.

If I wanted to give less credit to Anna's opinion, I would say "Anna ritiene che Paolo le abbia trovate". But I can't keep the verb "dire" if I want to use subjunctive.

I know that "Qualcosa mi dice" is a periphrasis for "I think", but the grammatical form of reported speech with "dire" wins over the deep meaning of the sentence, that is communicating my personal belief, of which I may be not so sure.

Another example: "Tutto mi fa pensare che lui le abbia trovate". Sorry, I don't know if I can give a proper translation: "Everything makes me think that he has found them". In this sentence, the subjunctive is correct, because the verb is "pensare", "to think".

I believe that grammar is a description of a language, that for lower levels of competence is a perfect rule. But when it describes difficult things, then it may lack of contact with the real language, and you shouldn't look for a rule in the grammar, but trust well informed native speakers, instead.


there is no metaphorical speaker. it is not reported speech. "qualcosa mi dice" is my intuition speaking, my best guess. 'something tells me' and 'someone tells me' are not equivalent the first is a guess and the second is from someone you aren't naming. you can make the case that the second is a statement of fact, but not the first. your example of anna and paolo doesn't speak to this sentence. there is no anna. there is only a paolo and my guess. however your anna/paolo construction does in fact denote certainty and I agree with you that it requires indicative. you even admit that this phrase, "qualcosa mi dice" at most means "I think".

I also agree that there are verbs that require the subjunctive or negate it. dire isn't one of them. dire is used specifically in several Italian grammars to show that whether you use the subjunctive or not is dependent on the meaning of the 'dire' phrase. in this instance it means "I suppose" or "surely by now". one example was "si dice che oggi l'immagine conti piu (accented) della parola." another was "dico che non e (accented) vero." the first subjunctive, the second indicative. the use of 'dire' in examples probably isn't accidental. (I would even argue that changing 'dirsi' in the first sentence to 'dire' could require 'conta' instead of 'conti, since you could translate it as 'he says' and that could make it more positive)

citing 'pensare' isn't of any value since we are talking about 'dire'. pensare, credere, suporre, preferire, dubitare, piacere, presumere, immaginare, sembrare, suggerire, consigliare, and a bunch of essere and fare constructions all require the subjunctive. that this is the case isn't because of the verb, but because it is virtually impossible to use them to state a fact. they all are about opinion, doubt, suggestion, permission, wishing, denial or preference. 'dire' isn't like these verbs.

I don't doubt that the subjunctive is not used where it ought to be used. every reference (many of these are also native speakers with credentials) that speaks about subjunctive says that it is often unused by native speakers. they also say that it is often used improperly. I don't find this surprising since there are pages of rules and qualifiers. I also give a native speakers the benefit of the doubt over my own knowledge until some other better authority (in this case published grammars and the instructing software) tell me differently. when my dad taught me to drive I readily accepted what he said. he'd been driving for more years than I had lived. but when the published text from the state that tested me differed from what he said I accepted the text. (and so did he when I showed him)

I'm not trying to be contentious. I just don't think you've made your case. at this point, I'm willing to be convinced if you can point me to something more than the fact that you say so.


Fellow Italian native speaker here. I think we're overcomplicating things.

The case is quite simple: "Qualcosa mi dice che" denotes a greater degree of certainty than "Ho come l'impressione che" or "Ho il sospetto che", so it is correct to use Indicativo. Period.

The sentence above with Congiuntivo sounds just wrong, or hyper-correct anyway, and I'd never say that.

I think it's safe to say that native speakers are often reliable when it comes to tell if something sounds right or not in their own language. So keep an eye on the grammar reference, but do listen to a native speaker when they tell you "we just don't say this". No language book will ever explain, predict and give rules for each and every circumstance.

BTW, from the point of view of grammar, this is indeed reported speech.


this is becoming an interesting discussion. i have two questions right off the bat. first, what metric do you have to determine that "qualcosa mi dice" is 'more' factual than either "Ho come l'impressione che" or "Ho il sospetto che"? and (b) what rule of subjunctive says that degree of uncertainty determines use?

if you don't know for certain that something is actual then it is uncertain. this seems to be a binary choice. (i would translate this sentence 'this seems to be...' using subjunctive in the dependent clause)

i am a native speaker of english (US) and have heard 70 years of it. that's enough time to know that lots and lots of native speakers have questionable grasp on some uses of their own tongue. (we are still debating 'it is I/it is me')
having said that i will defer to native speakers until something makes me question that. i am at that place now.

so, again, if you have something more than 'i say so because it doesn't sound right' i am all ears.

the original issue was about 'dire'. it was that the subjunctive is never correct when dire is in the independent clause. i don't see that this is true. in fact i'll be more explicit. i don't believe that there is any verb with which you cannot use the subjunctive because of the verb. it is only the meaning of the verbal phrase that determines the use of the subjunctive or nonuse. i listed ten verbs that are often cited as indicating or triggering subjunctive use and about them i would be clear. they don't trigger the subjunctive themselves but only because their meanings when used require subjunctive. 'dire' has a much broader spectrum of meanings and uses than those other verbs and doesn't automatically require nonsubjunctive dependents.

lastly i would suggest that for the most part the people who write italian grammars and compose exemplar sentences for the rules are also native italian speakers. if you check the blogs and discussion sites the hosts are often italian educators not just native speakers.

as to 'reported speech', it's not. no person is being cited. it could simply be that so much time has passed that he must have or you see him sitting on his porch so he must have or it wasn't that hard of a problem so he must have. this is not reported speech. as I said there is no anna, not in any obvious or necessary manner. qualcosa and qualcuno are not equivalent.

thanks again.


Hi Patrick, sorry for taking forever to reply.

I really don't want to get into the semantics of congiuntivo. I cannot convince you of the reasons why "Qualcosa mi dice che lui le abbia trovate" sounds weird to me -- it just does. (Please note: "weird", not "wrong").

Just remember that:

(1) you won't always find a textbook example to prove you right -- or prove you wrong, for that matter;

(2) languages admit spectrums of acceptability/inacceptability ("it is I" vs "it is me", Oxford commas, "if I were/if I was" and whatnot) as well as degrees of certainty and uncertainty;

(3) it's a speaking community that determines how a language is used. Textbooks and language authorities cannot control the linguistic production of millions of interacting speakers. Ultimately, languages serve the purpose of expressing ideas, needs and intentions of human being in the most convenient way. They are subject to change -- this is the reason why many modern linguists prefer descriptive rather than normative approaches. A textbook, therefore, can only report the use of the language at a given time and place. It will NEVER contain "the rules" of the language. "L'errore di oggi è la norma di domani".

Last but not least -- I would like to make my point on the direct/indirect speech issue. Of course "qualcuno" and "qualcosa" are not equivalent from the point of view of semantics, but from the point of view of syntax they are both subjects of a main clause. In this sense, they are equivalent. Metaphorically (nothing is actually performing the action of telling you something), I would say that this is an example of indirect speech.

<pre>A) Direct speech: "Qualcosa mi dice: 'Lui le ha trovate.'" B) Indirect speech: "Qualcosa mi dice che lui le ha trovate." </pre>

It's not about the agent of the action, which is indeed purely grammatical and not an actual person -- it's about the fact that in B there is a main clause and a subordinate clause introduced by the verb "dice" (subordinata completiva introdotta da verbum dicendi). Italian classifies this kind of construction as indirect speech: http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/discorso-indiretto_%28Enciclopedia-dell%27Italiano%29/ If you still aren't convinced, liberissimo.


in italiano posso dire: 1) Credo che Dio esiste ( ne sono sicuro) indicativo 2) credo che Dio esista (non ne sono sicuro, suppongo) congiuntivo tutto dipende dal senso che si vuole dare alla frase nella frase dell'esempio iniziale io avrei messo indicativo


"Something tells me" is a phrase meaning 'I think' or 'I speculate', so subjunctive seems perfectly good to me, especially with a che in there.


No, it's not. The main verb is "dire", to say, which is not speculation. I'm native speaker, trust me ;)


What verb would we use to get the "my intuition says that" meaning?


Thank you, I came here looking for this comment. Please keep posting!


I agree. Verbs expressing a statement (eg dire, giurare) or a perception (eg accorgersi, udire) always use the indicative in the subordinate clause when used in the affirmative.

related off-topic: the same is not valid for indirect interrogative clauses, which follow verbs like "chiedere" and "domandare", nouns like "domanda" and adjectives like "curioso". Examples:

  • Mi chiedo quale sia la soluzione migliore.
  • È interessante la domanda su quanto abbiamo capito.



Why not her instead of them? Isn't le also an indirect object for her?


the past participle is plural (trovate) because it must agree with the object (see my post above), so the object must be plural. also the direct object, singular, third person is either 'la' or 'lo' in atonic clitics. but is either 'li' or 'le' in plural, third person. here is a page on this. http://www.uvm.edu/~cmazzoni/3grammatica/grammatica/personalpronouns.html


In many examples, the word bank leaves out the verb " has " in this type of sentence. In this example, I was counted wrong for doing so. i.e. "Something tells me that he found them." Why?


I'd say it's a matter of present perfect vs past simple. Since this utterance has no context, there are no obvious cues to suggest that one is better than the other. I would say that both "found" and "has found" are perfectly acceptable.


This sounds creepy


trovato, not trovate


even if the auxiliary verb is 'avere', if there is a direct object clitic preceding the verb, the past participle must agree in number and gender with that direct object. 'le' = 'trovate'. here is a page of interest. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-relative-pronouns-2011466

the past participle need not agree but MAY agree with the number/gender of a relative pronoun that precedes it. here is a page of interest. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-relative-pronouns-2011466


I think you're confusing the number of the direct object "le" (plural) and the number of the subject "lui" (singular). "Lui" is a third person singular pronoun, therefore it needs a third person singular verb. "Trovano" is third person plural, so it doesn't work with "lui". Also, your tense sounds wrong -- a passato prossimo works better here.


But why not "che lui l'abbia trovate"?

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