Could someone help me understand this sentence a little better? What is the function of "la" here? I am also hazy on how to use "prego" in this example. I know "prego" as how to say something like "my pleasure" or "you're welcome". Does this sentence loosely translate to "you are welcome to enter"? Any help would be appreciated.
In Italian, we don't like too much to say explicitly "per favore" ("please"), but we often prefer to use other expressions to sound more kind in our talking. In this case, instead of using the imperative "entra!/entri!" (in English "come in!"), we like to use another expression. The expressions which involve the verb "pregare" are pretty frequent in formal speech and are only one example of what I'm saying.
In each of the following examples, please compare the sentence with the imperative and the one with the verb "pregare". The latter sounds more kind, although the first one is anyway polite:
"Mi telefoni domani" / "La prego di telefonarmi domani" ("Please call me tomorrow)
"Mi dica cosa ne pensa riguardo tale argomento" / "La prego di dirmi cosa ne pensa riguardo tale argomento" ("Please tell me what you think about this topic")
"Mi risponda al più presto" / "La prego di rispondermi al più presto" (Please reply me as soon as possible")
I assume that would be "Prego da entrare".
"You are welcome" is just "Prego". Here is used "La prego di ..." which means "I ask you to ..." or "Please ..."
Not sure about this, but my understanding of this translation is that "La" is the direct object of the verb pregare (I ask/beg you to enter). Its an unstressed (clitic) direct object, so it is placed just before the verb. The verb is, of course, is conjugated to "prego" for 1st person, singular.
"La" is the formal you, used instead of the familiar you, "ti", in this situation.
The confusion for me was that I mainly heard "prego" from waiters in reply to my "grazie". I was told it meant "you are welcome". We learned essentially the same meaning early-on in Duolingo. Now, deeper into the program, we are peeling off more layers of the onion and discovering the verb "pregare".
"La" is the direct object pronoun for "you" when speaking formally. "Prego" is the first person singular form of "pregare" (to beg, beseech, pray), so the literal translation is "I beg you (formal) to enter." You could render it that way in English but it would be archaic. The modern translation is "please enter."
Literally, I think it means: "You, I beg to enter". But no-one says that in English and you is usually understood rather than spoken in English. So, it is an idiomatic expression that is about the same as Please Enter in English.
as "formal you" in italian it's used the "lei" for male and female Ex:
Signor Rossi ? La prego di entrare...
there is also "i bid you to enter" "beg" is very weird but i guess since it is just to better explain this sentence so it doesn't really matter
I understand the Italian words and when to use them, but I can't imagine saying, in English, "Please enter." I would say "Come in, please" or "Please come in." (Don't try it though -- the owl will take your heart!)
"Please enter" is something you might find on a particularly polite sign.
what if i'm being polite with a friend or someone my age? for example ti prego di entrare can i do this?
I think "you are welcome to enter" should be accepted since it is the formal way to say "please enter". Why wouldn't it be?
In very formal English, one might say "Pray enter". Italian uses the same sort of sentence structure: "I pray you to enter"
How does prego go from "you are welcome" to "please". My answer was "You are welcome to enter". But DL marked it wrong, telling me it was "Please enter"