1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "Non sappiamo cosa abbia dett…

"Non sappiamo cosa abbia detto il nonno."

Translation:We do not know what grandpa said.

November 24, 2014



Non sappiamo cos'abbia detto il nonno. Marked wrong, really?


I had exactly the same problem: 'non sappiamo cos'abbia detto il nonno' is correct.


"cos'abbia.." is the correct expression. In a sooner lesson it have pointed out as correct one.


I'm still reporting that Grandad is an acceptable word in UK English! I do hate having to learn American English just to get my Italian lessons marked correct.


Don't blame all your troubles on us Americans! Grandad is an acceptable word in American English, too. It's just a lot less common than Grandpa and Granddad. According to Ngram, Grandpa is more common than Grandad and Granddad (in that order) in British English, too, although by a smaller margin.

The moderators for DL Italian are volunteers and are severely understaffed, so it may a long time for your report to be addressed. But they're not trying to dismiss British usages as bad English. They just haven't gotten around to coding them in.


Perhaps it's the spelling?

Try Granddad.


Can someone explain the structure of this statement please ? Also, any good sources to understand italian grammar ?


I try:

  1. you have a main clause = "non sappiamo" = we don't know (sappiamo = verb "sapere" (to know) in the present tense,first person plural = we; it's the same as: Noi non sappiamo")

  2. you have a subordinated clause = "cosa abbia detto il nonno." = what grandpa said; ("cosa" (as also its synonyms "che" and "che cosa") = what are used in questions [Cosa (Che/Che cosa) ha detto il nonno? = What did grandpa say?] and also in indirect sentences "what grandpa said"; (abbia detto is past tense in the subjunctive mood (the subjunctive is used (for example) when the main clause expresses a doubt or an uncertainty as in this case (we do NOT know), third person singular so "abbia detto" = (he/she/it) has said or said and then you have to translate the subject (who said something) = grandpa.

We don't know what grandpa "said" or "has said".

For grammar you can see the links on Marziotta's FAQ list:



Such a clear explanation. Thank you!


Why can't cosa abbia elide into cos'abbia?


I would like an explanation for this as well. In another lesson, the right answer had "cos'abbiano" and it was the first time I've seen it smooshed together.


Hello Veelysium, It's not a question you can answer through one sentence. Maybe, you will find your to some answers following this link. https://languagesandlinguistics.tumblr.com/post/95467130058/in-italian-are-there-contractions-like-you


why is it IL nonno? (not just nonno.)


Does the subject always go after the verb in subjunctive?


Why not what he told the grandpa?


Because of the presence of 'abbia' in this sentence, does that mean the literal translation would be "...what grandpa HAS said" and "...what grandpa said" is just the more common translation? Or is there a grammatical need for abbia to be there?


Yes, in many English sentences in past tense we don't need a helping verb (like avere) but in Italian it must be used here

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