"Non si possono costruire case in questa zona."

Translation:You cannot build houses in this zone.

July 15, 2013



Can someone elaborate why it is "possono"?

October 18, 2013

  • 2088

The impersonal "si" is often used with an intended passive meaning, i.e. this sentence could be translated as "houses can't be built in this area"; in such cases the verb is conjugated accordingly with the intended subject (houses). It gets weirder if the sentence is formed by essere+predicate, because then the verb is to the singular and the predicate to the plural: "si deve essere buoni".

October 19, 2013


Would: "houses cannot be built in this area" be an acceptable or more accurate translation?

June 15, 2014


Did that explain why it isn't "non si posso" for "I cannot", and not "non si posssono" for "they cannot"?

October 23, 2013

  • 2088

It would be "non posso" for "I cannot". This kind of construct (passive si) can only be used with a transitive verb and an intended subject in the third person, either singular or plural: http://www.zanichellibenvenuti.it/wordpress/?p=4024 is a very good reference for this, although all in Italian.

October 23, 2013


And "non si può .." would not work too?

October 8, 2015

  • 2088

It would: in that case the act of building becomes the subject.

October 8, 2015


This all seems overly complicated for no valid reason. Wouldn't "Non si poter costruire case in questa zona" remove the confusion, especially if what is being conveyed is "you cannot" or "one cannot?" To introduce a plural conjugation of the verb into the sentence appears to be intentionally and, more important, unnecessarily obtuse. Am I wrong?

April 29, 2018


Still houses implies "they cannot" =possono not you? Why not puoi if "you" is intended??

February 18, 2019


it's saying houses can't be built here. but in italian, they is conjugated. In english you use "you". In French "one", in Italian "they"

January 4, 2014


Why not "THEY cannot build houses in this area"?

June 30, 2016


Because that would be Non possono costruire case in questa zona

The si is what makes it impersonal or passive and means, more or less 'one cannot build houses in this zone/area.

July 1, 2016


Sorry, I understand the stuff about it being impersonal and passive, but in English we use "You can't build"; "Houses can't be built"; "they can't build" pretty much interchangeably, but "they can't build" was marked as wrong. (we would rarely use the technically correct "one can't build")

October 5, 2014


Would "Non possono costruire case in questa zona" mean "They cannot build houses in this area"?

February 11, 2014


Yes. Without the 'si' that's what it means. Adding the 'si' as the question did makes it impersonal or impassive and means more or less 'one cannot build houses in this zone/area'

July 16, 2014


Can't you say "They cannot build..... " ?

September 5, 2014


I tried 'It's not allowed to build houses in this zone', 'cause DL gives 'allowed to' in hints for 'possono'. But it was marked wrong. And I can't figure out why. I guess it's correct in English to say so.. confused

November 9, 2014


It's not allowed is incorrect. We would just not use it this way in English. To build houses in this zone IS NOT ALLOWED. No "it" in there. Hope this helps.

March 24, 2015


Semantically this is correct, it should have been accepted to my opinion. Did you report it ?

November 9, 2014


I did! Hope it will be fixed

November 9, 2014


What the difference between using the imperative here "Non potere costruire" and the impersonal or passive "Non si possono costruire"?

July 26, 2016


Could this also mean, "They cannot build themselves houses in this zone?" And if not, how would that be written?

April 29, 2018


Why is "they" not accepeted ???

August 10, 2018


Why not they

October 3, 2018


Why not: Non si puo costruire casa in questa zone?

January 1, 2019


what makes it "you cannot" and not "they cannot"????

February 11, 2019


why is "non possono" you cannot

February 12, 2019


Would it be wrong to say: It is not allowed to build houses in this zone?

March 30, 2019


Or maybe 'it is not possible to build houses in this zone', because maybe the terrain would not be proper. I just don't think the English 'you cannot' is close enough to the Italian nuance of the sentence.

May 21, 2019
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