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  5. "Non si possono costruire cas…

"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"?

  • 2668

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".


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


I was just thinking the same thing. That translation would have helped a great deal. Once I saw the actual translation though I understood it, but yes for us the translation of "houses cannot be built in this area" would have made more sense.


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

  • 2668

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.


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

  • 2668

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


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?


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


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"


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


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.


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")


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


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'


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


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


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.


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


I did! Hope it will be fixed


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


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


Why is "they" not accepeted ???


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


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


why is "non possono" you cannot


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


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.


I agree. Possono means 'they can' not 'you can.'. Even if it's meant to be impersonal, I don't think 'you can' is the right translation.


si possono -- how is that you can't

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