1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "Usi il coltello!"

"Usi il coltello!"

Translation:Use the knife!

January 9, 2015

46 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Metlieb

What's the diference between "usi" and "usa"? I've seen both so far and they both seem to mean "use!" (singular imperative of usare). Or is one the imperative form of utiliza and the other the imperative of usare? If so, which is which?

January 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IvanSab

"Usare" and "Utilizzare" have the same meaning, there is no difference.

  • "Usi" (verb) is used in two cases:

1) "Tu usi il coltello" = "You use the knife" : present indicative.

2) "Usi il coltello!" = "Use the knife!" : present imperative. In italian is a formal form, when you say to a person "Lei usi il coltello". You are studying Spanish too: well, it's similar to usted/ustedes when used as a formal form.

  • "Usa" is used in two cases too:

1) "Lui usa il coltello" = "He uses the knife" : present indicative.

2) "Usa il coltello" = "Use the knife!" : present imperative. If your Italian girlfriend is using a spoon to cut the bread ( Wtf? ahah ) you say to her: Usa il coltello!

Remember the Second Person "Lei" used as a formal form for "You".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Metlieb

Okay, but those examples sound pretty similar to me and I couldn't tell whether to use "usi" or "usa". At first I thought "usa" is the third person singular indicative and "usi" the second person singular indicative". But if I want someone to use something, do I say "usa" or "usi"? I can't really tell by the examples... :(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IvanSab

If you want to tell a friend of yours to use something you use "usa" :

"Ehi Andrea, usa la moto"

If you want to tell a stranger to use something ( you have to use the formal form ) you use "usi" :

"Mi scusi signore, usi la moto".

I hope it's more clear... :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Metlieb

Now I understand. It's just confusing because usually the second person singular for verbs ends with an i and the third person wit an a or e. Does it work similarly for other verbs or is usare an exception? Thanks so far :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

Only «-are» verbs do this switcheroo, which is helpful because this tends to be more like Portuguese (and Spanish) imperatives).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IvanSab

It can be different for other verbs:

  • SENTIRE :
    "Ehi andrea, senti" = "Listen to me"
    "Signore, senta" : this is the formal "You", in italian "Lei"

  • USCIRE :
    "Andrea, esci" = "Go out"
    "Signore, esca per favore" : again, formal form.

It's only matter of practice and get the ear (:


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margaret_S

Perhaps you are a little confused here. Utilizzare (to utilize) is not part of the conversation. Usere (to use): 'usi' is the informal you, 'usa' is the formal you (same as 3rd person). This verb SWITCHES for imperative, so 'usa' is 2nd person informal and 'usi' is 3rd person and formal you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Germanlehrerlsu

Margaret_S: I don't think there's a verb "usere" or at least I can't find it anywhere. The verb in question here is 'usare' and its imperative forms are: (Tu) usa! (Voi) usate! and formal (Lei) usi! Maybe I've got it wrong, but I believe that's correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margaret_S

Yes of course! My computer auto-corrects when I write Italian and have it on the English icon... Drives me CRAZY!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Germanlehrerlsu

I suspected it had to be something like that. I've disabled auto-correct for that reason and when on DL or otherwise writing in Italian, I switch my spell-check option to Italian, so that those annoying squiggly red lines alert me to possible typos or outright spelling errors in the Italian. I've used Pimsleur almost exclusively over the years and it only focuses on oral/aural skills, which is one reason my spelling in Italian is -- like those squiggly lines--, shaky.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Duolessio

Credo che lei abbia ragione. You have to use subjunctive because of the inherent doubt of the verb "credere". If you had used for instance "sapere", you would have said "So che lei ha ragione", because in that case you're sure (know vs think).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FArdenF

Il coltello dal stivale?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

What is a "boot knife"?

P.S. *dallo


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Germanlehrerlsu

I believe it's a knife that hidden in a boot.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FArdenF

Haha ZuMaki8_Momo thanks for the correction. Germanleherlsu is right - I was making a silly throwback comment to a phrase that was used somewhere in the early lessons. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Germanlehrerlsu

Mrh2i: I think the woman that drank oil had one in fact in HER boot! Used it I suspect on Friday's victim.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

Ah, I see. XD It has been a while since I have practiced my Italian lessons, so I did not recall that phrase.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

Ah, thank you. Haha.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rafficonf

L'imperativo, in italiano, è: USA il coltello! A meno che non ci si rivolga in modo "formale" ad una persona a cui non di dà del "tu"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rjjacob

A punctuation question (even though DL doesn't gig you for punctuation): It seems DL always uses an exclamation point (!) after every imperative sentence. But this is a case where it's easy to see how a ! can make a difference: "How should I cut the bread?" "Dummy. Use the knife." (No big deal.) "Should I shoot him?" "Too loud. Use the knife!" (Big deal.) So, does well written Italian always require a ! or not?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

No, you can absolutely use a period at the end of an imperative sentence in Italian.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rjjacob

Thank you. Duo must just be an A Type.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roman2095

Duo does it to give you a hint that they want the imperative mood and not the indicative when translating as it is often not clear which they want otherwise.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

You're welcome. Lol, I suppose. It needs to be careful with its high blood pressure.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Germanlehrerlsu

Ella...Hey, the speaker could've suggested using something a lot stronger: Usi l'Uzi! :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andval2

As the above can mean "Use the knife" or "you use the knife" how can one select what duolingo wants?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Germanlehrerlsu

andval2: It's pretty obvious: The exclamation mark indicates a command in the written example. When spoken, voice intonation -- loud articulation ---clearly indicates it's a command and not a statement.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jae633849

Usi il coltello perché se tu usassi l'arma, sarebbe più facile per la polizia prenderti!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RonRGB

imperativo presente (usàre)

ùsa (non usàre) tu

ùsi egli

usiàmo noi

usàte voi

ùsino essi


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

Does Italian always use the interjection point as the punctuation for the imperative? English doesn't; and it doesn't always seem to be "indicated."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Metlieb

Every language I know usually punctuates the imperative with an exclamation mark. Since the imperative is a form of an order, it is only fitting to emphasize it with an exclamation mark. It is not mandatory and dependant on the context, as you could easily use the imperative without the exclamation mark and with it. E.g: Taglia il formaggio, per favore. - Please cut the cheese. You can also simply answer Taglia il formaggio. when asked by someone what he/she should do next. If you say Taglia il formaggio! then you emphasize your imperative because the person you told it to either dind't get it the first time or somehow defies you. As I said before: It's strongly context-sensitive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

Thanks! I've noticed, since I asked the question, that it seems to be left out of all imperative statements that include "per favore".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

The exclamation point, I have read somewhere on Duolingo, is something the moderators put in to help learners visually differentiate between and disambiguate the imperative and the present indicative. :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steven193851

Ah, that explains a lot. The sentences in these lessons all looked overly aggressive and emotional, but I just have to mentally suppress the exclamation marks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

I guess that makes sense. It is not necessarily a "command;" it is sometimes instruction. Often it could be translated with a "you" in front, but if you do, they'll mark it wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

Exactly because, by adding the "you," it is no longer the imperative mood but the present indicative. :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rafficonf

ops: non SI dà del "tu"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MatejKozic

First i get Chiedi tua figlia, now this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

Usi la forchetta! :)

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