"La prego, mi dica."

Translation:Please, tell me.

August 3, 2013

This discussion is locked.


The polite imperative is the same as the subjunctive.


That was beautiful.


I was tempted to try "Prithee, tell me!"


You'll have to wait for Duolingo to introduce an Elizabethan English module for that to be accepted. Straight out of Shakespeare.


'Pray tell' was also not accepted :(


BJCUAI: It probably should be, but I suspect duo considers it too literal, too 'quaint'. You don't often hear that in English except in an ironic, even sarcastic situation which I don't think is the case with the Italian.


"pray do tell me" is a actually archaic and more polite imperative that is used during Middle and EModE. I am not aware that this sentence is used sarcastically.


Can you just say dimmi??


Absolutely. It's informal, casual - you would use La prego, mi dica to a senior person, someone to whom you wanted to show respect. :)


Thanks for this.


Thanks for clarifying a difficult sentence, Linda B. (And yes, I've played 6 and 12 string guitar for over 50 years.) Cheers!


Is not using subjunctive considered a colloquial way of talking, or did you mean something else by your sentence? why is the informal version following a different set of grammatical rules?


Hi, Germaron

It's the structure 'dimmi' which is informal. Tell (informal command) is di, plus mi - why the doubling of the consonant? I dunno! [Aiuto, per favore? Moderators?]

The rules for the subjunctive ... well, I am probably a slow learner, but it seems to me it's a bit like that game Go - minutes to learn, a lifetime to master it?

OK, That's overstating the case. Quick and dirty version: In Italian, you can expect the subjunctive when what you are saying is not actual fact. One simple example - I wish you were here (but you're not). Actually, that's one of the few cases that is still subjunctive in English. If I were a rich man ... I thought you were my friend ... wishes, desires, that kind of thing. There are other categories, but Google Italian Subjunctive and you'll see a much better list than I could drag out of my memory.

Watch out, too, for CHE ... it's often a clue that the subjunctive is needed. Vorrei CHE... lui dica la verità. (I would like him to tell the truth.) This hasn't happened yet, so it's not a statement of fact. Penso CHE lui non capisca ... I think he doesn't understand. An opinion, not a fact, and CHE there as a clue.

So - hopes and wishes - opinions, doubts - anything not a definite fact - and watch out for CHE - and you may need the subjunctive.

In old-fashioned English, we show politeness by using more flowering language like - if you would be so kind. Same here. I would ask that you - would you be so good as to ... whatever the form, you haven't done it yet, it's not a statement of fact, so you can feel a subjunctive coming on.

Talking to your child (perhaps) - dimmi la verità!

Talking to your heart surgeon - vorrei che Lei mi dica la verità.

Leave out the flowery stuff and you are left with - mi dica la verità. You've use the subjunctive form, so I know you're being polite - no need for all that 'if I might be so bold' stuff.

I don't know how to answer the last question - why are the two structures different? That seems a little like asking - Why is the imperfect different from the future? - so you can tell them apart I guess.

Subjunctive is a different MOOD, not the same as the forms used for statements. Lui è ricco. FACT. Penso che lui sia ricco. OPINION. There's extra information about what's in the speaker's head given by the choice of sia rather than è.

[Speaking of moods, Watch out for emotions, too - Tu sei qui, but sono contenta CHE tu sia qui. ]

Any help? Reply and rephrase your question if I've misunderstood.



Wow, did not expect such a thorough response. Thank you so much Linda! this untangled alot of subjuncive mess that was in my head :)


Thank you very much!


While 'dimmi? would be correct in a casual conversation, the subjunctive 'La prego, mi dica' gives it that extra plea for information, like a cry from the heart.


La prego is a polite form of "please" and "mi dica" is a polite imperative. Dimmi is much less formal. I think that mi dica goes naturally with La prego. "Dimmi, per favore" would certainly be acceptable in less formal conversation.


Please add this example to the Formal You module. It needs lots of help.


Interesting that the pronoun is feminine. Is there a reason, or is this just a fixed form?

Edit: After thinking a bit, I'm guessing that "La" is the dative form of "Lei." It's surprising that the formal pronoun is almost always given only in the nominative. Of course it should decline as all other pronouns do. Thanks to Duo for making the point, however indirectly.


I still don't get the "la"


Ciao, Bellaciao (ciao, ciao...)

The La (capital L) is the direct object. I beg/entreat you. (Becomes a comparatively dull 'please' in English.)

ti prego, dimmi - I entreat you (please) tell me (we're friends)

La prego, mi dica - please tell me (we're not close)

Tricky, isn't it? I often think these 'formal' examples should end with 'dottore', 'signora' ... something to drive home the point that it's formal use.

Hope that helps. :)


Thanks again, Linda. Truth to tell, I'm starting to feel a little lost these days. Nothing to do but finish the tree, and then go back, do the entire module again, and figure out everything that isn't clear to me. "Once more into the breach....."


Thanks - and I didn't realise prego was transitive so La was the object, not the dative, which I had assumed


Do requests also use subjunctive?


I'd say a request is just like a wish, and so it does use subjunctive.


I am puzzled, however, about whether this is the true subjunctive (implying doubt and uncertainty in a subordinate phrase, or following certain prepositions) or whether it is the polite imperative which is also "dica". If the latter, then that seems to muddy the water in a lesson which is supposed to be about the subjunctive.


wiil 'i beg you' go?


Yes, though it's rather strong.


I used "I beg you", and it was not accepted... :-( Next I'll try "Pray, tell me". See what happens. :-)


I used "I beg you" today and it was fine.


Does "la" mean "her"? Can I use "prego" in"I ask her to tell me"? Help...


La (with capital L ) = you in formal language


I do get it that "la" when capitalized is not "her" but "You (formal)". However, I thought "la" was capitalized because it was the first word of the sentence, so I translated it as "I beg her to tell me."

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