The word "Sia"
it confuses me. Can anyone help?
It's the present singular of essere in the subjunctive mood.
io sia tu sia lui/lei sia noi siamo voi siate loro siano
Subjunctive is used when expressing feelings, wishes, doubts, etc. It's rarely used in English.
English (common): I believe that he is tall. English (subjunctive, archaic): I believe that he be tall. Italian: Credo che lui sia alto.
English (common): It seems the train is late English (subjunctive, archaic): It seems the train be late. Italian: Sembra che il treno sia in ritardo.
English (common): It is urgent that he goes to the doctor. English (subjunctive, still common): It is urgent that he go to the doctor. Italian: E' urgente che vada dal medico.
I was expecting "al" instead of "dal" in that last example. Prepositions are always hard to understand in my opinion. Do you have a good source for preposition rules? Or is it all random and I just have to memorize it all?
There's not a one-to-one mapping between English and Italian prepositions, and you really just have to memorize how they're used. There are patterns, though, so it's not completely random, although sometimes it seems that way.
"dal medico" for instance fits the "da"+profession pattern and means "to", "at", or "from" that profession's office.
- Ritorno dal dentista. I return from the dentist.
- Sono dal dentista. I am at the dentist.
- Vado dal dentista. I am going to the dentist.
I think it's best to forget about learning prepositions in isolation: "da" does not mean "from", instead "da Roma" means "from Rome" and "dalle 3" means "from 3 o'clock".
I don't know of a good online resource. I have this book: http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Perfect-Pronouns-Prepositions-ebook/dp/B004H4XL8I/
You (and I) think it should be "Ritorno dal dentista" since "Vado dal dentista" is "going to" but it's probably something else; like "Ritorno dalla dentista"!
That's what I suspected :-( Well, thanks a lot for the explanation and the links!
Just found this discussion, thanks for the good explanations and links. Would you recommend the Pronouns & Prepositions book? Of all the grammar areas, prepositions is the bit I am weakest on and I can see why you suggest not trying to learn them in too abstract a way.
The book's pretty good. I found it a bit lacking with respect to the pronouns (especially 'ne'), but I like the appendix, which lists common verbs with the prepositions they are used with.
I just came across this sentence in my practice: "Sia la ragazza sia il ragazzo vogliono la torta al cioccolato." It translates to "Both the girl and the boy want the chocolate cake." Why would the present subjunctive form of "Is" be used in this case to mean "both"?
FlameMonarch RE: [FlameMonarch] I just came across this sentence in my practice: "Sia la ragazza sia il ragazzo vogliono la torta al cioccolato." It translates to "Both the girl and the boy want the chocolate cake." Why would the present subjunctive form of "Is" be used in this case to mean "both"? The English subjunctive translation of the phrase would be along the lines of, "Be the girl and be the boy …" (in other words , both) " want the chocolate cake." Remember the words from "Jack and the Beanstalk" - "Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman, Be he alive, or be he dead I'll grind his bones to make my bread." Cheers!