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Reflexive Verbs

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Reflexive Verbs

Postby jpinhalihood » August 29th, 2009 12:37 am

Reflexive verbs are confusing to me.

Reflexive verbs are said to be verbs where the subject performs an action on itself -- as in "mi lavo" or "I wash myself."

Do all verbs have a reflexive form?

Is it just the addition of the reflexive pronoun that makes the verb reflexive? In other words, can I say--for example--"mi guardo in il specchio" (I watch myself in the mirror) or "ti insegni Italiano" (you teach yourself Italian)?

Does it matter if the pronoun is before or attached to the verb?
Lavarti vs. ti lavi? What's the difference?

Do the phrases "Mi voglio lavare" and "Voglio lavarmi" mean the same thing (where, in the former case, volere is the reflexive verb (volersi) and, in the latter case, lavare is the reflexive verb (lavarsi)?

Finally -- why does "ci vediamo" get used as "I'll see you?"


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Postby ed89 » February 12th, 2010 6:59 am

Hi Jeff, sorry, my Italian is OK but I am terrible at explaining things.


ci vediamo = we'll see each other

it's the same for:

ci sentiamo = we'll hear from each other

ci parliamo = we'll speak


I am not sure why but I don't think it's correct to literally translate "i'll see you", which would be something like "ti vedo" or "ti vedró". I've never heard that used before, always ci :)

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Reflexive Verbs

Postby polmino » March 10th, 2010 7:44 am

Not all reflexive verbs have the meaning of "performing an action on oneself".
Get ready to encounter reflexive verbs with no plan form that just are inherently reflexive.
The first that comes to my mind is "mi chino", I bend, I take a bow.

Typically, intransitive verbs on't have a reflexive form.

"mi guardo in il specchio" (I watch myself in the mirror) is fine, apart from the "in il":
in + il = nel; in + lo = nello
Mi guardo nello specchio. Or, even better, "allo specchio".
"ti insegni Italiano" (you teach yourself Italian)
This is a transliteration from English! ;) You can say "studio l'italiano da solo", "I study Italian on my own."

Lavarti is not a reflexive verb at al, it's lavare + te

"Mi voglio lavare" and "Voglio lavarmi" mean the same thing: "mi" may jump to the beginning of the sentence with modal verbs.

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ci vediamo

Postby roma55 » October 23rd, 2010 3:50 am

'Ci vediamo' literally means we see each other.

You may ask why the Italian expression does not use the future as in English. This is quite subtle. Using the present (ci vediamo) instead of the future (ci vedremo) or the imperative (vediamoci) adds a hint of confidence - this is something we usually do so we'll do it again. 'Ci vedremo' would be literally correct but adds a bit of distance and hence it does not sound as confident. 'Vediamoci' sounds enthusiastic maybe suggesting the other party needs to be encouraged to meet you again.

OK, this is all a bit fanciful but only goes to show how subtle languages can be!

And since this is a forum without video or audio....Ci leggiamo, eh?

roma 55

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