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use “si” as an indefinite subject for 'people in general'

Have you ever studied the “Si spersonalizzante“?

The so called “Si spersonalizzante” is used in Italian to make the verb impersonal.

When there is not a specific subject, we use the particle “si” as an indefinite subject which refers to people in general.

We have to distinguish a number of different situations though.

Let’s go through some examples to better understand it!

  Italian English
1 Ad agosto in Italia si va al mare. In August in Italy people go to the seaside.
2 Si sente un buon profumo di fiori. You can smell a nice scent of flowers.
3 Dalle montagne si vedono panorami meravigliosi. From the mountains it is possible to see marvelous landscapes.
4 Alle terme ci si rilassa molto. At the thermal baths you can relax a lot.
5 Quando finiscono le vacanze si è sempre tristi. When holidays finish people are always sad.


In example n.1, we have an impersonal construction with an intransitive verb: in this case we use si + third person singular of the verb.

In n.2 we have an impersonal construction with a transitive verb agreed with a singular object (un buon profumo): so we use si + third person singular of the verb + singular object.

Example n.3 is an impersonal construction with a transitive verb agreed with a plural object (panorami meravigliosi): in this case we use si + third person plural of the verb + plural object.

N.4 refers to Reflexive Verbs: if we want to make them impersonal, we use ci + si + third person singular of the verb.

The last example shows the impersonal construction si + è + adjective: careful, in this case the adjective is always masculine plural!

Try to make some sentences using the “si spersonalizzante” now!

It will be easier than you thought!

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