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Dammi Il Cinque … High Fiving In Italy Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Grammar

Dammi il cinque = gimme five

In Italian, just as in English, words often get moulded together to form new, shorter, and more fluent words. The expression gimme five and its Italian equivalent dammi il cinque are good examples of this.


Of course, you need to know the underlying grammatical rules if you’re going to perform this operation correctly. Let’s find out how it works.

To create these ‘new’ words we need these ingredients:

1. the imperativo seconda persona singolare (second person singular imperative), of a small group of irregular verbs, i.e.
dare = da’ (give)
dire = di’ (tell)
fare = fa’ (make/do/let)
stare = sta’ (stay, be)
andare = va’ (go)

2. one of the following pronouns:

pronomi oggetto indiretto
indirect object pronouns
pronomi oggetto diretto
direct object pronouns
mi = to me lo (masc. sing) = him, it
ti = to yourself (sing.) la (fem. sing) = her, it
gli = to him, to it, to them li (masc. plural) = them
le = to her, to it le (fem. plural) = them
ci = to us ne (partitive pron.) = of it/them

When we put these components together we get:

dammi = give me
datti = give yourself
dagli = give him/to it/to them
dalle = give her/to it
dacci = give us
dallo = give it (masc.)
dalla = give it (fem.)
dalli = give them (masc.)
dalle = give them (fem.)
danne = give a part of it/them

N.B. the verbs dire and fare conjugate in exactly the same way. Here are some sentences showing how these constructions work:

a. using the verb dare (to give):

dammi quella penna = give me that pen
datti una pettinata = comb your hair (literally: give yourself a comb)
ecco le chiavi, dalle a Giorgio = here are the keys, give them to Giorgio
ecco la crostata di mele, danne una fetta a Giulia = here’s the apple tart, give a slice of it to Giulia

b. using the verb dire (to say/tell):

dimmi, che hai fatto ieri sera? = tell me, what did you do last evening
dillo tu a Giorgio, ché io non ne ho voglia = you tell Giorgio, because I don’t feel like it (literally: you say it to Giorgio)
se vedi Maria dille che le telefono stasera = If you see Maria tell her that I’ll phone her tonight
dicci dove incontrarci = tell us where to meet (plural)

c. using the verb fare (to do/make, or let):

fammi un favore = do me a favour
è arrivata la nonna … falle un caffè, per piacere = grandma is here … make her a coffee, please
fagli finire il compito = let him finish his homework
sono buoni questi bomboloni!se c’è ancora pasta fanne ancora un po’ = they’re nice, these doughnut! … if there’s still some dough left make some more of them

In part 2 we’ll look at the idiomatic constructions of the verbs stare (to stay or to be) and andare (to go), and find out how they work with double pronouns.

Alla prossima!

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  1. Raffaella Zizza:

    Your blogs are so helpful to me. My daughter lives in Perugia with her family and I am in the US. As a student learning Italian at 64 these are wonderful reinforcements that keep me learning.
    Molto grazie!

  2. Merriam:


  3. Lesley:

    Love your blogs. This one was excellent as usual, making a complex issue easy to understand. Grazie.

  4. Bill Auge:

    Ciao Serena e Geoff, grazie per una reposta completa alla mia domanda.

    migliori auguri, Bill

  5. paul Minotto:

    fagli finire il compito = let him finish his homework

    Perché è fagli e non fallo?

    • Serena:

      @paul Minotto Salve Paolo, scusa il ritardo ma avevo perso la tua domanda nella lista dei commenti.
      fagli finire il compito = let him finish his homework
      Perché è fagli e non fallo?
      fagli finire il compito si può anche dire ‘fai finire il compito a lui’: il compito è il complemento oggetto diretto, mentre ‘gli’ o ‘a lui’ è il complemento oggetto indiretto o di termine (dativo).
      Saluti da Serena

  6. Lynn Stewart:

    Thank you so much for this lesson! You filled in some gaps I didn’t know I had. I learn something new with every one of your blogs.

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