Esprimiti! part 1. Posted by Serena on Jul 12, 2009 in Grammar, Italian Language
Learning another language always has its ups and downs, and it’s quite normal to pass through phases in which you feel that you’re making progress, followed by times where you feel that you’re not getting anywhere. This partly depends on the level of interaction that you have with native speakers of the language that you are learning. For example, someone who is just beginning to learn Italian will probably feel a real sense of ‘Wow, I’m speaking Italian!’ they may think to themselves, and then one of the ‘natives’ in the bar, or on the bus starts chatting to them in Italian and they realize that non capiscono un cavolo di niente! (they don’t understand a single ‘cabbage’ thing!). Oh well, back to the drawing board, as they say.
At a certain point in your learning you will probably feel that, although you can communicate on a basic level by asking questions and saying a bit about yourself etc., you are not really able to esprimerti (express yourself), and this can be the source of a lot of frustration. When I say ‘express yourself’, what I’m talking about is the ability to communicate your likes and dislikes, passions and preferences, beyond simply saying mi piace or non mi piace. I will assume that you have a working knowledge of the use of piacere, if not you should read my article A different point of view as I don’t intend to cover it here.
Let’s begin with preferire = to prefer: this is fairly straightforward as it works pretty much in the same way as its English counterpart, e.g.:
Io preferisco quel quadro li’ a sinistra, tu quale preferisci? (I prefer that painting on the left, what about you, which one do you prefer?)
Il crème caramel e’ il mio dolce preferito (Crème caramel is my preferred dessert). N.B. you could also use favorito/a, just remember to change the ending in either case according to the gender of the subject, i.e. il mio dolce preferito / favorito (my favorite dessert), la mia macchina preferita / favorita (my favorite car)
If you are ‘keen on’, or are ‘an enthusiast’ about something you can use the expression ‘essere entusiasta per’. The important thing to remember here is that the ending only changes in the plural, not the singular, i.e. entusiasta = masc. or fem. singular, entusiasti = masc. plural, entusiaste = fem. plural. Let’s see some examples:
Giovanni e’ entusiasta per le moto (Giovanni is keen on motorbikes)
Loro sono entusiasti per il giardinaggio (they are gardening enthusiasts)
You can also use ‘essere entusiata di’ to mean ‘very pleased’, or ‘delighted’ about something, for example:
Sono entusiasta della mia nuova macchina fotografica (I’m really pleased/delighted with my new camera)
Siamo entusiasti della nostra nuova casa (we are delighted with our new house)
Alternately you can use ‘essere contento/a/i/e’, e.g.
Sono molto contenta di vederti (I’m really pleased to see you)
Giorgio e’ contento che ha smesso di piovere (Georgio is pleased that it has stopped raining)
If your feelings about something are a little bit stronger, then you can use ‘essere appassionato/a/i/e di’ which means to be a ‘lover’ or a ‘fan’ of something. In this case the ending changes in both the singular and plural forms for masculine and feminine. Here are some examples:
Luigi e’ appassionato di musica classica (Luigi is a classical music lover)
Fernada e’ appassionata della musica di Corelli (Fernanda is a fan of Corelli’s music)
Loro sono tutti e due appassionati del calcio (they are both football fans)
Another common expression in the same vein is ‘andare matto per’ (to be mad about), e.g.
Lino va matto per i funghi (Lino is mad about funghi)
Maria Pia va matta per l’equitazione (Maria Pia is mad about horse riding)
The final expression for part one of this article is ‘essere affezionato/a/i/e a’ meaning ‘to be fond of’, ‘to feel affection for’, or ‘to have an attachment to’ an object, or animal etc.. Here are a couple of examples:
Sono molto affezionata al mio gatto (I’m very fond of my cat)
Marco e’ molto affezionato alla sua vecchia Cinquecento (Marco is very attached to his old Cinquecento)
Alla prossima (until next time)
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