Misleading Word of the Day 3. Posted by Serena on Mar 25, 2009 in Italian Language
Today’s ‘Misleading Word of the Day’ is attendere. In Italian, rather than meaning ‘to attend’, attendere has the following meanings:
1. ‘to wait for’, ‘to await’, e.g. ‘ho atteso l’autobus per oltre mezz’ora’ (I waited for the bus for more than half an hour), or ‘attendiamo che arriva Anna per mangiare’ (let’s wait for Anna to arrive before we eat).
2. in it’s reflexive form attendersi means ‘to expect’, e.g. ‘non mi attendo nulla da lui’ (I don’t expect anything from him), or ‘Laura non si attendeva di sbagliare l’esame di guida’ (Laura didn’t expect to fail her driving test).
3. Rarely used in spoken Italian, ‘attendere a’ has the same meaning as the English ‘to attend to’, e.g. attendere alla casa (attend to/take care of the house), or attendere ai propri affari (attend to/take care of one’s business).
4. the noun attesa, which comes from the past participle of attendere, means ‘waiting’ as in sala d’attesa (waiting room)
N.B. You can also use the verb aspettare when you want to say ‘to wait’, and aspettarsi when you want to say ‘to expect’.
So, how do you say ‘attend’ in Italian?
1. To say ‘attend’ with the meaning of ‘to be present at a show, sporting event’ etc. as a spectator we use ‘assistere a’, e.g. ‘ieri abbiamo assistito a un bello spettacolo a teatro’ (yesterday we attended a really good show at the theatre), or ‘Domenica assistero’ a una partita di calcio’ (on Sunday I will attend a football match).
2. To say ‘attend’ as in ‘attend a meeting’ as a participant we use partecipare, e.g. ‘Martedi’ devo partecipare a una riunione di lavoro’ (on Tuesday I have to attend a work meeting).
3. To say ‘attend’ as in ‘to attend a school, college etc.’ we use frequentare, e.g. ‘Edoardo frequenta la scuola elementare’ (Edoardo attends/goes to primary school).
……and yes assistere can be another ‘misleading word’ but, contrary to that which I have seen asserted on some ‘Learn Italian’ websites, it is not a true ‘false friend’ because it can also mean ‘to assist’. Remember that if it is followed by ‘a’ as in the examples above it means ‘to attend’, whereas without the ‘a’ it means ‘to assist’, e.g. ‘mi ha assistito con i suoi consigli’ (he assisted/helped me with his advise).
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