'To be' or not 'to be'. Essere o avere?

'TO BE' OR NOT 'TO BE'?


ESSERE O AVERE?





Ciao a tutti!

Let's figure out why Italians say 'ho fame', 'ho sete', 'ho sonno', etc. with the verb 'to have' instead of 'to be'!

As you probably know, 'Avere' (to have) is used in many idiomatic expressions that indicate feelings or physical sensations. The pattern is 'avere + noun':



  • Ho fame (I am hungry)

  • Ho sete (I am thirsty)

  • Ho caldo (I am hot)

  • Ho freddo (I am cold)

  • Ho sonno (I am sleepy)

  • Ho paura (I am afraid)



The equivalent English expressions are generally formed with 'to be'.

Why this difference? Because in some specific situations, we use the noun, and not the adjective.

When you say: 'I am thirsty', you are using an adjective, and for this reason you have to use 'to be'. Italians do the same thing when they want to express specific qualities or feelings, using 'to be' (Essere) + Adjectives (e.g. 'sono felice' - I'm happy).

In this case, the Italian adjective for 'thirsty' is 'assetato', however this adjective is not widely used, to say 'thirsty' Italians always use the noun 'thirst' ( = sete), then they must use 'to have' (Avere): 'Ho sete', which (translated literally) is something like: 'I have thirst'.



Let's see a few examples:



Giulia ha sempre fretta.

Giulia is always in a hurry.

Ho caldo. Ho voglia di un gelato.

I'm hot. I feel like having ice cream.

Ho sonno, vado a dormire.

I'm sleepy, I go to sleep.




Bene, I hope it was helpful!

Ciao e a presto!

Alessandra



10 de enero de 2018
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Alessandra Campese

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***Available only until the end of March*** "Imparate una nuova lingua e avrete una nuova anima". (Proverbio Ceco) Hello, my name is Alessandra and I live in Rome. Italian is a poetic language, very musical and wonderfully pleasant to listen to, with a rich literary and historical tradition. I will teach you Italian using a communicative approach: conversation and grammar, first of all, the dialogue, and Italian in specific situations. We'll practice the language with exercises, songs, movies, video, cards and everything can help you to learn, in addition to the Italian culture information. For advanced level (C1/C2): articles, literature, history, and reading comprehension at the highest level. Also: professional, business and legal Italian. I graduated in Law at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, with specialization in the study of ancient sources (Greek and Latin), and I gained a lot of experience in teaching, tutoring people of all ages for 8 years: - as Research Assist...
Flag
Italiano
globe
Italia
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92
Habla:
Italiano
Nativo
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Portugués
C1
,
Francés
B2
,
Inglés
B2
,
Rumano
B1
,
Ruso
A1
***Available only until the end of March*** "Imparate una nuova lingua e avrete una nuova anima". (Proverbio Ceco) Hello, my name is Alessandra and I live in Rome. Italian is a poetic language, very musical and wonderfully pleasant to listen to, with a rich literary and historical tradition. I will teach you Italian using a communicative approach: conversation and grammar, first of all, the dialogue, and Italian in specific situations. We'll practice the language with exercises, songs, movies, video, cards and everything can help you to learn, in addition to the Italian culture information. For advanced level (C1/C2): articles, literature, history, and reading comprehension at the highest level. Also: professional, business and legal Italian. I graduated in Law at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, with specialization in the study of ancient sources (Greek and Latin), and I gained a lot of experience in teaching, tutoring people of all ages for 8 years: - as Research Assist...
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