Would you believe us if we told you that phrasal verbs exist also in Italian? Yeah, they are not called phrasal verbs, of course… but VERBI SINTAGMATICI! If you want to find out how they are used and their meaning, don’t miss this video!
Italian Phrasal Verbs
Dare addosso, mettere dentro, fare fuori, tirare su…
We are dealing with verbi sintagmatici, which means, verbs made up of more elements, just like English phrasal verbs!
Today we will see how they are used and their meanings:
I verbi sintagmatici are formed by a verb (usually of movement) + a particle (usually an adverb).
There are three types of verbi sintagmatici:
1. Those in which the particle indicates the direction of the movement expressed by the verb
– Andare dentro = entrare (to get in)
Sono andato dentro perché stava piovendo (I went in because it was raining)
– Andare su = salire (to go up)
Maria aveva dimenticato le chiavi ed è andata su a prenderle (Maria had forgotten the keys and she went up to take them)
There are a lot of other verbi sintagmatici of this kind, for example: venire su (to come up), andare giù (to go down), correre su (to run up) and so on.
Do you remember when to use ANDARE and VENIRE? Review them with us!
2. Those with an idiomatic meaning, which means that it can’t be inferred from the sum of the meanings of the words which compose it:
– Mettere sotto
Literally means “placing something in a position lower than something else”: Ho messo la mano destra sotto la mano sinistra (I placed the right hand under the left hand)
Idiomatic meaning: «investire» (to run over/hit): Un camion ha messo sotto Luigi or Un camion ha messo Luigi sotto (A truck hit Luigi)
Literally it could mean “doing something outside”: Che ne pensi se facciamo una festa fuori in giardino? (What do you think if we had a party out in the garden?)
Idiomatic meaning: «uccidere, ammazzare, eliminare» (to kill, to get rid of, to finish off):
I regimi dittatoriali tendono a far fuori i loro oppositori politici (Dictatorial regimes tend to get rid of their politic opponents)
La torta era troppo buona: l’ho fatta fuori in 2 minuti (The cake was so good: I finished it off in two minutes)
There are a lot of verbi sintagmatici with an idiomatic meaning… let’s see some others:
-Dare addosso = infierire, criticare, attaccare verbalmente (to attack, to lash out)
I giornalisti hanno dato addosso ai politici durante l’intervista (The reporters lashed out at the politicians during the interview)
Literal meaning: “moving something from a low position to a higher one”
Idiomatic meaning: «allevare, crescere, costruire…» (to raise, to build)
Ha tirato su una famiglia meravigliosa (S/he raised an amazing family)
L’impresa edile ha tirato su un palazzo di 20 piani (The construction company built a 20 floors mansion)
Literal meaning: “placing something inside something else”: Ho messo gli occhiali dentro la custodia (I put my glasses in their case)
Idiomatic meaning: «arrestare, imprigionare» (to arrest, to jail): La polizia ha messo dentro i tre delinquenti or La polizia ha messo i tre delinquenti dentro (The police jailed the three criminals)
3. verbi sintagmatici with a particella pleonastica (superfluous/useless particle)
uscire fuori simply means uscire… (to go out)
entrare dentro simply means entrare… (to get in)
scendere giù simply means scendere… (to come down)
In these cases the addition of the particle doesn’t change the meaning!
What are the weirdest words of the Italian language? Learn all of them!
Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!