Logical Analysis in Italian: Learn How to Recognise Subject, Verb and Complements

In order to properly comprehend the meaning of a sentence, it’s often necessary to understand the role that all the elements composing it play. Therefore, in the following lesson we are going to talk about analisi logica (logical analysis) that’s practiced to classify the functions of the various  elements of the clause: subject, predicate, complement and so on.

The elements of the clause (logical analysis)

Before we get to the heart of this topic, it’s necessary to clarify that in a clause (or proposition) there are some fixed elements that can’t miss and other elements that add information and clarifications to the core of the clause, but that are optional.

The fixed elements are:

Soggetto (Subject)

Il “soggetto” is the element of which the predicate (formed by a verb) expresses something and it can indicate:

  • the person or the thing performing the action:

Paolo mangia” (Paolo’s eating) / “La penna scrive” (The pen is writing (working))

  • the person or the thing whose quality is expressed

Examples: “Paolo è bello” (Paolo is handsome)/ “La penna è rossa” (The pen is red)

  • the person or the thing that is subjected to the action:

Examples: “La mela è mangiata” (The apple is eaten) / “La penna fu comprata” (The pen was bought)

It can also be:

  • a noun, proper or common

Example: “Paolo scrive” (Paolo is writing) / “La lavatrice si è rotta” (The washing-machine is broken)

  • a pronome (pronoun)

Example: “Voi avete parlato” (You have spoken) / “Lei ha ricevuto un regalo” (She has received a gift)

  • sottinteso (implied), when it’s a pronoun, but it’s not necessary to make it explicit because it goes without saying or already known

Example: “Siamo (noi) andati a pranzo fuori” ((We) went out for lunch)


Predicato (Predicate)

“Il predicato” is the element that says something about the subject: who they are, how they are, what they do, what they go through and it can be:

  • nominale

– formed by the verb “essere” (to be) (copula) + a noun or an adjective (nome del predicato):

Esempi: “Marco è un architetto” (Marco is an architect) / “Marco è ricco” (Marco is rich)

– formed by a  verbo copulativo (copulative verb) namely a verb that has no meaning on its own, but it requires an adjective or a noun to acquire a proper meaning (sembrare (to seem), diventare (to become), dire (to say)) + a noun or an adjective (predicativo del soggetto):

Esempi: “Paolo è stato eletto Presidente” (Paolo has been elected President) / “Federico è diventato capitano della squadra” (Federico has become captain of the team)

  • verbale (predicative verb)

– formed by any other verb that’s not”essere” (to be) or a copulative verb:

Examples: “Marco vive a Los Angeles” (Marco lives in Los Angeles) / “Marco lavorava tanto” (Marco used to work a lot) / “Il libro è stato letto” (The book has been read) / “Ci laveremo dopo” (We’ll have a bath later)

The optional elements are:


Il “complemento” (complement) enriches and completes the content of the clause by giving additional information. There are a lot of complements but it’s usually possible to recognize them through a question:

  • oggetto (direct object): answers the question “Chi? Che cosa?” (Who? What?)

Example: “Luigi compra una macchina” (Luigi is buying a car)

  • di specificazione (genitive case): answers the question “Di chi? Di che cosa?”

Example: “La professoressa di matematica è simpatica” (The Math teacher is nice)

  • di termine (indirect object): answers the question “A Chi? A che cosa?”

Example: “Ho comprato un regalo alla mia amica” (I’ve bought a gift for my friend)

  • d’agente (for people) / di causa efficiente (for things): answer the question “Da Chi? Da che cosa?”

Example: “Il ladro è stato arrestato dai poliziotti / Luca è stato colpito dalla palla” (The thief has been arrested by the cops/ Luca has been hit by the ball)

  • di causa: answers the question “Per quale motivo?”

Example: “Troppa gente muore di fame” (Too much people die of hunger)

  • di fine: answers the question “Con quale scopo/fine?”

Example: “Compriamo il cibo per la festa di stasera

  • di mezzo: answers the question “Per mezzo di chi? Per mezzo di che cosa?”

Example: “Siamo andati a Madrid in macchina

  • di compagnia (con le persone)/ unione (con le cose): answer the question “Insieme a chi? Insieme a che cosa?”

Examples: “Ho fatto shopping con Stefania / La bambina dorme sempre con la sua bambola” (I went shopping with Stefania)/ The child always sleeps withe her doll)

  • di luogo:

stato in luogo: answers the question “Dove? In che luogo?”

Example: “Abito in Italia” (I live in Italy)

moto a luogo: answers the question “Verso dove? Verso quale luogo?”

Example: “Stiamo andando al cinema” (We are going to the cinema)

moto da luogo: answers the question “Da dove? Da quale luogo?”

Example: “Sono appena tornata da Bari” (I just got back from Bari)

moto per luogo: answers the question “Per dove? Per quale luogo?”

Example: “Passiamo per il bosco” (Let’s go through the woods)

  • di origine: answers the question “Da chi? Da che cosa? Da dove?”

Example: “I suoi genitori vengono dalle Filippine” (His parents come from the Philippines)

  • di tempo:

tempo determinato: answers the question “Quando? In quale momento?”

Example: “Partiremo alle 9” (We leave at 9)

tempo continuato: answers the question “Per quanto tempo?”

Example: “Abbiamo aspettato per 2 ore!” (We’ve been waiting for 2 hours)

  • di paragone: answer the questions “Più/Meno di chi/che cosa?”, “Come/Quanto chi/che cosa?”

Examples: “Luigi è più alto di suo fratello / Luigi è bello come suo fratello” (Luigi is taller than his brother/Luigi is as handsome and his brother)

  • di modo: answers the questions “Come? In che modo?”

Example: “Dovete procedere con ordine” (You have to do this in order)

  • di argomento: answers the questions “Di quale argomento? A proposito di chi/cosa?”

Example: “Durante la conferenza parleremo di medicina” (During the conference we are going to talk about Medicine)

  • di qualità: answers the questions “Con quali qualità/caratteristiche?”

Example:”Indossa sempre una camicia a scacchi” (He always wears a plaid shirt)

  • di materia: answers the question “Di quale materiale?”

Example: “Compra una bottiglia di vetro” (Buy a glass bottle)

  • di età: answers the question “A che età? Di quanti anni?”

Example: “Giacomo ha un figlio di sei anni” (Giacomo is the father of a six-years old boy)

  • di limitazione: answers the question “In quale ambito? Entro quali limiti?”

Example: “Non sono brava in fisica” (I’m not good in Physics)

  • di vantaggio / svantaggio: answers the questions “A vantaggio di chi/che cosa?” “A danno di chi/che cosa?”

Examples: “Si sono battuti in difesa dei diritti umani / Hanno stravinto a danno dei loro avversari” (They fought to defend human rights)/ (They easily won the match to the disadvantage of their opponents)

  • di colpa/pena: answers the questions “Di/Per quale colpa?” , “A/Con quale pena?”

Example: “Furono arrestati per furto” / “Sono stati condannati all’ergastolo” (They were arrested for theft)/ (They were sentenced to life imprisonment)

  • di abbondanza / privazione: answer the questions “Di cosa abbonda?” “Di cosa è privo?”

Example: “Ho le tasche piene di monetine / Indosso una camicetta senza maniche” (I’ve got my pockets full of changes/ I’m wearing a sleeveless blouse)

  • di denominazione: answers the question “Di quale nome?”

Example: “La città di Torino è stata in passato capitale d’Italia” (The city of Turin was the capital of Italy in the past)

  • partitivo: answers the questions “Tra chi? Tra che cosa?”

Example: “Qualcuno tra i presenti ha ucciso quest’uomo” (Someone among those present killed this man)

  • di allontanamento: answers the questions “Da chi? Da che cosa? Da dove?”

Example: “Siamo stati allontanati dalla classe per via del nostro comportamento” (We’ve been expelled from the class because of our behavior)

Attributo (Attribute)

Gli “attributi” are adjectives that are united to noun, that take this name in logical analysis. All types of adjectives can serve as attributes: qualifying, demonstrative, interrogative, numeral (adjectives)…

Examples: “Amo le rose rosse” (I love red roses)/ “Ogni ragazzo ha il proprio carattere” (Every guy has their own character)/ “Abbiamo due sorelle” (We have two sisters)

Apposizione (Apposition)

Le “apposizioni” are those nouns that are united to better define and specify them. They can refer: to the subject, to the noun/adjective supporting the connecting verb or to a complement and they can be:

  • simple: formed by a single word

Example: “Il professor Rossi è pronto a ricevervi” (Professor Rossi will see you now)

  • compound: formed by two or more words

Example: “Carla, la sua fidanzata, è molto simpatica” (His girlfriend Carla is very nice)

Now, before leaving you to the logical analysis of the sentences in the video, we’d like to give you a few indications that will help you in the practice:

1) I verbi servili (modal verbs) (dovere, potere, sapere, volere) and i verbi fraseologici (phrasal verbs) (all those verbs that, besides having a proper meaning, can support an indefinite verb like: to do, to leave, being about to, to strive to, to try to…) they form a predicato verbale unico with the following verbs: prova a fare i compiti (try to do your homework), devo andare al cinema (I have to go to the cinema)

2) The article is all of a piece with the name that accompanies.

3) Conjugations, adverbs and exclamations must be defined as such

4) Some adverbs can be also used as complements (especially “di tempo” or “di modo”): in this case we should specify that they’re adverbs and say which complement they represent.

5) Relative pronouns must be decomposed to understand the logic function they take.

6) Direct and Indirect pronouns (mi, ti, ci, gli…) and the particles ci and ne must be carefully studied to understand to which complement the correspond (oggetto, di termine, ecc…).

Alright,our lesson has come to an end. We’re aware that’s not very easy but with some practice it’ll get easier over time. If you want to expand your knowledge your linguistic competence, take a look at our video on grammatical analysis and sentence analysis: you won’t regret that!

Instead if you like maglietta di Rocco’s t-shirt or Graziana’s, you can buy them in our online store: LearnAmo Collection!

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