• Si impersonale.

     

    1.     General izations are often expressed in English with subjects like one, they, we, people. In the following sentences, the subjects they and we are impersonal, not reffering to anyone in particular: They should lower taxes. We avoid stereotypes. In Italian, a construction with the word si is used to express these kinds of impersonal or unspecified subjects. In this construction, the Italian verb is always in the third person, singular or plural.

     

    2.     Wheter the verb is singular or plural depends on the noun that follows the verb.

     

    In Italia si studiano le opere  di Dante al liceo.            In Italy they study the works of Dante in High School.

                                                                       

     

    Si Studia Dante negli Stati Uniti?                                      Do you study Dante in the United states?

                                                                                                                

    A casa mia si mangia spesso la pasta.                               At my house we often eat pasta.

    Si mangiano i tortellini negli Stati Uniti?                         Do people eat tortellini in the United States?

                                                                                                   

    Si prenoterà una camera singola.                                      We’ll reserve a single room.

    Si prenoteranno due camere doppie.                               We’ll reserve two double rooms

     

     
    3.     When the si + verb construction is not followed by a noun, but rather by an adverb, for example, the verb is singular.

     

    Si mangia bene in Italia.                                           One eats well in Italy.

    Si studia molto qui.                                                    One studies a lot here.

     

    4.     In the si construction, dovere(must), potere(can or be able to), volere(to want) + the infinitive are singular or plural, depending on the object of the infinitive.

     

    Si può usare il telefono?                                      Can one use the telephone?

    Si possono comprare libri qui?                            Can one buy books here?

     

    5.     The phrase ci si must be used when a reflexive verb is used impersonally.  This construction avoids the repitition si si).

    Si diverte=to entertain oneself

     

    Marco si diverte in classe.                 Marco entertains him/herself in class.

     

    Ci si diverte in classe                        One has fun in class.

     

    Special note: si impersonale

     

    The si construction also expresses common knowledge in expressions such as si sa che… , si capisce che… and si vede che…

     

    Si sa che trovare un volo economico è difficile in alta stagione.

    Everyone knows that it’s difficult to get a cheap flight in high season.

     

    Maria non è arrivata. Si vede che ha avuto altre cose da fare. Maria hasn’t arrived. It’s clear that she had other things to do.