Lost in Translation • 5

Hmmm… sto sbagliando qualcosa?

Se pensi che ci sia qualche errore, scrivi la tua versione nei commenti. Non tarderò a rispondere.

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Your comments are always very welcome.


Author: Tony

Born and raised in Malaysia between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Educated at Wycliffe College in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, England. Living in the foothills of Mount Etna since 1982 and teaching English at Catania University since 1987.

18 thoughts on “Lost in Translation • 5”

  1. A me suona meglio così: Sorry, I’m afraid I can’t help you. Why don’t you ask that to the police


    1. Bene, Anna Maria, in effetti la tua versione è efficace, ma hai cambiato molto più di quanto era realmente necessario. Nel originale cè solamente una piccola parola in più che andrebbe tolta per renderlo perfetto. 🙂


  2. 🙂 oh yes my dear you’re making a mistake :you can’t use “TO” after the verb “TO ASK”


    1. Oh, thank you so much! You’re so kind!

      P.S. Bear in mind, Roberta, that we don’t use the “to” when we put the indirect object first (which is NEARLY always). If you keep to the standard English construction (first the direct object) then you need the “to” before the indirect object. Let me give you a couple of examples:

      “If you ask something like this TO the students in my class, they will all know the answer.”
      “He asked the same question TO all the people he knew.”


      1. Ehm, I wonder if it’s always my choice to put, or not, the direct object after the verb or if there are rules that in some way limit my freedom. Taking your examples, am I allowed to say

        “If you ask the students in my class something like this , they will all know the answer.”

        “He asked all the people he knew the same question”



        1. Generally whenevr it’s possible we put the indirect oject first (a chi), especially in the case of simple nouns and pronouns. However, if the indirect object is long and complicated (this happens occasionally but not very often), putting it first can make the overall comprehension of the sentence a little tricky. If that’s the case then it’s best to use the standard construction with the direct object first. So, no, there’s isn’t a rule, just common sense and a good ear.

          “He asked all the people he knew the same question”, for example sounds okay to me.

          But how about:

          He asked all the people that he met on his way from the office to the railway station the time. 😀

          It starts to get a bit dodgy, doesn’t it?


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