Ask the Prof

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Questa sezione serve per aprire una discussione su qualsiasi aspetto della lingua inglese o semplicemente per allenarsi su un argomento qualunque. Le discussioni vanno avviate direttamente nei commenti qui sotto. A distanza di tempo rimuoverò le discussioni più vecchie per non allungare troppo la pagina.

125 thoughts on “Ask the Prof”

  1. Carissimo Tony, ho trascritto correttamente l’esercizio di ascolto e sono contentone… Peccato che non riesca a tradurlo 🤣 There’s a lot more to this than meets the eye
    Can you help questa pecorella smarrita?!

    1. Quando una situazione è alquanto torbida è non arriva all’occhio (per vederci chiaro) tutto quello che ci sta sotto.

  2. 🙋 Dubbio esistenziale, sorto dopo la correzione DTE odierna: nella lingua parlata, il genitivo sassone di Chris’s si “sente”? Cioè, quella ‘s viene pronunciata distintamente? 😅

    1. Se mi togli la vocale sono perso 🤣 sì, il secondo è with, per fortuna quello l’ho sentito ma ho sbagliato a digitare 😇

  3. With just… Errore nel digitare… Mi interessa la pronuncia di See if you can… Scusami

  4. La forma con “could” non è in realtà la forma migliore qui, Carlo. Il tuo semplice “Did you feel…?” ci starebbe benissimo o, volendo inserire quel senso di “essere in grado”, si potrebbe anche dire, “Were you able to feel…?” (capacità + azione).
    Ma “Did you feel…?” mi convince molto di più. 🙂

  5. It’s using “thought” in the sense of “considered” which allows for that construction:
    “Come quasi tutti, consideravo viaggiare un’avventura quando ero piccolo…”

  6. If we speak Italian, you won’t be able to understand. (If + present + future = standard 1st conditional)
    “I don’t think” is a sort of “inciso” which doesn’t have any influence on the sentence construction.

    1. Comincio ad avere un dubbio… Non so l’inglese e non so l’italiano 🤣

  7. The best answer I can find (there is a lot of debate) is this:
    “…to make a cross inside the croft (piccola fattoria) with one ‘stick of bent’ (stelo di erbaccia) and another ‘stick of broom’ (stelo di ginestra). These two reeds (canne) had great spiritual power to the pagans. After the christians had their way, the pagan ways were subverted to christian uses. The cross of bent and broom would keep the devil out of the house.”

    1. And finally an explanation! 😂 I like medieval ballads a lot! My other favourite ones are Lord Randall and Edward.

  8. Ciao Giuseppe. Scusami se non ti ho risposto prima. Ho letto il messaggio e volevo prendere tempo per pensarci e poi l’ho dimenticato! La questione ti interessa ancora o hai già deciso?

      1. Potresti pensare ad opzioni come:

        Can you beat Darwin?
        Beating Darwin
        The Darwin Challenge
        Darwin’s Challenge
        Up Against Darwin

  9. Hi Tony, I need some information about information! 😂 I have always known information is a plural word meaning informazioni and to make the singular we say a piece of information, but in a sentence I found information with is. Shouldn’t be are if the meaning is plural? Besides on wordreference they say that in English information is always singular. I’m a bit confused!

    1. Information is NOT plural, Giuseppe, it is uncountable; that’s why it alway takes a singular verb. An uncountable noun is always singular because it is a single concept. It cannot, however, be made plural.

      1. So when I say some or further information, it has a singular meaning? If so, when can I say a piece of information?

        1. I mean, when I have to translate informazioni (plural in Italian) I use information, and a piece of information for informazione (singular). Am I right?

          1. You can use the uncountable (singular) “information” to translate both “informazioni” and “informazione”, Giuseppe, unless you really need to underline that it is one specific “piece of information” that you require.

            Desidero un informazione sull’orario dei pullman.
            I would like some information about coach times.

            This piece of information is going to be very useful in the future.

  10. …gli alunni generalmente tornano dai tirocini più maturi e con maggiore fiducia in se stessi – e i giovani che erano già più bisognosi di un’esperienza del genere, tipicamente ne usufruiscono di più.

    La frase non è tanta felice in inglese e non so se sono riuscuito bene a renderlo in italiano. Fammi sapere.

    1. I think that’s it! So the sentence didn’t sound wierd to me only! 😂
      Thanks!

  11. C’è anche questo uso del verbo essere (+ infinito completo) con il senso di dovere, un po’ “formale’ a dire il vero. Io non lo insegno normalmente ma prima o poi la si incontra. So for example you can have a sentence like:
    “Charles Foster is to play the lead role.”
    “You are to leave your bags here.”
    Nel caso tuo è al congiuntivo perché introduce un ipotesi di 2° tipo.

    1. Hi Tony, me too have some doubts about the meaning of sentences using this construct. For example, in sentences like: I was to phone you, and the committee is to launch an inquiry, is the meaning dovere in both cases or can it also be translated as stare per?

      1. “Dovere” in both cases, Giuseppe. You could convert it to “stare per” by adding “about”: I was about to phone you. The committee is about to launch an enquiry.

  12. The teacher carried out an “assessment”, not a qualification. The assessment is called “A Language in Common” and it was designed by the QCA, so the – ‘s – is actually a saxon genitive.

    Un insegnante responsabile per la gestione della mobilità degli studenti esegue una valutazione “Una Lingua in Comune” della QCA (Autorità per le Qualifiche ed il Curriculum) e condivide l’informazione con gli insegnanti delle altre materie.

    That’s the best I can do!

  13. Generally the two “typical” answers are:
    “Yes, please.”
    “No, thanks.”
    It would be possible to say: “Yes (piccola pausa). Thank you.”
    But “Yes, thanks” is not really used.

  14. Hi Giuseppe.
    Yes, in the first part you can say either:
    • He would have made a great emperor…
    • He would have been a great emperor…
    Both versions are equally good.

    If you use “if” in the second part, then you have re-invert the subject and verb and say: “…if he had gotten the chance.” (I don’t like “gotten”, it’s very American. I would prefer: “If he had had the chance.”)
    When you remove “if” you have to invert the subject and the verb as though it is a question:
    “He would have stopped had he seen the dog.” (He would have stopped if he had seen the dog.)
    The version without “if” is a fairly literary style and isn’t used much in spoken English.

    With regard to your second question, it should definitely be “past simple” and not “present perfect”.
    I suspect there has been a bad translation in this case.

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