Ask the Prof

discussion-two-people

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.


112 comments

  1. Hi Tony, I also found in the same text about information, these expressions: careers talks and careers fairs. But, in these cases, shouldn’t it be career talks and career fairs as in both these names the word career acts as an adjective? Thanks

  2. 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.

  3. Salve! vorrei un parere pratico su una cosa, e chi meglio di lei! 🙂 volendo aprire un sito di quiz e pensavo di chiamarlo youvsdarwin.com mi può dire se in inglese suona bene (come se fosse un invito 1 contro 1, in italiano mi piace tucontrodarwin.com. Penso di si, ma prima di acquistarlo volevo un parere da un madrelingua :). Grazie mille.

    1. 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

  4. I need your help, Tony. I have difficulties in understanding the meaning of this sentence: pupils commonly come back from placements more mature and with greater confidence – with those young people who have most to gain prior to placement typically gaining most from it. I got the first part but I don’t understand the second part. Can you translate it please?

    1. …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.

  5. Buongiorno Prof
    capisco la grammatica di queste traduzioni:
    1) Se io dovessi …. = If I should…..
    2) Se io dovessi…. = If I had to ….
    ma non comprendo questa :
    3) Se io dovessi….= If I were to….
    potrei cortesemente avere un Suo chiarimento In merito ? Grazie

    Cordiali saluti, Alessandro

    1. 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.

  6. Hi Tony, I am doing a translation and I have some difficulties in translating this particular sentence: a teacher with responsibility for managing pupil mobility carries out a QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) ‘s A Language in Common Assessment and shares this information with all subject teachers. I can’t understand what qualification the teacher has to carry out and that ‘ s. Could you translate that for me, please? Thank you!

    1. 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!

  7. Hi Tony, I was doing a fill the gap exercise and one sentence was: would you like a drink? Yes…
    Among the given answers there were thanks and please, with please as the right answer. But why is thanks wrong in this case?

    1. 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.

  8. Buongiorno, in un documentario ho sentito la frase:
    He would have made a great emperor had he gotten the chance. Della quale il significato è facile, ma la costruzione proprio non riesco a capire, non potrei mettere il verbo essere (been?) e anche un if nella seconda frase (è obbligatorio ometterlo?)

    After six years secluded in Capri Caligola has killed the emperor of Rome. Mettere il passato semplice sarebbe stato sbagliato (l’azione è completamente passata..) ?

    grazie,

    1. 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.

  9. Buonasera Prof,
    ho seri dubbi circa i gruppi nominali contenenti titoli:

    Si dice:
    The “Introduction to the subject” paragraph is very long.
    or
    The paragraph “Introduction to the subject” is very long.

    The “Stagecoach” movie is a masterpiece.
    or
    The movie “Stagecoach” is a masterpiece.

    The document “Advanced User Manual” is ready.
    or
    The “Advanced User Manual” document is ready.

    Forse dovrei togliere gli articoli “The” ?

    Grazie
    Costantino

    1. Leggendo i tuoi esempi, direi che nel caso di titoli forse è meglio usrae la costruzione standard e non il gruppo nominale. Questo non perché ip gruppo nominale non è pèossibile ma perché forse un nativo non lo userebbe con titoli. Quindi direi:
      1) The paragraph “Introduction to the subject” is very long.
      oppure: The introductory paragraph is very long.
      2) The movie “Stagecoach” is a masterpiece.
      3) The document “Advanced User Manual” is ready.

      Non è una questione dell’articolo ma il fatto che sono tutti presentati come titoli.

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