An English key and other stories

This section is dedicated to Italians who wish to improve their English skills. Aiutiamoci a vicenda!
User avatar
Itikar
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Italia, Lombardia

An English key and other stories

Postby Itikar » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:30 pm

I would like to use this thread to ask some explantions about English grammar and vocabulary which cause me troubles. Sometimes I think I should really care more about my English than I usually do. :(
I chose the title from a little scene that happened to me in a farm in Dorset. We had to untight some bolts, so I and Mum asked the farmer whether he had an "English key" for us to use.
He understood what we meant, but after a while and slightly sorry he told us that “The way you call it is lovely, but here we call it "a spanner"”.

So here we go with my questions! :)
1)First and foremost: are there different ways in English speaking countries to refer to that tool above which in Italy is known as "la chiave inglese"? I mean beyond "spanner" (abbracciatore) are some other synonyms in use?
2)In the other topic I found this expression in Billy's messages: "I believe Alessandro will want to see the pictures". Why were the verbs "will" and "want" used together? And what is the difference between the two of them in this context? I mean although "to will" is also an auxiliary verb, as well as "to want", it means too "volere".
3)I will have noticed that I tend to use often contractions for negative verbs. I.e. I almost always write "I don't" instead than "I do not", "you weren't" instead than "You were not", etc. How acceptable is this in the various contexts? I mean: when is it fine to employ such contractions and when is it not? [I have just tried to experiment how it is if I don't use them :P]

More questions to come! :)

I would also be very grateful if you could please correct my English.
I would be very grateful, if you could please correct my English.

User avatar
BillyShears
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:49 pm
Contact:

Re: An English key and other stories

Postby BillyShears » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:34 pm

Itikar wrote:I would like to use this thread to ask some explanations about English grammar and vocabulary which cause me troubles (I would use trouble - singular - let's see what others say). Sometimes I think I should really care more about my English than I usually do. :(
I chose the title from a little scene that happened to me in a farm in Dorset. We had to untight (untighten or loosen) some bolts, so I and Mum asked the farmer whether he had an "English key" for us to use.
He understood what we meant, but after a while and slightly sorry he told us that “The way you call it is lovely, but here we call it "a spanner"”.

So here we go with my questions! :)
1)First and foremost: are there different ways in English speaking countries to refer to that tool above which in Italy is known as "la chiave inglese"? I mean beyond "spanner" (abbracciatore) are some other synonyms in use?

I didn't know what a spanner was until I looked up "chiave inglese" on google images. In the USA we call this a wrench when it is made as one size or an adjustable wrench when it can be expanded or contracted.
Itikar wrote:2)In the other topic I found this expression in Billy's messages: "I believe Alessandro will want to see the pictures". Why were the verbs "will" and "want" used together? And what is the difference between the two of them in this context? I mean although "to will" is also an auxiliary verb, as well as "to want", it means too "volere".

I believe this is an American expression. It is probably more correct to state "would want" (vorrebbe) in that particular sentence. Americans often use "will want to" as a future prediction. You mentioned that you were impressed by the floor in the duomo. Since I have a few pictures of the floor, I was (subconsciously) predicting that you would be pleased to view them sometime in the future when they are posted. You are probably learning English as it is spoken in Great Britain. That is what should be your guide. Think of my English as equivalent to the old Neapolitan or Sicilian dialect's (languages really) and Peter's English as Florentine Italian :) .
Itikar wrote:3)I will have noticed that I tend to use often contractions for negative verbs. I.e. I almost always write "I don't" instead than "I do not", "you weren't" instead than "You were not", etc. How acceptable is this in the various contexts? I mean: when is it fine to employ such contractions and when is it not? [I have just tried to experiment how it is if I don't use them :P]

"I will have noticed that ..." should be "I have noticed that ..." in the context of your sentence. This is probably something all English speaking people agree on. :)

I almost always use contractions both in speech and writing. I am curious to read what Peter, Calum or some of our other non American English speaking members opinions are on contractions.
Itikar wrote:More questions to come! :)

I would also be very grateful if you could please correct my English.

We will be ready for you! :)

BS
Impariamo.com has a Facebook page < https://www.facebook.com/impariamo.com >




Chi domanda non fa errori.

User avatar
Peter
Posts: 2853
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:41 pm
Location: Horsham, West Sussex, England
Contact:

Re: An English key and other stories

Postby Peter » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:56 pm

Itikar wrote:I would like to use this thread to ask some explanations about English grammar and vocabulary which cause me troubles (I would use trouble - singular - let's see what others say).


Yes, I agree that in this context you use the singular trouble. You would use the plural as a synonym for worries (preoccupazioni).

Itikar wrote:Sometimes I think I should really care more about my English than I usually do. :(
I chose the title from a little scene that happened to me in a farm in Dorset. We had to untight (untighten or loosen) some bolts, so I and Mum asked the farmer whether he had an "English key" for us to use.
He understood what we meant, but after a while and slightly sorry he told us that “The way you call it is lovely, but here we call it "a spanner"”.


Whereas it is common to say io e mamma in Italian, in English the correct form is Mum and I, although in the spoken word that is, unfortunately, rarely the way. I think it is down to politeness, as much as anything - putting the other person ahead of yourself. That is not to say I disapprove of the Italian way of saying it - different language, different culture - let's celebrate the differences!!

Itikar wrote:So here we go with my questions! :)
1)First and foremost: are there different ways in English speaking countries to refer to that tool above which in Italy is known as "la chiave inglese"? I mean beyond "spanner" (abbracciatore) are some other synonyms in use?


BillyShears wrote:I didn't know what a spanner was until I looked up "chiave inglese" on google images. In the USA we call this a wrench when it is made as one size or an adjustable wrench when it can be expanded or contracted.


Certainly spanner is more commonly used in UK, although we have the expression monkey wrench.

Itikar wrote:2)In the other topic I found this expression in Billy's messages: "I believe Alessandro will want to see the pictures". Why were the verbs "will" and "want" used together? And what is the difference between the two of them in this context? I mean although "to will" is also an auxiliary verb, as well as "to want", it means too "volere".


BillyShears wrote:I believe this is an American expression. It is probably more correct to state "would want" (vorrebbe) in that particular sentence. Americans often use "will want to" as a future prediction. You mentioned that you were impressed by the floor in the duomo. Since I have a few pictures of the floor, I was (subconsciously) predicting that you would be pleased to view them sometime in the future when they are posted. You are probably learning English as it is spoken in Great Britain. That is what should be your guide. Think of my English as equivalent to the old Neapolitan or Sicilian dialect's (languages really) and Peter's English as Florentine Italian :) .


No, it is not just an American way of using the verb. We also use 'will want' - in English it makes perfect sense. I think that in Italian I would simply use penso che Alessandro voglia vedere (or guardare) le foto. Interesting to see your comparison between our different forms of English, Joe!!

Itikar wrote:3)I will have noticed that I tend to use often contractions for negative verbs. I.e. I almost always write "I don't" instead than "I do not", "you weren't" instead than "You were not", etc. How acceptable is this in the various contexts? I mean: when is it fine to employ such contractions and when is it not? [I have just tried to experiment how it is if I don't use them :P]


BillyShears wrote:"I will have noticed that ..." should be "I have noticed that ..." in the context of your sentence. This is probably something all English speaking people agree on. :)


Yes, totally agree.

BillyShears wrote:I almost always use contractions both in speech and writing. I am curious to read what Peter, Calum or some of our other non American English speaking members opinions are on contractions.


It depends on the circumstances. Clearly in the work I'm doing on the Lezioni Gratuite section I would never use contractions, as they are purely informal.
A presto


Peter

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sussexshark/
http://sussexshark.wordpress.com/
http://www.photoshow.com/members/sussexshark/all

Impariamo.com has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/impariamo.com

User avatar
BillyShears
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:49 pm
Contact:

Re: An English key and other stories

Postby BillyShears » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:16 am

Peter wrote:
BillyShears wrote:...Think of my English as equivalent to the old Neapolitan or Sicilian dialect's (languages really) and Peter's English as Florentine Italian :) .
...Interesting to see your comparison between our different forms of English, Joe!!

Peter,

You know me better than most on the forum. So you probably understand the spirit of the comparison. But for all who read this thread, to be clear, I love Neapolitan and Sicilian dialect's / languages. They are the languages spoken by my family, neighbors and some of my friends. But many years ago when I studied Italian in high school I right away noticed the Italian I was learning in school was similar yet different than the Italian that I was used to hearing. So my advice to Alessandro is meant to mean there are differences in the British and American versions of English. My advice is to stick with the form of English that you are learning in school (I assume the British version). The other forms will come easier in time.

Joe (BillyShears)
Impariamo.com has a Facebook page < https://www.facebook.com/impariamo.com >




Chi domanda non fa errori.

User avatar
Itikar
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Italia, Lombardia

Re: An English key and other stories

Postby Itikar » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:01 pm

Thank you very much for your detailed explanations. They are very helpful. :)

I learnt English in school but I took most of what I know from the net. Our school programs here are loosely based on British English, but there is nothing wrong if we write for instance ‘color’ instead of ‘colour’ in a test. Personally I tend to use British English forms over American ones, but I'm not obsessed about it. I.e. I don't mind if sometimes I say or write either ‘center’ or ‘centre’. In general I like to explore and learn also local variants or expressions of languages, although I shall not necessarily use all those expressions they are very important in order to understand the culture of that place. :)
Although there has been a process of language standardisation in Italy also North Italian variants are usually considered relatively far from standard. I.e. You will not likely hear ‘far su <qualcosa>’ on TV.

Peter, I thank you for suggesting me to use the form ‘Mum and I’ and don't worry I perfectly understand what you mean. :D To my dismay I unfortunately have the inclination to translate my sentences and thoughts directly from Italian. In Italian too, theoretically, politeness suggests to say for example ‘tu ed io’ instead of ‘io e te’, but it sounds a bit formal and too far from the spoken, so few people use it. But I understand that English on this topic is different from Italian, and I shall try to avoid such an expression in the future. :)

About ‘I will have noticed’ I do apologise for my bad error. :oops: Originally what I wanted to write was ‘you will have noticed’, but then I have clearly messed up with the sentence. :oops: My intention was to express something similar to the Italian ‘futuro anteriore ipotetico’, that is to say ‘avrete notato che’. Anyway this is a good opportunity to ask about this construction.
How does it sound you an expression like ‘They will have already noticed that we are here’ for translating the Italian ‘avranno già notato che siamo qui’?
‘Futuro anteriore ipotetico’ is generally more common in Italian speech than the canonical ‘futuro anteriore’ and is used to express the possibility, but not absolute certainty, that something has happened. In the above example another version could be: ‘è probabile che abbiano già notato che siamo qui’.

Thank you both one more time. :)
I would be very grateful, if you could please correct my English.

User avatar
Peter
Posts: 2853
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:41 pm
Location: Horsham, West Sussex, England
Contact:

Re: An English key and other stories

Postby Peter » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:41 pm

Itikar wrote:I learnt English in school but I took most of what I know from the net. Our school programs here are loosely based on British English, but there is nothing wrong if we write for instance ‘color’ instead of ‘colour’ in a test. Personally I tend to use British English forms over American ones, but I'm not obsessed about it. I.e. I don't mind if sometimes I say or write either ‘center’ or ‘centre’. In general I like to explore and learn also local variants or expressions of languages, although I shall not necessarily use all those expressions they are very important in order to understand the culture of that place. :)


Va molto bene, Alessandro. Hai l'approccio giusto a imparare inglese, o su questo qualsiasi altra lingua. :)

Itikar wrote:Peter, I thank you for suggesting me to use the form ‘Mum and I’ and don't worry I perfectly understand what you mean. :D To my dismay I unfortunately have the inclination to translate my sentences and thoughts directly from Italian. In Italian too, theoretically, politeness suggests to say for example ‘tu ed io’ instead of ‘io e te’, but it sounds a bit formal and too far from the spoken, so few people use it. But I understand that English on this topic is different from Italian, and I shall try to avoid such an expression in the future. :)



Non preoccuparti. Spesso mi trovo tradurre qualcosa un po' troppo letteralmente. Infatti penso che sia inevitabile. :)

Itikar wrote:About ‘I will have noticed’ I do apologise for my bad error. :oops: Originally what I wanted to write was ‘you will have noticed’, but then I have clearly messed up with the sentence. :oops: My intention was to express something similar to the Italian ‘futuro anteriore ipotetico’, that is to say ‘avrete notato che’. Anyway this is a good opportunity to ask about this construction.
How does it sound you an expression like ‘They will have already noticed that we are here’ for translating the Italian ‘avranno già notato che siamo qui’?
‘Futuro anteriore ipotetico’ is generally more common in Italian speech than the canonical ‘futuro anteriore’ and is used to express the possibility, but not absolute certainty, that something has happened. In the above example another version could be: ‘è probabile che abbiano già notato che siamo qui’.


Di nuovo, non preoccuparti! È facile - troppo - fare un tale errori. Quanto riguarda la tua questione: sì, non vedo niente che indica che una tale frase sia scorretto. Infatti ha senso perfettamente in inglese. Quindi, se essa anche abbia senso in italiano, poi deve essere corretto!! :) La tua frase alternativa anche va bene - vuol dire la stessa cosa. :)
A presto


Peter

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sussexshark/
http://sussexshark.wordpress.com/
http://www.photoshow.com/members/sussexshark/all

Impariamo.com has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/impariamo.com

User avatar
calum
Site Owner
Posts: 366
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:46 pm
Location: Scozia
Contact:

Re: An English key and other stories

Postby calum » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:34 pm

Hi Alessandro,

I have split this topic so that your new question has its own thread, otherwise, if a single thread fills with different questions and answers, it can become very difficult for readers to follow. Individual threads also make it easier for members to quickly find the answers to their queries, so please continue to post your questions as discrete topics in 'Come si dice'. I hope you don't mind.

regards,
Calum

User avatar
Itikar
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:44 pm
Location: Italia, Lombardia

Re: An English key and other stories

Postby Itikar » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:58 pm

calum wrote:Hi Alessandro,

I have split this topic so that your new question has its own thread, otherwise, if a single thread fills with different questions and answers, it can become very difficult for readers to follow. Individual threads also make it easier for members to quickly find the answers to their queries, so please continue to post your questions as discrete topics in 'Come si dice'. I hope you don't mind.

regards,
Calum


It is really no problem, don't worry. :)
I shall gladly follow your advice from now on.
I would be very grateful, if you could please correct my English.


Return to “Come si dice in inglese?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest