Nulla da fare

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jade
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Nulla da fare

Post by jade » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:43 am

Ciao a tutti. Due settimane fa ho letto le frasi dalla Repubblica:

“Il fratello gemello, Alex, sette mesi fa, anche lui in sella a una Kawasaki 750, si era scontrato frontalmente con un’auto mentre viaggiava sulla stessa Statale 394, nei pressi della strada che porta a Villa Bozzolo. Per il ragazzo nulla da fare. Era deceduto sul colpo.”

Non capisco “Per il ragazzo nulla da fare.” Could I take it as “the boy does not have a chance”? But where is the verb in this sentence?

Also, I have seen “nei pressi” in many occasions, what does exactly this term mean, in the neighborhood, or surrounding area?

Grazie in anticipo!

Roby
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Post by Roby » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:32 am

nulla da fare - nothing to do.

Per il ragazzo nulla da fare.... For the boy , there was nothing that could be done. Era deceduto sul colpo... He died instantly. He was died by the blow/strike of the car.

nei pressi- in the neighborhood or surrounding area near Villa Bozzolo. So, here you are quite correct in my opinion.

We can wait for a native speaker to clarify what it actually means.
Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld

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polideuce
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Post by polideuce » Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:12 am

Quel che dice Roby è corretto :)

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isablu
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Post by isablu » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:59 pm

I agree with Roby! :lol:
isabella

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Devery
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Post by Devery » Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:30 pm

isablu wrote:I agree with Roby! :lol:
isabella
Mi sembri sorpressa!

jade
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Post by jade » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:28 am

Hi, thank you all for answering my questions. However, at first, I thought the "da" in "nulla da fare" was a preposition, now I think it really is the verb conjugated from "dare", am I right? Otherwise, I have trouble with the sentence that does not have a verb.

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Devery
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Post by Devery » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:38 am

jade wrote:Hi, thank you all for answering my questions. However, at first, I thought the "da" in "nulla da fare" was a preposition, now I think it really is the verb conjugated from "dare", am I right? Otherwise, I have trouble with the sentence that does not have a verb.
No, it's the preposition. The preposition "da" precedes a lot of other verbs in their infinitive form to mean "to." For example:

Vuoi qualcosa da bere/mangiare? Do you want something to drink/eat
Non c'e' niente da fare. There's nothing to do.
Ho molte cose da fare oggi. I have a lot to do today.

There are hundreds of other examples. The prepositions really get confusing. You have to pretty much memorize what goes where. Especially after certain words and before verbs in their infinitive form. Sometime there is no preposition before a verb. A lot of time there has to be when you want to say "to + verb" in Italian. :cry:
Last edited by Devery on Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:12 am, edited 6 times in total.

Andrew
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Post by Andrew » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:40 am

'Fare' is a verb :)

nulla - nothing
da - preposition
fare - to do
Please correct me when I attempt to use Italian, I'm still learning :)

jade
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Post by jade » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:50 am

"Vuoi qualcosa da bere/mangiare?" – vuoi = verb ( tu is subject)
"Non c'e' niente da fare. "– e’ = verb (ci e’ = there is...)
"Ho molte cose da fare oggi." – ho = verb (io is subject)

nulla da fare – who is the subject? Nulla? Which one is the verb? Fare? Fare is an infinitive, right?

Did I miss something?

I don’t really have trouble with da as a preposition, but I have trouble with the missing verb.

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Devery
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Post by Devery » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:51 am

Before we make this too confusing, here is a nice breakdown by Roby:

http://www.impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=760
d) before an infinitive or a noun to
describe the purpose, scope, intention, suitability
or use of the preceding dependent noun. It
conveys the preposition “for” in Italian.
Ho bisogno della carta da scrivere.
I need some writing paper (paper for writing).
Mangio spesso nella sala da pranzo.
I eat often in the dining room
(room for dining).

e) before an infinitive to convey the idea that
something remains to be done. It implies that
an action of the infinitive has not yet been
realized, or carried out. It may mean that an
obligation or need of something must be done.
Ci sono I piatti da lavare.
There are dishes to wash.(to be washed)
Robertina ha una camera da affittare.
Robertina has a room for rent. (to be rented)

f) before an infinitive and after the indefinite
antecedents (molto, poco, tanto, niente, nulla,
troppo, qualcosa). It conveys a passive meaning
that something still remains to be done.
Ho tante cose da fare
I have many things to do. (to be done)
Non c’e niente da mangiare
There is nothing to eat. (to be eaten)
g) before a noun to describe a person’s behavior,
manner, style or comportment.
Daniela vive da regina.
Daniela lives like a queen.
Mi ha sempre pensato da sorella
He has always thought of me as a sister.
h) after a noun or adjective to describe the
physical characteristics or qualities of a
person. ( In English the preposition “with” is
used or an equivalent descriptive adjective.)
Chi e’ quella ragazza dagli occhi verde?
Who is that girl with the green eyes.
Chi e’ quello ragazzo dal bel corpo.
Who is that boy with the beautiful body?
i) Da + a noun or pronoun means “by” in English
when by conveys the agent or the doer of the
action of a verb that is in passive voice.
Da chi fu scritto quel libro?
By whom was the book written?
Il libro fu scritto da Stephen King.
The book was written by Stephen King.
j) after a noun to describe the value, worth,
price, or cost of something in Italian.
Vogliamo un francobollo da due euro.
We want a 2-euro stamp.
E’ un vestito da poco prezzo.
It is a cheap dress.
k) means “as” in English when “as” is
equivalent to the adverb “when.” It replaces the
adverbial clauses with “when” in English.
Da bambino, era molto piccolo.
As a child(When he was child), he was very small.
Da ragazza non avevo molti giocattoli(toys).
As a girl (When I was a girl), I did not have
many toys.
l) means “since” or “for” in time expressions:
1.) when the verb of the sentence is in the
present tense.
a) may be used to describe an action which began
in the past and is still going on in the
present.
Da quanto tempo Lei studia l’italiano?
How long have been studying Italian
Studio l’italiano da tre anni. / Sono tre anni che
studio l’italiano.
I have been studying Italian for three years.
2.) when the verb of the sentence is in the
imperfect tense.
a) is used to describe an action in the
remote
past. ( In English, it is expressed with the past
perfect or progressive past perfect tenses)
Non mangiava da due giorni
She had not eaten for 2 days.
Stefania era a Los Angeles da cinque mesi.
Stephanie had been in Los Angeles for five
months.

Note: Per is used in time expression rather than

“da,” when “future duration” is implied.
Abitero’ in questa casa per venti anni.
I will live in this house for twenty years.
Last edited by Devery on Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Devery
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Post by Devery » Sat Apr 25, 2009 2:57 am

jade wrote:"Vuoi qualcosa da bere/mangiare?" – vuoi = verb ( tu is subject)
"Non c'e' niente da fare. "– e’ = verb (ci e’ = there is...)
"Ho molte cose da fare oggi." – ho = verb (io is subject)

nulla da fare – who is the subject? Nulla? Which one is the verb? Fare? Fare is an infinitive, right?

Did I miss something?

I don’t really have trouble with da as a preposition, but I have trouble with the missing verb.
There is no subject here. Nulla means nothing (niente--they are synonymous). Fare is the verb and it is an infinitive. But we just can't truncate it and say "nulla fare." It is like saying "nothing (to) do."

I know you have been taught that the Italian infinitive is equivalent to "to + verb." In most cases this is true, but more times than not you will find you have to insert a preposition, either "a", "di", or "da" to properly express that "to (insert a verb)". It depends on what is being said, it depends on what combination of verbs are being used--there are a lot of variables.

See "f" on that list I quoted.

jade
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Post by jade » Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:29 am

Devery, thank you for posting the references and spending time to answer my questions.

However, the structure of a sentence is formed by a subject (noun, pronoun) + a predicate (verb), and sometimes you can add an object (noun) after the predicate. So every sentence has to have at least a subject and a predicate. This is a universal thing for language, any language, Italian is not an exception for this matter.

The (f) in your quoted list, there are two sentences:

Ho tante cose da fare – ho = verb, io = subject
Non c’e niente da mangiare -- e’ = verb, ci = subject (equal to “there is” in English)

Both sentences have subjects and predicates.

So, a “sentence” without a subject and a predicate cannot be called a sentence. In both English and Italian, an infinitive itself cannot be used as a verb in a sentence, an infinitive is an original form of a verb, it can be used as noun, adjective or adverb (following a “to” in English, “a” or “di” or nothing in Italian), but it has to be conjugated or after an auxiliary verb if used as a verb.

I suspect “nulla da fare” really should be “c’era nulla da fare” (from Roby’s translation), and the “c’era” is omitted, but I am not sure. That is the reason I asked here.

Roby
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Post by Roby » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:44 am

The preposition DA is usually introduced by an adjective.

L'italiano e' difficile da imparare.

Here is an explanation.

http://forum.wordreference.com/showthre ... a+infinito

I 'm no able to explain you in english but maybe someone here can translate it for you...I'll try...
"da" sostituisce il senso"che bisogna, che si deve"+infinito, ad esempio:
è una cosa da fare= è una cosa che bisogna fare
è una frase da dire= che si deve dire
è una cosa da mangiare= che si deve mangiare
la storia è da sapere= bisogna saperla
è una lezione da studiare= che bisogna studiare
è una canzone assolutamente da sentire= che bisogna assolutamente ascoltare

..poi here you are some situation that I think you must learn by heart because I'm italian but nobody learned me the rule for this (but if another italian knows it...)

fa venire da vomitare (it sucks)
dammi da bere (give me some drink)
vado a fare da mangiare= i go to cook
mi fai venire da piangere


Nulla da fare .... means nothing can be done.

Per il ragazzo nulla da fare

Subject = il ragazzo
verb = fare

Nothing to do....Nulla/niente da fare


It is like Devery said....

Here is an example of Niente da fare -

Jade: Che cosa possiamo fare degli abitudini a consumare alcolici di Giovanni?
What can we do about John's drinking problem?

Roby: Niente da fare or Non c'e niente da fare
Nothing can be done. / There is nothing to be done

Jade : Che fai?
Roby: Niente!

Niente da fare is one of those understood phrases used in many languages.

In the response Niente! Where is the subject and/or verb? Niether one is there.


However, lets ask one of our native speakers to explain where the subject /verb element is in this phrase.
Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld

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Peter
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Post by Peter » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:13 am

Just a thought, and so may well be way off the mark, but would not the full phrase be non c'è nulla da fare, but the non c'è is assumed. After all (and I accept what Jade is saying), we often do not have a subject/verb/predicate or object in our phrases.

As I say, just a thought. And there you go - just a thought is a good example of a phrase we use that has no subject or verb, the assumption is that what we mean is 'it is (or was) just a thought'

:)

Roby
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Post by Roby » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:22 am

Peter wrote:Just a thought, and so may well be way off the mark, but would not the full phrase be non c'è nulla da fare, but the non c'è is assumed. After all (and I accept what Jade is saying), we often do not have a subject/verb/predicate or object in our phrases.

As I say, just a thought. And there you go - just a thought is a good example of a phrase we use that has no subject or verb, the assumption is that what we mean is 'it is (or was) just a thought'

:)
I agree with you Peter. I understand what Jade is saying also. It is assumed that the subject and verb is understood as I have pointed out in my post and Devery has said in his.
Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld

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