7.3 Reflexive pronouns

The sister of this page is http://www.inglese-online.de. A page for Italian native speakers who want to learn English. In that page we dedicated a whole chapter to the English reflexive pronouns. At first glance the reflexive pronouns seem to be something easy to understand, but when you look at them closer, you will see that there are differences in their use between English and Italian. The English reflexive pronouns are used in three different situations.
Uses of reflexive pronouns in English
  a) as a direct object when the agent of an action and the goal of an action are the same person
  I saw myself in the mirror.
  b) as an indirect object, if that indirect object is the same person as the subject
  I bought a car for myself.
  c) to stress the fact that the subject has realised an action himself
  I wrote the book myself, nobody helped me.

These different uses have a different translation into Italian.

Translations of English reflexive pronouns into Italian
  a) as a direkt object when the agent of an action and the goal of an action are the same person
  I see myself. => Mi vedo.
  b) as an indirect object, if that indirect object is the same person as the subject
preposition + myself => preposition + reflexivpronoun + stesso
  I bought the car for myself. => Ho comprato la macchina per me stesso.
  c) to stress the fact that the subject has realised an action himself
myself = personal pronoun nominative + stesso
  I did it myself => Lo ho fatto io stesso.

That is already enough to see that the reflexive pronouns in English do not correspond really to the reflexive pronouns in Italian. If you follow the link mentioned above, you will see other differences. For the right use of reflexive pronouns in Italian it is crucial to understand that the English pronouns are used in three very different situations and in each situation the translation to Italian is different.





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