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lei vs Lei

Italian translation: Capital letters

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07:21 Nov 10, 2004
Italian to Italian translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
Italian term or phrase: lei vs Lei
Dear Sirs,

I'd like to ask for your advise concerning the use of Italisan pronouns lei, suo, sua, suoi, sue, when they refer to a formal 'you' (like 'usted' in Spanish) should they be given in capital letters or not. I know there are a lot of opinions. I'd like to get some kind of an expert's advise. I've been told the capital letters are mostly used in business correspondence and it's a bit archaical for a common speech. And some of my collegues say it's essencial to follow the rules anyway. However, what would you recommend to use in a General Phrasebook for English-speaking persons. Should it be given in capitals since it's a kind of a learning tool also, so the people should get accustomed to gramatically correct spelling or it's not so important in Italian.
I'd appreciate your suggestions. Thank you very much in advance.
Alena Fedorova
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:40
Italian translation:Capital letters
Explanation:
There is a simple reason behind the use of capital letters for Lei, Suo, Sua and so on: it is a way to tell them from 3rd person pronouns and adjectives lei, suo, sua... (she, his, her...). Capital letters should even be used within composite words like inviarLe (send to you), chiamarLa (call you) and so on. It is a point that most people tend to forget it using lower cases, but I think there is no reason to contribute to bad grammatical habits :)
Selected response from:

Arturo Mannino
Spain
Local time: 05:40
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone.
2 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +11Capital letters
Arturo Mannino
5lettera minuscola
Mariella Bonelli
4Lei / leiFortiter


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


14 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +11
lei vs lei
Capital letters


Explanation:
There is a simple reason behind the use of capital letters for Lei, Suo, Sua and so on: it is a way to tell them from 3rd person pronouns and adjectives lei, suo, sua... (she, his, her...). Capital letters should even be used within composite words like inviarLe (send to you), chiamarLa (call you) and so on. It is a point that most people tend to forget it using lower cases, but I think there is no reason to contribute to bad grammatical habits :)

Arturo Mannino
Spain
Local time: 05:40
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian
PRO pts in category: 2
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Laura Lucardini
13 mins

agree  fgb: 100%
40 mins

agree  Krisztina Lelik
47 mins

agree  MGLSolutions
1 hr

agree  EmMo
1 hr
  -> Credo che tu abbia ragione. Comunque non credo che si tratti di una consuetudine commerciale: ho insegnato italiano a stranieri durante 20 anni in Italia, Germania e Spagna e tutti i libri di testo riportavano la forma di cortesia con maiuscola.

neutral  Mariella Bonelli: Scusami se insisto, ma strano allora che il Devoto scriva minuscola anche la forma di cortesia. Non sarà che si tratta di una consuetudine commerciale? Non ho mai trovato in un libro ad es."Mi scusi, vorrei parlarLe".
1 hr
  -> Never is a very big word. And yes, I think it is a matter of grammar, assuming that orthography is part of the grammary

agree  kpi
1 hr

agree  Valentina Viali
1 hr

agree  Antonella Andreella: la domanda dovrebbe essere it>it
2 hrs

agree  dieter haake: OK - cambiato
4 hrs

agree  Simo Blom
5 hrs

agree  Marmar123
1 day5 hrs
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
lettera minuscola


Explanation:
Nel contesto di cui parli tu, ho trovato conferma sia sul dizionario italiano Devoto, sia sullo Zingarelli, che la forma di cortesia si scrive **minuscola**. Il Devoto riporta "Dare del lei a qualcuno", lo Zingarelli ad esempio "Entri pure, lei è attesa".
La forma maiuscola che sostengono i colleghi si usa esclusivamente nella corrispondenza commerciale e qui potrai trovare innumerevoli esempi. Anche in questo caso, però, non è "obbligatoria", bensì "consigliata". Sempre più si trovano lettere che non la utilizzano (vedere ad esempio tutta la corrispondenza Telecom, destinata a milioni di italiani) e la scelta è personale e NON costituisce affatto un errore grammaticale.

Mariella Bonelli
Local time: 05:40
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Italian
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10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Lei / lei


Explanation:
Capital letter is used in business correspondance also for its derivates ("In riferimento alla Sua, ci pregiamo informarLa che Lei ha vinto 1,000 Euro"), which is much appreciated as a way of being polite and well-educated. It is not archaic in that context. It is also used for Italian phrasebooks not just as a way of marking the right grammar use but also as a proper custom for that other context. So, except those two situations (and reports of very formal speeches, lectures, addressing by/to clergy and various authorities), "lei" is to be written normally (no capital letter).

Fortiter
Local time: 05:40
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian
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