I came across this piece of lyrics from a song called "Laura non c'è", and could not decipher it:

Non vorrei che tu fossi un'emergenza

Ma tra bene ed amore c'è

Solo Laura e la mia coscienza

The lyrics may be inaccurate, but I am not sure what c'è in the second line is doing. Could it be correct? If so, what is it referring to?

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    Welcome on ItalianSE! – abarisone Nov 13 at 10:57
  • The second and the third line are linked together and it works if you read them as an unique sentence. – abarisone Nov 13 at 10:59

The second and the third line should be read together in sequence:

Ma tra bene ed amore c'è solo Laura e la mia coscienza

(But between good and love there is only Laura and my conscience)

So c’è refers to Laura which stands (along with my conscience) between good and love, even though, as correctly pointed out by @DaG, the correct form would be ci sono.

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    I believe the OP's perplexity comes from the fact that it should be “ci sono solo Laura e la mia coscienza”; I'd call it a case of “poetic” licence. – DaG Nov 13 at 11:39
  • Thanks! One question out of interest, though -- Would it make as much sense if it were "ma tra bene ed amore c'è solo i ricordi/gli amici e la mia coscienza"? (Or, would it feel as coherent) – Rethliopuks Nov 13 at 15:25
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    @Rethliopuks In that case it should be ci sono solo i ricordi because ricordi is plural and the singular becomes too strained even for poetic license (at least in my opinion) – Denis Nardin Nov 13 at 15:34
  • @DenisNardin Thanks! One more question, would it feel ok if it were "ma tra bene ed amore c'è solo la mia coscienza ed i ricordi"? – Rethliopuks Nov 13 at 15:41
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    @Rethliopuks It would feel as ok as the original sentence. That is to say, it is grammatically wrong but you can mask it a bit with the rhythm of the sentence. – Denis Nardin Nov 13 at 15:45

Actually I've found another – slightly different – lyrics for the same song here: http://www.angolotesti.it/A/testi_canzoni_antonio_mungari_64702/testo_canzone_laura_non_ce_1111998.html.

In this version, which by the way is what I understood by listening/meaning, the sentence is:

Solo Laura è la mia coscienza

This would mean that this sentence is unlinked to the previous one, and with this logic "c'è" is perfectly correct. "C'è" can be translated with "there is" with the implied meaning of "there is something". You can consider it as a figure of speech, the implied "something" can (and should) remain untold because love is a very personal thing, therefore there isn't a specific something for everyone, but without any doubt there is something between love and affection.

Ma tra bene ed amore qualcosa c'è

But between good and love there is something

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    Welcome to Italian.SE! – Charo Nov 15 at 15:05
  • This makes sense too! Thanks! Unfortuately we might not really know without someone asking Nek himself ;) – Rethliopuks Dec 2 at 15:14

This song is probably not the best example if you're looking for something grammatically accurate: quoting DaG, I'd consider this "c'è" instead of "ci sono" a "poetic license". A few lines after you can also read "è strano che al suo posto ci sei te" instead of ci sia tu. I wouldn't try to give a particular reason to these sentences other than having the desired number of syllables and rhymes.

  • I understand perfectly that popular songs need not follow the same grammatical rules as prescribed standard Italian. I was just a bit mystified as to what the rule here could possibly be. The te for tu I found in a book about vernacular Italian syntax is colloquial phenomenon, and object case for subject case isn't that rare or unreasonable after all. Substituting indicative for subjunctive is very common across languages, and even just in English, current standards, we see AmE we ask that it be vs BrE we ask that it is/was. – Rethliopuks Dec 2 at 15:00

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