I have recently heard:

Cosa prova per lei?

Could I say instead "Cosa sente per lei?" ? Is there any difference of meaning between the two verbs in this context? Word Reference dictionary (https://www.wordreference.com/iten/sentire) says that "sentire" can be used not only to physical sensations, but also to emotions (e.g., "Ho sentito una forte gioia nel vederla").

1 Answer 1


In this context the two verbs are synonyms, but "provare" is somewhat more common (according to several Google Ngram experiments I've just run. Here is one).

Some tests might be inconclusive, because "sentire" also means "to hear" and "provare" also means "to prove". Perversely, as you probably know, in Italian the formal, polite form of address is in the third person (you don't ask "what do you hear?" but "what does he hear?"). So if I search "Cosa sente" vs "Cosa prova", this also finds "What do you hear without hearing aids?" and "What does this demonstrate?". This effect is probably small since the familiar form with the second person finds similar results.

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