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Is there any difference between "riposare" and "riposarsi" when they mean "to take a break" ? Example:

  • We work during the day and we rest/take a break at night.
  • Lavoriamo di giorno e (ci) riposiamo di notte.
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    The form with “ci” is more colloquial. – egreg Aug 20 '19 at 17:13
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In your sentence, both are synonyms, but, according to Treccani dictionary the version with pronoun is more commonly used:

Cessare, smettere momentaneamente un’attività, e quindi sostare, prendere tregua per sollievo e ristoro fisico e psichico: gli altri dì non credere che noi riposiamo (Boccaccio); più comunem., con la particella pron., riposarsi: Quante ’l villan ch’al poggio si riposa, ... Vede lucciole giù per la vallea ... (Dante); riposarsi da un lavoro, da un viaggio; riposarsi un istante, un’ora; dopo cena mi riposo un po’ e poi mi rimetto a studiare;

Treccani dictionary states that the version without the pronoun is usually used when when you want to indicate that the rest is prolonged for a certain time, in sleep or lying down:

La forma senza la particella pron. s’incontra di preferenza quando si vuole indicare che il riposo si prolunga per un certo tempo, nel sonno o comunque stando distesi: sta riposando sul divano, sulla poltrona, sul prato;

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Riposarsi is a reflexive verb.

The reflexive verbs are used when the subject is also the object of the action.

Mi lavo = I wash myself

Si veste = She dresses herself

You can say that a verb is reflexive if you see a reflexive pronoun (mi, ti, ci, vi, si)

When you use imperative or indefinite (infinitive, participle, gerund) you must attach the reflexive pronoum as suffix:

Lavati = lava + ti = go wash yourself (imperative)

Vai a lavarti i denti = lavare + ti = go brush your teeth (infinitive)

Since the action of “resting” cannot be applied to any other individual, you may use “riposare” and “riposarsi” with the same meaning.

Source: I’m italian.

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  • Benvenuto su Italian.SE! – Charo Aug 21 '19 at 12:22
  • Isn't "riposarsi" a pronominal verb? There is no reflexive action in it. – Alan Evangelista Aug 21 '19 at 14:54
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    @AlanEvangelista It's kind of an annoying choice of terminology but in Italian pronominal verbs are more commonly known as reflexive verbs (as we were bemoaning on another question, really they should be called verbs in the mediopassive voice, but that ship has sailed centuries ago). – Denis Nardin Aug 21 '19 at 15:31
  • @Denis Nardin That is confusing indeed. Thanks for making it clear. – Alan Evangelista Aug 21 '19 at 15:41

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