I have read the following sentence in an Italian learning tool:

Si guadagna da vivere suonando il violino. (= He/she earns a living playing violin)

Is "guadagnarsi da vivere" the only correct/usual form of that expression or could I say "guadagnare da vivere" too?

  • In my opinion the correct form is Si guadagna da vivere ; where "Si" means "for himself/herself"; I think you can just use "Guadagna da vivere" only in spoken language. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 14:26
  • @RiccardoDeContardi: Ricercando "guadagna da vivere" -"si guadagna da vivere" su Google Libri si trovano parecchi esempi di "guadagna da vivere" senza "si".
    – Charo
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:08
  • google.com/…
    – Charo
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:10
  • Ci sono anche false occorrenze, però.
    – Charo
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


Treccani.it suggerisce entrambe le versioni:

guadagnare o guadagnarsi la vita (o da vivere), il pane, ossia il denaro necessario ai bisogni della vita;

  • I also want to know if both expressions are usual. Could you please add that to your answer? Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 2:08
  • 4
    @Alan Evangelista - in my personal experience the reflexive form is more common, but I cannot support that with data. It is just my personal opinion.
    – user519
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 6:10
  • 1
    @AlanEvangelista: A way to see that the form with "guadagnarsi" seems to be more common is searching "guadagna da vivere" in Google Books: practically all the occurences you find are of "si guadagna da vivere". To find "guadagna da vivere" without "si" you have to search "guadagna da vivere" -"si guadagna da vivere" (see the link on a previous comment) and even then you will find some false occurrences corresponding to "si guadagna da vivere".
    – Charo
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 8:17

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