Last time when renting a car in Italy and using GPS in Italian I would constantly hear "Abbandonare la rotatoria alla prima/seconda/terza uscita".

Now I'm wondering why is abbandonare used in infinitive form here? Why not in second person indicative (abbandona)? Is there an auxiliary verb (like dovere) used implicitly here? So that it is actually "Devi abbandonare la rotatoria[...]" but devi is just not said for clarity?

  • 2
    Rather than “devi abbandonare” the sense is “si consiglia di abbandonare la rotatoria”. It is just a set of instructions about the correct direction that you are adviced to follow.
    – user519
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 9:25
  • 2
    Welcome to ItalianSE!
    – abarisone
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 9:28
  • @Gio Thank you! That's sort of how I understood it. But I was thinking if there is a rule or usage pattern of dropping some initial parts of a sentence like this? In my mother tongue (polish) the phrase like this (using infinitive form) wouldn't be correct/understandable.
    – Tad Vogatt
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 9:36
  • 1
    Related question (duplicate?).
    – Charo
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


In this article about the infinitive form you can read about its various usages in Italian.

If you look at point c) you can read

c) Per dare istruzioni di tipo tecnico: (in order to give technical instructions)

Mettere il burro nella terrina e mescolare con cura.

In this case you are giving the instruction to follow in order to perform a recipe.

Also in case d), from the same source, you can read another context of use:

d) Negli ordini espressi in forma generica: (when giving orders in a generic form)

fare attenzione, tenere la destra, rallentare
Circolare! Circolare.

Also in this similar article (thanks to @TadVogatt) you can read about the usage of the infinitive form in Italian.

In particular:

The infinitive can also serve as the equivalent of an instruction, in cooking for example:

Cuocere per tre ore. Cook for three hours.
Tenere a bagno per 30 minuti. Soak for 30 minutes.
Lavare e asciugare l'insalata. Wash and dry the lettuce.

  • Thank you. That's what I was looking for. Also a similar article in English thoughtco.com/italian-infinitive-2011701 that describes it, in case someone doesn't yet understand enough Italian.
    – Tad Vogatt
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 9:44
  • Thank you, I'll add to my answer to give it more relevance.
    – abarisone
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 9:48

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