3

In one of my compositions I wrote the following sentence:

Alla fine, lo scrittore dell'articolo crede che il ministero della salute e l'Alfa devano informare i consumatori.

My teacher considered "devano" a mistake and corrected it by using the second form "debbano". Why is it a mistake although both forms are found in my grammar books?

presente (Congiuntivo)
io deva, debba
tu deva, debba
lui, lei, Lei, egli deva, debba
noi dobbiamo
voi dobbiate
loro, Loro, essi devano, debbano

  • 3
    As an Italian, it's a rare, old-fashioned form, and I myself had to check whether it was recorded in a dictionary. So, yes, it's technically admissible but nowadays it sounds quite strange. Presumably your teacher aim at teaching you contemporary, usual Italian. – DaG Feb 25 at 19:18
  • 1
    @DaG: Can you write this as an anwser, please? – Charo Feb 25 at 19:53
  • Ok, @Charo, but I'm open to some more complete answers. – DaG Feb 25 at 23:47
5

As an Italian, devano is a rare, old-fashioned form, and I myself had to check whether it was recorded in a dictionary. So, yes, it's technically admissible but nowadays it sounds quite unusual. Presumably, your teacher aims at teaching you contemporary, usual Italian.

As an illustration, here is a graph comparing the occurrences of debbano and devano in Google Books Ngram Viewer corpus from 1800 to 2000:

enter image description here

Source

(Debbano itself appears to be declining: this is possibly due to a general decline in the use of the subjunctive mood in some registers of Italian.)

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.