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Consider muoviti, che è tardi and muoviti, perché è tardi. Which one is preferred? Why?

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First of all, ché, not che, is the shortened form of perché. So, you could use any of them because they are literally the same thing.
Grammatica Italiana di Serianni reads as follows:

Nell'italiano di registro colloquiale antico e moderno, ma con larghissime attestazioni anche letterarie, si ricorre spesso a ché per collegare una dipendente a una subordinata <...> Abbastanza spesso si istituisce tra le due proposizioni un evidente rapporto causale: copritevi, ché fa freddo...

I should note that, although Modern Italian Grammar (p.279) defines ché "rather old-fashioned but still used in the written texts," it's actually quite common.

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  • 2
    Actually perché is a compound of per + che; I suspect that the accented form is a retroformation. – egreg Nov 22 '13 at 18:43
  • @egreg Sure, perché is a compound; any etymological dictionary confirms that. But modern Italian dictionaries in the entry for ché usually say "aferesi di perché", probably to distinguish between che and ché – I.M. Nov 24 '13 at 9:24
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As Lo Zingarelli 2013 says, che is used to introduce different kind of subordinate clauses. In particular, it introduces a causal clause when the verb is using the indicative or the subjunctive mood.

Vai a dormire che è tardi.

Andiamo, che è tardi.

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In those sentences, I would use che, not perché.

At the same time, in the following sentences I would not replace perché with che, even though perché introduces a causal clause with the verb in the indicative or subjunctive mood too.

Non l'ho comprato perché non mi piaceva.

Non sono venuto perché s'era fatto tardi.

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  • Can you add a reference for the image? – egreg Nov 22 '13 at 18:44
  • Oh, that is Lo Zingarelli 2013; I am trying to find an online version. – kiamlaluno Nov 22 '13 at 18:47
  • @kiamlaluno Does Lo Zingarelli have an entry for ché as well? Because the dictionary at Sapere.it, based on Garzanti, gives the very same example copriti ché fa freddo and copriti che fa freddo – I.M. Nov 24 '13 at 9:31
  • @I.M. Lo Zingarelli Minore (ed. Terzo millennio, 2001) does have an entry for ché: “ché cong. Perché. (V. nota d’uso ACCENTO)” – törzsmókus Dec 29 '14 at 10:37
  • The note of use ACCENTO explicitly contrasts “ché (= perché, cong.)” with “che (pron. rel. o cong.)” – törzsmókus Dec 29 '14 at 10:39

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