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The Italian-English dictionaries undoubtedly translate al riguardo di as "about (smth.)", "regarding smth." (for example, here and here). A short search on Google brings more than 1 mln. cases with the same meaning.
However, the Treccani dictionary gives only one example of usage for a/al riguardo:

a riguardo di, al riguardo di, in paragone di, rispetto a: la luna è molto piccola a riguardo della terra

The same description and examples are given in Voci e maniere di dire italiane additate a'futuri vocabolaristi by Giovanni Gheradini (p.507):

A riguardo di o Al riguardo di. Si usa col valore A paragone di, a proporzione di.

On the other hand, Dizionario fondamentale della lingua italiana by Giacomo Devoto and Gian Carlo Oli says:

A riguardo di, in riguardo di, nei riguardi di, loc. prep. con il valore di 'per quel che concerne' [...], oppure di 'a paragone di' [...].
(no mention of al riguardo at all)

This discussion shows that if you ask five different people, you'll hear six different opinions. Though, at the end of the day, they seem to agree that al riguardo is equivalent to a tale riguardo and means "a questo proposito", while a riguardo di keeps the meaning "in paragone di, rispetto a."

TL;DR There are contradictory entries in several dictionaries. Thus, I'm looking for an authoritative opinion on:

  • whether both a riguardo di and al riguardo di still have the same meaning of "in comparison with", and/or
  • whether the meaning of one or both of these phrases has changed over years (when? how?), so that a riguardo di is now out of use, while al riguardo di attained the meaning "with regard to."

Could anybody help me to clarify it? Confirm any of these claims, have some evidence, grammar rules, something to rely on?

  • 1
    FWIW, the Treccani's example does not feel right at all, probably it's an older usage of the expression, today you'd say "rispetto a". – Matteo Italia Nov 15 '13 at 16:24
  • @Matteo +1 I'd also expect someone to say that the meaning of both expressions has changed during the XX century. – I.M. Nov 15 '13 at 16:29
  • I have read the question more and more times, but I still don't understand what the question is, thus I decided voting to close as unclear what you are asking. – Kyriakos Kyritsis Nov 15 '13 at 21:49
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a riguardo di, al riguardo di, in paragone di, rispetto a: la luna è molto piccola a riguardo della terra

This is quite old fashioned, I had to think a bit to understand the sense.

"A riguardo di" can be replaced "a confronto di", but also this expression is not very used and now we prefer to say "confrontato con" or "paragonato a". But "a riguardo di" sounds really form XIX century.

A riguardo di, in riguardo di, nei riguardi di, loc. prep. con il valore di 'per quel che concerne' [...], oppure di 'a paragone di' [...].

Used as preposition "a riguardo di" is also quite an old way to say. Normally you can just use "riguardo" like just "regarding" in English.

So my suggestion is that, when you are translating an Italian text, if you can replace riguardo with proposito (a proposito di) then you can use "about smth" or "regarding smth" without problems, otherwise you are in the Treccani case.

A riguardo della tua domanda […].

A proposito della tua domanda […].

Regarding your question […].

but

La tua domanda a riguardo della mia ha molte più risposte […].

La tua domanda a proposito della mia ha molte più risposte […].

In this case the sense of the sentence changes, so in English it will become something like:

Your questions compared with the mine has much more answers […].

| improve this answer | |
  • There is no question on how to use riguardo a (Treccani also has this expression--and has it right, if you haven't seen). So, you'd say that a riguardo and al riguardo are identical and both have two meanings: "regarding" and "in comparison," correct? Any sources, confirming this point of view? – I.M. Nov 15 '13 at 18:16

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