Given the sentence

Ti comprerò una bicicletta nuova purché tu la finisca di chiedermela.

what does "la" in "la finisca di chiedermela" refers to and is it mandatory, can we say

Ti comprerò una bicicletta nuova purché tu finisca di chiedermela.

and does it have exactly the same meaning?

  • Finirla is still another example of a “verbo pronominale”, which I mentioned in my answer here.
    – DaG
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 8:36

2 Answers 2


In this circumstance, "la" is an indeterminate pronoun and it implicitly refers to something negative.

Both those sentences are grammatically correct, but I would argue that they have slightly different meanings.

  • finirla = "Troncare, far cessare, smettere", "a proposito di liti, contrasti, questioni noiose e sim." (Treccani, definition e.). You may specify di + <infinito> but it can also stand alone. This sounds like actively putting an end to a negative action to me.
  • finire di + <infinito> = "Giungere al termine di" (definition d.). This sounds more neutral to me, as if it's reaching the natural end of an action.

A personal note - both sentences are rather odd: of course someone would stop asking for something once they receive it; so the conditional clause, as it stands, is meaningless. It would make more sense if it were Ti comprerò una bicicletta nuova purché tu la finisca di importunarmi.

  • I wouldn't say that “"la" is an indeterminate pronoun and it implicitly refers to something negative”. It's the pronominal verb finirla that, as you correctly say, is used about quarrels, requests and so on, but la doesn't have here a specific function as a pronoun referring to something.
    – DaG
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 9:14
  • The Treccani reference I linked says "finirla, con il pron. la indeterminato".
    – Andrea M
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 9:18
  • Exactly, Andrea, indeterminato, that is, it doesn't refer to anything in particular. It's just how pronominal verbs work in Italian. Just think about piantarla: “Piantala e vieni qui”. Would you say that “-la” refers to something?
    – DaG
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 13:34
  • That's why I specified with "implicitly". And IMO "-la" in "piantala" has the exact same role. I hypothesise that originally, these "la" were explicitly referring to something negative: "finisci questa <cosa sgradevole>" > "finiscila". But that's just my uneducated opinion.
    – Andrea M
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 14:09
  • I agree that, in some remote etymological time, pronouns such as -la in these verbs referred to something, but in present-day Italian they simply don't. Just think about a sentence such as piantala di dire fesserie: how would we make it explicit? what should be “planted”? Or, as in your example: finiscila di piangere = * finisci questa cosa di piangere? Those are verbi pronominali and the vestigial pronoun is just this.
    – DaG
    Commented Apr 8, 2022 at 15:22

The sentences have the same meaning but the first one sounds better. In this case "la" does not refer to a noun and is not mandatory. With "la finisca" and in general "finirla" you ask to end something annoying that has been going on for a long time (for example in this one what is probably a child has bored an adult for a long time so that he bought them a bike). With "finirla" you highlight the fact that the person has bored you and therefore the request is more imperative. Another example:

Vuoi finirla di annoiarmi?

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