I want to say in Italian:

I've been awake for 5 days.

My attempt:

Sono cinque giorni che sono sveglio.

Is this translation correct?

Thank you.

  • 4
    I'd say Non dormo da cinque giorni.
    – egreg
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 21:35

3 Answers 3

  1. "Sono sveglio da cinque giorni" is the best one and most neutral one.

  2. "Sono cinque giorni che sono sveglio" it's emphatic and more colloquial. It's emphatic because you move "cinque giorni" from its standard position in the sentence to another position.

  3. "È cinque giorni che sono sveglio" it's even more colloquial and, I believe, grammatically wrong, if writtten in a formal text. You can say it in informal oral speech. This sentence, too, emphasizes the "5 days" period.

Why are the sentences number 2 and 3 more emphatic? That is because in the Italian language the normal and non-emphatic order of words is subject-verb-object. If you move one part (if it is possibile to do so) the emphasis changes. For example:

"La mamma ha comprato il pane" (subject-verb-object).

"Il pane ha comprato la mamma!" (Object-verb-subject --> emphasis on the object). In oral speech you will pronounce "il pane" with a higher tone of voice. You want to emphasize that the mother bought the bread and NOT something else, like milk or juice.

"La mamma il pane ha comprato!" same as the previous one.

"il pane l'ha comprato la mamma" emphasis on the fact that the mother bought the bread, and not someone else.

Sorry, this might not be directly related to your question, but I wanted to emphasize that the choice you proposed was emphatic and I also wanted to explain why.

  • I would also like to add that to me "sono rimasto sveglio per 5 giorni", as other people said below, it's not correct. If I heard that sentence, I would think it refers to a past action that is now over. Like: "Sono rimasto sveglio per 5 giorni e poi mi sono finalmente addormentato" "I HAD been awake for 5 days, then I finally managed to fall asleep"
    – AltGei
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 16:25
  • 2
    As a Lombard living in Tuscany, Il pane ha comprato la mamma and la mamma il pane ha comprato sound very odd. I can imagine that in Southern Italy someone might use these expressions, but I wouldn't use them, and I don't hear people using them here. If anything, il pane **l'**ha comprato la mamma. Commented Nov 28, 2015 at 11:54

A me sembra che la risposta più giusta sia nel commento di egreg: non ho mai sentito dire - né nella realtà, né in un film o in una commedia - "Sono sveglio da .. giorni", ma sempre: "Non dormo da ... giorni".

Questo non rende le altre versioni sbagliate. Semplicemente - credo - non molto usate generalmente nel nostro Paese.


“Sono cinque giorni che sono sveglio” è una traduzione particolarmente enfatica, ma è corretta. Un'alternativa priva della predetta enfasi è “Sono rimasto† sveglio per cinque giorni”.

†'rimasto' può essere sostituito da 'stato' senza apprezzabile variazione di significato.


“Sono cinque giorni che sono sveglio” is correct, albeit it carries out a particular emphasis.

If you don't want that emphasis, you could say “Sono rimasto† sveglio per cinque giorni”.

†'rimasto' can be replaced with 'stato' without any change in meaning.

  • 1
    Can we say : Sono sveglio da cinque giorni.
    – keramus
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 0:17
  • 1
    Yes, you can, the only problem is whether you still survive after 5 days. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 0:19
  • 1
    I don't think "Sono cinque giorni che sono sveglio" is intrinsically particularily emphatic as you're describing it. It's just what it is (and, note for the OP, that would be "It's five days that I'm awake." if translated literally).
    – kos
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 0:28
  • 1
    So according to what you said, my first translation is correct, right?
    – keramus
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 0:30
  • 2
    Agree with @MauroVanetti . I've also often heard sono N notti che non dormo, to emphasize the lack of sleep.
    – LSerni
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 17:21

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