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Giulietta: «Quale devo dare?»

a) Romeo: «Dà questa».

b) Romeo: «Da' questa».

Which one is grammatical, a) or b)?

As far as I can tell in "Da' questa" "Da'" is different from "Dà" because it is the contracted form of "Dai". Am I right?

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Yes, you are right. With clearer subjects:

  • is the third singular person of the indicative mood.

“Giulietta dà questa”

  • da' is the second singular person of the imperative mood.

“[Giulietta,] da' questa!”

The second form is correct.

To disambiguate, since “[Giulietta] dà questa a lui” can be a valid sentence with a different meaning and we might not have the context of the conversation, and since apostrophes and accents are (sadly) often confused, using an exclamation mark for the imperative modes might help.

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    The third singular person for the modo imperativo is dia (Dia la pistola al carabiniere.), not . – kiamlaluno Nov 6 '13 at 21:15
  • @kiamlaluno, does "Dia la pistola al carabiniere" imply that one should give the "lei" to the ladro? As far as I know, people don't give the "lei" to ladri, this is why I ask. – Kyriakos Kyritsis Nov 6 '13 at 21:57
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    Yes, “dia” in “Dia la pistola al carabiniere” is a “lei” form, but we may assume we are very formal with criminals too, or perhaps we are talking to a gunsmith. Or we may concoct a scenario in which A found a gun, B asks C what A should do with it, and C answers “Dia la pistola al carabiniere”, i.e., “Let him give the gun to the carabiniere”. – DaG Nov 6 '13 at 22:10
  • @kiamlaluno: dia is imperative if you are using "lei", but otherwise is an exhortative use of the subjunctive (e.g. Si dia la pistola al carabiniere). The present imperative, 2nd singular person of dare is da'. – nico Nov 7 '13 at 18:43
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    I was referring to "since “[Giulietta] dà questa a lui” can be a valid sentence with a different meaning […]" which is true only if the accent is confused with the apostrophe; otherwise, that sentence has just a meaning. If somebody doesn't notice the "since apostrophes and accents are (sadly) often confused" part, it would seem that dà questa a lui can have two meanings. Mine was a note for future readers, rather than for you. – kiamlaluno Nov 7 '13 at 20:08
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Da' is the short form for dai, and it is used only in Tuscan, or literary.
Dai is the second singular person for the modo indicativo, tempo presente and the modo imperativo (or jussive mood); is the third singular person for the modo indicativo, tempo presente. The accent is required to avoid confusion with da, the preposition.

Reference

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