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Laëtitia sì che è una commerciante in gamba.

How does this phrasing compare to simply saying:

Laëtitia è una commerciante in gamba.

I wonder if "sì che" is added to place an emphasis:

{literally}: Laëtitia (is yes the one! who) is a smart trader.

{more naturally}: Laëtitia sure is a smart trader.

How would you use "sì che" in other examples?

  • Welcome to Italian.SE! – Charo Jan 1 '18 at 15:42
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    Your paraphrase is correct, but moreover there is the sense of an explicit or implicit comparison with someone/something else: she sure is a smart trader, unlike someone else we might or mightn't have mentioned. – DaG Jan 1 '18 at 16:57
  • @Charo Hi. I'm looking for excellent online resources. For instance, do you recommend any particular website that has a comprehensive conjugation table for each and every verb? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jan 2 '18 at 12:35
  • @Alone-zee: I often use WordReference. See also this question. – Charo Jan 2 '18 at 14:01
  • also "Laëtitia is indeed a smart trader." – Riccardo De Contardi Jan 31 '18 at 16:10
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As De Mauro dictionary and Garzanti Linguistica state,

3. con valore enfatico, davvero, proprio: questa sì che mi giunge nuova!, questa sì che è bella!


3. davvero, proprio: questa sì che è bella!; questa sì che è una novità!

this "sì che" has an emphatic value and it's used to say something quite similar to "davvero" or "proprio", which can be translated as "really". In the examples above, one could say

questa è proprio bella! ("that's really a good one!")

or

questa è davvero una novità! ("that's really big news!")

but with the constructions with "sì che" you are giving some more emphasis. Nevertheless, I agree with @Siminore that in the example you has given (and in the one given in his answer in a more explicit way) there is also a sense of implcit comparison.

Another example is given by Sabatini Coletti dictionary:

sì che te l'ho detto

You would use this sentence to insist to someone that you have said something to him or her, someone that maybe don't believe you.

I'll now mention other uses of the contruction "sì che" in contemporary Italian.

One of them is in the construction "e sì che", which is used in colloquial language and in a familiar context. According to Treccani dictionary and De Mauro dictionary it has a meaning similar to "eppure", which can be translated as "and yet", and it's used to express amazement or regret that something happened despite the premises:

Un sign. proprio, più o meno sim. a «eppure», acquista nella locuz. fam. e sì che, con cui, anche nell’uso odierno, si introduce una constatazione: e sì che ti avevo avvertito!; e sì che non sei sordo!


e sì che, eppure, per esprimere stupore o dispiacere che qcs. sia accaduto malgrado le premesse: e sì che sembrava una persona perbene

For instance, if you say "e sì che ti avevo avvertito!" you are regretting or complaining to someone saying something like "and yet I warned you!".

This use is also mentioned in Hoepli dictionary, which explains that other similar expressions in Italian are "e dire che" or "e pensare che":

fam. E sì che, e dire, e pensare che, esprimendo rimpianto o disappunto: e sì che non le avevamo fatto mancare nulla

You can express this example in a very similar way by saying

e dire che non le avevamo fatto mancare nulla

or

e pensare che non le avevamo fatto mancare nulla

if you are regretting that you made that someone lacked for nothing.

Another kind of expressions with "sì che" is the construction "fare che sì che" + subjunctive. According to Treccani dictionary, it has a consecutive value and, as reported by Hoepli dictionary, it has the same meaning as the expression "fare in modo che", which can be translated as "to do in such a way that" or "to make sure that":

Con valore consecutivo è ancora dell’uso vivo in alcune espressioni, spec. dopo il verbo fare: bisogna far sì che tutti restino soddisfatti;


(con il v. al congiunt.) Fare sì che, fare in modo che: fate sì che tutto proceda nel modo stabilito

Some other examples of this use of "sì che" can be found in Sabatini Coletti dictionary

fare sì che, introduce una frase consecutiva-finale: la sua presenza ha fatto sì che si raggiungesse

and De Mauro dictionary

spec. in relazione con fare: far sì che, far sì da, fare in modo che: devi far sì che tutto si risolva

For instance,

devi far sì che tutto si risolva

is the same as

devi fare in modo che tutto si risolva

and means "you have to make sure everything is resolved" or "you have to do in such a way that everything is resolved".

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In Italian we use "sì che" to understand a comparison. In your example, I can imagine that somebody else is considered to be an "ordinary" dealer, while Laetitia "sì che" is a good dealer!

We can say: "Giovanni gioca bene a basket, ma Paolo sì che è un giocatore eccezionale". To summarize, "sì che" is not equivalent to "surely". To my ear, it sounds like "is indeed, on the contrary".

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    Hi. So can the sentence mean "she is smarter than us average citizens/dealers"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jan 1 '18 at 15:40
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    Welcome to Italian.SE! – Charo Jan 1 '18 at 15:41
  • That sounds too broad. The comparison might be with a particular person that is already involved in the dialog. – Siminore Jan 1 '18 at 15:42
  • I think this is a very good answer. Just @alOne-zee example "she is smarter than us average citizens/dealers" doesn't sound too broad to me; my answer to his/her question in the comment would have been yes. But as often is the case, probably there may be contexts where that's actually too broad, for example if person(s) with whom Laëtitia is being compared had been mentioned. – SantiBailors Feb 9 '18 at 15:11
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The best translation is the following:

Laëtitia is definitely a smart trader.

Sì che is used to say that something is definitely true and it's put right before the verb.

I hope it helps.

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