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Ci siamo fatti prendere dall'entusiasmo.

{vs}: Ci siamo lasciati prendere dall'entusiasmo.

In French, I'd use the verb "laisser" (as in: "on s'est laissé emporter par X") to express the idea of "be at the mercy of X" or "X has got the better of someone".

I wonder how these two verbs compare in Italian in this specific context?

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    They can be pretty equivalent. For instance, "farsi prendere dall'ira" means the same as "lasciarsi prendere dall'ira". Without more context is difficult to say if there are differences or not. – Charo Jan 6 '18 at 16:44
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    Your interpretation about the meaning of these constructions is correct. – Charo Jan 6 '18 at 21:57
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They are equivalents but "farsi prendere" is generally associated to a positive mood / thing word, instead "lasciarsi prendere" is generally associated to a negative one.

So basically "entusiasmo" is more often used with "farsi prendere" while "tristezza" (sadness) is more often used with "lasciarsi prendere".

"Farsi prendere" detects also a will to look for the state (you do something that leads you to the mood / things ) while "lasciarsi prendere" it's like "fall in X", so it's like something that happens itself and you follow.

More or less the difference is like between "I'm in love" (farsi prendere) and "I fell in love" (lasciarsi andare all'amore): they both can be translated in italian as "Sono innamorato"

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  • Personally, I'd say that “I'm in love” corresponds to “Sono innamorato” and “I fell in love” corresponds to “Mi sono innamorato”. – DaG Apr 12 '18 at 21:00
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Italian causative verbs (they cause something else to happen) constructions are made up of two parts: the key verb fare or lasciare, followed by an infinitive.

  • lasciare+infinitive (+prep.) has the nuance «non impedire che», «permettere»;
  • fare+infinitive (+prep.) has generally a stronger meaning.

See also Treccani.

From Skytte, La sintassi dell'infinito in italiano moderno,

Sebbene il francese laisser probabilmente dimostri una tendenza più evidente verso la dualità, è applicabile anche all'italiano la caratteristica proposta da Dubois: «Ces deux verbes représentent the transformation factitive, the verbe faire étant la forme positive du factitif (faire que) et laisser la forma négative (not faire que → laisser) ".

Si differenziano [fare e lasciare] tra loro nel seguente modo: fare indica l'inizio del processo (il soggetto partecipa attivamente): fare+inf è verbo perfettivo; lasciare indica invece lo stato (il soggetto partecipa passivamente): lasciare+inf è verbo imperfettivo.

In English:

Although the French laisser probably shows a more evident tendency towards duality, the characteristic proposed by Dubois is also applicable to Italian: «These two verbs represent the factitive transformation, the verb faire being the positive form of the factitive (faire que) and laisser the negative form (non faire que → laisser)»

They differentiate [fare and lasciare] among them in the following way: fare indicates the beginning of the process (the subject participates actively): fare+inf. is a perfective verb; lasciare instead indicates the state (the subject participates passively): lasciare+inf. is imperfective verb.

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    I think the question is not about "lasciare + infinitive" and "fare + infinitive", but about "lasciarsi prendere da" and "farsi prendere da" as in the example of my previous comment. – Charo Jan 6 '18 at 21:54
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    It doesn't change the answer; fare+inf.+prep has a stronger meaning of lasciare+inf.+prep (in some sense, with lasciare we are more passive, with fare we are more active). See for example "lasciarsi condurre a casa" (we just let it happen) and "farsi condurre a casa" (we act so that it happens). – alexjo Jan 6 '18 at 21:58
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    But, when you say, for instance, "farsi prendere dal panico", do you think that something stronger is happening in comparison to "lasciarsi prendere dal panico"? – Charo Jan 6 '18 at 22:22
  • @Charo Not necessarily everytime, but in some sense in "farsi prendere dal panico" we do something (consciously or not) that support the birth of this sensation (and the growth), in "lasciarsi prendere dal panico" we are more passive and we just permit that the panic acts in us. In this sense somebody says that lasciare is not a strict causative verb, because the meaning is to allow, to permit, not to do anything against". See for ex. the difference between: fare piangere; far credere qlco. a qlcu.; far dire qlco. and lasciar piangere; lasciar credere qlco. a qlcu.; lasciar dire qlco. – alexjo Jan 6 '18 at 22:39
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    @alexjo, I agree with your remarks, but in the specific example of farsi/lasciarsi prendere dall'entusiasmo (and the OP says “in this specific context”), with all my goodwill I have to make a big effort to feel a difference. – DaG Jan 7 '18 at 0:11

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