Mi è toccata una bella fortuna. --- {I've had great good fortune.}

I assume that what we see here is the construction "toccare a qualcuno" (and not a reflexive construction).

So I wonder why it is not correct to use the auxiliary "avere" instead and say:

Mi ha toccato una bella fortuna.

1 Answer 1


The verb toccare may be transitive or intransitive with different meanings.

As intransitive verb with the auxiliary verb essere in the OP has the meaning to happen

  • mi è toccata una bella fortuna!
  • I've had great good fortune! I had a piece of good luck!

As transitive verb with the auxiliary verb avere in the OP has the meaning to touch

  • mi ha toccato (una bel)la fortuna! (we say simply la fortuna)
  • a good luck touched me!
  • Hi. So why do you need to use "essere" here? Is it because this "toccare" is an intransitive verb? Also, I wonder why the feminine "toccata" is used here instead of "toccato"? Jan 6, 2018 at 20:37
  • 1
    In the first sentence, toccare is intransitive, so we need essere. The construction is una bella fortuna è toccata a me (toccata must have concordance with fortuna).
    – alexjo
    Jan 6, 2018 at 20:42
  • Oh, I see. I didn't know that the simple fact that a verb is intransitive necessitates the use of the auxiliary "essere". Which is different from how it works in French. Interesting. So with the construction "Mi è toccata una bella fortuna", does the speaker emphasise "fortuna"? Whereas, with "Una bella fortuna è toccata a me", is "me" emphasised? Jan 6, 2018 at 20:55
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    Exactly. But we generally use the first emphatic sentence mi è toccata una bella fortuna!. The second is used with some additional context; for example: questa volta, una bella fortuna è toccata a me!
    – alexjo
    Jan 6, 2018 at 20:59
  • 1
    @Alone-zee: No, the fact that a verb is intransitive does not necessitate the use of essere as the auxiliary. Many intransitive verbs use avere as the auxiliary. In this particular situation the intransitive usage leads to essere as the auxiliary because toccare happens to be a verb that takes essere when it is used intransitively.
    – Gallego
    Jan 6, 2018 at 23:24

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