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Even in the most peaceful of regions, something happens."

one indefinite, unspecified region, the most peaceful one imaginable out of all regions

To express the idea of "something being the case even in the most extreme circumstances", in English you usually use the construction "the most + peaceful(singular) + of + regions(plural)".

Now I wonder how you idiomatically say this in Italian. Should both "terre" and "pacifiche" be in the plural? Or is it more common to use some other singular-plural combination?

Anche nelle terre più pacifiche, ...

  • The question of which part to be expressed in the singular or in the plural varies from language to language. In French and Spanish: "Même dans les régions les plus paisibles, ..." and "Incluso en las tierras más tranquilas, ...", both being in the plural. In German: "Selbst im Ruhigsten aller Länder, ...", with the singular and the plural being mixed. In russian: "Даже в самом мирном краю ...", both being in the singular. I based my assumptions about the equivalent expression in Italian on its generally close similarity to French. But nothing concrete beyond that. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jun 8 '18 at 4:31
  • You can also say "Incluso en la región más tranquila" in Spanish. And also "Incluso en la más pacífica de la regiones". – Charo Jun 8 '18 at 7:58
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Either expressions can be used in Italian as well, with slightly different nuances indeed. Since italian adjectives change in accordance to the noun they refer to, "peaceful" has to do that too. Those two expressions mean respectively

anche nella regione più pacifica, ...

or

anche nelle regioni più pacifiche, ...

Furthermore, "terre" is a more direct translation of the word "lands" (and "terra" for the singular "land") rather than the word "regions".

EDIT: As DaG pointed out in the comments, you can also say

anche nella più pacifica delle regioni, ...

which has the adjective not to follow the traits of the noun it refers to

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  • Interesting. So if you have a certain specific place "a region like this/here" in mind, is it better to opt for the singular "anche nella regione più pacifica"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jun 8 '18 at 4:44
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    I don't agree that “anche nella regione più pacifica” suggests that I know which region that is. I might well say “Anche nella regione più pacifica, se a uno pesti un piede si arrabbia” in a general way, just to imply that even worse happens in normal, non-peaceful regions. – DaG Jun 8 '18 at 8:00
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    “No, you can't by any means”: What are you referring to, brainplot? Of course, you may say “anche nella più pacifica delle regioni”, which is an exact rendering of “even in the most peaceful of regions” and I'd say that it sounds more idiomatic than the other phrasings. – DaG Jun 8 '18 at 8:04
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    I don't think that "anche nella regione più pacifica" necessarily implies that you know that region. It implies that you are assuming that there exists one region (only one) which is the most peaceful of all. – Charo Jun 8 '18 at 8:09
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    I think you may also use "persino", "perfino" or "addirittura" instead of "anche". The problem is that it's difficult to give a translation without a context. – Charo Jun 8 '18 at 8:16
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In this regard, Italian matches English quite closely.

You may say either

Persino nella regione più pacifica...

or

Persino nella più pacifica delle regioni...

and personally I'd find the latter more idiomatic. Both, generally, refer to a hypothetical extreme situation (region, person...), and only incidentally they (either) may refer to a specific instance the speaker has in mind. Compare this with some quite frequent beginning for sentences, like Anche il più coraggioso degli uomini... (“Even the most courageous of men...”) or Persino nella migliore delle ipotesi... (“Even in the best-case scenario...”). In all cases you are envisaging some unspecified extremal situation to make some point.

Notice that in Italian there is always an agreement between a noun and the adjectives referring to it. In our first case, of course pacifica agrees with regione; in the second one, pacifica is singular even though regioni is plural because it implies a singular noun or pronoun (something like la più pacifica regione delle regioni, which however is not how you would actually phrase it).

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  • Not all English speakers are aware of this distinction, but the phrasing "even in the most peaceful region" refers to one particular, definite region such as Lyon that the speaker has in mind. Whereas the phrasing "even in the most peaceful of regions" emphasises the hypothetical nature of a certain, indefinite, unspecified region that is considered the most peaceful of all. I wonder if the two Italian phrasings that you have listed carry the same nuance? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Jun 8 '18 at 10:48
  • Oh, I see: English is not my first language so I didn't know this. No, both Italian expression generally refer to a hypothetical extreme situation (region, person...). – DaG Jun 8 '18 at 11:12
  • Let me edit this in. – DaG Jun 8 '18 at 11:12

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