Asked • 06/02/19

Andare + present gerund in ~1740's Italian?

Italian newbie here, so forgive me if this is a simple question. I've got an Italian book review of something by Voltaire, written about 1740. Here's a brief part of it:> Egli in 25 capitoli va stendendo la filosofia del famoso NewtonAccording to what I've read, the present progressive is formed with "stare" + present gerund (and less commonly with "venire"). What I'm wondering is whether this is an alternate form of the present progressive, or whether it's a special construction that has a different meaning.For example, in Spanish you could use a form of "ir" + present participle to say,> en 25 capítulos el va explicando la filosofía del famoso NewtonThis construction draws attention to the gradual, extended nature of the exposition, so roughly it could be, "in 25 chapters, he goes through and explains the philosophy of the famous Newton."Is there a comparable construction in Italian? Or is this something else entirely?

Stefania C.

This form (andare+ gerund) is a rather antique or literary form of the progressive gerund. It is little used in common speech but it can still be found in literary forms, including essays and newspapers. Example: Il governo va stendendo leggi per mitigare gli effetti negativi dell'immigrazione di massa (the government has been laying out laws to mitigate the negative effects of mass immigration). An Italian in common speech would say "sta stendendo". The difference is there but it's subtle. However an English speaking person such as yourself catches it: there is a difference between: the government is laying out and the government has been laying out. the second form implies a continuation in time, rather than a momentary action.


3 Answers By Expert Tutors


Davis R. answered • 08/14/19

5 (29)

PhD Student in Italian with 7+ Years of Teaching Experience

Connie G. answered • 06/05/19

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Italian-born and raised Linguist passionate about teaching Italian.

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