at my expense

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by drdad, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. drdad Member

    I am trying to figure out how to say the English idiom: at my expense. It is a figure of speech usually used in friendly conversation, when friends are teasing each other. One who is the object of the other’s laughter might say to his friend: Go ahead, have your laugh at my expense.

    The phrases “a spese di” and “a scapito di” both mean “at the expense of”; but it seems to me that 'a spese di' might be used more literally to refer to actual monetary expense and 'a scapito di' would be more of the figurative sense, such as “at the expense of our safety” (a scapito di nostra sicurezza) or “at the expense of my pride” (a scapito di mio orgoglio)

    Here are my ideas of how to say “at my expense”: "a scapito di me" or perhaps "a mio scapito". Such that, "Go ahead, have your laugh at my expense" would come out as: Vai avanti, abbia tua risata a mio scapito.

    I appreciate your help. (Io apprezzo vostro aiuto)
  2. Benzene

    Benzene Senior Member

    Italian from Italy

    I use "at the expense of" in the context of health, safety.

    A special example: "fare economie a scapito dei pazienti" = "to save money at the patients’ expense".

    I am thinkig you could use also "to (at) loss of " which means "to (at) damage of", "to (at) disadvantage of".

    I don't know if it is right to use "to" or "at."

    Please, correct my free interpretation if is wrong!


  3. dan9184 Senior Member

    Yes you're right.
    'A mie spese' sounds like you're talking about money.
    I think It can't be traslated litterally and so it'd be:
    'continua! prenditi gioco di me!'

    Were you interested in that example or in the general traslation of 'at my expence'?
  4. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    Can you not say alle spalle mie in this situation?

    Fatti due risate alle spalle mie!
  5. drdad Member

    Grazie, tutti!
    This is all very helpful. The threads did not lead me to gioco or prenditi gioco. This appears to be the equivalent idiom in Italian, so is useful in the context I described.
    Sometimes, the English "at my expense" might not be in a friendly conversation, but perhaps such as a parent or partner chastising a wayward son or husband, saying something like: If you continue your bad behavior it will be at my expense. In this case, it might encompass literal monetary expense and/or such things as reputation. In that case, would "a mie scapito" (o "a mie spese") serve to indicate either sense. Or are spese e scapito completely limited to money and for an injured reputation one would have to go to something more figurative like "alle spalle"?
    Also: thanks to all for the additional corrections to my grammar. This is such a great website!!:)
  6. pescara Senior Member

    Just one small suggestion to add to the others.

    The phrase "go ahead" in your contest would probably be best translated by "Dai." "Vai avanti " is a literal translation of "go ahead" and it would be understood as "go forward" or "go straight ahead."

  7. giovannino

    giovannino Senior Member

    Naples, Italy
    Italian, Neapolitan
    Actually I think you came up with the best suggestion, Charles. However the usual word order is alle mie spalle.
  8. drdad Member

    Grazie tutti!! (Thanks everyone!! Think I got that one right.)
    I am learning so much from all of you.
  9. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    Thanks giovannino. I'll remember that if I ever encounter a situation where someone actually dares to 'av a larf at my expense!!! :D

Share This Page