beneficio d'inventario

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Senior Member
Italian Italy
Hello everybody,

When a source of some information is not reliable, in Italian we say "prendere con beneficio d'inventario".

She told me that, but she's always telling lies, so the piece of news should be taken with "beneficio d'inventario".

  • fcabitza

    Senior Member
    Wordreference dictionary reports an example of the expression "beneficio d'inventario" (but doesn't translate it)
    "accettare qualcosa con beneficio di inventario" and equates it to "accettare con riserva".

    Well, this is the formal menaing of this expression, which I would translate as "benefit of inventory" (is that correct?). This meaning is mirrored in the informal or conversational idioms, like "prendere qualcosa con il beneficio d'inventario" that also in this thread ( is equated to "prendere con le molle" "prendere con le pinze", "prendere cum grano salis" "prendere con riserva", i.e., to take with a pinch of salt"

    Yet, in not so much informal Italian, beneficio d'inventario can _also_ mean "for the sake of completeness", like in "per mero beneficio d'inventario elencherò qui di seguito le tipologie di merci che...". It is like saying, OK, excuse my pickiness, I am reporting what follows only so that we all have it written down and we can get back to it for any next use.

    Assumed I've been clear in conveying this meaning, how could it be translated properly?



    Senior Member
    English (British)
    Hi Chip, we "give someone the benefit of the doubt" meaning that we're not convinced by what they are saying but act/speak as if we believe them. I'm not sure if it's quite the same as the sense of the Italian but I haven't heard the Italian phrase before.
    Nobody uses "to take it with the benefit of doubt" for expressing the OP meaning?

    EDIT: Sorry rafanadal, I didn't answer your question...
    I think that "for what it's worth" is a bit diminishing compared to "beneficio d'inventario". In the first case I say: I know it is not much relevant/important, but take it for what it's worth. In the second case I just say: I am not completely sure of this, so take it with the benefit of doubt/with a pinch of salt. I am not inducing that what I have said may be not extremely relevant/important.
    I know it is just a nuance but this is how I see it.


    Senior Member
    English (British)
    No, unfortunately you can't take something with the benefit of the doubt - the collocation doesn't work. It also doesn't mean quite the same as taking something with a pinch of salt - that means you don't believe it.

    "If John tells you he's won the lottery 15 times, I'd take it with a pinch of salt ; he always exaggerates."

    John says he sent me a card for my birthday - it never arrived, and I'm not sure he really remembered, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt."

    Mal S.

    USA, English

    In legal jargon "benefit of inventory" (eredita' con accettazione di beneficio d’inventario) is a way for someone to inherit property without inheriting general debts. The inheritance is inventoried, and the heir only inherits the inventoried items, not everything else in the estate. I can see how this phrase came to be used as "with a grain of salt"--that is, with a caveat.

    (By the way, "with a grain of salt" is used in American as well as British English.)

    So would we translate "accettare senza beneficio d’inventario" (used in a nonlegal context) as "accept without reservation" or "accept wholesale" or "swallow whole"? This is from Antonio Gramsci:

    "saranno almeno le nostre [idee], e non quelle che dobbiamo accettare senza beneficio d’inventario dai nostri sciocchissimi antenati."

    I have translated this as: "They will at least be ours, and not those that we must inherit unquestioningly from our foolish ancestors."


    Senior Member
    British English/Italian - bilingual
    I have translated this as: "They will at least be ours, and not those that we must inherit unquestioningly from our foolish ancestors." :thumbsup:
    This works for me. Alternatively:

    ...and not those of our foolish ancestors which we must accept unquestioningly.
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