Guidelines to the Italian-English forum

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Senior Member
Italian, Italy
Italian-English Forum complete guidelines
[Versione italiana? Clicca qui]

While all WordReference forums are subject to The Wordreference Unabridged Rules, each subforum has customs of its own. This page explains how things work in the Italian-English section. As you get used to our practices, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when you contribute. We like to cooperate in order to keep this forum neat, organized, useful, and easy to read :).

* * *

Which forum is suitable for my question?

In the English-Italian forum you can discuss words, expressions or translations from English into Italian or from standard Italian into English. If your question concerns only English, please post it in the "English only" forum, if your question concerns only Italian, please post it in the "Solo Italiano" forum, if your question concerns an Italian dialect, please post it in the Other Languages forum.
In the English-Italian forum all questions and answers must be written in English or Italian. In English Only the only language allowed is English. In Solo Italiano the only language allowed is Italian.

Rule 1: Please search first!

You may find what you need in our dictionary or in our forum archives. Please search first before starting a new thread: there are good chances that someone else has already asked for help on a similar topic. To search our archives for existing threads, you have two options:

  • Use the dictionary and scroll to the bottom of the results page for a list of threads containing your search term(s) in the title.
  • Use the forums' Advanced search feature.
If you find existing threads which discuss your question, but you still need more information or some clarification, please do not open a new thread. Instead, post your question as a reply in the most relevant existing thread. On the other hand, if you don't find anything at all, or if the existing threads in our archives are not closely related to your question, you are welcome to open a new thread.
  • Before asking a question in the forums, make sure that you have carried out some basic research of your own to try to find the answer (i.e. look it up using Google, Wikipedia, online glossaries and other available resources). Do not make other WR users do your work for you, search for your context or the answer (you don't need to be a professional translator or have a degree in languages to use Google ;)).
  • How do I perform a search in the forum?

Rule 2: Only one topic/question for each thread.

These forums are organized on a "one question per thread" principle. Each thread needs to focus on a single, specific point of language or translation, so please ask only one question per thread. If you have a second question—even a related one, or one about another part of the same passage—please open a second thread. Replies should stay on the topic of the first post of the thread. If you wish to talk about another subject, open another thread (provided that there are no old ones). If you need clarification about a moderator's action, please do not post in the forums, but write a private message to that moderator or to any other Italian-English moderator.

If you reply to a thread, say if you are or are not completely sure of your suggestion. A wrong suggestion causes problems for both those who asked the question and those who will read the old threads in the future. Only reply if you are reasonably sure that your suggestion is correct.
If you are not positive, say so clearly.
If you are suggesting a translation for a technical term, say if that is or is not your field of expertise.
Don't feel compelled to reply at all costs: it is better to refrain from replying than to run the risk of a blatantly wrong translation.
Thread titles
Generally speaking, the best title is the original word or phrase you wish to discuss, as it appears in the source text. Do not use your attempted translation, lest your title contain mistakes. Kindly omit "translation please," "how do I say this," "I'm new," and the like. Please avoid quotation marks (") and ellipses (…). Titles are important because each entry in the dictionary is automatically linked to titles in the forum so that dictionary searches return our discussion threads in addition to translations.

Write correctly:
see Rule 11.

Quote wisely.

When replying, quote a previous message only if necessary.

It is difficult to read a post which quotes someone else’s lengthy comment, and adds only a small note such as “I agree” at the end. Please try to avoid quoting if not strictly necessary. If a quote is necessary, help make it easier to read by deleting any parts which are not relevant to your reply.

Rule 3: Always provide the complete sentence and the general context

When formulating your question, identify the specific problem you have, and explain your trouble. Suggest a translation of your own, no matter how inadequate you think it may be. Forum members come here to give their help on a voluntary basis, so it is inappropriate to ask for their assistance without taking the trouble to work on a problem yourself first. If you do not speak a word of Italian (or English), it is important to make that clear. Please note that providing your attempted translation or interpretation of an entire phrase does not mean you do not have to ask a specific question. All posts must specify which part of the sentence is most problematic.

Context and examples are crucial. Where did you read the expression—in a novel, in a newspaper, in a scientific or technical document? Or did you hear the expression somewhere—on the television, on the radio, during a conversation with a friend? Otherwise, what idea are you trying to express, and under what circumstances? What is the general topic? If your question concerns a passage from a written work, the title, author, and date may be relevant. The sentences that precede and follow the bit you need help with will often shed light on your difficulty; please provide them if you can, accompanied by a link to the full, written source text (if available).

Finally, do not translate the entire context; it will not help us to focus on your question, and inexperienced members may not understand that we cannot rewrite your entire translation.

[To be continued in the following post]
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  • MünchnerFax

    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy
    Rule 4: Respect intellectual property

    • Do not cite or ask for translation of a whole text, including song lyrics.
      Quotations and translations of up to 4 lines of poems/song lyrics, or 4 sentences of a text, are allowed. This also applies if the text is divided into several threads!
    • Quotations from a dictionary, a grammar book, or any other source, including websites (Wikipedia as well!): never copy & paste the text alone, but always cite the source explicitly. Please quote only short excerpts (up to 4 sentences). If you want to refer to a website, please give a link to that website rather than just copying & pasting its whole contents into our forum. Only insert into your post the part that is relevant to the thread topic.
    • Posting a link to video and audio clips and any multimedia resource must explicitly be authorised by the moderation team.
      Contact a moderator via private message and ask for permission before posting it. Please ask first, as we take this matter seriously and no permission will be granted for links already posted without authorization.
      Posts containing such a link need to say explicitly which moderator approved that, in order to avoid misunderstandings within the moderator team.
      Please understand that permission for links to obviously copyrighted material will not be granted (most notably, song clips available on YouTube ).

    Rule 5: This site does not provide free translation or proofreading services, nor free homework correction.

    Rule 6: No Advertising or promotional activity.

    No promotional activity or advertising of any kind is permitted in the forum.
    Nothing that is any way promotional may be placed in posts, avatars, user names or signatures, including but not limited to: promotional statements, e-mail addresses, URLs or links; or references to any of these; or references to products, services, ideologies, religions, candidates or organizations.
    It will be the sole discretion of WordReference and its moderators as to what constitutes an advertisement or promotion.

    [To be continued in the following post]
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy
    Rule 7: Politeness and kindness shall be used at all times.

    Use "please" and "thank you" when asking a question. Other users are real people who volunteer their help.
    If you reply to a request, please be kind. Don't scorn or laugh at other people because the question seems too silly to you. Give thorough and detailed explanations.
    If arguments arise while discussing, always maintain a cordial atmosphere. Snotty, arrogant or teasing replies as well as provocations and personal offences will not be tolerated.

    Rule 8: Be considerate.

    No flooding. If you post several threads, do your best to ensure that no more than 5 of them appear on the front page of a forum at any one time. This allows other members' threads to get their share of attention.

    No bumping. Nothing is urgent in this forum.
    Please do not bump your threads up the forum page by adding useless posts.
    Your thread going to the top of the forum makes another user's go down to page 2. This is not respectful. At WordReference, all discussions have the same dignity and priority. Just be patient, someone will reply.
    If your thread wasn't able to get a satisfactory reply within several hours, you can report this to a moderator. At his/her discretion, he/she will bring your thread up to the top of the forum.

    It is inappropriate to beg for help mentioning excuses or any kind of motivations.
    As above: all threads have the same priority. It is not relevant to us if your boss will kill you if you don't submit your job within an hour, or that you have a language test tomorrow, or similar stories. Your thread will not be given higher priority anyway. If you need a job done urgently, consider hiring a professional translator.

    Rule 9: Keep your language clean and decent.

    Discussion of offensive words and phrases is permitted, but the conversation must remain respectful and serious. You may discuss offensive words, but you may not use them with malicious intent.
    Flag coarse or offensive words with this symbol :warning:
    Language learners need to know if a word can be used in every context, or if it is offensive, or might be inappropriate in some situations and needs to be used carefully. That's why we ask you to put this icon: :warning: near each occurrence of such words. You can find it in the emoticons list on the top of the post editing window (emoticons are the smileys: ;) :p:D ).

    Rule 10: No flaming

    Slanderous, defamatory, obscene, indecent, lewd, pornographic, violent, abusive, insulting, threatening and harassing comments are not tolerated. Should anyone use inappropriate language, start a personal attack, or engage in hate speech, they will be barred from all further discussions.
    This forum is not a venue for personal or private disputes or vendettas. Keep your personal business as just that - personal.

    Rule 11: Write correctly

    Please use capital letters, punctuation, accents as necessary; no SMS/TEXTING style or chatspeak.
    This is reasonable as WordReference is a language forum. Remember that language students learn from what native speakers write. For instance, if you write "i", "english" or "september" in small caps, foreign learners won't be able to tell if those words are really supposed to be small caps, or if you just couldn't be bothered writing them properly.
    For the same reason, and for the sake of readability as well, chatspeak abbreviations (e.g. "thx" for "thanks", "plz" for "please") are not allowed unless as an explicit topic of discussion.​

    Do not write ALL in CAPS.
    This is not nice as it is considered yelling according to the Netiquette.​

    Choose an easily readable font size.
    Some people may not use king size high resolution monitors but smartphones or tablets.

    Don't post two or more messages in a row. If you want to extend or clarify a previous post of yours within a few minutes and nobody has replied in the meantime, you can easily edit it instead. Just press the button "Edit" on the bottom right corner of the post.

    Rule 12: Report to the moderator team any post not complying with these guidelines or which you think needs moderator attention for any reason.

    Tell moderators about problematic posts, rule violations, or anything else you think needs moderator attention by clicking on Report in the bottom-left corner of each post. Please, do not react to rule violations: just report them. You may ask politely for context if it is needed for a suitable reply, and you may kindly and politely correct a fellow member's deviations from standard language in a post that otherwise addresses the thread topic.

    Don't be afraid of reporting problems to the moderator team, and don't be afraid of disturbing them with too many requests.
    Most of all, please do not try to "educate" newbie users yourself by posting some "advice" in the threads, as this only causes more disorder in our forum and rarely has any benefit on the problematic user.
    In the meanwhile, do not reply to that thread.

    Rule 13: Read the Rules.

    Before posting in the forum, please take a few moments to read these rules and get familiar with our practices.

    Rule 14: Membership is a privilege.

    Use of these forums and your speech in these forums is not a right. It is a privilege granted you by the WR administrator under the terms of this agreement and can be revoked at any time without warning.

    Rule 15: No discussion about moderation actions in the public forums.

    Please direct your questions about the forum, including forum rules and moderation actions, to the forum’s moderators.
    Discussions about moderator or administrator actions must be discussed only via Private Conversations – never in the public forums.
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy
    Which are and which are not acceptable discussions within this forum?

    This forum is meant as an adjunct to the WordReference dictionary. Therefore, its scope is not different from a dictionary: translation of words, expressions, short sentences. As every dictionary entry, each forum thread will concern a specific and limited topic.
    In addition, interacting with native speakers allows valuable discussion of idioms, specific grammar constructions, technical jargon, differences between similar words, synonyms and contraries, and other similar language topics.

    • What is not strictly part of the above is not within our scope. Inappropriate queries include:
      - broad or generic grammar questions, because we can't and don't want to replace grammar books or language courses. Examples:
      "When do you use subjunctive in Italian?"
      "Who'd be so kind as to list all possible different translations of the preposition con?"
      "I really don't understand Italian verbs. Would someone explain them to me?"
      - discussions about literature, history, politics, geography, art, music, cuisine, culture and anything which does not strictly pertain to linguistics (unless a short digression is absolutely needed to answer a legitimate question);
      - any kind of research question, request for advice and survey in general. Although we do understand that certain questions can only be answered by a native speaker, and even though there will statistically be at least one among our 550,000 users who knows the answer you need, the WordReference public forums simply serve a different purpose and are just not the right place for those queries.
      - Requests for resources (dictionaries, glossaries etc) or professional translators (I'm looking for an En-It translator for a paid project..)
      - Requests for translations of very popular literary works
      that can be very easily found on the internet using Google (e.g. The Bible, The Divine Comedy, Hamlet etc) or that originally are already in another language.
      - Requests for adaptations of advertising slogans: Word Reference is not a free Transcreation service.
      - Requests for dialogue or lyrics transcription.
      - Requests for proofreading.

    Examples of some out-of-scope/unacceptable questions:

    "Hi, I'm going to open a new restaurant, can you suggest a cool Italian name for my business?"
    "Can you tell me the name of that song that my grandma used to sing for me and whose lyrics are bla and bla?"
    "Hey guys, I have to take a test in Italian..What should I study??"
    "Do you happen to know that supplement to Corriere della Sera which was published on Tuesdays every two months until 1979?"
    "I need a good technical dictionary for my work / a good grammar book or reading book for my studies, please advise"
    "I was wondering if you have any suggestions to improve my Italian skills?"
    "I need an Italian name for my shop or business / an Italian slogan for a new business/product etc, can you suggest something really cool??"
    "I have to write a pun in English...Would you please make it up for me?"
    "Hey guys, I just can't understand how to use the subjunctive in Italian..Would you give me a detailed and accurate explanation and a long list of examples?"
    "I'm writing my dissertation and need some people for a survey: do you prefer jam or cheddar cheese on pasta?"
    "Hi there, I'm travelling to Italy next month and I need to know if I should apply for a resident permit of the type R/bis by compiling the module 73/B/4 and sending it by pony express to the Italian consulate in Chicago, IL, and if filling it in with pink ink is mandatory."
    "A friend who has been to Italy told me that people at traffic signals go on red and stop on green, and cars have right of way over pedestrians at zebra crossings. Is it true?"
    "Hey, I was watching a movie in Italian and a guy said a word starting with a P that sounds like polo..or maybe polpo..not sure..maybe it was polare..well anyway, please tell me what he said!!"
    "Hey, I urgently need a list of the names of every single gardening tool in Italian, but I'm in a hurry and I don't have time to look them up in the dictionary..Could you do it for me?"
    "Hey, what's the Italian translation of the first parable of the Gospel according to St Matthew?"
    "Hey, I have this video/movie in Italian with subtitles..Could you please have a look and tell me if they are accurate?"
    "Hey guys, I watched a video on YouTube in Italian but I didn't quite understand most of the dialogues..Would anyone be so kind to write it all out for me and then also translate it into English??"

    In short: any question which is not asking for help with a translation or a grammar explanation is not acceptable.


    This site does not provide free translation or proofreading services, nor free homework correction.

    Those services are outside the scope of our site.

    • As a general rule, we do not allow proofreading. We consider proofreading to be posting a translated block of text (more than one sentence) with the expectation or hope of having it corrected. As previously said, we encourage threads that focus on a specific question, such as a problematic word, phrase, or construction, as opposed to translation of an entire block of text.

      However, in an effort to suit the needs of language learners or people seeking one-time help, we do grant concession for proofreading of short texts in accordance with the following guidelines.
      • Post both the original text and your own translation (not from an automatic translator!), not only the latter.
      • Length limit: approximately 60 words. This applies even if the same text is divided into several threads!
      • Frequency limit: only occasional (not consecutive) requests from the same user dispersed over time.
      • No free proofreading service for professional translators, students, and in any other case where misrepresenting the person's language skills is a dishonest action or a relevant issue.
      • On this forum, we believe in and encourage helpful cooperation and exchange among members. Users posting essentially nothing but proofreading requests, without otherwise participating in the forum to any significant degree so as to help others, are highly unlikely to gain our sympathy. This behaviour might be considered in contrast with our general guidelines as well as with our "no free service" policy.

    At the sole and absolute discretion of the moderators, proofreading requests that do not conform to these guidelines will be either edited or removed from the forum.
    School homework: we don't want to do the work for you just to let you achieve a good mark at school. So: do your homework yourself first and have it corrected by your teacher. Only after that, if you still don't understand your teacher's corrections, we will be glad to explain any inconsistencies that might occur.


    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy
    How to choose a thread title.

    Every single thread in the English - Italian forum is linked to the WR dictionary (that's why when you look up a word in the dictionary you can see all the threads containing that word in the titles listed at the bottom of the page).
    For this reason it's really important to choose a good title: by doing so your threads will be easily found also by millions of users who consult the WRF dictionaries, even if they are not registered on the forums.
    Titles shouldn't be eye-catching, but just reflect the thread topic.

    What's the right title for my thread?
    First of all, you must choose a meaningful title, relevant to the thread topic.
    If I'm looking for the translation of a single term, then I'll use that term choosing its singular form in the title, paying attention to the spelling of the word and avoiding writing it in ALL CAPITALS.
    If I'm looking for the translation of a verb, I'll choose the infinitive form of the verb (just like in every good dictionary).
    If the word I want to translate is in English and I'm looking for its Italian equivalent, I must write only the original English term in the title and not its possible translations.
    I need to translate "pallet":
    What's the right title?

    Please translate pallet English to Italian NO!
    How do I translate pallet? NO!
    Pallet = bancale? NO!
    Pallet :tick: YES!

    I need to translate a sentence from English to Italian.
    The cat sleeps on the table.
    What's a good title?

    Is "il gatto dorme sul tavolo" correct?? NO!
    Il gatto dorme sul tavolo?? NO!
    The cat sleeps on the table. :tick: YES!
    Since I know that the original English sentence is correct, that's the sentence I want to choose as a thread title.
    Never use your translation attempt as a thread title: it could be wrong.

    - I have a sentence in Italian and I'm not sure about its translation.
    Il gatto è sul tavolo.

    Which title should I choose?

    Is " the cat is on the table" correct?? NO!
    The cat is on the table = il gatto è sul tavolo ?? NO!
    Il gatto è sul tavolo. :tick: YES!
    Again: I put the original sentence in the thread title, not my translation attempt.

    If you're asking for the translation of a long sentence, don't write it all in the title, but just write the main part of it.
    This also marks a shift away from a problem oriented discourse, that there is a problem with the effects of globalizing economic changes for masculinity onto a success based discourse of femininity.
    A good title could be:
    This also marks a shift away from a problem oriented discourse.:tick:
    Needless to say that you must write the full sentence in the thread body, along with the context.
    When writing a title do not use: Abbreviations (if they are not the thread topic), inverted commas ( " or '), brackets, dots or useless question marks that are not part of the original sentence.
    Avoid titles such as "translation please", "how do I say this", "does this word exist", "I'm new" and similar expressions.
    Always write the word/sentence you want to discuss also in the thread body and not only in the thread title rather than write "as per title","the thread subject" and the like.
    If your title is edited by a moderator, please do not modify it any more. If you need clarification, please contact a moderator via private message.

    :arrow: Please notice: If you're not sure about the spelling of the sentence/word you're asking about or you know it was not written by a native speaker, please make it clear so that we are aware the sentence you have provided might not be written correctly.

    :arrow: When you are translating from English into Italian or vice versa, ALWAYS provide also the original sentence in the source language, not only your translation attempt.
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    Senior Member
    Italian, Italy
    Threads without background and context will be closed! - Ogni thread senza un adeguato contesto verrà chiuso!

    Context and Background

    All threads need context and background.
    English words and phrases can have many different meanings. Understanding them depends on where, when and how they are used. When you post a question, please include as much background information and context as you can. The context must be provided in the discussion by poster, without expecting those who read it to look for the necessary information on the internet.
    A context-free question is likely to get an inaccurate or wrong answer.
    However, the more context you provide, the better the answers will be.

    Background (that is, always name the source)
    Where did you see or hear the word or phrase? In a book? … a newspaper? … a broadcast? … a conversation?
    What was the subject?
    When was it written? Recently? A long time ago? What's the author's native language?
    If you are quoting text, remember WordReference Rule #16 and make sure you acknowledge the source.
    Please specify whether the phrase was written by a native speaker or not.
    Moreover: Did you read it (and therefore the sentence is likely to be quoted and spelt correctly) or did you hear it (and so you are note sure whether it's written and spelt accurately)?

    Some context is essential.
    It is difficult to say how much context is required because it depends on the question. But no one has ever posted a question with too much context..
    The text coming immediately before and immediately after the word or phrase under discussion plus the whole sentence containing the word or phrase may be enough.
    Ideally, please quote two sentences before, and one sentence after (the maximum quoted text allowed by Rule #4).

    NB: Context and a FULL sentence must be always provided by the thread opener in the first post, not only upon solicitation or by other users.

    Here are two contrasting examples:

    No full sentence, no context => Unclear, misleading question. :cross:
    “…because the reader would miss the chickens.”
    What does ‘miss the chickens’ mean? Is it about melancholy at their absence?

    Good context and full sentence = Clear question which is likely to receive good answers. :tick:
    “…because the reader would miss the chickens.”
    What does ‘miss the chickens’ mean? I read this in a book review of "Two Caravans", a novel by Marina Lewycka about “…the innocence and oddities of immigrants and immigrant life in Britain,” published in The Economist on 19 April 2007. (That’s background)
    FULL QUOTE: "But to abandon Two Caravans for being too full of second-novel flaws would be a mistake. Not least because the reader would miss the chickens. About halfway through the book the hapless caravanistas are enticed into working in a factory chicken farm where the span of life, from “hatchin' to catchin'”, lasts just five weeks. And what horrible weeks they are—and not just for the chickens." (That’s context).

    Please help promote useful questions and answers by reporting such threads (use the Report link at the bottom left of every post ), instead of wasting time begging and pleading for background and context.
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    How to ask a question.

    Always use the WR DICTIONARY or the search function (<-- CLICK HERE) before opening a new thread: if you find a previous discussion about the same topic, please read it carefully. If you still need help, add a clarifying post to that thread rather than opening a new thread about the same subject. When you do that the old thread moves up to the top of the forum.
    A very easy way to look up a key word is to use the WR dictionary(<-- CLICK HERE): you'll find the translation of the word you enter and, at the bottom of the page, a list of the links to all the threads which have that word in the title.
    If after searching you do not find any relevant threads, go ahead and open a new one. Here are some helpful hints on how to do it.
    Every time you have a new question you must open a thread in the right forum.
    If you need help translating from Italian to English or from English to Italian, the EN - IT forum is the right one.
    If your question concerns ONLY the Italian language, please open your thread in the "Solo Italiano" forum.
    If your question concerns ONLY the English language, please open your thread in the "English only" forum.
    You must ask specific and detailed questions and you must write the sentence/word you're asking about also in the thread body, and not only in the thread title.
    Once you've written your thread, you just need to click on "Post quick reply".
    Do not forget to use proper capitalization and punctuation but not the chatspeak( pls, thx, btw..).
    You may want to read this little tutorial : How can I choose a good thread title?(<-- CLICK HERE)
    It will help you choose the right title.( Put the ORIGINAL sentence in the title, NOT your translation attempt - avoid titles like "help!!", "translation please!" or other non-relevant titles )
    Do not forget that you must always provide some context(<-- CLICK HERE).
    Your translation attempt is always more than welcome
    This is an example of how to correctly frame a thread:
    Thread title: Million dollar prize (<--- The original sentence in the title, NOT your translation attempt)
    Hello, (<--- Courtesy is welcome)
    How can I translate "Million dollar prize" in Italian? (<--- Always put the sentence not only in the title, but also in the thread body)
    The context is a lottery prize. (<--- Always provide some context)
    My translation attempt is " Premio di un milione di dollari" (<--- Always provide your translation attempt)
    Thank you (<--- Courtesy is welcome)

    When you want to quote someone else's post (or part of it) just click on the REPLY or +QUOTE buttons that you can find at the bottom right of their post. You can also select with your mouse the part of the message that you'd like to quote.
    If, once you have already sent your message, you realise there's a mistake, do not post another message with all the corrections, but use the EDIT button, correct the original message and save it.

    NB: If you're translating a text from English into Italian it is up to you to explain/clarify the meaning of the original sentence. Do not expect forum members to look up information on your behalf.
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