hai da fare

  • brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Ciao abtobiii,

    I agree with Brian that this is incomplete. You could have:

    Cosa hai da fare oggi? = What do you have to do today?

    Hai qualcosa da fare oggi? = Do you have anything to do today?

    Hai molto da fare oggi = You have a lot to do today.


    Do you have a complete sentence and/or context?
     

    Brian P

    Senior Member
    Giannaclaudia said:
    E' colloquiale. Parlando tra amici si usa e vuol dire: sei impegnato/a? sottinteso in questo momento.
    I fear that our friend from Hong Kong doesn't know enough Italian to understand your response, Giannaclaudia. Could this be translated simply as "Are you busy?"
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I think that is what it means. But now I wonder if you can switch up the person of the verb.

    Ho da fare = I'm busy

    Does that work? In English, one might say instead more colloquially, "I have things to do" or "I've got things to do." It certainly means "I'm busy" but connotes a broader range of activities which will occupy me over the course of, say, the day. Maybe Italian is not this general in its time frame use of da fare. If I said, "Do you have things to do?" I'd probably mean "...today?" as in "Are busy today?" instead of just in questo momento.

    Very interesting.


    Brian
     

    Giannaclaudia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    brian8733 said:
    I think that is what it means. But now I wonder if you can switch up the person of the verb.

    Ho da fare = I'm busy:tick:
    It does.
    Ho da fare. (adesso) I'm busy.
    Ho da fare oggi. I'm busy, today.
    Non posso venire domani, ho da fare.


    Ho da fare = sono indaffarato/a, impegnato/a.
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    brian8733 said:
    It certainly means "I'm busy" but connotes a broader range of activities which will occupy me over the course of, say, the day. Maybe Italian is not this general in its time frame use of da fare. If I said, "Do you have things to do?" I'd probably mean "...today?" as in "Are busy today?" instead of just in questo momento.
    Actually, Brian, because our present tense is also used for future plans ho da fare can encompass a wider time frame than the English present simple.

    It depends on context:

    - Posso parlarti?
    - Mi dispiace. Ora ho da fare.

    - Possiamo vederci mercoledì?
    - Mi dispiace ma ho molto da fare tutta la settimana
    (of course you can also use "avrò" here)
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    moodywop said:
    Actually, Brian, because our present tense is also used for future plans ho da fare can encompass a wider time frame than the English present simple.

    It depends on context:

    - Posso parlarti?
    - Mi dispiace. Ora ho da fare.

    - Possiamo vederci mercoledì?
    - Mi dispiace ma ho molto da fare tutta la settimana
    (of course you can also use "avrò" here)
    English can have both I'm busy all week (I've got things to do all week) as well as I'll be busy all week (I'll have things to do all week). In fact, the present tense here is preferred.

    Lately I've been getting the feeling that Italian and English are closer with regard to future/present tense substitution than people generally give them credit for. I'll concede, though, that Italian is still a bit freer in this respect.

    EDIT: I didn't see the "molto" in your example until now. This is interesting though. English would have I have a lot to do all week; rarely would I'll have a lot to do all week work. The only time I can see it is if there's a "but" clause following, in which there is a future-tense verb, because this would parallel the future in the first clause and tie it all together: I'll have a lot to do this week, but I'll still make sure we see each other. Present-tense still rings better though.
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Alex_Murphy said:
    When I saw it, I thought "I have to do".. is this right in any way?

    like Hai molte cose da fare..
    Alex

    In "ho da fare" it's as if the "molte cose" bit is understood:

    ho (molte cose) da fare

    It's an idiomatic use. You can say "ho da studiare" or "devo studiare". You can't use it with all verbs. You can't say "ho da mangiare":cross: for "devo mangiare"(unless it's used in some regions).

    In some cases I prefer to use "ho...da" instead of "devo". For example, if a friend of yours has been getting on your nerves, when you finally confront him you can say:

    Ho un paio di cosine/cosette da dirti...

    The "cosine" (literally "little things" - unimportant matters) is ironic.
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    moodywop said:
    Alex

    In "ho da fare" it's as if the "molte cose" bit is understood:

    ho (molte cose) da fare

    It's an idiomatic use. You can say "ho da studiare" or "devo studiare". You can't use it with all verbs. You can't say "ho da mangiare":cross: for "devo mangiare"(unless it's used in some regions).

    In some cases I prefer to use "ho...da" instead of "devo". For example, if a friend of yours has been getting on your nerves, when you finally confront him you can say:

    Ho un paio di cosine/cosette da dirti...

    The "cosine" (literally "little things" - unimportant matters) is ironic.
    My brain is on a pedantic roller coaster right now. :D Please forgive. But here we go. You say ho...da equates to devo, so I'd translate as:

    Ho un paio di cosine/cosette da dirti = I have to tell you a couple (little) things.

    Here, "have" has that compulsory aspect of devo--telling you is what I have to/must do. However, in English, we can swap this around to change the meaning of "have": I have a couple of (little) things to tell you. Here, the "have" no longer maintains that "must/dovere" aspect, but now acquires a more possessive aspect--There are a couple things which I've been keeping to myself (or from you) that I want to tell. I say "want" because it's no longer obligatory, though it could be. Anyway, is there any way to distinguish in Italian?

    Ho qualcosa da dirti = I have something to tell you or I have to tell you something

    How do we know which is which?


    Brian
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    I have to go so this is only a makeshift reply. I may come up with something better later.

    If I say "ho delle commissioni da sbrigare" (errands to run) or "ho da sbrigare delle commissioni" [it's interesting how in Italian the "da+infinitive" can change position] to me it means the same as "devo sbrigare delle commissioni". They're things I have to do - plain and simple.

    My guess is that in the first sentence "da sbrigare" has a passive meaning (to be run) but not in the second one. But that's just grammar. To me the meaning is the same.

    Here's an example where "da + infinitive" has no sense of obligation but a purely passive sense.

    (a shop assistant) Abbiamo anche delle belle scarpe da mettere (= to be worn) con questo vestito (that could be worn with this dress/suit - just a suggestion)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I know "da' can only be translated as "to.." with some verbs.. and moodywop, you briefly mentioned it before, but please can you go into more detail on how

    "Ho..da" is the same as "devo" .. I'm interested.
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Alex_Murphy said:
    I know "da' can only be translated as "to.." with some verbs.. and moodywop, you briefly mentioned it before, but please can you go into more detail on how

    "Ho..da" is the same as "devo" .. I'm interested.
    Look at Brian's post above, there are some examples.

    Ho molte cose da fare. Devo fare molte cose.
    I have many things to do. I have to do many things.

    Notice that there (usually - "ho da fare" is idiomatic) has to be a direct object in the "avere ... da + verbo" construction, which is why "ho da mangiare" does not work.

    Jana
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Alex, Jana has already answered your question but I've now realized that this structure is more complex than I thought. Brian's distinction between "ho da" = "have to"(necessity)and "I've got (things) to..."(possessive sense) is actually extremely useful.

    I'll try to start from scratch and give a more comprehensive explanation. When I translate literally into English I won't provide a "good English" equivalent.

    First of all, the more general point is that the to infinitive can have various equivalents in Italian, from a plain infinitive to a/di/per/da + infinitive:

    Devo dirti una cosa
    Ho da dirti una cosa
    Ho una cosa da dirti
    E' andato a comprare del latte
    Ha chiamato per scusarsi
    Ho deciso di partire oggi

    In all these examples the plain infinitive would be used in English. So the problem you're having with da is part of a wider problem.

    Now here's where Brian's distinction comes in handy:

    1. Necessity

    (i) Ho dei compiti da correggere
    (ii) Ho da correggere dei compiti

    A Reference Grammar agrees with me that (i), though apparently possessive, implies that I must correct that homework:

    Ho dei calcoli da fare = I've some calculations to make/which I must do

    2. Brian's "possessive" sense

    I made a mistake earlier. Ho da mangiare is indeed correct. It means "I have food at home"(I'm in bed with the flu. A friend just asked me on the phone "Hai (qualcosa) da mangiare? Vuoi che ti faccia un po' di spesa?").

    The shop assistant example above belongs here too.

    More examples:

    Hai un buon libro da leggere? = Have you got a good book to read (say, while on the train) (or would you like me to lend you one?)

    Non hai una ragazza da presentarmi? = Don't you have a girl you can introduce to me?


    A good example which can mean 1. or 2. is:

    1. Non hai niente da fare? = Are you sure you're not busy?

    2. Non hai niente (di meglio) da fare? = Haven't you got anything better to do (than bothering me/being in my way etc)?

    I hope this clears things up a bit. I look forward to Brian's comments. His "possessive sense"/"necessity" distinction helped me sort out this structure.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Jana337 said:
    Look at Brian's post above, there are some examples.

    Ho molte cose da fare. Devo fare molte cose.
    I have many things to do. I have to do many things.

    Notice that there (usually - "ho da fare" is idiomatic) has to be a direct object in the "avere ... da + verbo" construction, which is why "ho da mangiare" does not work.

    Jana
    1) In here, when you said the "direct object", does that equate to "molte cose" ?
    2) Would "Ho qualcosa da mangiare" be correct?
    3) Are these translations right:

    Devo dirti una cosa ............. I have to tell you a thing (something)
    Ho da dirti una cosa ............ <This is the same translation, right?>
    Ho una cosa da dirti ............ I have a thing (something) to tell you
    E' andato a comprare del latte ... He has gone to buy some milk
    Ha chiamato per scusarsi .......... She called to excuse herself
    Ho deciso di partire oggi ............ I decided to leave today

    4) 1. Non hai niente da fare? = Are you sure you're not busy?
    - To me, this other translation pops up, "Don't you have anything to do?" .. and this is so stark different in meaning than your translation moodywop, it just confuses me how one line of Italian looks to different people. What is your opinion?

    5) So, ultimately, there is no "big" difference, just "Ho da" is a "possesive, I have these things, and I must do them" and "Devo" is "I must do these things..." etc?

    (Can you please address all points with :cross:'s, and :tick:'s, preferably with :tick:'s, ;))

    - Alex.
     

    kan3malato

    Senior Member
    Italia/Italiano
    Alex_Murphy said:
    1) In here, when you said the "direct object", does that equate to "molte cose" ?
    2) Would "Ho qualcosa da mangiare":tick: be correct?
    3) Are these translations right:

    Devo dirti una cosa .............:tick: I have to tell you a thing (something)
    Ho da dirti una cosa ............ :tick: <This is the same translation, right?>[/I]
    Ho una cosa da dirti ............ :tick: I have a thing (something) to tell you
    E' andato a comprare del latte ...:tick: He has gone to buy some milk[/I]
    Ha chiamato per scusarsi .......... :tick: She called to excuse herself[/I]
    Ho deciso di partire oggi ............ :tick: I decided to leave today

    [/I]4) 1. ( sei sicuro che)Non hai niente da fare? = Are you sure you're not busy?:tick:
    - To me, this other translation pops up, "Don't you have anything to do?" .. and this is so stark different in meaning than your translation moodywop, it just confuses me how one line of Italian looks to different people. What is your opinion?

    5) So, ultimately, there is no "big" difference, just "Ho da" is a "possesive, I have these things, and I must do them" and "Devo" is "I must do these things..." etc? You are right Alex (I think)



    - Alex.

    Alex si vede che sei stato in vacanza in Italia...well done...
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Alex, kan has already done such a great job that there's only one thing for me to add:

    Alex_Murphy said:
    Non hai niente da fare? = Are you sure you're not busy?
    - To me, this other translation pops up, "Don't you have anything to do?" .. and this is so stark different in meaning than your translation moodywop, it just confuses me how one line of Italian looks to different people. What is your opinion?
    Well, as I said, at least in my personal usage (a caveat I'll be adding to most of my posts in future, in case my usage is "odd"), the sentence can have both meanings, depending on context:

    1. Non hai niente da fare? = Are you sure you're not busy?

    2. Non hai niente (di meglio) da fare? = Haven't you got anything better to do (than bothering me/being in my way etc)?
    Isn't your "don't you have anything to do?" the same as my "haven't you got anything to do?"?

    EDIT: About a phrase/sentence used by one native sounding "odd" to another: "No two people are alike in the way they use language or react to the usage of others...so that everyone has, to a limited extent, a "personal dialect"...this is known as an idiolect"
    (D Crystal The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language)
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Would "Ho qualcosa da mangiare":tick: be correct?
    However, I would not translate it "I have to eat something" but "I have something to eat" (i.e. I won't starve, I can eat when I am hungry).

    Jana
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In early audio Italian lessons they always said..

    Voglio bere qualcosa
    Voglio mangiare qualcosa

    Presumably because they thought it wasn't a good idea to teach "da" as "from/by" and then say it's "to", when they also said "a" is "to/at".

    and Jana, your way makes sense too, because it is like the English, the word order sort of mirrors it.

    qualcosa (something) da (to) mangiare (eat)..

    moodyflop said:
    Isn't your "don't you have anything to do?" the same as my "haven't you got anything to do?"?
    Ahh, you said "Haven't you got anything better to do?" before, which implies that they are doing something else, a lot different from "haven't you got anything to do? and don't you have anything to do? Yes they are the same.
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    Alex_Murphy said:
    Ahh, you said "Haven't you got anything better to do?" before, which implies that they are doing something else, a lot different from "haven't you got anything to do? and don't you have anything to do? Yes they are the same.
    Alex

    I added "better" because I wasn't sure whether the English sentence would have the same meaning without it.
    In (moodywop's "odd") Italian you can omit "di meglio" and still convey the "get off my back" sense in the right context.

    moodyflop:)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Yeah yeah, you can in English too, it's the tone of voice..

    DON'T YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO DO?!?! :mad:

    or, if you see someone who looks bored at a desk joband you might walk over and ask nicely "Don't you have anything to?" (and that is why you look so bored?)..

    "Anything better to do" just means (to me at least) you're doing something that is useless and not being productive.

    So "Ho da fare" is idiomatic "I have stuff to do"
    Everything else, optional to use "Ho <qualcosa/sostantivo> da fare" or "devo.x"?

    Tutto capito?
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Alex,

    Alex_Murphy said:
    Presumably because they thought it wasn't a good idea to teach "da" as "from/by" and then say it's "to", when they also said "a" is "to/at".
    I strongly, strongly, strongly (that's three stronglies!) suggest that you not think of "da" (or any other preposition, for that matter) as equivalent to the English "to" when dealing with infinitives. Its meaning/function as a preposition ("from," "by," whatever) has no bearing on its meaning when preceding an infinitive in all these cases, and the same goes for "a" and "per." If anything, they're intranslatable and merely required for the construction (like a particle). In other words, it's best to include in your mind the English "to" in the infinitive itself--fare = to do--and then remember that certain verbs and constructions require certain prepositions for them to make sense. I don't know if I explained myself well enough, so please let me know if you don't understand what I mean.

    Carlo,

    Your response has clarified things immensely, but as always I must propel us further. :)

    You are right that Italian is interesting in its ability to flip-flop the "da ___" from the end to the beginning, or whatever. What's also interesting is that we can do a similar thing in English, yet it often changes the meaning of the sentence; sometimes, though, there is almost no change.

    I have some errands to run = I have to run some errands

    These mean the same thing--I have some errands and I must get them done--but the first one stresses the fact that "I have errands" (possessive sense) while the second stresses "I have to run them" (necessity). But in this example, having errands and having to run errands are one and the same since an errand, by nature, must be run! Therefore, both have necessity. [Note: The second sentence stresses more the necessity, but the first still retains necessity by nature of the word "errand"; however, if the speaker were actually unable to run the errands, he would have to use the first sentence to say something like I have some errands to run, but I won't be able to do them all today. Using the second here just sounds awkward to me.] Okay moving on...

    Do you have a book to read? ... Do you have to read a book?

    Now it's a bit more clear-cut: the first one is possessive (Are you in possession of a book that you can read on the plane? ...that you can lend me?), while the second is necessity (clearly). I will say, however, that the one on the left could actually be said in the necessity sense, depending on context; I'm sure I've said something like in hundreds of times in my life. Here's an example that highlights that: Do you have any homework to do = Do you have to do any homework? (Even more so than the errands example, I think these two mean the same thing, especially if followed by a temporal indicator like tonight/this evening.)

    I think what's happening is that English and Italian can both imply both meanings, depending on context, but that English word order is a bit more important.

    For English: 1) when the infinitive precedes its object (hence, follows directly after have) it is always of necessity (and correlates to dovere); but 2) when the object of the infinitive precedes the infinitive, then have is generally possessive but can be inferred as necessary (dovere) in certain contexts (sometimes even possessive and necessary mixed).

    For Italian: 2) when da + infinitive precedes its object (hence, follows directly after ho/hai/etc.), the sense is of necessity, as in English #1 above; but 2) when da + infinitive follows its object, it can have the sense either of necessity or of possession, depending on context, just like English in English #2.

    PLEASE clarify this if anything is wrong, and give examples. I'm on the verge of confusing myself, so there is a strong possibility that I've oversimplified things. :)

    Now, I'd like to mention that when we are considering an Italian sentence that follows into category 2--da + infinitive follows its object (and generally ends the sentence)--it is important to think of da as introducing something passive, if I am not wrong. Carlo mentioned this in post 13. I think it helps to tie up some loose ends. I'd translate Ho qualcosa da fare as "I have something to do," but since this English one falls into category 2, it can be ambiguous depending on what the real "qualcosa" and "fare" are. Therefore, one might like to think of it as I have something (which needs) to be done. The "which needs" will only work in certain contexts. Anyway, considering the Italian examples to be of this form, it becomes easier to decide from context what the English should be:

    Abbiamo anche delle belle scarpe da mettere con questo vestito.

    = We also have some beautiful shoes to be worn with this suit
    . (as Carlo suggested already)

    = We also have some beautiful shoes that can be worn with this suit.

    It's hard to think that "to be worn" would ever imply "which must be worn," and so in this way it's easy to see what the Italian means.

    Non hai una ragazza da presentarmi?

    = Don't you have a girl to be introduced to me?

    = Don't you have a girl you can introduce to me?


    Again, to think of "to be introduced" as "who must be introduced" is a little absurd. But now let's get into some more difficult ones:

    Hai un buon libro da leggere?

    = Don't you have a good book to be read?

    = Don't you have a good book you can read,
    if you consider it "to be read BY YOURSELF?"

    OR = Don't you have a good book I can read (i.e., that you can lend me)?, if you consider it "to be read BY ME?"

    This is clearly a possessive-sense question, but I think solely because of "buon." Refer to my example above of Do you have a book to read? which falls into category 2 in English. I wonder if the Italian Hai un libro da leggere, which falls into category 2 in Italian, would also be ambiguous.

    And finally (don't worry, it's almost over :D):

    Non hai niente da fare?

    = Don't you have anything to be done

    = Don't you have anything to do / Don't you have anything you have to do /
    (if di meglio were present) Don't you have anything better to do?

    OR = Don't you have something that needs doing / Don't you have to do anything/something / Aren't you busy?

    Okay I'll stop here. I'd appreciate any and all corrections on my understanding of this and would love any further clarification. This is highly stimulating, so I thank you all.


    Brian
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    as always I must propel us further. :)
    Well, with you the sky's the limit:D

    Actually my post is going to be brief since I agree with practically everything you wrote.

    I'll just confirm that yes, in Italian "Ho molti libri da leggere" can mean "I won't have to buy any books for a while. There are so many books I bought but haven't read yet" or "I have a huge reading list for my Linguistics exam".

    You are right (and I was going to point it out but you beat me to it) that "da" + infinitive often has a passive meaning.

    C'è molto da fare = there is a lot to be done

    But it's tricky - no passive sense here (lavorare used intransitively):

    Qui c'è da lavorare molto = we have a lot of work ahead of us

    Un film da vedere(= to be seen) a tutti i costi! (an unmissable film)

    A professor reading the first draft of your dissertation could scribble the following next to highlighted passages:

    da riscrivere (to be rewritten)?)
    da sviluppare meglio
    da chiarire
    da espandere etc

    Any more questions?:D (hai altre domande da farmi)
     
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