Prego vs. per favore

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flinkman

Member
USA English & Russian
Ciao a tutti,

From what I understand "prego" can be used for both "please" and "you're welcome," correct? Is there a difference in usage between "prego" and "per favore," are they interchangeable?

Grazie,
Gesse
 
  • Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    what I can say is that
    prego comes from the verb pregare (to pray): io prego, tu preghi...
    and used in situations like the one you are asking for it means "please" like in: sit down, please - si sieda, prego.

    per favore, in the same context is interchangeable, more or less.
    sit down, please - si sieda, per favore.

    favore literally means "for favour" but its meaning is "if you please" so
    sit down, if you please

    prego is more formal then per favore in my opinion.
     

    giocc

    Senior Member
    Italy, Italian
    flinkman said:
    Ciao a tutti,
    From what I understand "prego" can be used for both "please" and "you're welcome," correct?
    Is there a difference in usage between "prego" and "per favore," are they interchangeable?
    Not quite. Admittedly, to express "please" you could use "Ti prego" (Vi prego, La prego), which resembles "I beg you" closer; but otherwise, the correspondence for the most common usage of "please" is "per favore".
    At times, you can see it used the way you describe, but in very particular contexts, and it sounds a little "stranger".
    "Prego" is a near exact correspondence for "you're welcome", and it is very commonly used too.
    Ciao
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    well, it's a wide topic and the question is very complex, so I'm sure that someone else could add a new one ;)
     

    mymicius

    Senior Member
    Italian
    In my opinion, in the example Alfry did there is a slight difference of meaning.

    si sieda, prego: you just want to be polite and invite someone to sit down.

    si sieda, per favore: I feel a sort of "order" in that, meaning that in this case you cannot refuse to sit down.

    isn't it so?

    my
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    hmmm thinking that over... you have a point....
    even if much is conveyed by the tone of the speaker's voice.
     

    giocc

    Senior Member
    Italy, Italian
    mymicius said:
    In my opinion, in the example Alfry did there is a slight difference of meaning.

    si sieda, prego: you just want to be polite and invite someone to sit down.

    si sieda, per favore: I feel a sort of "order" in that, meaning that in this case you cannot refuse to sit down.
    I agree with Alfry. The "prego" form is very usual, whereas the "per favore" is not as much; thus, asking "si sieda, per favore" might have the meaning that the speaker wants you to sit for a reason, and is not just using a stereotyped expression. Just a thought.

    Ciao
     

    mymicius

    Senior Member
    Italian
    yes, I agree. unless the intention of the speaker is that of being excessively polite:

    si sieda. per favore, insisto.

    but that is even more unusual, I think. "prego" is the most common.

    my
     

    mzsweeett

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA, American English
    To add another twist to this thread.... is not per piacere the formal way to say please? I have been listening to an Italian audio that states per piacere is the most correct formal usage of please. I have only ever heard the per favore before listening to the audio.... can prego and per piacere be the same level or is one different in terms of manners??

    On the other hand.... this would not be a different thread would it?? Hope not.... :confused:

    Molti abbracci è caffe,

    Sweet T.
     

    Alfry

    Senior Member
    Italian
    hummmm,
    I think it's ok here. But I'm not a mod so for the splitting we have to wait for their opinion

    per favore and per piacere are almost the same to me. I use both without worrying about their formal or informal meaning.

    prego is formal, I'd never say to a friend of mine
    siediti qui, prego :D.
    He/she would laugh, that's sure.

    this is my opinion, though

    Molti abbracci e caffe
    my last consideration is about your last sentence:
    "è" is the third person singular for essere: to be
    "e" is the conjunction = and
     

    mymicius

    Senior Member
    Italian
    alfry is right. I say to a friend "prego, siediti", when I want to make a joke. but we always use prego as the answer to grazie, even to friends. don't we Alfry?

    by teh way, caffè e non caffe.

    bye
    my
     

    mzsweeett

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA, American English
    Alfry said:
    ......my last consideration is about your last sentence:
    "è" is the third person singular for essere: to be
    "e" is the conjunction = and
    Molte grazie Alfry!! I always get that little accent messed up.... Funny how a tiny little accent mark makes so much of a difference!! I shall try to be more careful!!! :D :D :D :D

    Sweet T
     

    Silvia

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Could we stop here? No, not fair :D

    Prego used in the sense of per favore is more formal, but not when used for you're welcome:

    1= Grazie per la dritta che mi hai dato
    2= Prego

    3= Grazie per il consiglio
    4= Non c'è di che

    5= Grazie per averci accolto calorosamente, mi scuso per il disturbo
    6= Si figuri

    7= Grazie di tutto, scusa per il disturbo
    8= Figurati

    and we can go on with figuratevi, si immagini etc.

    The answers 2 and 4 can be both formal and informal, 6 is only informal and 8 only formal (you can gather that from the conjugated verb). Non c'è di che che be used together with prego or figurati.

    Also, prego gives the sense of begging and if one thinks of it doesn't feel like using it much. A good option is "pure" in this case.

    (a)Prego, si sieda = Please, (do) take your seat (make yourself comfortable) = (b)Si sieda pure, si accomodi pure
    Personally, I prefer the latter (b).

    P.S.: figurati, si immagini and alike mean "don't mention it".
     

    RossoCurioso

    New Member
    USA / English
    Gentilissimi illuminati ---

    È ci una regola generale circa dove disporre "per favore," "per cortesia" "per piacere" o " prego" in una frase? O è semplicemente un aspetto dell'abitudine?Ho visto che loro hanno usato all'inizio e alla fine delle frasi, naturalmente, ma nella metà pure.

    Grazie molte.
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Gentilissimi illuminati ---

    È ci una regola generale circa dove disporre "per favore," "per cortesia" "per piacere" o " prego" in una frase? O è semplicemente un aspetto dell'abitudine?Ho visto che loro hanno usato all'inizio e alla fine delle frasi, naturalmente, ma nella metà pure.

    Grazie molte.
    I'd say at the beginning or at the end of the sentences like you do with "please".
     
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