Rispetto: one word, 3 different functions

Browsing on of the Facebook groups dedicated to the Italian language I came across a post writter bt a gui who was wondersing about the different uses of rispetto. In fact, one of the usages of this word is related to comparisons and, for a foreigner, this can seem a little bit strange. So, let me explain how this word works and it different usages.

In this article we’ll be examining the following expressions: “rispetto a”, “io rispetto” and “il risetto”.

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Io rispetto…

“Io rispetto” is the first person singular in the indicativo presente of the verb “rispettare”. This is a transitive verb that is obviously followed by a direct object. For example we can say:

  • Io rispetto l’ambiente (I respect the environment)
  • Io rispetto gli anziani (I respect elderly people)
  • Io rispetto le opinioni altrui (I respect other people’s opinion)
Donna che riceve il rispetto e l'approvazione di altre persone

Il rispetto per/di…

The expression that contains the noun “il rispetto” can be followed by two different interchangeable prepositions. In fact only a few exceptions can be given (but we’ll see one later), but we generally prefer to use “il rispetto per…” followed by what is respected. For example:

  • Il rispetto per l’ambiente è la soluzione per creare un futuro migliore. (The respect for the environment is the solution to create a better future)
  • Il rispetto per gli anziani è un valore che va tramandato ai giovani. (Young people must be taught the respect for elder people)
  • Il rispetto per chi lavora negli ospedali è stato molto importante durante il periodo di chiusura a febbraio 2020. (The respect for those who worked in hospitals has been very important during the lockdown in February 2020)
  • Il rispetto delle regole è fondamentale, soprattutto quando si guida la macchina. (Respecting the rules is very important, especially when driving cars)

Pay attention!

In the third example you can notice that the underlined part can also be another sentences. Moreover, we generally use the expression “il rispetto per/di” followeb by the verb “essere” because it states a general belief.

mano caucasica e di colore si stringono la mano in segno di rispetto

Rispetto a…

The expression “rispetto a” is maybe the most difficult to understand and use for foreigners. This expression has nothing to do with the concept of “respecting someone”, as meant before.

“Rispetto a” has a comparative function and it is employed to highlight different levels of the same quality in different people or objects. The same meaning can also be expressed with these two locutions:

  • in confronto a…
  • paragonato a…

Honestly, once you have understood the meaning, it is very easy to use because it can be calssified as a conjunction so you don’t have to pay attention to the grammatical characteristics of following noun.

Persona paragone due opzioni

Let’s practice!

Try to complete the following exercise choosing the right expression from the three that we have just seen above. Pay attention when using preposition, as in Italian sometimes they mix with the following article!



Altro da Puntini sulle i

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