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The Best of the Blog

Aprile 2014
The Speak Up blog answers any questions or queries you may have either about the English language or our articles. Write to us (preferably in English) at: http://blog.speakuponline.it. The most interesting questions will be published on this page. A word of warning, though: our blog is not a translation or homework service!

A turn of phrase
Hello, everyone! I’d like to know what is the English equivalent of the Italian “modo di dire,” as in a type of proverb. Is it “way of saying, way to say?” Help! Ruhamah

There are various ways of saying this in English. The best ones are: idiom, saying, colloquial expression, turn of phrase.

Good morning and good luck!
1) This morning I woke up at 7 o’clock (simple past. The  action is over and maybe it’s now the afternoon!) 2) This morning I’ve woken up at 7 o’clock (present perfect, it’s still morning).
If what I wrote is right, then I can’t understand what is the time limit (maybe 12 o’clock?) that establishes whether the time is OVER or not. After all, we are talking about the same day in both cases :((((((( Thank you! Federica

Just as English mother-tongue speakers really struggle with the subjunctive (congiuntivo) in Italian (because it hardly exists in English), so Italians have great difficulty with these two past tenses in English (because there isn’t an equivalent usage in Italian). There are many Italians who speak excellent English who frequently get this wrong.
In this case, however, you could ONLY use the simple past. Why? Because you have specified a time that is now past: not this morning, but 7 o’ clock!!! Ahah!!!
You can, however, use the present perfect with the verb to wake up. For example: “Has that lazy, good-for-nothing husband of yours woken up yet?” “No, he hasn’t (woken up yet)!” Or: “Yes, he has (woken up)! He woke up at 7 o’clock, as a matter of fact!” Good morning and good luck!

Am I wrong, or do the English put the word “do” in front of the main verb as a form of emphasis? For example, “He does mention the story” or “I do love you!”

Yes, it’s a form of emphasis, although its use is a question of style, rather than a specific point of grammar. We do hope that this helps!

Air Conditioning
How do you say “aria condizionata” in English? In Italian restaurant windows there are various versions: air conditioner, air conditioning, conditioned air....

The correct version is air-conditioning.

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