Here are a few little traps related to ‘false friends’ – words that are similar in the two languages but have different meanings or are commonly used with different meanings.

Consegnare commonly means to deliver (eg a letter, a bunch of flowers) whereas the English to consign translates as relegare (eg to the history pages) but also spedire/inviare in Italian.

Le ostriche are oysters while the Italian equivalent of the English ostrich is struzzo.

Attaccare/aggredire qualcuno  translates as to attack/assault someone while to attach a document translates as allegare un documento. On the other hand, è molto attaccato a sua madre translates as he/she is very attached to his/her mother

To care for someone translates as prendersi cura di qualcuno and not curare qualcuno which actually means to treat someone – eg Il dott. Rossi la sta curando means Dr Rossi is treating her.

Finally remember verbs that can be transitive (ie with a direct object) or intransitive (ie with an indirect object that requires a preposition) and reciprocal, like the verb incontrare/incontrarsi con. Eg ieri ho incontrato Maria al centro commerciale = yesterday I met Maria at the shopping centre; m’incontro con Maria ogni giovedì per giocare a golf = I meet Maria every Thurs for a game of golf; ci siamo viste per caso = we saw each other by chance (we bumped into each other); ieri ti ho visto al cinema assieme alla tua nuova fidanzata = I saw you at the cinema yesterday with your new girl friend.

Yvette Devlin