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Day 3: Relative pronouns

I Chi or che? It is in fact very easy to distinguish between chi and che: their functions within a sentence are very different.

Chi is used in two cases. The first use is in a question, to mean ‘who’. This question can be direct or indirect and chi can be preceded by a preposition. For example:

Chi è arrivato prima alla stazione? [Who arrived first at the station?] Ti hanno detto chi gli ha scritto? [Have they told you who has written to them?] Davvero non so chi sia quel tipo con gli occhiali. [I really don’t know who the guy in the specs is.] Volevo proprio chiederle con chi era uscita ieri sera. [I really wanted to ask her who she had gone out with last night.] Non sa mai per chi compra tutti quei regali, li compra e basta! [S/he never knows who s/he buys all those presents for, s/he just buys them!]

If you are unsure whether a sentence is an indirect question, see if it hides a direct one. For example:

Non siamo riusciti a scoprire di chi è quell’auto rossa. [We haven’t managed to find out who the owner of that red car is.]

is hiding the question: di chi è quell’auto rossa?