Hi,

Here goes the long story... Yesterday, I was talking with a girl from England who's been living here for nearly a year. She told me she was looking for an organization to join here, and on the basis of her background and beliefs I suggested she should join an Italian organization against death penalty named "Nessuno tocchi Caino" (sort of "Nobody is allowed to touch Cain", but in the imperative, so stronger, more emphatic and possibly literary). Even though she has a reasonable command of Italian, she couldn't understand that grammar structure in Italian, so I tried to translate it (and I did it, albeit with a long paraphrase).

However, that left me with a question: how do we express imperative mood in the third person (either plural or singular)? In Italian, the imperative mood only exists in the first plural person and in the second person, while for the third person (both singular and plural) we use the present subjunctive to express the idea of command or prohibition.
Let me try to write down some examples:
  • (2nd singular, command) Mangia la mela => Eat the apple
  • (2nd plural, command) Mangiate la mela => Eat the apple
  • (2nd singular, prohibition) Non mangiare la mela => Don't eat the apple
  • (2nd plural, prohibition) Non mangiate la mela => Don't eat the apple
Now, when I want to tell Mary what [John | John and Tom | nobody | everybody] must do, is that possible without any modal verb, using the imperative mood?
Which (if any) of the following would be fine?
  • (3rd singular, command) (che John) mangi la mela => John eat his apple [... hmm, don't think so, it could easily be mistaken for infinitive, right?] | Let John eat his apple (?)
  • (3rd plural, command) (che John e Tom) mangino la mela => John and Tom eat their apples (?) | Let John and Tom eat their apples (?)
  • (3rd plural, command) (che tutti) mangino la mela => Everybody eat their apples | Let everybody eat their apples (?)
  • (3rd, prohibition) (che) nessuno mangi la mela => Nobody eat their apples | Let nobody eat his apple (???) | Don't anybody eat their apples
(I've done a bit of search, but couldn't find anything both extensive and reliable Emotion: sad)

Back to the original question, how should I have translated the name of that organization?
Nessuno tocchi Caino => Let nobody touch Cain | Don't anybody touch Cain | Nobody touch Cain (???)

Also, if you happen to know of any relevant references, please post them here.

Thank you! Emotion: smile
1 2 3
You can do that in English only with a few indefinite pronouns. Nobody move! Nobody touch Cain! Everybody sing together now! Someone do something quick, before we're all killed! Don't anybody eat those poison apples! And with you: You do it; I don't want to.
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Otherwise, your translation with let (the "official translation") or another with some other word might be used, but none of these has the force of an imperative to my ear -- not even in Italian -- but that's more your shtick than mine!
Let John eat the apple. John should eat the apple. John should have to eat the apple.

____
I don't know any references, off-hand.
CJ
Good subeject. I really want to learn if there is any other than "let".

The imperative mood can be used for all the persons except for the first singular and first plural in Turkish as well. Actually there is a linguistical explanation for the imperative mood for the first singular person

Emotion: smile
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Califjim, when ı was writing my post, you had already posted it.

Thanks for it
Hey Tanit,
I guess what you call "third person imperative" is not an imperative, but actually a subjunctive in Italian. (Congiuntivo: Che io tocchi, che tu toccassi, che lui tocchi... ok, I don't know Italian, sorry, don't laugh, LOL)

And the only way I have found to translate those kinds of expressions the most literal way as possible is using the verb "may", or "let", or something else, depending on the context.

Che vada all'inferno! -> May he go to hell!
Nessuno tocchi Caino! -> Nobody touch Caino!

In informal English, I would use completely different structures than in Italian though, and I am used to that already. Emotion: smile
Hi CJ,

Somehow, I "knew" you'd have stepped in here. Emotion: smile
CalifJimYou can do that in English only with a few indefinite pronouns. Nobody move! Nobody touch Cain! Everybody sing together now! Someone do something quick, before we're all killed! Don't anybody eat those poison apples!
I find this particularly helpful, because I hadn't come across any practical suggestions like this one.

CalifJim ... your translation with let (the "official translation") or another with some other word might be used, but none of these has the force of an imperative to my ear -- not even in Italian -- ...
I am very glad my intuition got this one right. I read some sentences with "let" in one of my reference books, but I had a feeling they were weaker Emotion: smile

Thank you very much! I guess I need some time to digest your post completely, but it's a great starting point. Emotion: smile
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Hi K.,
KooyeenI guess what you call "third person imperative" is not an imperative, but actually a subjunctive in Italian.
Did you really read my post? Emotion: sad
TanitIn Italian, the imperative mood only exists in the first plural person and in the second person, while for the third person (both singular and plural) we use the present subjunctive to express the idea of command or prohibition.
OK, maybe it was too long...

Emotion: crying
Tanit(3rd singular, command) (che John) mangi la mela => John eat his apple [... hmm, don't think so, it could easily be mistaken for infinitive, right?] | Let John eat his apple (?)
I made a mistake in the quoted sentence ... I meant "indicative", not "infinitive". Sorry.
TanitIn Italian, the imperative mood only exists in the first plural person and in the second person, while for the third person (both singular and plural) we use the present subjunctive to express the idea of command or prohibition.
Same in Spanish. "Nobody move!" => "Que nadie se mueva" (reflexive verb by the way). Also, in the second person the subjunctive is used as a stronger follow-up if the imperative is ignored. "Shut up!" => "Cállate"; "Will you shut up!" => "Que te calles". In my opinion, "nobody", in the above context, in english, is not really third person, but second person plural, meaning "not any one of you". Anyway I think your suggestion, "Nobody touch cain" is good because it reflects the feel invoked even if the mood doesn't correspond in both languages.
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