Io sono venuto per parlare con lei.

English Translation

I’ve come to talk with you.

What is the rule these days on capitalizing Lei when it used to mean “You” as it does here? I have seen it in some examples capitalized even though it is not the first word of a sentence. But obviously here it is not capitalized. Is it optional these days?


I would regard this as being either a typo or a mistranslation. This explanation from the Assimil Italian With Ease course book explains it well, I think:

In formal situations, such as speaking to a stranger (like a waiter in a café), the third-person singular Lei (you) is used, and therefore the verb is conjugated in the third person singular (i.e. for he, she, it ). This may seem strange, but originates from past centuries when Lei was used to refer to ‘Your Lordship’. Note that Lei is often capitalized to avoid confusion with “lei”, the pronoun for “she”.

Now that said… in everyday writing the rule isn’t always assiduously applied. That doesn’t make it obsolete, however, because without it there is the possibility of confusion.

So to me, EITHER the translation should be “I’ve come to talk with HER”, OR the sentence should be " Io sono venuto per parlare con Lei."


Thanks for confirming what I thought was true about capitalizing Lei for a formal you