Lei è una delle donne più interessanti che io abbia mai conosciuto!

English Translation

You’re one of the most interesting women I’ve ever met!

I am surprised by the congiuntivo here.
I don’t want to express any doubt here and I do not see a “trigger” word in the main sentence.

Ciao. Is it perhaps to do with “emotion”? I would tend to go with the congiuntivo here. Cosa ne pensi?


I would say it’s the superlative + mai that’s the trigger. It’s similar in Spanish.


Hmm, credo che il superlativo sia molto importante no? :wink:


Seems that you are right.
I came across another similar example, again with a superlative and “mai”.
“Questa è la cosa più stupida che io abbia mai fatto.”

Here. I can understand the congiuntivo,because “This is the most stupif thing I might have ever done.” is not far off, wehereas the “doubtful compliment” in the original sentence sounds simply unpolite to my non Italain ears.

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It’s probably because the sentence expresses an impression, opinion or feeling. My grammar text lists three types in this category:

  • Expressing emotion and feeling
  • Expressing thoughts, beliefs, and impressions
  • Expressing value judgements

The examples provided in the text generally don’t include superlatives.


My grammar book has this example: “È il film più interessante che io ho / abbia visto”. According to the book, the choice of subjunctive or indicative depends on whether the speaker wants to emphasize the personal aspect (subjunctive) or state a fact (indicative).


I am not sure what you are regarding as “doubtful compliment”. The sentence is not impolite in the least.

Maybe “mai” is the confusing word? It can mean “never” or “ever”, depending on… a few things. In this case it simply translates the “ever” of the English version.


Sorry, I should have marked it at least with a :wink:
Why did I think it’s funny?
Do you want to state a fact (indicative) or do you want to state a personal opinion (subjunctive)?
Of course, a compliment is a personal opinion, but you usually don’t state is as such:

“An angel is like you, and you are like an angel” : … maybe … just my personal opinion … never seen an angel …:grinning:

The last thing I wanted to say is that the Italians do know how to make compliments.
I had to “shield” my wife once in a while: “Non è una signorina, è mia moglie” “Che peccato!”.