Loro andrebbero messe in galera.

English Translation

They should be put in jail.

Why is this “should” instead of “would”?


I’m afraid I can’t really explain it in any way. I am reading it as “they should be put in jail” though (as I would “Loro dovrebbero essere messe in galera”). For “would” I would expect “Loro sarebbero state messe in galera” (I guess we’re talking about a group of women?)


I don’t understand it either. Both Google Translate and DeepL translate the Italian sentence to “They should be put in jail.” However, when you input the English sentence, both Google Translate and DeepL translate it to “Dovrebbero essere messi in prigione” (galera).

If you change “they” to “the women,” both translations change “messi” to “messe.”


When andare is used in the passive voice, it indicates that this is how things should be done. My grammar book suggests by way of example;

Eventuali riparazioni vanno effettuate solo dai nostri tecnici qualificati.

Any repairs should be carried out only by our qualified technicians.

However, I don’t think this is a sentence in the passive voice, so I too would have expected dovrebbero essere messe.


@David755502 indeed “andare” can be used instead of the “essere” auxiliary verb in passive constructs, and most of the time this implies that the action is necessary, or at least appropriate.

We often also use “venire” instead of “essere” in a passive construct, but in this case there is no change of meaning compared to the use of “essere”. Or maybe, it just hints to the fact that the action is a process, not a state: for example:
“la mela viene mangiata dal cavallo” (In this case, the fact that there is a process going on is underlined)
“la mela è mangiata dal cavallo” (in this case, maybe we care only for the end result).
On the other hand:
“la mela va mangiata dal cavallo” implies that the apple is supposed to be eaten by the horse.

I have found a video (but there is a transcript too) that has a nice and more detailed explanation, if you want to get a deeper understanding:


Thank you so much for this.


Grazie @mike-lima ! :+1:

Your view on the original sentence would also be much appreciated.

Does the Italian sentence match the English one?


@David755502 yes, the Italian sentence matches the meaning of the English version.

In fact, until @sindaco and @DurhamBull comments, I didn’t actually understand what was supposed to be the problem with the sentence. :smiley:


This is very helpful, thank you!