Non ho proprio nessuna scelta.

The Tatoeba sentence uses alcuna instead of nessuna. I wonder why it was changed.

Interesting, I can’t even find any sentence with “nessuna scelta”, nor see in this sentence’s history that it was changed, to me it just looks added and linked.

I have come across some cases where Italians use a double negative (for emphasis?).

A quick search on the word reference forums does turn up some constructions along the lines of non + nessuno/nessuna (e.g. here, here and here), but even more interesting, a link to a discussion of non + nessuno/a versus alcuno/a, which is what I had been initially looking for.

Where there are a number of different opinions regarding this, one being it is only used as follows:

Anzi, al singolare dovrebbe essere usato quasi esclusivamente nelle frasi negative, con il valore di nessuno.

Some discussion on double negatives always cancelling out, counters of Italian not working in quite such a mathematical way, and the compromise between the two that suggests it might have become accepted usage, even if technically incorrect:

’ Non ho nessuna penna da prestarti’
Questa frase letteralmente è sbagliata perchè due negazioni (non + nessuna) danno luogo a un’affermazione, quindi il significato diventa che ‘ho qualche penna da prestarti’ cosi come quando si dice ‘non c’è nessuno’ il realtà vuol dire che c’è qualcuno.

Circa il fatto che l’italiano, più di altre lingue, non rispetta rigorosamente l’algebra (“non ho mangiato niente” dovrebbe significare “ho mangiato qualcosa” ma non è così)

Spesso diciamo: “Non ho comprato nessun libro”, me secondo una scuola di pensiero la doppia negazione in una frase, in italiano, confermerebbe. Così, la frase: “Non ho visto nessuno” si renderebbe più corretta con “Non ho visto alcuna persona”.
Ovviamente tra la grammatica e le parlate popolari c’è sempre un pochino di differenza… Talvolta errori popolari diventano regole…
Perciò è molto più usato: “Non ho visto nessuno”, “Non ho comprato nessun libro”, etc.

And again others stating that it has to do with whether it appears after the verb:

Se l’elemento negativo (poniamo, nessuno ) si trova dopo il verbo, allora bisognerà anche usare la negazione preverbale non.

Es. Nessuno ti ha chiamato. → Non ti ha chiamato nessuno .

In registri più formali, tuttavia, si può usare la negazione di frase non e, dopo il verbo, il quantificatore alcuno , in luogo di nessuno .

Non c’era nessuna traccia di pentimento in lui. → Non vi era alcuna traccia di pentimento in lui.


Ciao @morbrorper Mi chiedo se forse “nessuna” sia più enfatica? Altrimenti non sono sicura.

A dopo…

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My grammar book doesn’t even mention alcun or alcuna, only nessun and nessuna, so the latter pair is probably the safest choice for the learner.


by now, need to now what that grammar book is. Probabilmente, will get all my answers there. Semplicemente curios.

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Ciao @barcarolle. I use several but find helpful the Berlitz Italian Grammar Handbook. There are probably those more 2020, but this works for me. In bocca al lupo.


Ciao @morbrorper. You’re so right. I have alcuno (any) and alcuni (some) written on an orange postit to try and get the variations dentro la testa.

A dopo…


“Modern italiensk grammatik”, by Edström, Hedenquist and Forsgren, ISBN 91-21-06243-9. The 1979 edition. It’s in Swedish. :slightly_smiling_face:


My grammar book is “A Modern Italian Grammar” by Frederic J. Jones, ISBN 0 340 15637 6, second edition with revisions, 1981. It’s a grammar reference and course book combined.

In the section on the partitive article, it includes a footnote when it discusses the use of nessuno, -a for the negative.

The footnote states:-
Alcuno, -a is occasionally employed instead of nessuno, -a in this function.

However, students are advised not to use this form
(my emphasis)

I shall therefore take Mr. Jones advice, and not use the alcuno, -a form.


I like this one (as recommended by Civis Romanus!)

Hmm, I can’t get the link to work from here, but if you cut and paste it without the “ “ it should work.


Ciao @David755502 Come va? Tried it without the " " but no joy. Will try another route. You could use the little pencil symbol to edit out the ", that might work.

Laters (as they say) a dopo…

Ciao @Floria7 sto bene e tu?

Very annoying.

Anyway the book is;
Modern Italian Grammar - A practical guide
Second Edition
Anna Proudfoot and Francesco Cardo


Thanks @David755502! I had borrowed this one from the library too at some point (along with a lot of others), though wasn’t ready for grammar yet at that point, so never really had a proper look at it.

The link worked just fine for me, clicking on it I only had to remove the final " at the end.

Also for the moment in the preview it seems to work like this.

if you want to try again @Floria7?

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Grazie @sindaco I’ve removed the final “ and I think my link works now? Yours is not working for me, the same problem I had. Odd.

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Thank you all for your replies! I have my Complete Italian grammar by Marcel Danesi. Mc Graw Hill. From what I can tell , I will not get all my answers there, but if I know that book from the first to the last page, I will be in a good shape. I will leave the nuances for later when I am ready for them. So, I guess ,I will stick with it for now. Again, the best is the enemy of the good.


@David755502 Bingo! Senza la " at the end it worked perfectly. Thanks so much, this is an excellent guide and more up-to-date than my yellow Berlitz.

Grammar can actually be fun, I think, particularly with the Grammar exercises here;-) I make them a habit now together with the “real voices” Listening.

Mille grazie di nuovo Davide!


@sindaco Mille grazie! This came up “Page not available” but David’s attachment worked eventually. So we got there in the end.

Talking Grammar, on my latest FT round I found lots of Clitics and suddenly the sentences seemed longer and more difficult, so it looks like Cloze is moving me on, great fun.

Stammi bene eh! Floria.

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Funny, now your link does actually work for me!

I never checked my link, but it showed the automatic preview with correct title and all, so I assumed it was working, but mine also didn’t work in the end. From grammar mysteries to forum link mysteries.

I also updated mine like this, and I think that hopefully works too finally.

Either way, definitely a sign to focus more of my current efforts on grammar :wink: I think I’m finally ready to gain further comprehension from dedicated grammar book efforts after all the amazing dedicated collections and even just overall “feeling” gained from the general cloze sentences and Listening here!