Sia se stessa!

English Translation

Be yourself!

So is this just female form, or is it female because it’s formal?

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Very glad you asked this. I always have problems with this phrase and I’m not sure how it works. Aspettiamo…

I think this is just the female form. I did some checking in a grammar text (Soluzioni: A Practical Grammar of Contemporary Italian, 4th Edition). In this sentence, “sé” is a disjunctive pronoun, also known as a stressed pronoun, which is often used for emphasis or after prepositions. According to the text, “Disjunctives are also used in exclamations and comparisons.” and “For added emphasis, stesso/a/i/e is often used with disjunctive pronouns, including sé (in which case the accent is usually dropped).”

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Mille grazie @DurhamBull. This is most helpful.

I can see that the English sentence on Tatoeba has a number of Italian translations, of which “Sia se stesso!” is presumably the masculine version.

Formal language in Italian is far from easy, especially when it comes to remembering how far to retain the feminine while speaking to gentlemen, without insulting them. That’s one reason why I prefer speaking to ladies :slight_smile:

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Lol! I once wrote “Benvenuta!” to an Italian gentleman who was quite put out so I’ve been careful with my endings ever since.

Passa un buon fine settimana!

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Most likely, it is both formal and addressed to a woman.

It is not technically wrong to declinate the adjective in the female gender with the “Lei” form, but nowadays I think it is more common to say “Sia se stesso” when addressing a man.

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