Smettere and fermare are two verbs that might confuse English speakers at first because in English the translation for both verbs is always “to stop”.
However, in Italian, as you might have already guessed, smettere and fermare hold distinct meanings and applications.
So, today you will learn how to use smettere and fermare in Italian properly.
“Smettere” is a verb that primarily conveys the idea of ceasing or quitting an action, habit, or behavior. It generally is a personal decision. “Smettere” implies discontinuing an activity or stopping a particular action altogether. Here are some key aspects of “smettere”:
– “Smettere” is typically used with infinitive verbs and it’s always followed by the preposition di. For example:
“Fermare,” on the other hand, primarily means halting or stopping something in its tracks. It often implies a more external force or action that brings about the cessation of movement or an activity. So, it’s frequently used for physically stopping objects, people, vehicles, or actions in motion. For instance:
Of course, while “fermare” can imply a complete halt, it can also suggest a temporary pause or interruption. It depends on the context in which it’s used.
Moreover, as you can notice from the examples above, fermare is generally followed by a direct object. It can’t be followed by an infinitive.
– “Fermare” can used with direct objects. For example:
Let’s compare some sentences:
To further clarify the difference between “smettere” and “fermare,” let’s look at some examples:
In this sentence, “smettere” indicates a personal decision to stop reading, emphasizing the action of quitting voluntarily.
“Fermare” is used to express the action of physically do something to stop the printer.
“Smettere” emphasizes the individual’s decision to quit doing something she had been doing for a long time for health reasons.
In this case, “fermare” is used to express the action of physically halting the dog from escaping.
So do you think you’ve understood the difference or avete smesso di leggere l’articolo dopo pochi paragrafi? (or did you stop reading the article after a few paragraphs?).
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