This lesson is essentially about the formal (or polite) way of saying “you” in Italian. Lei is the formal way of saying “you” as the subject of a verb. It must be capitalized, otherwise it means “she”.
The general rule is that if you’re talking to an unknown person older than you, you should respectfully use the formal Lei. While nothing is absolutely set in stone, it’s best practice to apply this same rule when speaking to the following:
- Doctors in the hospital
- Lawyers in their offices
- Your bosses at work
- Professors at universities
Not using Lei in these circumstances could potentially be considered disrespectful.
|preghiamo||we beg (ask)|
|Chi è Lei?||Who are you?|
|La prego di arrivare presto.||I beg you to arrive soon.|
|La preghiamo di entrare.||We beg you to enter.|
|La prego di entrare.||I beg you to enter.|
|La preghiamo di venire con noi.||We beg you to come with us.|
|Voglio parlare con Lei.||I want to speak with you.|