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Sia and né: Grammar notes

Sia and are two very useful and relatively common Italian words. Sia… sia correspond to the “both… and…”, while né… né… can be translated with “neither… nor…” in English affirmative sentences, or with “either… or….” In English negative sentences. But in Italian né… né… is always used in negative sentences.

From a grammatical point of view, both sia and are connectives, which is a class of words that link clauses and sentences in order to link thoughts and ideas.

Connectives are very important to master in order to develop language skills and fluency, because native speakers tend to not speak in single isolated clauses, but to link clauses together.

Sia and are a kind of connectives, called correlative conjunctions. Correlative conjunctions are always used in pairs and work together (co-) to relate one sentence element to another. The two sentence elements linked by correlative conjunctions must carry equal weight in the sentence and must be of the same grammatical nature. For example, two nouns, two adjectives, two verbs, etc.

Sia… sia…: How to use

Sia… sia… are used to express that two things are both good options. Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Linking two nouns:

Mi piacciono sia i gatti sia i cani.

I like both cats and dogs.

  • Linking two nouns introduced by a preposition:

Questo sito è navigabile sia su computer sia su smartphone.

This website can be browsed both on a computer and on a smartphone.

  • Linking two pronouns:

Marco e Lucia sono una bella coppia. Ho conosciuto sia lui sia lei quando andavo all’università.

Marco and Lucia are a great couple. I met both him and her when I was in university.

  • Linking two adjectives:

Claudia è sia intelligence sia simpatica.

Claudia is both smart and funny.

  • Linking two verbs:

Luigi ama sia dipingere sia scolpire, è un grande artista!

Luigi loves both paining and sculpting, he is a great artist!

Né… né…: How to use

Né… né… re used to express that two things are both not a good option. Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Linking two nouns:

Non posso mangiare pesce frutti di mare, sono allergico.

I can’t eat either fish or seafood, I’m allergic to it.

  • Linking two nouns introduced by a preposition:

Mia sorella non ha parlato con mia madre con mio padre prima di prendere questa decisione.

My sister spoke neither with my mother nor my father before making this decision.

  • Linking two pronouns:

Non ho visto lui lei alla festa.

I saw neither her nor him at the party.

  • Linking two adjectives:

Questo film non è bello interessante.

This movie is neither enjoyable nor interesting.

  • Linking two verbs:

Carlo è molto pigro, non vuole lavorare studiare.

Carlo is very lazy, he does not want to either work or study.

Audio lessons to practice sia and ne

To practice sia and ne, take Lesson 38 of the Italian audio course “Ripeti con me!“.

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