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This is one of my favorites, a beautiful and agreeable greeting that we affectionately say to our friends.

 

Grammatically speaking we use the particle mi to indicate the presence of the reflexive form with the verb stare, which normally doesn’t require it.

We can see this in other phrases where the use of the reflexive conveys the emotional participation of the speaker:

 

            Questa sera mi faccio un bel bagno caldo.

            (This evening I will take a nice hot bath.)

 

            Ci fumiamo una sigaretta?

            (Shall we smoke a cigarette?)

 

            Per cena mi mangio una bella bistecca.

            (For dinner I will eat a nice steak.)

 

Normally the verbs “fare” “fumare” “mangiare” don’t have a

reflexive form and certainly you can also say:

          Questa sera faccio un bel bagno caldo.

          Fumiamo una sigaretta?

          Per cena mangio una bella bistecca.

 

without the reflexive particles. The meaning won’t change.

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Comment by Francesca Gaspari on December 24, 2012 at 1:22pm

Ciao Francine!

Si', al plurale diciamo "statemi bene" quando parliamo a piu' di una persona.

Buone Feste!

Comment by Francine Brevetti on December 23, 2012 at 9:08pm

if you want to say it in the plural, would you say statemi bene???

Comment by Francesca Gaspari on August 26, 2011 at 9:28pm

Ciao Samantha,

I understand your point, however I have to disagree with you. It's an idiomatic expression and it can't be translated it literally. It's considered "reflexive" because when I say to a friend "stammi bene" it feels like I am becoming emotionally involved with his well being, and I state my emotional participation. This is one of those idiomatic expressions that has to be "felt" and it's not always easy for a student of Italian to grasp the nuances. I also have to add that in napoletan dialect they use the expression "statti" or "statte"...I am not sure if I spelled it correctly.

 

Comment by Samantha Riesenfeld on August 26, 2011 at 8:37pm

Hi Francesca!

I think David is right -- the use of the pronoun does not seem to be reflexive here. If it were reflexive, it would be "Statti bene" (or "Mi sto bene"). It seems it is just a nice idiom, something like "Take care of yourself for me".

-Sam

Comment by Francesca Gaspari on August 15, 2011 at 9:08pm

Ciao David,

to answer your question. "Stammi bene" is an idiomatic expression of a "lingua viva". It's not possible to translate it and analize it. It really means "mantieniti in forma". You can also say "stai bene" but in "stammi bene" version there is an emotional partecipation of the speaker and that is why we use the word reflexive. The translation in English would be "Take care of yourself". I understand your question but with the lingua parlata you just have to learn it and use it. This is one of those expressions that probably don't make much sense therefore I tell my students that it's better not to analize it.

Spero che tu stia bene. A presto e grazie per il commento!

Comment by David Singer on August 15, 2011 at 12:38am
this feels rather strange...it doesn't seem reflexive as it uses the second-person imperative (sta) with a first-person pronoun (mi).  Why is the pronoun first person and not second?
Comment by Francesca Gaspari on August 11, 2011 at 11:16am

To be clear: the expressions "stai bene" (familiar), "stia bene" (formal) and "stammi bene" (also familiar),

in Italian really mean "mantieniti in buona forma" and it's one way to say "take care of yourself" in English.

 

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