Leçons Italien

Thèmes

Having to Do with “Having to Do with”: avere a che fare con

In this week’s episode of Commissario Manara, there are two instances of a turn of phrase that’s easy to miss when listening to Italian speech: avere a che fare con (to have to do with, to refer to, to be in relation to, to deal with). Lots of little words all in a row, and when the third person singular present tense is used, mamma mia! It can be difficult to hear ha a in ha a che fare con... But if you know what to listen for, it gets easier. It’s actually not so difficult, because the verb is always avere (to have), which is conjugated according to the subject and time element, and the rest of the expression doesn’t change. Remember that fare means both “to make” and “to do.” 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Manara is questioning a suspect:

 

Lei ci ha detto di non aver mai conosciuto Sianelli e di non avere mai avuto a che fare con la giustizia, giusto?

You told us that you'd never met Sianelli and that you had never had anything to do [been in troublewith the law, right?

Captions 6-7, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP6 - Reazione a Catena

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Later he reports his findings to Lara.

 

E quindi siamo sicuri che ha già avuto a che fare con la vittima in passato.

And so we're certain that he'd already had dealings with the murder victim in the past.

Caption 53, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP6 - Reazione a Catena

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Avere a che fare is rather informal and personal. The subject is accounted for. There's another more impersonal way to say pretty much the same thing: si tratta di (it's about, it has to do with, it means), which we'll cover in another lesson.

Quando vado in città, ho a che fare con tutti tipi di persone.
When I go to the city, I deal with all kinds of people.

The subject can be an idea or fact rather than a person:

La conferenza ha a che fare con il razzismo.
The conference has to do with racism.

This turn of phrase is especially effective in the negative: Remember that double negatives are quite acceptable in Italian.

Non voglio aver niente a che fare con quel tizio.
I don’t want to have anything to do with that guy.

Questo pesto non ha niente a che fare con quello genovese.
This pesto has nothing in common with the Genovese kind.

 

Just for Fun:

Questa lezione ha avuto a che fare con un’espressione comune e informale. Una futura lezione avrà a che fare con altre espressioni che vogliono dire più o meno la stessa cosa. Quando ho a che fare con una nuova espressione, cerco di ripeterla tante volte durante la mia giornata, così diventa parte di me. Non ho a che fare con un cervello giovanissimo! Non vorrei aver niente a che fare con persone che non vogliono imparare.

This lesson was about a common and informal expression. A future lesson will deal with other expressions that mean more or less the same thing. When I’m dealing with a new expression, I try repeating it lots of times during the day. I’m not dealing with a super young brain! I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with people who don’t want to learn.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Expressions

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