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Rimanere: Being Impressed and Staying There

In English we use the verbs “to be” and “to get” to mean so many things. "To be" is usually translated into Italian with essere, while "to get" is translated with prendere (to take), diventare (to become), or ricevere (to receive) to name a few. In certain contexts, however, the translation of "to be" or "to get" is the verb rimanere, which usually translates as "to remain" or "to stay," as in the following example.


Come vedi, appaio a rallentatore.

As you can see, I appear in slow motion.

Ma il mio tono di voce rimane lo stesso.

But the tone of my voice remains the same.

Captions 30-31, Yabla-Intro - Irene

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In the example below, we have the past participle of the verb colpire (to hit, to strike, to impress) functioning like an adjective. In this case, English uses the passive form, “to be impressed,” but in Italian the act of being impressed or struck needs a more active verb. In English, to obtain a more active feeling, we might use “to get” or “to become.” Italian uses rimanere, and in this fable, it's in the passato remoto (remote past tense).


Il re rimase colpito.

The king was impressed.

Caption 27, Ti racconto una fiaba - Il gatto con gli stivali

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To get a better feeling of the verb rimanere, we could construe the translation like this:


The king was left dumbfounded. 


In the following example, two co-workers are discussing how to get a raise.


Nel frattempo

In the meantime

gli porti tutti i risultati che lui voleva per il mese successivo,

you show him all the results he wanted to see for the next month,

così lui rimane impressionato, e magari...

that way he'll be impressed, and maybe...

Captions 47-49, Marika spiega - Pettegolezzi in ufficio con Anna

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It’s good to remember that the verb rimanere often goes hand in hand with impressionato (impressed) or even more often, with its synonym colpito.


In the following example, we again have the passive. The English uses the verb “to get,” but in Italian we need rimanere.


Siccome ai quei tempi nel fare l'elettricista

Since in those days in working as an electrician

ci si moriva, si rimaneva fulminati e io amo molto la vita.

you could die from it, you could get electrocuted, and I love life a lot.

Captions 13-14, That's Italy - Episode 1 - Part 4

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It’s important to understand and recognize this use of rimanere, but actually using it comes with time and practice.


Here are a few more past participles as adjectives that often go hand in hand with rimanere in Italian:


rimanere stupito (to be astonished)
rimanere stecchito (to be flabbergasted)
rimanere scioccato (to be shocked)
rimanere sorpreso (to be surprised)
rimanere senza (to be without, to have none left)
rimanere male (to have or to get one's feelings hurt)


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