Credere di: Italian grammar lesson 190

Think of the difference between to think and to believe. In Italian, we have a similar difference: pensare and credere. Even though credere literally means to believe, we tend to use it with the sense of to think. We can say credere on its own, but we can also say credere di and credere che.

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Credere di

In today’s post, we’re going to focus on when we say credere di. And, just so you know, the same rules apply for pensare di.

Have a look at the following example:

Noi non crediamo di potere andare in vacanza.

We don’t think we can go on holiday.

As you can see, in English we didn’t translate “non crediamo di” as “don’t think of” but just as “didn’t think”, since otherwise, it would just sound odd.

When to use credere di

When do we say credere di?

You might be wondering why, then, we use credere di instead of just credere or credere che.

Basically, we use credere di when we want to carry on talking about another action and, thus, we use another verb in the infinitive (its base form, like potere).

Also, we use credere di when the subject in the first clause is the same as the subject in the second clause, as you can see below:

(1) Noi non crediamo di (2) potere andare in vacanza.

(1) We don’t think (2) we can go on holiday.

The subject is noi (we) in both clauses: the people who “don’t think” are the same who cannot “go on holiday”.

However, in Italian we don’t need to add a subject in the second clause (right after di) because, for us, it’s obvious it’s the same as the one in the first clause.

Here’s the structure:

  • Subject +  credere or pensare conjugations+di + verb in the infinitive

By the way, after di we can use the present infinitive (e.g.: mangiare) or the past infinitive (e.g.: aver mangiato), depending on whether we’re referring to the present or the past.

When to use credere di in Italian

When do we say credere che?

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We wouldn’t use credere di if the subject in the first clause was different to the subject in the second clause, like in the sentence below:

(1) Noi non crediamo che (2) loro possano andare in vacanza.

(1) We don’t think (2) they can go on holiday.

In this case, the subject is noi (we) in the first clause and loro (they) in the second clause, so we cannot use credere di. We use credere che instead.

But don’t worry about credere che for now.

Just make sure you understand when we use credere di.

Credere di when to use

Credi di: examples

Let’s now have a look at some more examples:

Credi di essere divertente?

Do you think you’re funny?

Credo di volere venire anche io.

I think I want to come too.

Cosa credete di fare?

What do you think you’re doing?

Credo di aver capito.

I think I understood.

Non credono di aver fatto nulla di grave.

They don’t think they did anything serious.

Lei crede di aver fatto la cosa giusta.

She thinks she did the right thing.

Non credo di mangiare tanto.

I don’t think I’m eating too much.

Credere di when to use in Italian

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FAQs on Credere di: Italian grammar lesson 190

What is the meaning of "credere"?

It literally means to believe but in Italian is used with the sense of to think.

When do we use "credere di"?

When we want to carry on talking about another action and when the subject in the first clause is the same as the subject in the second clause.

How's the structure of "credere di"?

Subject +  credere or pensare conjugations + di + past or present infinitive. Note that in Italian adding a subject in the second clause is not necessary because it's implicit.

When do we use "credere che"?

When the subject in the first clause is different to the subject in the second clause.

Stefano

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