Think of the difference between “to think” and “to believe”.
Well, 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”.
In Italian, we can say credere on its own, but we can also say credere di and credere che.
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 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 (unlike in English), 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 + conjugated verb of credere or pensare+ 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 do we say credere che?
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.
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.
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