How to say “in order for” and “so that”: Italian grammar lesson 225

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Key Takeaways

Dive into the nuances of Italian with our guide on when to use affinché, in modo che, and così che. Master the art of the subjunctive and learn how to express hopes, desires, and possibilities like a true Italian scribe!

  • Subjunctive Mood: These phrases demand the subjunctive mood, a fancy verb tense Italians use to express uncertainty or wishful thinking. It’s like saying “May the odds be ever in your favor!” but with verbs. 🎲
  • affinché: Use it when you’re setting up a goal or purpose, kind of like a fairy godmother dictating terms – but instead of a wand, you’ve got a verb. ✨
  • in modo che: Whip this out when you’re aiming for a specific outcome. It’s like setting up dominoes so they fall just right. 🎯
  • così che: It’s the Italian way to ensure things go according to plan. Think of it as your linguistic seatbelt. 🔒
  • Present Subjunctive: Use it to talk about current or future events. It’s like telling your verbs to put on their superhero capes and save the day, right now or very soon! 🦸‍♂️
  • Imperfect Subjunctive: This one’s for the past events. It’s like giving your verbs a time machine so they can go back and express what could’ve been. 🕰️
  • In modo da vs. in modo che: The former is for when the doer and the receiver of the action are the same person. The latter is when you’re talking about different folks. It’s all about who’s doing what to whom! 🤷‍♂️

Quick facts

Why are affinchè, in modo che, and cosicchè rare in spoken Italian?

They require the subjunctive tense, which is complex and often avoided in casual speech.

When should affinchè be used?

Use affinchè when the subject of the main clause differs from the subjunctive clause.

What is the significance of the word "che" in these phrases?

"Che" indicates that the following verb should be in the subjunctive mood.

How do you choose between present and imperfect subjunctive?

Use the present subjunctive for current or future actions and the imperfect for past events.

How do you form the present subjunctive of regular verbs?

Keep the verb root from the present indicative and add specific endings, like "parli" for "parlare."

How do you form the imperfect subjunctive of regular verbs?

Remove the infinitive ending and add specific endings, such as "parlassi" for "parlare."

How does "in modo da" differ from "in modo che"?

"In modo da" is used when the same person performs both actions, while "in modo che" involves different subjects.

Can "per" replace "affinchè"?

No, "per" can only be used when the actions involve the same subject.

What’s an example of affinchè in a sentence?

"Pubblicheremo questo documento affinchè tutti sappiano la verità" means "We'll publish this document so everyone knows the truth."

What’s an example of imperfect subjunctive with cosicchè?

"Hanno pulito la casa cosicchè i genitori non si arrabbiassero" translates to "They cleaned the house so their parents wouldn't get angry."

My Thoughts

When to use affinché, in modo che, or così che?

Affinché, in modo che, and così che are not very common in oral Italian. However, they are in written language.

This is because they require congiuntivo (the subjunctive), which is a complex verb tense, and oral language doesn’t get along very well with complex rules.

We also use these words when we’re referring to someone different from the person we mentioned in the main sentence, like in the example below:

Pulisco io affinché tu possa riposarti.

I can clean so that you can rest.

In the sentence you just read, the person who is going to clean is not the same as the one who is going to rest.

What is the structure of affinché, in modo che, così che?

We usually use the subjunctive to talk about hopes, hypotheses, desires, fears, possibilities, and doubts.

We find it mostly after the main clause and it’s usually preceded by the conjunction che.

As you can see, affinché, in modo che, and così che include the word che, so it’s easy to remember that they have to be followed by the subjunctive.

They trigger either the present subjunctive or the imperfect subjunctive.

As you can probably tell, we use the present subjunctive to talk about events that happen in the present, but also in the future:

Abbasso il volume affinché voi possiate studiare.

I’ll turn down the volume in order for you to be able to study.

And we use the imperfect subjunctive to talk about something that happened in the past:

Mi ha trattato molto bene così che io mi sentissi a mio agio.

She treated me very well so that I felt comfortable.

How to form the present and imperfect subjunctive?

We’re going to give you a quick explanation of how to form the present and imperfect subjunctive of regular verbs.

To form the present of the subjunctive in Italian, you have to keep the root of the verb in the present of the indicative (parl-, ved-, part-)  and add the correct endings, which are in bold in the table below:

parlare vedere partire
io parli veda parta
tu parli veda parta
lui/lei parli veda parta
noi parliamo vediamo partiamo
voi parliate vediate partiate
loro parlino vedano partano

In order to form the imperfect subjunctive in Italian, you have to remove are, –ere, and ire from the infinitive (the base form of the verb) and add the correct endings, which are in bold in the table below:

parlare vedere partire
io parlassi vedessi partissi
tu parlassi vedessi partissi
lui/lei parlasse vedesse partisse
noi parlassimo vedessimo partissimo
voi parlaste vedeste partiste
loro parlassero vedessero partissero

In modo da or in modo che?

To understand better when we use in modo da and when we use in modo che, have a look at the two sentences below and see how they differ:

Parlerò con Anna in modo da capire.

I’ll speak to Anna in order to understand.

Parlerò con Anna in modo che capisca.

I’ll speak to Anna in order for her to understand.

In the first sentence, the person who will speak to Anna and the person who wants to understand is the same.

In the second sentence, the person who will speak to Anna and the person who has to understand (= Anna) are different.

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In the first sentence, we used the set phrase in modo da + infinitive (in order to), whereas in the second one, we used in modo che + subjunctive (in order for X to).

Again, when we use in modo che we have to continue the sentence with a verb in the subjunctive tense.

It’s the same with affinché and così che: they must be followed by the subjunctive.

We could simply say per + infinitive if it weren’t because the person we’re referring to is different from the other person we mention.

Affinché, in modo che, così che + subjunctive: examples

Let’s now have a look at some examples with affinché, in modo che, and così che:

Accompagnalo affinché non faccia tardi.

Go with him so that he’s not late.

Vieni con me in modo che io non sia da sola.

Come with me so that I’m not alone.

Pubblicheremo questo documento affinché tutti sappiano la verità.

We’ll publish this document so that everyone will know the truth.

Hanno pulito la casa così che i genitori non si arrabbiassero.

They cleaned the house in order for their parents not to get angry.

Abbiamo studiato tutta la settimana in modo che il professore fosse orgoglioso di noi.

We studied the whole week so that our teacher was proud of us.

L’ho chiamato affinché potessimo chiarire.

I called him in order for us to make up.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

How to say say in order for and so that in Italian?

There are three different ways: affinché, in modo che, and così che.

What is the structure of affinché, in modo che, così che?

They have to be followed by the present or imperfect subjunctive.

How to form the present subjunctive?

 By keeping the root of the verb in the present of the indicative and add the correct endings

How to form the imperfect subjunctive?

By removing -are, -ere, and -ire from the infinitive and adding the correct endings -assi, -essi, -issi.

In modo da or in modo che?

in modo da + infinitive (=in order to) and in modo che + subjunctive (=in order for X to).

Italian word of the day
l’influenza
Example
Hai la febbre! Sì, mi è venuta l’influenza.
You have a fever! Yes, I got influenza.
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