Thanks to and because of (fault) – Italian grammar lesson 187

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Grazie a and per colpa di

In Italian, we can express the cause (and effect) of something in different ways. In this lesson, we’re going to focus on the equivalents of “thanks to” and “because of“: grazie a and per colpa di.

Grazie a has a positive connotation which indicates the effect is positive, whereas per colpa di has a negative connotation since it’s used when we want to talk about something or someone’s fault, and the effect is negative.

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Grazie a

As we already mentioned, grazie a can be translated literally as thanks to. So, it’s basically used when we’re thankful for something or someone because they caused something positive.

As usual, the preposition “a” sometimes changes in terms of gender and number depending on what we’re referring to. Let’s have a look at some examples:

Grazie a Laura, ho trovato un lavoro.

Thanks to Laura, I found a job.

Sto meglio, grazie ai miei amici.

I feel better, thanks to my friends.

Grazie a questa opportunità, ho imparato tantissimo.

Thanks to this opportunity, I learned a lot.

Grazie allo sforzo di tutti, la situazione sta migliorando.

Thanks to everyone’s effort, the situation is getting better.

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Per colpa di

Interestingly, this expression doesn’t have a direct equivalent in English. We can translate it as “because of” but in Italian, per colpa di carries additional negative meaning.

Basically, we use it when we want to blame something or someone because they caused something negative, so it was something or someone’s fault.

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In this case, it is the preposition “di” that might change depending on the gender and noun of what we’re referring to. Here are some examples:

Per colpa di mio fratello, non posso uscire.

Because of my brother, I cannot go out. (= It’s his fault that I cannot go out.)

Per colpa della scuola, non ho tempo di fare niente.

Because of school, I don’t have time to do anything. (= It’s the school’s fault that I don’t have time to do anything.)

Per colpa dei miei amici, non siamo andati al cinema.

Because of my friends, we didn’t go to the cinema. (= It was my friends’ fault that I didn’t go to the cinema.)

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Per colpa mia/tua/sua…

We can also talk about our fault/his fault/their fault. In this case, we don’t need the preposition “di“. We just add a possessive adjective right after colpa.

Since the word colpa is feminine singular, we need a feminine singular possessive adjective. In case you don’t remember, here they are: mia, tua, sua, nostra, vostra, loro.

Here are some examples:

Per colpa mia, i miei hanno sgridato mia sorella.

Because of me, my parents told my sister off.

Per colpa tua, non vado in vacanza.

Because of you, I’m not going on holiday.

Per colpa sua, devo stare a casa.

Because of him/her, I have to stay home.

Per colpa loro, non posso uscire.

Because of them, I cannot go out.

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