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Fare accomodare and accomodarsi

We talked about comodo (comfortable, convenient) and its opposite, scomodo (uncomfortable, inconvenient) in another lesson. In this lesson, we'll talk about a verb that is closely related, but which can be a bit tricky to understand and use: accommodare.  As a matter of fact, we have already talked about this verb in a previous lesson, but it's such a common but tricky, nuanced verb, that we'll have another look.



At first glance, accommodare looks like the verb "to accommodate." In effect, both verbs are related to settling in someplace. In English, we think of accommodations as being places provided for lodging. So we might say the common idea is "comfort." But accomodare is generally not a cognate for "accommodate." For example, a room can accommodate a certain number of people, in that it can hold that number. Or when you try to accomodate someone, you try to make things more convenient for them. That's not how accomodare is used in Italian.


In terms of conversational Italian, one important thing to know is that, more often than not, the verb accomodare is used with the verb fare (to do, to make). In a sense, we're making someone comfortable; we are providing the space for them to get comfortable. It might be a guest room or a seat at the table, a seat in the waiting room, etc.


But if we already know that comodo means comfortable, we might also guess that accomodare means something like "to get comfortable." In a way, it does mean that, but it's more about placing someone or something somewhere. It often means "to sit down," or "to set up," which can be construed as a way of getting comfortable. 

Venite dentro. Non vi posso fare accomodare. Noi qua stiamo traslocando.

Come inside. I can't have you sit down. Here, we are in the midst of moving.

Captions 7-9, I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone EP1 I Bastardi - Part 15

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Note that the English translation uses the verb "to have." If I sleep over at someone's house, and they show me to the guest room, they might say, Ti faccio accomodare qui (I'll have you set up in this room).


Accomodare can also mean repairing something, but we've looked at that in a separate lesson.



The verb accomodare is often used in its reflexive form, accomodarsi, especially in formal situations, such as in an office when someone asks you to come in, sit down, or wait somewhere.

La prossima volta La prego di accomodarsi in corridoio.

Next time, please have a seat in the corridor.

Caption 52, Imma Tataranni Sostituto procuratore S1 EP2 Come piante fra sassi - Part 13

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Where this verb can be tricky is in its imperative form, used quite a bit in conversation. In the following example, the speaker is addressing Mrs. Casadio formally. Sometimes accomodarsi can mean "have a seat," but sometimes it just means, "Come in."


Signora Casadio, prego, si accomodi.

Missus Casadio, please have a seat.

Caption 21, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP4 - Miss Maremma

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Or it might just mean you can't be where you are, you have to find another spot.

Si accomodi fuori, non si può stare qui. -Ostacolo.

Step outside. You can't stay here. -Obstacle.

Caption 71, Non è mai troppo tardi EP 2 - Part 11

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Here, in the formal version, the reflexive particle si is separate from the verb. But it works differently when using the imperative informally, as we see in the example below.


Here, the reflexive particle ti (the object pronoun "you") is attached to the verb, but the information is the same as in the previous example (si accomodi). And make sure to put the accent on the first in accomodati or listen carefully to the example.


Scusami, è libero?

Pardon me, is this place free?

Sì certo, accomodati. -Posso? -Sì sì... -Grazie.

Yes, sure, have a seat. -May I? -Sure... -Thanks.

Captions 2-3, Milena e Mattia - L'incontro

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The same goes for the second-person plural (informal). The particle vi is attached to the verb. 

Romano, Di Nardo, accomodatevi che abbiamo appena cominciato.

Romano, Di Nardo, have a seat, as we have just begun.

Caption 2, I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone EP2 Rabbia - Part 3

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Here, the stress is on the second a, as in the infinitive, accomodare


While fare accomodare is used quite a bit, we can also use modal verbs such as potere (to be able to), dovere (to have to), volere (to want to). The example below uses formal speech. 

Comunque se si vuole accomodare, se vuole fare una prova...

Anyway, if you want to come in, if you want to try it out...

Caption 55, Provaci ancora prof! S2EP2 Una mina vagante - Part 18

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Accomodare is used a lot in hotels, restaurants, doctors' offices, people's houses, and places you might visit, so it might be a good idea to practice using this verb if you intend to do any traveling in Italy. Try imagining scenarios in which you might want to seat someone or ask where you can sit. 

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