Proofing Italian

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Languages: English Italiano

Variations to the Guidelines


Italian apostrophe use has changed over time, so we do not match the scan unless the Project Comments say so.

When do we remove the space after an apostrophe?

If the sequence is

consonant + apostrophe + vowel or consonant + apostrophe + h

we usually remove the space.

Examples: l'acqua; c'è; s'intitola; v'erano; ch'ell'abbia; l'hai detto; quell'hotel; s'ha da fare.

If the sequence is

vowel + apostrophe + consonant or, rarely, vowel + apostrophe + vowel

we usually do not remove the space.

Examples: po' d'aria; a' piedi; e' disse, ne' boschi; po' antiquato; i' ebbi.

End-of-line apostrophe

When we remove the space after an apostrophe, we rejoin the words on the upper line, as we do for end-of-line hyphens:

Original text:

Allora vedendo quell'
uffiziale, che trasportati dal-
l' ira, avevano i termini del dovere, ecc.

Proofread text:

Allora vedendo quell'uffiziale,
che trasportati dall'ira,
avevano i termini del dovere, ecc.

Obviously this is not necessary where the space after the apostrophe remains:

Original text:

Dalle finestre entrava un po'
d'aria fresca.

Proofread text:

Dalle finestre entrava un po'
d'aria fresca.


The ditto symbol is usually found in tables of contents. Please use the closing guillemet » for this.

Original text:

 Chapter 1		Page	 1
    „    2		  „	10
    „    3		  „     17

Proofread text:

 Chapter 1		Page	 1
    »    2		  »	10
    »    3		  »     17


When proofing ellipsis, we match the scan as set out in the Guidelines for proofing ellipsis in LOTE [1].


The various types of "double quotes" are replaced in proofing by «guillemets» or »guillemets«, according to how they appear in the original. These are available from the drop-down menus in the proofing interface or via keyboard shortcuts, which will vary according to your operating system and keyboard layout.

Occasionally there will be more than one type of quote used. For example you may see both «guillemets» and "double quotes" or “upper-and-lower quotes„ in the same project. Please ask in the Project Thread for instructions on how to handle these.

Tips for more accurate proofing


Old usage

In older Italian books the use of grave and acute accents is often different from modern usage: we see perchè, finchè, veritá, cosí, where in modern Italian we write perché, finché, verità and così, marking the way we pronounce closed or open "e", and always using the grave accent on "a" and "i".

The general rule is to match the scan even if it looks odd, unless the Project Comments say otherwise.

The circumflex accent ^, sometimes hard to spot, is often used on the final i in the plural form of words ending in "io" (vario – varî; centenario – centenarî). It is in place of the -ii. Another way of writing this plural is using -j (varj, centenarj)

Accent or a speck on the page?

Pay attention to the following pairs of words, which are easily confused and whose meaning changes when they are accented:

no accent meaning accent meaning
che who, which, that ché why (truncated perché)
colto cultivated còlto caught
da from he/she gives
dai (da + i) from the dài give! imperative
di of day
e and è is
fra in between frà friar (truncated frate, usually written fra')
la the (feminine) there
li them there
ne of it, of them; pronoun neither/nor
se if him/herself
si him/herself, reflexive pronoun yes; so
te you (object pronoun) tea (the drink)
volta time vòlta turned
vôlta vault

Apostrophe or a speck on the page?

We usually put an apostrophe at the end of verbs which are monosyllabic in the 2nd person singular of the imperative. Originally there was an "i" which has been discarded, leaving the apostrophe in its place. For example vai (go) becomes va', and in the same way stai –> sta', fai –> fa'.

Rule If the verb is in the present indicative, 3rd person singular form (lui, lei) it does not take an apostrophe. If the verb is in the imperative (indicates command) 2nd person singular (tu) it needs an apostrophe


  • fa – 3rd person present indicative "Marco fa i suoi compiti". Marco is doing his homework.
  • fa' – 2nd person imperative "Marco, fa' i tuoi compiti!". Marco, do your homework!


You can find a list of common Italian scannos at Scanno in italiano.