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8 Must-Know Typical Italian Expressions + Examples

8 Must-Know Typical Italian Expressions + Examples

8 Must-Know Typical Italian Expressions + Examples

Want to sound like a real Italian?

It's not that difficult you know...

You just have to learn some of the very typical Italian expressions, then go to some lovely Tuscan village and start using them! Not a bad plan, right?

Dai

Very popular Italian word and a very funny one! Literally translated as the English "come on" and pronounced like the word "die" in English. You can use it when you are trying to convince someone to do something, that he/she doesn't really feel like doing. 

Example: "Dai, andiamo al cinema!"- Come on, let's go to the cinema!

You can also use it when trying to push someone to do something:

Example: "Dai, dobbiamo andare!" - Come on, we have to go!

Che palle

This is a very common slang Italian expression which literally means "what balls" and it can be translated in English as "What a pain". It's very used by Italians, however if you want to use be careful, as it might sound a bit rude if you say it to someone older that you or someone that you don't know very well.

Example: "Ho perso le chiavi della macchina, che palle!" - I lost the car keys, what a pain!

Allora

Probably one of the most Italian expressions of all time! It's used by everyone and all the time. It has a lot of meanings - "so", "then", "well".

Examples: "Allora, hai superato l'esame?" - So, did you pass the exam?

"Allora, ci vediamo oggi o no?" - Well, are we going to meet today or not?

"Si è rotta la macchina, allora dobbiamo prendere il treno per andare da nonna." - The car is broken, then we need to take the train to go to grandma. 

Pronto

You've probably heard this one a lot - Pronto?, it literally means "ready" but it's mostly used as a "hello" when answering the phone.

Example: "Pronto, sto cercando la signora Laura." - Hello, I am looking for Mrs Laura. (on the phone)

You can also use it to ask your friend if he is ready. 

Example: "Sei pronto?" - Are you ready?

Capito

Another very popular expression which comes from the verb capire - understand. Capito is its past participle and it means - "understood". Almost every single Italian uses it while speaking as a sort of a confirmation that the other person understands what he/she is saying. Basically like the English " You get what I mean?".

Example: "Non posso venire alla festa di Marco, perché devo lavorare. Capito?" - I can't come to Marco's party because I have to work. Do you get that?

You can also use it when you want to say "I understand you" or " Yeah, I know what you mean" or "I get it". 

Example: A: "Ieri sera mi sono lasciata con Marco perché ho capito che non sono più innamorata di lui." - Last night I broke up with Marco because I realized that I am no longer in love with him.

B: "(Ho) Capito... Anche io ho avuto una storia simile alla tua." - I get that... I also had a relationship similar to yours. 

Magari

This is the Italian version of "I wish", "maybe" and  "if only"

Example: "Ah, magari potessi venire con te" - I wish I could come with you! 

"Magari, ci vediamo questo pomeriggio e ne parliamo?" - Maybe we can see each other this afternoon and talk about it?

Basta

Quite a common expression, which means "enough" and  "that's enough". People use it all the time and you will hear it everywhere: at the local market, on the TV, at the restaurant and etc. 

Examples: "A: Mi può dare un chilo di melanzane per favore? B: Sì certo! Basta così?" - A: Can you please give me a chilo of eggplant? B: Yes, of course! That's enough (is that ok)? 

Meno male

This expression literally means "less bad" but is translated as "thank God" or "good". 

Examples: "Pensavo di essere in ritardo, ma meno male l'appuntamento era prenotato per le 10." - I thought I was late, but thank God the appointment was booked for 10 o'clock. 

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