Italian Language Blog

Colloquial Italian – 3: Proprio, Senz’altro, Volentieri Posted by on Jan 26, 2010 in Italian Language

In my ‘Colloquial Italian’ blogs (see: Colloquial Italian – 1 and Colloquial Italian -2) I choose words that we Italians use all the time in everyday speech, but which are often overlooked in language classes and text books. Here then are another three words that you will hear a lot in Italy, and which, if you learn to use them properly, will make your spoken Italian sound more natural.

Proprio is an emphatic word which has the meaning of ‘really’, ‘exactly’, or ‘just’. For example:

Questa camicia ti sta proprio bene (That shirt really suits you)

Avevi proprio ragione, quel film era veramente noioso (You were exactly right, that film was really boring)

Leo è proprio un bravo musicista (Leo is really a good musician)

Mirella è arrivata proprio adesso (Mirella has just arrived)

L’incidente è sucesso proprio così (The accident happened exactly like that)


Senz’altro: another emphatic expression meaning ‘certainly’, ‘by all means’, ‘of course’, or ‘definitely’. For example:

È stato senz’altro un esame difficile (It was definitely a difficult exam)

Marco: Posso prendere in prestito questo libro? Giulio: Sì, senz’altro! (Marco: Can I borrow this book? Giulio: Yes, of course!)

Pietro: Vieni con noi stasera in discoteca? Silvia: Sì, senz’altro! (Pietro: Are you coming to the disco with us this evening? Silvia: Yes, certainly!)


Volentieri: means ‘with pleasure’, or ‘gladly’. For example:

Marco: Venite da noi questo finesettimana? Giorgio: Sì, volentieri (Marco: Are you coming to our house this weekend?  Giorgio: Yes, with pleasure)

Adriano: Ti va un buon caffè? Paolo: Sì, volentieri (Adriano: Do you fancy a nice coffee? Paolo: Yes, with pleasure)

Se ti serve una mano ti aiuterò volentieri (If you need a hand I’ll gladly help you)


Alla prossima

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  1. Nastaran:

    ciao! grazie per il tuo posto utile.
    queste spiegazioni mi aiutera’ senz’altro 😉

  2. cinzia:

    Ciao Serena! No wonder these words are often not found as standard text book material. They are so difficult to translate. Che ne dici di “you were right on the money” as a translation for “avevi proprio ragione”? Non so se viene usato in the UK ma qui negli States da enfasi.
    Volentieri, as a one-word response…I see it a bit like “I’d love to” 🙂

  3. Serena:

    Salve Nastaran, sono contenta che il blog ti sia utile.

    Auguri da Serena

  4. Serena:

    Ciao Cinzia, I’ve heard the expression “you were right on the money” in American films, but I never heard it used in England. It seems like a good translation of “avevi proprio ragione”. “I’d love to” is also a good way of translating “volentieri” as a one word response. More colloquial Italian to follow soon.

    A presto, Serena

  5. Nikki:

    Thank you so much for this post. “Proprio” has been something that’s been confusing me for a while, even though I looked it up in numerous places. Your explination just clicked with me.


  6. Capitano:

    More Colloquial Italian posts! These are very useful.

  7. Bill Rohwer:

    Great post, Serena! You’re so right that these expressions populate everyday conversations in Italia but are rarely treated in Italian courses.

    I had thought of volentieri as much like ‘willingly!’ or, more currently, ‘for sure!’

    Can’t wait for your blog on ‘per forza.’

    Grazie ancora,


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