Italian Language Blog

Italian Conjunctions Posted by on Oct 8, 2021 in Grammar

Ciao a tutti!

Today we are going to talk about conjunctions in Italian. In grammar conjunctions join words, phrases and clauses. For example:

Per favore guarda il mio bagaglio, mentre compro il biglietto.
Please watch my baggage while I buy my ticket.

E’ bella, però non mi piace.
She is beautiful, however I do not like her.

Photo from Pixabay, CCO.

Coordinate Conjunctions

Coordinate conjunctions join units that are equal grammatically (fill the same position in the sentence) or join two clauses of the same type:

E joins two verbs:

Scivolò e cadde sul pavimento.
He slipped and fell on the foor.

E joins two clauses: 

Ieri sera andò a casa e trovò le finestre rotte.
She went home last night and found the windows broken.

Ma joins two adverbs:

Si muoveva velocemente ma silenziosamente.
He moved quickly but quietly.

O joins two adverbial phrases: 

Possiamo andare attraverso il fume o attraverso i boschi.
We can go over the river or through the woods.

These conjunctions serve to intensify the coordination:

entrambi … e – both… and..
non solo… ma anche… – not only.. but also…
sia … che… –  either…or…
né… né…. – neither…nor…

Entrambi Maria ed io andremo alla festa.
Both Maria and I will go to the party.

Non solo diede regali a tutti noi, ma anche ci invitò alla festa.
She not only gave all of us presents, but she also invited us to
the party.

 I soldi  il potere possono farti felice.
Neither money nor power can make you happy.

Sia mio marito che io possiamo portarti a casa.
Either my husband or I can drive you home.

Subordinate Conjunctions

Unlike coordinate conjunctions, subordinate conjunctions join elements of unequal rank, establishing a relation of subordination between two phrases or clauses. Following is a list of commonly used subordinate conjunctions:

perché – because
(da) quando – when (since)
mentre – while
appena che – as soon as
una volta che – once (that)
come – as
se – if
sebbene – although
a condizione che – in the condition that
a meno che – unless
dopo che – after that
prima che – before that
fino a che – until

Non lo vide dopo che lui ebbe lasciato la città.
She never saw him after he left the town.

Prese la multa perché guidava troppo veloce.
He got a ticket because he was speeding.

Una volta che hai lavato l’auto asciugala bene.
Once you have washed the car, dry it very well.

Si ammalò gravemente da quando ebbe l’incidente.
She became very ill, since she had her accident.

Non va mai ai festini, a meno che sua moglie non vada con lui.
He never goes to parties unless his wife comes with him.

Aspetteremo dentro fino a che la smette di piovere.
We will wait inside until the rain stops.

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Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.


  1. Luca:

    Perche’ si usa il passato remoto dove’, di solito, usiamo il passato prossimo?

  2. Jim Hartley:

    You should know that your blog contained a couple of errors. I happened to have presented the rules for accented vowels in my most recent Italian class, and the bottom line of this module was: of the five vowels, four can have only one type (à, ì, ò, ù) (aperto, or grave), while the “e” can have either the accento grave è or the accento acuto é. Almost always the e has an accento grave è; there are only four cases of the accento acuto (é) that I have found:

    1) When ché is found at the end of a compound conjunction, e.g., perché, poiché, sicchè, affinché, ecc.
    2) For numbers ending in three, 23 and higher (ventitré, trentatré, ecc.)
    3) For the conjunction né (neither, nor)
    4) For the pronoun sé (herself, himself)

    Your blog contains two cases of perché misspelled, and two cases of né misspelled. I would suggest if you want to check me on this, a good Italian dictionary would be a good authority.

  3. Virginia:

    I would have translated it as ”he never goes to parties unless his wife does not go with him!
    I am unclear about using non again: is it always after a meno che or–what is the thinking about that use of non again?

  4. Ian Dunn:

    You misspelt ‘fiume’

    • Martha:

      @Ian Dunn Think of it as “as long as she doesn’t come with him”

  5. Nimal Perera:

    Very very helpful

  6. Mitch:

    Really good blog.
    The explanations, the examples and the associated vocabulary – all really useful and accessible.
    Thank you.

  7. Bert:

    How about commas? Is it correct that I am missing commas before the conjunction? Is that a rule, a habit or a mistake?

  8. Giovanna:

    Perché si usa nel esempio 2 : ‘ieri sera andò a casa …etc il passato remoto? Lo è successo solo 1 giorno prima?

  9. Giovanna:

    Perché si usa il passato remoto negli esempi? Non si parla di un passato ‘recente’?

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