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Tutto A Posto? Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in Grammar, Vocabulary

Tutto a posto? is a phrase that you’ll hear all the time in Italy. It’s commonly used when friends and acquaintances meet each other: Ciao, come va … tutto a posto? Hi, how’s it going … everything okay?

Well, that seems nice and straightforward, you say … so where’s the catch?

The catch is that we also have the very similar sounding apposta, which has (wouldn’t you know it!) a totally different meaning. So, let’s get down to business and sort these two out.

Una barzelletta … a proposito di niente!

A Posto

A posto literally means ‘in place’. So when you ask someone the question tutto a posto?, you’re asking them if everything is where/how it should be and, by implication, if everything is okay.

A posto is frequently used by commesse (shop assistants) when concluding a sale:
Cliente: Ciao Lucia, mi dai un pezzetto di focaccia, e due filoncini per favore?
Customer: Hi Lucia, can you give me a little bit of focaccia and two baguettes please?
Commessa: Ecco la focaccia … e i due filoni … a posto così?
Shop assistant: Here’s the focaccia … and the two baguettes … is that everything?

We also use a posto when talking about sorting things out or fixing stuff:

Oggi voglio mettere a posto l’officina … c’è troppo casino!
I want out sort out the workshop today … it’s too untidy!
Ci hanno finalmente messo a posto la macchina, quindi domani possiamo andare a Firenze.
They’ve finally fixed the car, so tomorrow we can go to Florence.


Apposta, on the other hand, means ‘on purpose’, ‘specially’, ‘expressly’, or ‘purpose made’:

Scusami, non l’ho fatto apposta.
Excuse me, I didn’t do it on purpose.
Giorgio ha costruito una capanna apposta per le capre.
Giorgio built a hut specially for the goats.
Secondo me l’hanno fatto apposta così, di modo che dobbiamo pagare di più!
I think they did it like this on purpose so that we’d have to pay more!

A posto and apposta together … che confusione!

Per mettere a posto questo aggeggio ci vuole un attrezzo apposta.
To fix this gadget you need a special tool.
La camera da letto l’ho messa a posto apposta per te!
I sorted the bedroom out especially for you!

Buona continuazione!

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  1. Chippy:

    Molto utile! Grazie!

  2. Chris:

    I’d like to read about responses to “a posto?” especially, let’s say, at the end of a meal when asked by the cameriere. Does one simply say “Si, sono a posto” or are there other more creative responses?

    • Geoff:

      @Chris Ciao Chris, I’m not sure exactly what you’re looking for.

      When you say “at the end of a meal when asked by the cameriere” I assume you mean that the cameriera has asked you “tutto a posto?” In which case your reply would entirely depend on whether you had enjoyed the meal or not, if you’d had enough to eat or wanted to order more, if you wanted a coffee, and so on.
      You’ll need to be a bit more specific if you want me to provide some alternatives.

      If you’ve enjoyed the meal you can simply reply “sì, tutto a posto, grazie”.

      A presto, Geoff

  3. Hazel Spiers:

    Tutto a posto!

  4. Barbara Lloyd:

    As with so many of your articles, this one is most interesting and informative – grazie mille!

  5. Don:


    Is there a difference in shade of meaning between ‘mettere in posto’ and ‘mettere in ordine’? For example, in your last sentence, could I have said instead “La camera da letto l’ho messa in ordine apposta per te!”? Would that work?


    • Geoff:

      @Don Ciao Don, ‘mettere in ordine’ has the same meaning as ‘mettere a posto’ if you’re talking you’re talking about tidy up.
      But remember, it’s mettere a posto, not mettere in posto.

      Saluti da Geoff 🙂

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