In a conversation, it is all fun and games until both parties run out of things to say. Perhaps, a speaker made a concession or asked for something, so a “Thank you” is in order. But what about the receiving end? Choosing the wrong reply might give an erroneous impression or send the wrong message.
How you say You are welcome in Italian can affect the subtext. That is, the overall meaning of the exchange. The following replies will further explain how Italians deal with parting words. Of course, you will learn / revisit the basics first. But later in this post, we will plunge into darker and more sinister shades. But let’s start off with some easy phrases. Or even better, a single word. Come on, it can’t get easier than that!
How To Say You Are Welcome In Italian
Every beginner should learn this word because this is what Italian children learn first as well. In detail, the duo “Grazie” (Thank you) and “Prego” goes way back to the Middle Ages. Prego is a formal response with an unexpected German ancestor: the word “bitte“.
Prego literally translates into “I pray“. Back in the old days, Italian people used to ask/pray for the honor of dealing with a welcomed counterpart. So, the courteous reply stuck around even though these days, most Italians use it without any passion or steadfast commitment.
2. Quando vuoi
Here is the Italian version of the English “Anytime!” response. Virtually no difference exists in usage. But you can adapt the Italian version to a more formal “Quando vuole” when replying in a formal setting. In old movies, the Italian actor or voiceover would articulate these words with a mellifluous voice when parting from a desirable woman. So, a sensual connotation is sometimes attached to this variant.
Example: “Grazie per avermi prestato il tuo tosaerba.” — “Quando vuoi.”
“Thank you for letting me borrow your lawn mower.” — “Anytime!”
3. Con piacere
Another friendly reply which means “with pleasure.”
Example: “Grazie per avermi aiutato a portare la spesa a casa.” – “Con piacere!”
“Thank you for helping me carry the groceries home.” — “With pleasure!”
How to say you’re welcome in Italian meaning “No Problem”
1. Non c’è problema
“Non c’è problema” is the literal translation of the English “no problem.”
2. Di niente / 3. di nulla
Both phrases translate as “it’s nothing.” Both are short and informal, but still polite.
Example: “Grazie per avermi permesso di usare il tuo cellulare.” — “Di niente!”
“Thank you for letting me use your phone.” — “It’s nothing!”
4. Non c’è di che
Here is another neutral way to say you are welcome in Italian. Unlike “Prego“, this reply shows a little resolve because it stops any further comment. In a way, it is similar to “Don’t mention it“, but “Non c’è di che” (There is nothing to it) is both dry and vague as it displays a stylistic expression of staleness.
Example: “Grazie per il vostro aiuto!” — “Non c’è di che.”
“Thank you for your help.” — “Don’t mention it.”
5. È stato un piacere
A more upbeat and formal version of this reply is “È stato un piacere.” As the literal translation reveals, “it has been a pleasure” is an apt response to most situations. Of course, the tone of your voice can change both expressions. But saying “Non c’è di che” with a smile always feels slightly off when compared with a more friendly “È stato un piacere.” Even when you pronounce the latter with a growly voice.
Example: “Grazie per l’invito a cena.” — “È stato un piacere.”
“Thank you for the invitation to dinner.” — “It has been a pleasure.”
6. Si figuri
A third option is “Si figuri“. Mainly, this is an extremely formal reply you use with a professional. For example, a lawyer or a physician. But you might also hear it in a street market as an attempt to make the potential customer feel more important and valuable. Also used in the form of “si figurati,” which is less formal.
Versions of “You Are Welcome in Italian” to be a bit careful with
1. Ci mancherebbe
This colloquial locution is the short version of “Ci mancherebbe altro“. In general, you may use either phrases with friends or people on the same level as you. Most likely, an Italian retail seller might use it to make an old customer feel younger. But it is not recommendable to use this reply with an old-fashioned person who prefers to use the third person when speaking with strangers.
Although you can use it in an informal business setting, please stick with the complete version “Ci mancherebbe altro“. Otherwise, the short version might sound dismissive on the other end. Translating this phrase is also a bit challenging because of its structure. In a sense, you are stating that you need nothing else from the other person. But the speaker is actually using a conditional tense. So, the focus is on the likelihood that the speaker would act differently.
“Ci mancherebbe altro” is a gracious way to say that you would have never done otherwise. On top of that, it adds a nuance that you are glad to have done so. This is why it can sound belittling to people with more power or status than you.
2. Ma (che) scherzi?
You might hear such a response if you speak with a nervous Italian native speaker. So, I want to shed some light on this reply because its translation could boggle your mind. After all, the other person replies to Thanks with “Are you joking?“
Some Italians will refrain from acting seriously no matter what. Especially in the central regions. Contemporary Romans are known to behave in a jolly manner. So, they might use such a reply and even use the formal variant “Ma che scherza?” or “Non lo dica neanche per scherzo” (which basically means the same thing). Also, expect such a response if you are traveling to Tuscany.
I would not advise using this reply until you are fluent in Italian. While understanding its meaning can clear up any doubt in your mind, proper use is a whole new subject. Intonation and inflection can add a whole range of meanings and subtleties. But if an Italian native speaker seems eager to please or anxious, you can be sure that it is a positive dismissal.
3. Non ci siamo capiti
As some Italian stereotypes suggest, not every Italian acts amiable. Sometimes, you find a shady character or malicious fellow who tries to gain an edge on you. Such a reply turns the tables and injects new meaning into the conversation. This is the least friendly way to say “You are welcome” in Italian because it would suit a mafia boss. Or at least one of his lackeys.
Often, such a reply repeats the thanking words. So, you would hear “Grazie? No. Non ci siamo capiti.” (Thanks? No. You didn’t get it.) In this case, you are implying that the other person owes you a favor.
Honestly, you can pull it off without sounding menacing. But you ought to clarify what you mean as soon as possible. Maybe you were following your boss’s order at work and did not want to look like someone trying to hit on the other person. Or you might avoid looking like someone who acts out of pity. So, you remind the other person that you had to do what you have done, and now you are even. It is a handy reply you cannot erase from your repertoire.
So, you should know the perfect reply to answer a friendly “grazie” in almost any situation now.
Grazie per aver imparato un po’ di italiano con me! — Si figuri!
Thank you for learning a little Italian with me! — You’re welcome!
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