Be quiet in Italian

How exactly do you say be quiet in Italian?

In this lesson, we will take a look at the different ways you can translate this sentence into Italian. Read on to learn them all!

Stai…
Be…

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How do you say be quiet in Italian?

Singular: Fai silenzio!

Fai silenzio! is how you translate be quiet in Italian when you are addressing only one person you are on familiar terms with.

Fai silenzio!
Be quiet! (singular, informal)
Literally: Make silence!

This common sentence in Italian is made of two elements.

Fai
Imperative for “you do”, informal

Silenzio
Silence

Fai silenzio, per favore.
Please be quiet.

Fai silenzio, non riesco a concentrarmi.
Be quiet, I can’t concentrate.

exasperated woman throwing papers around

Fai can be shortened to fa’, with an apostrophe (never as , that’s a common mistake learners make and that a few natives make as well!). It’s the second person imperative form of the verb fare, meaning to do.

Imperative tense conjugation of fare

io
tufai
lui, leifaccia
noifacciamo
voifate
lorofacciano

Che facciano quello che vogliono, non mi importa niente.
Let them do whatever they want, I don’t care at all.

Facciamo una piccola pausa!
Let’s take a short break!

We then have silenzio, which is a masculine noun (il silenzio) that means silence. When you tell somebody to be quiet in Italian, you’re telling them to make silence.

Now, what do you have to say to say be quiet in Italian to groups of people? You will need to conjugate the verb fare in the second person plural. Let’s see what this form is in the next paragraph.

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Plural: Fate silenzio!

Fate silenzio! is how you translate be quiet in Italian when you are addressing more than one person.

Fate silenzio!
Be quiet! (plural)
Literally: Make silence!

Italian has two kinds of “you”, unlike English. There’s a singular “you” and then there’s a plural “you”. If you are addressing a group, you will need to conjugate the verb fare according to the latter pronoun, which is voi.

From the table in the previous paragraph, you can see that the conjugation you have to use is fate.

Fate silenzio! Sto studiando.
Be quiet! I’m studying.

Ragazzi, fate silenzio, per favore. Sto cercando di dormire.
Guys, please be quiet. I’m trying to sleep.

Now, how do you say be quiet in Italian when you need to be formal? Keep reading to find out!

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Polite: Faccia silenzio!

If you are just visiting Italy and often meet new people, unless you both agree on using the informal pronoun tu you will have to stick to the polite pronoun Lei when talking to other adults and people you are not on familiar terms with. With kids, it’s customary to use tu, no matter the degree of familiarity.

So, how do you politely say be quiet in Italian?

Faccia silenzio!
Be quiet! (formal)

Faccia silenzio, signore!
Be quiet, sir!

This command features a third person singular conjugation. Basically, when speaking formally, Italians address each other with the subject “she”, lei. This is why we say faccia (see the conjugation table in the previous paragraphs!).

I advise you against using faccia silenzio when you are among people you don’t know well, as it is very direct and quite rude.

If you want to soften the request, you can add a per favore, as in…

Faccia silenzio, per favore.
Be quiet, please. (formal)

This sounds almost acceptable to use in a formal setting.

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Other ways to say be quiet in Italian

Silenzio!

Instead of using a conjugation of the verb fare, you can simply translate be quiet in Italian as silenzio!, following the behavior of quiet! in English.

Silenzio!
Quiet!

Silenzio, tutti quanti! Ho sentito un rumore provenire dal giardino.
Quiet, everyone! I heard a noise coming from the garden.

If you want to sound milder, you can add a per favore, please.

Silenzio, per favore!
Quiet, please!

shouting forbidden sign

Zitto! Zitta! Zitti! Zitte!

Zitto, zitta, zitti and zitte are four exclamations that most closely translate shut up in English. First, let’s hear how they are pronounced.

Zitto!
Be quiet! (masculine singular)

Zitta!
Be quiet! (feminine singular)

Zitti!
Be quiet! (masculine plural)

Zitte!
Be quiet! (feminine plural)

Why four different versions? Zitto is an adjective and adjectives in Italian must agree in gender and number with the noun.

Here’s when you can use each of them:

  • zitto to address one male person
  • zitta to address one female person
  • zitti to address a group of men or a mixed group
  • zitte to address a group of women (with no men)

For example, you could say…

Zitto, Marco!
Be quiet, Marco!
(Marco is a masculine first name.)

Zitta, Anna!
Be quiet, Anna!
(Anna is a feminine first name.)

And so on. These are all quite direct, so don’t use them when you need to be polite.

laughing forbidden sign

Stai/state/stia zitto!

Another popular way to say be quiet in Italian is stai zitto, with stai being an imperative conjugation of the verb stare, to stay.

As for fai silenzio, stai zitto can only be used with one person at a time, but this time the choice is even more narrow: one male person at a time.

Stai can also be shortened to sta’, with an apostrophe (NOT with a stress mark!).

Stai zitto!
Be quiet! (masculine singular, informal)

Sta’ zitto per cinque minuti!
Shut up for five minutes!

If you are addressing a female, you’ll need to say stai zitta, following the same adjective rule we’ve seen in the previous paragraph.

Stai zitta!
Be quiet! (feminine singular, informal)

The plural for stai (singular you) is state (plural you). You will have to distinguish between male/mixed and female groups.

State zitti!
Be quiet! (masculine plural or mixed group, informal)

State zitte!
Be quiet! (feminine group, informal)

The polite form can either be stia zitto (if male) or stia zitta (if female). Obviously, you shouldn’t use these forms unless you really, really mean to.

Stia zitto!
Be quiet! (masculine)

Stia zitta!
Be quiet! (feminine)

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Taci! Tacete! Taccia!

The last way to say be quiet in Italian is taci, coming from the verb tacere meaning to shut up. This is quite aggressive.

As you probably already guessed, tacete and taccia are, respectively, the plural and polite forms of taci.

Taci!
Be quiet! Shut up! (singular, informal)

Tacete!
Be quiet! Shut up! (plural)

Taccia!
Be quiet! Shut up! (polite)

Taci, Giorgio, sto cercando di dormire!
Shut up, Giorgio, I’m trying to sleep!

Ragazzi, tacete un momento!
Guys, shut up for a moment!

And that’s it, now you know how to say be quiet in Italian in all its forms!


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