Difference between trovare and trovarsi in Italian

Trovare means “to find”.

To find

Ho trovato gli occhiali sotto al giornale.
I found my glasses under the newspaper.

Trovarsi, on the other hand, means to be in a certain place and can be literally translated as “to find oneself”. It’s a reflexive verb (reflexive verbs in Italian end in -rsi).

To be in a certain place
(To find oneself)

Dove si trova la banca?
Where is the bank?

Still confused about the difference between trovare and trovarsi in Italian? Let’s take a closer look at each verb.

drawing of a burglar who just robbed a bank

How do you use trovare in Italian?

As we said, trovare translates as to find. It’s a transitive verb because it can be placed in front of a direct object.

Hai trovato il tuo zaino?
Did you find your backpack?

Dove posso trovare una farmacia?
Where can I find a pharmacy?

Non abbiamo ancora trovato una soluzione.
We haven’t found a solution yet.

Trovare can also translate as “to think, to believe”.

Trovo che questo pesce sia delizioso.
I find this fish delicious.

salmon on a plate

Some very common expressions with trovare in Italian are…

  • trovare pane per i propri denti, to meet one’s match
  • trovare lavoro, to find a job
  • trovare la morte, to die
  • trovare la Mecca, to find a fortune

How do you use trovarsi in Italian?

Trovarsi, unlike trovare, cannot be translated into English as “to find”. It translates “to be located”. It’s an intransitive verb, so it will not be followed by a direct object. It needs a preposition.

For example, you can say…

Mi trovo a Venezia. Tu dove sei?
You speak too fast.

Paolo si trova in montagna.
Paolo is in the mountains.

a man hiking

Another difference between trovare and trovarsi in Italian is that trovarsi can also translate “to meet at”, as in…

Dove ci troviamo stasera?
Where are we meeting tonight?

Che ne dici di trovarci davanti alla banca alle 9?
How about meeting in front of the bank at 9 o’clock?

Some common expressions with trovarsi in Italian are…

  • trovarsi bene, to be comfortable
  • trovarsi a proprio agio, to feel at ease
  • trovarsi male, to not feel ad ease

For example, you can say…

Ti trovi bene nella tua nuova casa?
Are you comfortable in your new home?

Luca non si trova a proprio agio in mezzo a una folla
Are you comfortable in your new home?

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