Meaning of NON LO SO in Italian

What does non lo so mean in Italian? What does it mean? How do you pronounce it?

In this lesson, we will look at how to use this expression with the help of many audio recordings and example sentences. Read on to learn everything you need to know!

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How to use non lo so in Italian

What is non lo so?

Non lo so comes from the present tense conjugation of the verb sapere, which means to know.

To be more precise, it’s the first person present negative conjugation of sapere, which is a very irregular verb in Italian and means “I don’t know”.

Let’s hear how it is pronounced.

Non lo so
I don’t know
Literally: I don’t know it

If you have trouble pronouncing Italian sounds, check out the Italian pronunciation guide.

Now, let’s see a couple of examples with non lo so in Italian, before we take a look at how to use the verb sapere along with its other present tense conjugations.

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.
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Dove sono i miei occhiali? – Non lo so.
Where are my glasses? – I don’t know.

Sai dov’è andato Federico? – Non lo so.
Do you know where Federico has gone? – I don’t.

Come si apre questo cassetto? – Non lo so.
How do you open this drawer? – I don’t know.

Quando partirai? – Ancora non lo so.
When are you going to leave? – I don’t know yet.

boy about to leave encouraged by parents

Now let’s see where non lo so in Italian comes from.

Using non lo so in Italian

You probably already know that the indicativo presente (present tense) conjugation for the pronoun io adds the ending -o to the root or stem of the verb (see note for more information).

What’s the stem of a verb?
Italian infinite verbs end in -ARE, -ERE and -IRE.
Cut off this part and you are left with the root verb.
tremare ➡️ trem-
piovere ➡️ piov-
cucire ➡️ cuc-
Italian verb endings for each tense are added to these root forms of the verb.

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How would you conjugate the present tense of sapere, “to know”?

Take away the infinitive ending -ere and add -o!

Sapere… ➡️ Sap-… ➡️ Io sapo?

That’s… not quite right.

You might be surprised to know that the correct conjugation for sapere is actually io so. This is because sapere is an irregular verb.

That said, let’s see the present tense conjugation of sapere along with its pronunciation.

Present tense conjugation for sapere

lui, leisa
woman angry at her husband

For example, you could say…

So che Grazia ha avuto un incidente con la bici. Ora sta bene?
I know that Grace had an accident with her bicycle. Is she okay now?

Sapete dove posso trovare una risma di fogli di carta?
Do you know where I can find a ream of paper?

Tu sai tante cose, ma non puoi sapere tutto.
You know many things, but you cannot know everything.

➡️ What’s the difference between conoscere and sapere?

And that’s the end of our lesson on how to use non lo so in Italian!

What next?

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