How do you say OR in Italian

How do you say or in Italian?

As in English, the Italian or is a word that introduces two alternatives.

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at how to translate this conjunction with the help of many examples, so that you can be sure to be able to use it in all your travels throughout Italy.

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

woman running - let's start!

How do you say or in Italian?


O (yes, a vowel!) is how you most oftentranslate or in Italian.

Pronunciation: oh


For example, you could say…

Mi chiedo se Alessandro preferisca il caffè o il tè.
I wonder whether Alessandro prefers coffee or tea.

Vuoi la pizza o no?
Do you want pizza or not?

margherita pizza with cut slice

Desidera un sacchetto di plastica o di carta?
Do you want a plastic or paper bag?

Preferisci uscire o rimanere a casa nei fine settimana?
Do you prefer to go out on weekends or stay at home?

Il gatto è sulla sedia o sotto la sedia?
Is the cat on the chair or under the chair?

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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Either… or…

The either… or structure is translated into Italian as simply o… o, literally or… or.

O siete con noi o contro di noi.
You’re either with us or against us.

O vi scriverò o vi telefonerò la prossima settimana.
I’ll either write to you or call you next week.

However, you can’t use o… o in negative sentences.

You will have to use the né… né structure, which also translates as neither… nor, so it covers two functions.

Felix non sa parlare né il francese né l’italiano.
Felix can’t speak French nor Italian.

Non lavoro né il sabato né la domenica.
I don’t work on either Saturday or Sunday.

woman resting on a hammock

Oppure, ovvero?

Oppure and ovvero are two other (and less common) ways you can translate or in Italian.



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What’s the difference between o, oppure and ovvero?

O and oppure are interchangeable in any sentence. It’s up to you which one you use.

Cosa fai nel tempo libero? – Di solito nuoto in piscina o/oppure faccio una passeggiata.
What do you do in your free time? – I usually swim in the pool or go for a walk.

woman swimming in a pool

Now let’s talk about ovvero. This can be tricky even for native speakers.

Ovvero has two meanings. The most common is “in other words”, “or rather”. The second is or. What distinguishes it from o and oppure is that ovvero, when it’s used as a synonym of oppure, is old-fashioned. You won’t find it in novels or in everyday speech, but you may often find it in legal texts.

Expressions featuring or in Italian

There are two expressions featuring or in Italian. These are…

Ora o mai più
Now or never

Prendere o lasciare
Take it or leave it

cornered man - take it or leave it

For example, you could say…

Questo è il punto di svolta. Ora o mai più.
This is the turning point. It’s now or never.

Questa è la mia ultima offerta. Prendere o lasciare.
This is my last offer. Take it or leave it.

That’s the end of our lesson! Now you know how to say or in Italian!

What next?

Now that you’ve seen how to say or in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

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