How to use PROPRIO in Italian

How do you use the word proprio in Italian? What does it mean? How do you pronounce it?

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

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Proprio in Italian

What is proprio?

Proprio is an adverb that means “really”, “just” or “exactly”. You use it when you want to emphasize the action expressed by the verb in a sentence, so it is an intensifier. This function is similar to that of the word davvero.

Really, just, exactly

Its pronunciation is close to pro-pree-oh, but remember to roll your R’s! If you have trouble pronouncing Italian sounds, check out the Italian pronunciation guide.

Now, let’s see some example sentences with proprio in Italian.

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Non so proprio dove abbia messo i miei occhiali.
I really don’t know where I put my glasses.

Stefano non capisce proprio che deve smettere di fumare.
Stephen just doesn’t understand that he has to quit smoking.

Grazie, stavo proprio cercando questo libro.
Thank you, I was really looking for this book.

Luca, sei proprio maldestro!
Luca, you are really clumsy!

tennis player who can't hit the ball

How do you use proprio in Italian?

You use proprio in Italian to translate a number of adverbs of time, such as “just a month ago” or “just now”.

Sono arrivato a casa proprio ora.
I arrived home just now.

Marta è a casa. Le ho telefonato proprio cinque minuti fa.
Marta is at home. I called her on her phone just five minutes ago.

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Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

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Proprio can also be used as an intensifier with a possessive adjective or pronoun such as mio, my, or tuo, your. This behavior mirrors that of the English adjective own, and it’s a synonym of the Italian word personale, personal.

Scegli il tuo proprio stile di vita!
Choose your own lifestyle!

Grazie a questa app, potrai creare la tua propria playlist di brani.
With this app, you can create your own playlist of songs.

players playing a sport similar to volleyball

Using proprio in Italian to translate his/her/their/own

Proprio can be used to translate his/her/their when the pronoun matches the subject. In this way, proprio replaces suo/loro and is used to avoid ambiguity.

Paola mangia il suo gelato.
Paola eats her ice cream.

In this sentence we can’t really be sure that we’re talking about Paola’s own ice cream.

Paola mangia il gelato di Marta.
Paola eats Marta’s ice cream.

The ice cream could in fact be Marta’s! To resolve this ambiguity, Italian replaces the third-person possessive pronoun with proprio, which means “own”. This makes it clear that Paola isn’t eating someone else’s ice cream.

Paolo mangia il proprio gelato.
Paola eats his own ice cream.

If the subject doesn’t match the possessive pronoun, you can’t use proprio. Also, remember that in Italian there is an article before possessive adjectives!

ice cream vendor

Ogni studente ha le proprie scarpe.
Every student has his own shoes.

Tra non molto ognuno avrà il proprio computer.
Everyone will have his own computer before long.

Proprio is also used in impersonal sentences in the third person.

Bisogna capire i propri limiti.
You have to know your own limits.

Collocations with proprio

There’s a number of common expressions and collocations using proprio in Italian. Some of these are…

  • proprio così (that’s right!)
  • non proprio (not really)
  • essere a proprio agio (to feel at ease)
  • lavorare in proprio (to be self-employed)
  • mettersi in proprio (to start one’s own business)
man thinking

For example, you could say…

Sono stufo di lavorare da dipendente. Voglio mettermi in proprio.
I am tired of working as an employee. I want to start my own business.

Quindi ti sei dimesso? – Proprio così!
So you resigned? – That’s right!

Pensi di riuscire a finire il tema per domani? – Non proprio…
Do you think you can finish the paper by tomorrow? – Not really…

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

What next?

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

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