Be quiet in Italian

Be quiet in Italian

Singular: Fai silenzio!

Fai silenzio! is how you say be quiet in Italian when you are talking to someone you know on a familiar level, such as a friend or a relative.

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

For example, you can say…

Fai silenzio, per favore.
Please be quiet.

Fai silenzio, non riesco a concentrarmi.
Be quiet, I cannot concentrate.

exasperated woman throwing papers around

Plural: Fate silenzio!

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

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

In Italian, unlike English, there are two kinds of “you”. There is a singular “you” and then there is a plural “you”. If you are addressing a group, you must 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 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.

sad man walking on a busy street with in-ears on

Polite: Faccia silenzio!

If you are just visiting Italy and often meet new people, unless you both agree to use the informal pronoun tu, you will have to stick to the polite pronoun Lei when talking to other adults and people you are not familiar with. With children, it’s customary to use tu regardless 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 has a third person singular conjugation. Basically, when speaking formally, Italians address each other with the subject “you”, lei. This is why we say faccia (see the conjugation table in the previous paragraphs!).

I advise you not to use faccia silenzio when you are among people you don’t know well, as it is very direct and rather 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 for use in a formal setting.


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 softer, 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 into English as shut up. 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 a male person
  • zitta to address a 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 pretty direct, so don’t use them when you need to be polite.

no laughing sign

Stai/state/stia zitto!

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

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

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

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

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

If you are addressing a woman, you must to say stai zitta, following the same adjective rule we saw in the previous paragraph.

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

The plural for stai (singular you) is state (plural you). You need 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 be either stia zitto (if male) or stia zitta (if female). Of course, you shouldn’t use these forms unless you really, really mean it.

Stia zitto!
Be quiet! (masculine)

Stia zitta!
Be quiet! (feminine)

woman smashing her keyboard from anger

Taci! Tacete! Taccia!

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

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

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!


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