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 along with 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, meaning to know. To be more precise, it’s the first-person present tense negative conjugation of sapere, which is a highly irregular verb in Italian, translating to “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, refer to the Italian pronunciation guide.

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

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Language: English / Italian
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Pages: 672

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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 went? – 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.


Use of non lo so in Italian

You likely already know that the indicativo presente (present tense) conjugation for the pronoun io appends the ending -o to the root of the verb, or stem (see note for further info).

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

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Now, 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 entirely correct.

You will maybe 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

ioso
tusai
lui, leisa
noisappiamo
voisapete
lorosanno
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 a bike accident. Is she okay now?

Sapete dove posso trovare una risma di fogli di carta?
Do you know where I can get 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 it, now you know how to use non lo so in Italian!


What next?

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

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