How to use NIENTE in Italian

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

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

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Niente in Italian

What is niente?

Niente is a pronoun that can be translated into English as “nothing” or “anything”.

Niente
Nothing, anything

Its pronunciation is close to nee-en-teh. If you have trouble pronouncing Italian sounds, refer to the Italian pronunciation guide.

Now, let’s see a couple of example sentences with niente in Italian, before taking a look at how to use this word.

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

Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.
Italian All-in-One For Dummies appeals to those readers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide to mastering the Italian language. It contains content from all For Dummies Italian language instruction titles, including Italian For Dummies, Intermediate Italian For Dummies, Italian Verbs For Dummies, Italian Phrases For Dummies, Italian Grammar For Dummies, and Italian For Dummies Audio Set.

Non ho niente da dirti.
I have nothing to tell you.

Senza aria né acqua, niente potrebbe vivere.
Without air and water, nothing could live.

Non c’è niente di cui aver paura.
There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Non ho niente di particolare da dire.
I have nothing particular to say.

Non ho fatto nulla durante le vacanze.
I did nothing during the holidays.

penguin basking in the sun and doing nothing

Now let’s see what the use of niente in Italian is.


Use of niente in Italian

We’ve said that niente in Italian is a pronoun that can mean “nothing” or “anything”. It is perfectly interchangeable with nulla, which also means “nothing”.

Nulla
Nothing, anything

Niente is only used with things, never with people (and it doesn’t have to match the noun in gender and number). If you’re talking about someone, use nessuno.

Niente is also often found with adverbs such as mai (never), ancora (still) and più (anymore).

Now for the tricky part. Niente has a negative meaning when it’s used before the verb.

Niente può fermarmi.
Nothing can stop me.

Niente mi fa paura.
Nothing scares me.

woman defending herself from a thief

However, it is accompanied by the negative adverb non when it comes after the verb, so it becomes a double negative. Niente is most often placed in this position.

Non può fermarmi niente.
Nothing can stop me.

Non mi fa paura niente.
Nothing scares me.

Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!

Mio fratello non fa mai niente.
My brother never does anything.

Non ho ancora ascoltato niente delle registrazioni che mi hai mandato.
I haven’t listened to any of the recordings you sent me yet.

Non ho più letto niente. Non ho mai tempo!
I haven’t read any more. I never have time!

workaholic man

Expressions with niente in Italian

There are a number of common idiomatic expressions featuring niente in Italian. These are…

  • per niente (at all)
  • niente male (not bad)
  • niente paura! (there’s nothing to be afraid of!)
  • buono a niente (good for nothing)
  • far finta di niente (to play it off)
  • come se niente fosse (as if nothing has happened)
  • meglio di niente (better than nothing)
  • per niente al mondo (at any cost)
  • niente di niente (absolutely nothing)
  • niente di tutto questo (none of this)
  • niente a che fare con (nothing to do with)
  • darsi al dolce far niente (to indulge in sweet idleness)
  • non fare niente per niente (to do nothing for nothing)
  • non avere niente di meglio da fare (to have nothing better to do)
  • non c’entra niente (this has nothing to do with it)
  • non c’è più niente da fare (there’s nothing more to be done)
  • non avere niente da ridire (to have nothing to complain about)
  • niente di nuovo sotto il sole (nothing new under the sun)
neet woman using a computer

And that’s it, now you know how to use niente in Italian!


What next?

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

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