How do you say OR in Italian

How do you say or in Italian?

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

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at how you can translate this element of a sentence with many examples, so you can rest assured you’ll be able to use it throughout Italy in all your travels.

Let’s start! Iniziamo!

woman running - let's start!

How do you say or in Italian?


O (yes, a vowel!) is how you most commonly translate 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?
Would you like a plastic or paper bag?

Preferisci uscire o rimanere a casa nei fine settimana?
Do you prefer going out or staying at home on weekends?

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

Either… or…

The structure either… or 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 phone you next week.

Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!

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

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

Felix non sa parlare né il francese né l’italiano.
Felix can’t speak either French or 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.



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

O and oppure are interchangeable in any sentence. It’s up to your taste to use either.

Cosa fai nel tempo libero? – Di solito nuoto in piscina o/oppure faccio una passeggiata.
What do you do in your spare 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 natives.

Ovvero has two meanings. The most common one is “in other words”, “or rather”. The second one, or. What sets it apart from o and oppure is that ovvero is old-fashioned. You won’t find it in novels nor in everyday speech, but you may often find it in legal texts.

Expressions with 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 final offer. Take it or leave it.

That’s it! 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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