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 along with many audio recordings and example sentences. Read on to learn everything you need to know!
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 behavior is similar to 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, refer to the Italian pronunciation guide.
Now, let’s see a couple of 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 needs to quit smoking.
Grazie, stavo proprio cercando questo libro.
Thank you, I was exactly looking for this book.
Luca, sei proprio maldestro!
Luca, you are really clumsy!
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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Proprio can also be used as an intensifier when used in combination with a possessive adjective or pronoun such as mio, my, or tuo, your. This behavior reflects 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.
Using proprio in Italian to translate his/her/their/own
Proprio can be used to translate his/her/their where the pronoun matches the subject. 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, you can’t really be sure 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 fix this ambiguity, Italian replaces the third-person possessive pronoun with proprio, meaning “own”. This way it’s certain that Paola isn’t eating someone else’s icre cream.
Paolo mangia il proprio gelato.
Paola eats his own ice cream.
If the subject doesn’t match with the possessive pronoun, you can’t use proprio. Also, remember that an article precedes possessive adjectives in Italian!
Ogni studente ha le proprie scarpe.
Each of the students 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.
One must understand one’s 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 it!)
- 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)
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 it, now you know how to use proprio in Italian!
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