How exactly do you say shut up in Italian? What’s more appropriate to say depending on the relationship between you and the other person?
In this lesson, we will take a look at the different ways you can translate this sentence into Italian. Read on to learn them all!
Let’s start! Iniziamo!
How do you say shut up in Italian?
Singular: Stai zitto!
Stai zitto! (also: stai zitta!) is how you translate shut up in Italian when you are addressing only one person you are on familiar terms with.
Shut up! (masculine singular, informal, male)
Shut up! (feminine singular, informal, female)
This common sentence in Italian is made of two elements.
Imperative for “you stay”, informal
Stai zitto, per favore.
Please shut up.
Sta’ zitto per cinque minuti!
Shut up for five minutes!
Stai can be shortened to sta’, with an apostrophe (never as stà, that’s a common mistake learners make and that a few natives make as well!). As said, it’s the second person imperative form of the verb stare, meaning to stay.
Imperative tense conjugation of stare
Stai indietro! Non fare un altro passo!
Stand back! Don’t take another step!
We then have zitto, which is an adjective translating silent.
Why two different versions? As said, zitto is an adjective, and adjectives in Italian must agree in gender and number with the noun.
If you are addressing a female, you’ll need to say stai zitta, following the same adjective rule we’ve seen in the previous paragraph.
Stai zitta, Anna!
Shut up, Anna!
(Anna is a feminine first name.)
Now, what do you have to say to say shut up in Italian to groups of people? You will need to conjugate the verb stare in the second person plural. Let’s see what this form is in the next paragraph.
Plural: State zitti!
State zitti! (also: state zitte!) is how you translate shut up in Italian when you are addressing more than one person.
Italian has two kinds of “you”, unlike English. There’s a singular “you” and then there’s a plural “you”. If you are addressing a group, you will need to 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 you have to use is state.
Shut up! (masculine plural or mixed group, informal)
Shut up! (feminine group, informal)
You will use state zitti to address a group of men or a mixed group.
You will use state zitte to address a group of women (with no men).
State zitti, non riesco a concentrarmi.
Shut up, I can’t concentrate.
Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!
Now, how do you say shut up in Italian when you need to be polite? Keep reading to find out!
Polite: Stia zitto!
If you are just visiting Italy and often meet new people, unless you both agree on using the informal pronoun tu you will have to stick to the polite pronoun Lei when talking to other adults and people you are not on familiar terms with. With kids, it’s customary to use tu, no matter the degree of familiarity.
So, how do you politely say shut up in Italian?
Shut up! (masculine, polite)
There’s obviously a female variant:
Shut up! (feminine, polite)
Stia zitto, signor Rossi!
Shut up, Mr. Rossi!
This command features a third person singular conjugation. Basically, when speaking formally, Italians address each other with the subject “she”, lei. This is why we say stia (see the conjugation table in the previous paragraphs!).
I advise you against using stia zitto/a when you are among people you don’t know well, as it is very direct and quite rude.
Other ways to say shut up in Italian
Instead of using one conjugation of the verb stare, you can simply translate shut up in Italian as silenzio!, following the behavior of quiet! in English.
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 milder, you can add a per favore, please.
Silenzio, per favore!
Taci! Tacete! Taccia!
The last way to say shut up in Italian is taci, coming from the verb tacere meaning to shut up. This is quite aggressive.
As you probably already guessed, tacete and taccia are, respectively, the plural and polite forms of taci.
Be quiet! Shut up! (singular, informal)
Be quiet! Shut up! (plural)
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!
And that’s it, now you know how to say shut up in Italian in all its forms!
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