To pay attention in Italian

How do you translate the expression to pay attention in Italian?

In this lesson we’ll take a look at this very expression, also known as collocation, and will even talk about what kinds of attention are there in Italian and what words you are likely to hear along with prestare.

Let’s go! Iniziamo!

To pay attention in Italian

First things first, let’s translate to pay attention in Italian.

Prestare attenzione
To pay attention

to pay attention in italian - yellow warning sign

To pay attention in Italian – Let’s break this up!

Prestare attenzione literally means to lend attention.

To lend, to loan


To pay is translated as pagare, but Italians never say pagare attenzione.

If you like Harry Potter as much as I do, you’ll certainly remember Snape’s unforgettable first speech in the Sorcerer’s Stone movie.

“Then again, maybe some of you have come to Hogwarts in possession of abilities so formidable that you feel confident enough to not pay attention!”

In the video below, you can hear that “to not pay attention” was dubbed in Italian as da non prestare attenzione.

“Tuttavia, magari alcuni di voi sono venuti a Hogwarts in possesso di abilità così formidabili da sentirsi completi abbastanza da non prestare attenzione!”


Prestare is a verb of the first -are group. Its indicativo presente (present simple tense) conjugation is as follows.

lui, leipresta

You will find prestare in a number of expressions. A couple of these are:

Prestare del denaro
To lend some money

Prestare ascolto
To pay heed, to listen

Prestare fede
To have faith, to heed

For example, you could say:

Ho chiesto a mio fratello di prestarmi del denaro.
I asked my brother to lend me some money.

Presta sempre ascolto a ciò che dice l’insegnante!
Always listen to what the teacher says!

Stefano dice che non devo prestare fede alle parole di Paolo.
Stefano says I must not heed Paul’s words.

to pay attention in italian - prestare del denaro - boy raising a gold coin with "5" written inside it


Attenzione is a feminine noun. It is often followed by a descriptive adjective.

An attention

Delle attenzioni
Some attentions

The attention

Le attenzioni
The attentions

Attentions is not that common in English, but attenzione in Italian is as countable as any other noun.

mother paying attention to only one kid - to pay attention in italian - attenzione

Devi fare attenzione a non rovesciare l’acqua.
You must be careful not to spill the water.

Attenzione! in Italian translates the English Warning!. Warning by itself is translated as avviso.

What kinds of Italian attention are there? Here are some:

Attenzione costante
Constant attention

Attenzione assoluta, totale
Undivided attention

Attenzioni indesiderate
Unwanted attention

Attenzione superficiale
Scant attention

Immediata attenzione
Immediate attention

Il vestito attillato di Monica sta attirando molte attenzioni indesiderate.
Monica’s tight dress is getting a lot of unwanted attention.

Il problema richiede la tua immediata attenzione.
The problem requires your immediate attention.

Avanti, racconta. Hai la mia attenzione assoluta.
Go ahead and tell. You have my undivided attention.

attenzioni indesiderate - unwanted attention - to pay attention in italian

To pay attention in Italian – Examples

Dovresti prestare attenzione a quello che dice.
You should pay attention to what he says.

Anna non presta attenzione ai dettagli.
Anna doesn’t pay attention to details.

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