Using MICA in Italian

How do you use the word mica 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 the help of many audio recordings and example sentences. Read on to learn everything you need to know!

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Mica in Italian

What is mica?

Mica is an adverb used in colloquial Italian and that can be translated into English as “not at all” or “it’s not as if…”, or also “by chance”. It doesn’t really have a direct equivalent in English.

Mica
At all, it’s not as if…

Its pronunciation is close to mee-cah. If you have trouble pronouncing Italian sounds, check out the Italian pronunciation guide.

Now, let’s see some examples with mica in Italian, before we look at how to use this word.

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

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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 hai mica un foglio e una matita?
Do you happen to have a pencil and paper?

Non ho rincorso quell’orso. Non sono mica stupido!
I didn’t chase that bear. It’s not like I’m stupid!

Mica potevo sapere che stessi dormendo!
It’s not like I could have known you were asleep!

Non ho mica capito. Puoi ripetere?
I didn’t quite understand. Can you repeat it?

child struggling with homework

Now let’s see how to use mica in Italian.


Using mica in Italian

We’ve said that mica in Italian is an adverb that translates English expressions such as “not at all” and “it’s not as if…”. It makes the sentence negative with non (the sentence itself can be either a question or a statement, as we’ve seen in the previous examples) and is placed after the verb.

Non è mica come dice lui!
It’s not like he says!

Non hai mica da accendere?
Don’t you have a light, by any chance?
Literally: Don’t you have [something] to light [things] up, by any chance?

The word mica in Italian is also used for emphasis, like the English verb to do in “I do not know”.

Su col morale! Hai solo preso un brutto voto. Non è mica la fine del mondo!
Cheer up! You just got a bad grade. It’s not like it’s the end of the world!

Non mi sento mica tanto bene.
I don’t really feel that well.

50 euro per una maglietta? Non è mica tanto a buon mercato.
50 euros for a T-shirt? That’s not so cheap.

man shocked to find his wallet is empty

It can also be used without the negative particle non, but then you have to put mica before the verb.

Mica ti sei ricordato di portarmi il libro?
You didn’t remember to bring me the book, did you?

Mica credevo che saresti venuto!
I didn’t really think you’d come!

Compare these with…

Non ti sei mica ricordato di portarmi il libro?
You didn’t remember to bring me the book, did you?

Non credevo mica che saresti venuto!
I didn’t really think you’d come!


Idiomatic expressions with mica in Italian

Since mica is a very common word in Italian, there are a few expressions featuring this word. The most common ones are…

  • mica male (not bad at all)
  • mica tanto (not really)
worried grandma

For example, you could say…

Mica male questa vista del lago!
This view of the lake is not bad at all!

Ti piace la musica country? – Mica tanto.
Do you like country music? – Not so much.

And that’s the end of our lesson on how to use mica in Italian!


What next?

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