How exactly do you say when in Italian?
In this lesson, we will take a look at one of the most important Italian words out there, quando, and you will even learn a few expressions featuring this word. Read on to learn them all!
Let’s start! Iniziamo!
When in Italian
Quando is how you translate when into Italian. It behaves just like the English word counterpart and can also translate whenever.
Its pronunciation is similar to koo-un-doh and it comes from the Latin word quando, “when”. Make sure the final -o has a pure sound, as Italian vowel sounds are clean!
Quando si mangia?
When are we eating?
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Here are other sentences you could say…
Guardami quando ti parlo!
Look at me when I talk to you!
Mio padre stava per andarsene quando squillò il telefono.
My father was about to leave when the phone rang.
Quanti anni avevi quando hai visitato Londra per la prima volta?
How old were you when you first visited London?
Cantavo questa canzone quando ero bambino.
I used to sing that song when I was a child.
Tom ascolta la radio quando guida.
Tom listens to the radio whenever he’s driving.
Quando sei nato?
When were you born?
How to use quando in Italian?
Quando is both an adverb and a conjunction, meaning that it can both start a question or connect two clauses.
In order to use when in Italian to ask a question, you could say…
Quando sei andato in farmacia?
When did you go to the pharmacy?
Quando è stata l’ultima volta che hai visto tuo fratello?
When was the last time you saw your brother?
In colloquial speech, it’s common to shorten quando è as quand’è.
Quand’è che ha iniziato a piovere?
When did it start raining?
As a conjunction, quando doesn’t need a comma before it.
Indosso spesso gli occhiali da sole quando guido.
I often wear sunglasses when I’m driving.
Chiamami quando sei pronto per partire.
Call me when you’re ready to go.
Non mi sentivo stanco quando sono tornato a casa.
I didn’t feel tired when I got home.
Da quando, per quando, fino a quando
When in Italian is often used along with some specific prepositions (da, per and fino a).
Da quando translates since when or how long.
Da quando studi il francese?
Since when have you been studying French?
Per quando translates when… for.
Per quando ti serve il disegno?
When do you need the drawing for?
Fino a quando translates until when.
Fino a quando resterai?
Until when will you stay?
Idiomatic expressions with quando in Italian
There are a number of expressions featuring the word for when in Italian. For example, you could find…
- quando il gioco si fa duro, i duri iniziano a giocare (when the going gets tough, the tough get going)
- quando meno te l’aspetti (when you least expect it)
- quando il gatto non c’è, i topi ballano (when the cat’s away, the mice will play)
- quando è troppo è troppo (enough is enough)
- quando gli asini voleranno (when pigs will fly)
- il gioco è bello quando dura poco (don’t take a joke too far)
- quando ci vuole, ci vuole (needs must)
- da quando in qua? (since when?)
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And that’s it, now you know how to say when in Italian!
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