How do you say who are you in Italian?

How exactly do you say who are you 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!

Chi…?
Who…?

Let’s start! Iniziamo!

how do you say who are you in italian - let's start - iniziamo - athlete woman running

How do you say who are you in Italian?

Singular: Chi sei?

Chi sei? is how you translate who are you in Italian when you are addressing only one person you know well and are on familiar terms with.

Chi sei?
Who are you? (singular, informal)

boy sleeping with one eye open

This common sentence in Italian is made of only two elements.

Chi
Who

Sei
Are you

Chi sei? – Sono il fratello di Alessandro. Sono venuto a portarti questo pacco.
Who are you? – I’m Alessandro’s brother. I’ve come to bring you this package.

Chi sei? – Sono tua sorella! Non mi riconosci?!
Who are you? – I am your sister! Don’t you recognize me?!

boy not remembering people's faces

As you might already know, verb endings change for all subject pronouns in Italian, so that you can actually do without the pronouns in the sentence. The subject will be understood thanks to the verb ending!

Sei is a conjugation of the verb essere, meaning to be. Sei is basically the second person singular present conjugation of essere. This is an irregular verb.

Present tense conjugation for essere

iosono
tusei
lui, leiè
noisiamo
voisiete
lorosono

For example, you could say…

È l’una del pomeriggio.
It is one o’clock in the afternoon.

I miei genitori non sono in casa al momento.
My parents are not home at the moment.

Io e Luca siamo sposati dal 1996.
Luke and I have been married since 1996.

old couple marrying

Now, what do you have to say to ask who are you in Italian to more than one person at a time? You will need to conjugate the verb essere in the second person plural. You might already be able to guess what that is from the table above, but let’s see what this form is exactly in the next paragraph.


Plural: Chi siete?

Chi siete? is how you translate who are you in Italian when you are addressing groups of people, in both formal and informal situations.

Chi siete?
Who are you? (plural)

Italian has two kinds of “you”, unlike English. There’s a singular “you” and then there’s a plural “you”. If you are addressing two or more friends, you will need to conjugate the verb essere 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 voi siete.

Si può sapere chi siete? È un’ora che girate attorno a casa nostra!
May one know who you are? You have been hanging around our house for an hour!

Chi siete? Fatevi vedere, non nascondetevi!
Who are you? Show yourselves, don’t hide!

ninja hiding below a wooden floor

Now, how do you say who are you in Italian when you need to be formal? Keep on reading to find out!


Polite: Chi è?

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 formal 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 formally ask who are you in Italian to one person at a time?

Chi è?
Who are you? (formal)

More commonly though, you will find these expressions instead:

Chi è lei?
Who are you? (formal)

Lei chi è?
Who are you? (formal)

This is because chi è can also be translated as who is it/he/she. To avoid all misunderstandings, the formal subject pronoun Lei is added to the sentence.

This question uses the third-person singular conjugation. Basically, when speaking formally, Italians address each other with the subject “she”, lei.

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And that’s it, now you know how to say who are you in Italian in all its forms!


What next?

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