Basta is an extremely useful word in Italian that can be used in many occasions. So today I’m going to explain to you how to use it. You’ll see how useful it is!
That’s enough, stop it!
The first use of basta is to show your frustration. Indeed, you use it to say that you’ve had enough of something.
Let’s say it’s been more than an hour that your kids are running and screaming in the house. Now, you’ve got a headache and you’ve had enough. So, you shout:
You can also use the words adesso or ora before basta to underline that you’ve had a lot of patience up till now and now it’s time to stop: Adesso/ora basta!
If you want, after you say basta, you can also specify the action that people have to stop:
Basta con questo casino!
Stop this racket!
Let’s see two more examples.
Let’s say your new boss wants you to work extra hours without raising your wage. You do it for some time but then you realize you’re really close to burnout. So, on a Sunday afternoon, while you explain all this to one of your friends’ you say:
Ho fatto un po’ di ore extra, adesso però basta! Io non ce la faccio più!
I worked some extra hours but that’s enough now! I can’t take it anymore!
Now, let’s say that you’re listening to the radio and a song that is at the top of the charts, but that you really don’t like, is now playing. So, talking to yourself, you decide to express all your irritation and you say:
Ancora con ‘sta canzone! Ma basta!
This song, again?! Stop it, please!
No more…; Down with…
Basta can also be used when you want to protest against something. It’s especially used on placards during demonstrations.
Ex: Basta discriminazioni!
Ex: Basta green pass!
Down green pass (covid vaccine certificate)!
Ex: Basta aumenti!
Down (tax) increase!
That’s it; That’s enough
Basta is very useful when you go shopping in Italy or when you go eating in a restaurant. Indeed, if the sales assistant asks you if you need something else, or the waiter asks you if you want to order something else, you just say:
No, grazie, basta così
No, thank you, that’s it/No, that’s enough, thank you.
It’s used also at the end of a list to say that you don’t have anything else to add. Let’s see an example:
Allora, ho stirato i vestiti, ho riordinato la casa, la valigia è pronta, basta, direi che ci siamo! Sono pronta per partire!
So, I ironed the clothes, I tidied up the house, my suitcase is ready, that’s it, I’ve nothing else to prepare. I’m ready to leave!
It’s enough to
Basta can also be used to encourage people to do something, explaining them how to. In this case, basta is a synonym of it’s sufficient. Let’s see two examples.
Let’s say a friend of yours isn’t able to turn on a machinery. So, you help him telling him and showing him how to do it:
E’ facile, guarda, basta girare questa manopola e schiacciare questo pulsante.
It’s easy, look, all you have to do is to turn this knob and push this button.
Now, let’s say a friend of yours is complaining about the quality of tv shows, he doesn’t like them one bit. To encourage him not to lose his time any more to watch things he doesn’t like, you can tell him:
Basta non guardare più la tv
You just have to stop watching tv
As long as
We can use basta followed by che. In this case basta che means as long as and it’s followed by a subjunctive.
Let’s see some examples.
Puoi uscire con i tuoi amici, basta che tu faccia attenzione
You can go out with your friends, as long as you are careful
Potete giocare ai videogiochi, basta che non facciate rumore e non mi disturbiate perché ho una riunione
You can play video games, as long as you don’t make noise and don’t bother me because I’ve a meeting
I’m enough, that’s enough
Finally, the word basta can be used to mean as much as you need or as much as is necessary.
For example, let’s say you’re preparing some pasta for some guests. You’re unsure about the quantity to prepare, so you turn to your partner and ask:
Secondo te 400g bastano?
Do you think 400g are enough?
In this case basta works as a verb, so we need to conjugate it according to the word it refers to – basto, basti, basta, bastiamo, bastate, bastano. For example, 400 grammi is plural in Italian, so we use bastano.
But let’s say we were unsure if the sauce would be enough, then in that case we would say:
Secondo te il sugo basta?
Do you think the sauce enough?
And if you want to say that you’re enough, you would say:
Io basto or, more emphatically, basto io
Attention: if you want to specify who something is enough to, we need to use an indirect object pronoun – mi, ti, gli, le, ci, vi, gli – before the verb bastare.
Le tue scuse non mi bastano!
Your apologies aren’t enough for me!
The same sentence without the indirect object pronoun has a slightly different meaning:
Le tue scuse non mi bastano!
Your apologies aren’t enough!
So, without the indirect object I’m kind of stating an obvious, general fact: your apologies aren’t enough, while with the indirect pronoun I’m putting myself or someone else in the equation, saying that your apologies aren’t enough for me!
E basta, that’s all for today! If you found this article useful don’t forget to share it and to like my Facebook page!
Original image by RobinHiggins