Dai is one of the most used Italian words. If you talk with any native speaker, you’ll soon realize that the word dai can come up pretty often in your conversations. So, you’d better learn it right from the very beginning and start to use it as soon as possible to make some practice.
There are a lot of positive things about this Italian word. Firstly, its form does not change (well, unless you use it as a preposition). And secondly, it doesn’t have many meanings in Italian, so it’s quite easy to learn.
Today I’m going to help you learn dai in Italian.
The meanings of dai
Dai in Italian is one of the masculine plural form of the articulated preposition da, that’s to say it’s the combination of the preposition da plus the article i, dai.
Vado dai miei amici
I’m going to see my friends
Queste storie sono molto amate dai bambini
These stories are much appreciated by children
As I mentioned in the introduction, when dai is used as a preposition, it changes according to the noun it’s referring to. For feminine singular nouns: dall’ or dalla. For masculine singular nouns: dall’, dal, or dallo. For feminine plural: dalle. For masculine plural: dai or dagli.
2. Verb to give
Dai is the second person of the present tense of the verb to give and the second person of the imperative.
Dai da mangiare al cane!
Feed the dog!
Perché non mi dai il tuo numero di telefono, così ti chiamo e ci mettiamo d’accordo.
Why don’t you give me your phone number, so I can call you and we can make arrangements.
3. Pushing, exhorting, inciting (informal)
Dai in Italian is used to push or encourage someone to do something. Let’s see some examples:
Dai che ce la fai! Continua!
Come on, you can do it! Keep going!
Come on, hit it/him!
4. Surprise (informal)
The Italian word dai can express surprise, astonishment or disbelief.
No, dai! Si sono sposati davvero senza dire niente a nessuno?
No! Are you kidding me? Did they really get married without telling anyone?
E’ stato arrestato?! Ma dai!
He arrested?! Are you kidding me?
5. Annoyance (informal)
Dai in Italian is used to express your annoyance. Let’s see some examples:
Dai! Smettila di spruzzarmi l’acqua addosso!
Come on! Stop splashing water on me!
Dai! Basta ripetere la stessa cosa!
Come on! Stop repeating the same thing!
6. Hurry up (informal)
Finally, dai can be used to tell someone to hurry up. When this happens, you’re showing your annoyance or you’re encouraging them to hurry up. Of course, the only way we have to understand if you’re annoyed or not, is in the way you pronounce dai.
Dai, che siamo in ritardo!
Hurry up! We are late!
Dai, dai, che il pulmino sta arrivando.
Hurry, hurry, the school bus is coming.
Dai! Now you can start to use dai with your Italian friends!
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Original image by Bergadder