Who, among language learners, doesn’t want to sound like a native?
One of the ways to do this is to start using words and expressions Italians use everyday.
Allora and dai are two Italian words that are widely used in Italy.
So, learning how to use them properly can help you sound like a native.
I’m sure you’ve already seen this Italian word somewhere in your Italian books.
One of the first things you learn about the word dai is that it’s the second singular person of the present tense of the verb dare – to give.
Ex: Mamma, mi dai 5 euro?
Mom, can you give me 5 euros?
The second thing you learn about the word dai is that it’s also an articulated preposition, formed by the simple preposition da plus the plural definite article i.
Ex: Mamma, vado dai miei amici
Mom, I go to see my friends
However, dai is used to convey other meanings in Italian. Let’s see them.
Dai is usually used to:
1. Encourage someone
Ex: Dai, puoi farcela!
Come on, you can do it!
2. Convey incredulity
Ex: Ma dai! Non può essere!
Come on! It can’t be!
3. Indicate that someone is bothered by something. It’s used especially when someone keeps repeating the same thing and you want to make him stop.
Ex: E dai, basta!
Come on, that’s enough!
Allora is another word that can have several meanings in Italian.
Allora can be a linking word. As a linking word allora can indicate a conclusion and a consequence.
a. Come? Non ti piace? Allora non voglio insistere
What? You don’t like it? In that case, I won’t insist
b. Avevo fame e allora ho ordinato una pizza
I was hungry so I ordered a pizza
However, allora is used to convey other meanings in Italian. Let’s see them.
Allora is used to:
1. Get someone’s attention – used in interrogative and exclamative sentences.
Allora? Com’è andata?
So? How did it go?
Allora? Sei pronto?
Well? Are you ready?
2. Say back then, at that time.
Ex: Allora non sapevo che fosse un ladro
Back then, I didn’t know he was a thief
3. Start a new topic, or to make a pause to give yourself time to think before saying something.
Allora, passiamo al bilancio
So, let’s move on to the financial report
Devo controllare la mia agenda. Allora, vediamo, sono libero venerdì
I need to check my schedule. Well, let’s see, I’m free on Friday
Now that you know how to use dai and allora, to sound like a native, try and make some sentences. Feel free to post them in the comments section below.
Original image by kirkandmimi