6 Ways to Say “Please” in Italian and Make Polite Requests
Whether you’re navigating the streets of Rome or conversing in a quaint café in Florence, knowing how to be polite is essential.
And part of being polite is knowing how to say “please” in Italian!
Discover six different ways to make your requests quite a bit more polite.
- How to Say “Please” in Italian
- Should I Use Per Favore or Ti Prego?
- And One More Thing...
How to Say “Please” in Italian
Per favore is the most common way to say “please” in Italian. It can be used in both formal and informal situations, making it a super versatile phrase.
Here are some examples:
Puoi prestarmi una penna, per favore? — Can you lend me a pen, please?
Per favore, potresti dirmi dove si trova la stazione? — Please, could you tell me where the train station is?
Per favore, non fare troppo rumore, sto studiando. — Please, don’t make too much noise, I’m studying.
Per favore, mi puoi passare il sale? — Please, could you pass me the salt?
Posso avere un caffè, per favore? — May I have a coffee, please?
For even more examples of this and the other ways to say “please,” the FluentU program can help you out.
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While prego means “you’re welcome,” ti/la prego is a more emphatic way to say “please” in Italian. It’s typically used in situations where you’re making a heartfelt or urgent request. Here’s an example:
Ti prego, aiutami con questo problema. — Please, help me with this problem.
Ti prego is the informal version while la prego is the more formal variation of the expression. Here are some more examples:
Ti prego, non andare via. — Please, don’t go away.
La prego, potrebbe aiutarmi? — Please, could you help me?
Non posso fare questo da solo, ti prego, aiutami. — I can’t do this alone, please, help me.
The expression is also often used as an exclamation, like an exasperated “oh please!” For instance:
Ti prego! Non ricominciare con questa vecchia storia. — Please! Don’t start again with this old story.
Per piacere literally translates to “for pleasure” in English. However, it’s commonly used in Italian to mean “please” or “if you please” when making a polite request or asking for something, like in this example:
Per piacere, mi puoi dire dove si trova il museo? — Please, could you tell me where the museum is?
Per cortesia literally translates to “for courtesy” in English. It emphasizes the aspect of being courteous or polite in the request and is a polite way to say “please.” For instance:
Per cortesia, potresti rispondere alla mia email il prima possibile? — Please, could you reply to my email as soon as possible?
Per carità literally translates to “for charity” in English. It’s used as an idiomatic expression similar to “for heaven’s sake” or “for goodness’ sake” in English. This expression is more often used as an exclamation, when you’re fed up with a situation or you want to solve a problem as soon as possible. Here’s an example:
Lascia che guidi io, per carità! — Let me drive, please!
Per gentile concessione
This phrase translates to “by kind concession” or “by kind permission” in English. It’s a formal expression often used to acknowledge someone’s generosity or kindness in granting permission for something. You’re more likely to see it used in written requests or invitations, like this:
Per gentile concessione della direzione, siamo lieti di offrire ai nostri clienti uno sconto speciale questo mese. — By kind concession of the management, we are pleased to offer our customers a special discount this month.
Should I Use Per Favore or Ti Prego?
In Italian, per favore and ti prego both mean “please,” but they are used in slightly different contexts:
- Per favore is a more general and polite way to say “please.” It’s commonly used in requests and when asking for something politely.
- Ti or la prego is a stronger form of “please” and is used when you’re making a heartfelt or urgent request, when you’re pleading with someone or as an exclamation.
So, you can use per favore in most situations where you just want to be polite, and reserve ti/la prego for situations where you really want to emphasize the urgency or importance of your request.
Being polite is always a good idea, whether you’re talking to your elders or your peers. Use the right way to say “please” in Italian for any situation with the help of this blog.
And One More Thing...
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