Are you in the process of learning Italian? If so, you have no doubt come across the word “magari”, which is a quintessentially Italian word and rolls off the tongue very easily. In English, there is, unfortunately, no direct translation for “magari” in Italian and it can, therefore, be quite difficult to describe to an Italian language beginner.
MAGARI – meaning in Italian:
Generally speaking, one would normally use the word “magari” with a certain amount of hopelessness when saying “maybe” or “perhaps”. However, regardless of the context in which you use “magari”, there is always an element of positivity since it can help you to describe a desire or a wish. First of all, have a look at this video made by our native Italian teachers to learn how to use the Italian word “magari”. (If you want, you can turn the English captions on):
An example of the context in which you would use “magari” could be at the end of a visit with a friend. You might want to say that maybe the next time you could meet at the new restaurant that has just opened up in town. Instead of using the word “forse” (which directly translates into “maybe”). You could say “magari”, which would express that you have a lot of hope that this will happen, although there is still a certain element of uncertainty.
Another “magari” meaning in Italian is a highly positive affirmative expression. For instance, you could be on vacation with a group of friends and express how you want to meet at the bar again for drinks at dinnertime. Your friends may respond with:
“Si, magari!” which, of course, does not mean “yes, perhaps” but a very affirmative “yes”.
Italians often use “magari” in the context of “congiuntivo”. Especially if you want to communicate an expression similar to “if only”.
The phrase “magari fosse vero” is used a great deal in Italian. When translated into English, it means “if only this was true”. This can be used in many contexts and a great example is if someone mentions that the weekend is coming soon and you reply with “magari fosse vero”.
“Magari”, as you can tell, is an incredibly versatile word and you could also use it to describe a situation you believe may never happen. In this context, it means “if only” (such as “if only junk food didn’t taste so good).
The origin of the Italian word “Magari”
In terms of its origins, “magari” actually comes from Greek word of “makàrios”. In the Greek language, this has very positive connotations and means “a great/blessed or fortunate event”. Greeks use this word when wanting to express something that they wish would happen.
A great way to use “magari” in this context would be if someone asks you how many times a week you go to the gym.
You could reply by saying “magari, una volta a settimana” which translates as “hopefully once a week”.
Would you like to keep learning Italian? Visit our post about the use of the Italian verbs Essere and Avere.
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