“As if” in Italian
Today we’re going to focus on one of those expressions that trigger the Italian subjunctive: the equivalent of “as if”.
Don’t worry about the subjunctive for now since we’re going to explain how to use it later on in this post.
Read the following sentence and its translation, and find how to say “as if” by yourself:
Mia nonna mi parla come se non mi conoscesse.
My grandmother talks to me as if she didn’t know me.
Let’s find out more about how to say “as if” in Italian!
How to say “as if” in Italian
We basically say come se, which should be easy to remember since it’s a very literal translation of “as if”.
We use this expression to talk about an imaginary situation or a situation that may not be true but that is likely or possible.
In other words, we use “as if” when we’re giving a possible explanation for something or saying that something appears to be the case when it is not.
And again, come se triggers the subjunctive.
Because the subjunctive expresses a hypothetical possibility.
Come se + subjunctive
We have two options after come se:
- congiuntivo imperfetto (imperfect subjunctive)
- congiuntivo trapassato (past perfect subjunctive)
You’ll notice it’s basically the same in English when you look at the translations.
Come se + imperfect subjunctive
We use the congiuntivo imperfetto to talk about present or past events.
Also, we use this kind of subjunctive if the event in the main clause and the hypothetical event in the other clause happen/happened around the same time (not one before the other).
Have a look at the examples to understand better:
Mi guarda come se fosse arrabbiato con me.
He looks at me as if he were angry at me.
Me l’ha raccontato come se io non lo sapessi già.
He told me that as if I didn’t know it already.
Come se + past perfect subjunctive
We use the congiuntivo trapassato to refer to a hypothetical event that happened BEFORE the event in the main clause.
Here are some examples:
È felice come se niente fosse successo.
She’s happy as if nothing had happened.
Si comportava come se non ci fossimo mai visti.
He behaved as if we had never seen each other.
Examples with come se in Italian
Let’s now look at some examples with the congiuntivo passato and the congiuntivo trapassato:
Mi fai sempre sentire come se non facessi mai nulla di buono.
You always make me feel as if I never did anything good.
Mi parlava come se io non capissi.
She spoke to me as if I didn’t understand.
Sta facendo le valigie come se andasse via per un anno.
He’s packing as if he left for a year.
Ci tratta come se noi avessimo rubato le sue cose.
He treats us as if we had stolen his things.
Me l’ha spiegato come se non l’avesse già fatto.
He explained it to me as if he hadn’t done so already.
È così contenta di partire come se non fosse mai stata in vacanza.
She’s so happy to go away as if she had never been on holiday.
Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!