How to say “at least” – almeno: Italian grammar lesson 50

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“At least” in Italian

In this lesson, we will look at how to say “at least” in Italian, and how to use it correctly within a sentence.

The word we will learn is almenowhich comes from the two Italian words al and meno, literally “at least“!

As in English, this word is used to refer to a lower limit when talking about quantities or actions.

Let’s have a look at some examples of how to use almeno.

Mi piacerebbe avere almeno due gatti.

I would like to have at least two cats.

In this case, the speaker wants to have minimum two cats, and maybe more!

Voglio almeno pranzare prima di uscire.

I want to at least have lunch before leaving.

In this case, almeno refers to an action. The speaker wants to have lunch, and maybe do something else before leaving.

Almeno in Italian

almeno in italian

Be careful, even if almeno is a compound adverb made up of two words (al, meno) it must be written all together at all times!

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Used with the indicative mood it always goes before the thing or action described, just like “at least” in English:

Guadagna almeno mille euro al mese.

He makes at least a thousand euros a month.

Devi lavarti i denti almeno due volte al giorno.

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day.

Almeno with the subjunctive

almeno with subjunctive

When used with the subjunctive imperfect (congiuntivo imperfetto), almeno indicates a desire in a hypothetical sentence, like the English “if only“:

(Se) almeno piovesse!

If only it rained!

Se almeno mi parlasse, potremmo risolvere il problema.

If only he talked to me, we could solve the problem.

If, on the other hand, we use the subjunctive mood in the past tense with almeno, we will be talking about regret, something that we wished happened but did not.

Se almeno si fossero sposati, ora forse non avrebbe così tanti problemi.

If only they had married, maybe now she would not have so many problems.

Se almeno mi avesse aiutato… E invece no, ho fatto tutto da sola!

If only he had helped me… But no, I had to do it all on my own!

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