How to say “at least”: Italian grammar lesson

Lesson 50

Key Takeaways

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use the Italian word almeno to express “at least” and “if only” in various contexts.

  • Almeno means at least and is used to indicate a minimum quantity or action.
  • Always write almeno as one word, even though it is a compound of al and meno.
  • When used with the indicative mood, almeno precedes the described quantity or action.
  • With the subjunctive imperfect, almeno expresses a desire in hypothetical sentences, similar to “if only” in English.
  • Using almeno with the past subjunctive conveys regret about something that did not happen.

Quick facts

What does "almeno" mean in Italian?

"Almeno" translates to "at least" in English, indicating a minimum requirement or desire.

How should "almeno" be written?

Despite being a compound of "al" and "meno," it must always be written as one word.

Where is "almeno" positioned in a sentence?

"Almeno" precedes the thing or action described, similar to its placement in English.

How is "almeno" used with the indicative mood?

With the indicative mood, it describes a minimum amount or action, like in "Guadagna almeno mille euro al mese."

What does "almeno" express with the subjunctive imperfect?

In the subjunctive imperfect, "almeno" conveys a hypothetical desire, akin to "if only" in English.

Can you give an example of "almeno" expressing a hypothetical desire?

"Se almeno piovesse!" means "If only it rained!" indicating a wishful scenario.

How does "almeno" function in the subjunctive past tense?

In the subjunctive past, "almeno" expresses regret for something that didn't happen but was desired.

Provide an example of "almeno" expressing regret.

"Se almeno mi avesse aiutato…" translates to "If only he had helped me…" showing a missed opportunity.

Does "almeno" have any nuances in its usage?

Yes, "almeno" can refer to both quantities and actions, reflecting minimum expectations or desires.

What should one be cautious about when using "almeno"?

Ensure "almeno" is always written together and correctly positioned to convey the intended meaning.

Audio images

🔊
Almeno finisci i compiti prima di uscire.
🔊
Leggi almeno un libro al mese.
🔊
Devi esercitarti almeno trenta minuti al giorno.

Vocab

almeno
quantomeno
al
meno
poco
necessario
essenziale
minimo
indispensabile
richiesto
volere
desiderare
insomma
pur
anche
sebbene
tuttavia
indicare
limite
condizione

Sentences

Almeno abbiamo finito in tempo.

At least we finished on time.

Devo studiare per almeno un'ora.

I need to study for at least an hour.

Porta almeno una giacca.

Bring at least a jacket.

Ci sono almeno dieci persone nella stanza.

There are at least ten people in the room.

Almeno dimmi la verità.

At least tell me the truth.

My Thoughts

What does almeno mean 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.

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 a minimum of 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 finisci i compiti prima di uscire.

How to use almeno in Italian?

Be careful: even if almeno is a compound adverb made up of two words (al and 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 euro a month.

Devi lavarti i denti almeno due volte al giorno.

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day.

🔊
Leggi almeno un libro al mese.

How to use almeno with the 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 had 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!

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

FAQs

Almeno + Indicative mood

It always goes before the action described, just like "at least" in English.

Almeno + Imperfect subjunctive

It indicates a desire in a hypothetical sentence, like the English "if only".

Almeno + Past subjunctive

It's used for talking about regret, something that we wished happened but did not.

Italian word of the day
aziende
Example
Dalla crisi, molte aziende hanno chiuso.
Because of the financial crisis, many companies shut down.
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