How to use “bisogna”: Italian grammar lesson 73

stefano lodola italian teacher
Stefano
Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn’t find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you’ll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.
Struggling with listening? An Italian polyglot has valuable advice about comprehensible input. A quick guide to master any language fast. From pain to joy!
How long does it take to learn Italian? Is it hard? How fast you improve depends on your study method. Learn why in this honest guide by an Italian polyglot!
How to practice speaking alone? For best results, turn virtually any study time (reading, listening, writing) into speaking practice for language immersion!
Language learning is an artificial exercise that occupies time, money, and effort that could be better spent doing language acquisition. Learn to communicate!
Italian for beginners can be a pain to learn. Not with this polyglot's video guide with 8 solutions to get started! The best way to survive and avoid pitfalls.
Activities to improve communication skills in a foreign language shift the focus of teaching from the language itself to actually doing things in that language.
What is active recall? In the last years, there has been so much hype around active recall as it is believed to improve your study results and get you better...
Struggling with new words? An Italian polyglot has valuable advice about spaced repetition. A quick guide to memorize vocabulary fast, from pain to joy!
What makes a good method of learning a language? To me, a study method is good if it delivers results. Typically, people want to learn Italian to communicate. Thus, progress...

Summary

Dive into the Italian language and master the use of bisogna, the go-to word for expressing necessity or obligation without a specific subject. This guide breaks down its usage, forms, and when to whip it out in conversation! 🇮🇹✨

  • Impersonal Powerhouse: Bisogna is your Italian secret weapon for saying “one must” or “it’s necessary” without pointing fingers. It’s all about the action, not who does it. 🎭
  • Present Tense Pro: Stick with the present indicative presente indicativo for most needs. Bisogna fare means “one must do” – simple and powerful. 💪
  • Future Forecast: Use bisognerà when predicting future necessities. It’s like a crystal ball for what we’ll need to do. 🔮
  • Imperfect Nostalgia: The imperfect tense bisognava is perfect for waxing poetic about past necessities. Ah, the good old days when we needed to remember phone numbers! 📞
  • Conditional Consideration: Wondering what might be needed? Bisognerebbe has you covered for those hypotheticals. It’s the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” of Italian. 🤔
  • General Rules: Use bisogna + infinitive when stating a general need or rule that applies to everyone. It’s like laying down the law, Italian style. 📜
  • Subject Specifics: When a specific subject’s action is needed, pair bisogna with che + subjunctive. It’s a bit more complex but oh-so-satisfying to nail. 🎯
stefano lodola cover
Play Video about stefano lodola cover

What does bisogna mean in Italian?

In Italian, there are several ways to say need or talk about what needs doing but the simplest one is using the word bisogna

For example, your roommate might say:

Bisogna comprare il pane.

One needs to buy bread.

Bisogna is a remnant of the verb bisognare, which is no longer used except in its impersonal form.

How to use bisogna?

One of the ways to express the meaning of need or be necessary in Italian is to use the verb bisognare.

This verb is exclusively used as an impersonal verb which means it does not need a grammatical subject, and therefore only the third person singular is used.

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

Additionally, the most common verb tense used is the present  (presente indicativo). But other simples tenses are used too such as:

Bisogna fare silenzio al cinema durante il film.

It is necessary to be quiet in the cinema during the movie.

Questo parcheggio adesso è gratis, ma da giugno bisognerà pagare 1 euro all’ora.

Parking here is free now but starting from June people will need to pay 1 euro per hour for parking.

Prima della diffusione dei telefonini, bisognava ricordarsi molti numeri di telefono a memoria.

Before mobile phones became common, you needed to remember several phone numbers by heart.

Non sono sicuro. Bisognerebbe chiedere al manager.

I’m not sure. You would need to ask the manager.

When to use bisogna?

Let’s look at some sentences to see when it’s suitable to use the verb bisogna.

  • To express a need or an obligation for some action to be performed when there is no subject. It refers to a general rule or something that applies to everyone.
    In this case, bisogna is followed by a verb in the infinitive form.

Bisogna fare silenzio al cinema durante il film.

It is necessary to be quiet in the cinema during the movie.

Bisogna essere molto pazienti con i bambini.

You need to be patient when dealing with kids.

Bisogna abituarsi alle nuove circostanze.

It is necessary to get used to the new circumstances.

  • To express a need or an obligation for some action to be performed when a subject is determined.
    In this case, bisogna is followed by che + subjunctive.

Bisogna che gli studenti si impegnino di più.

It is necessary that the students work harder.

Bisogna che tu te ne vada subito.

It is necessary that you leave immediately. Or you need to leave immediately.

Bisogna che Luca si abitui alle nuove circostanze.

Luca needs to get used to the new circumstances.

Learn in the car with Think in Italian
Play Video about Learn in the car with Think in Italian

FAQs on How to use “bisogna”: Italian grammar lesson 73

What does "bisogna" mean?

It's a verb for expressing need or what needs doing.

How to use "bisogna"?

Since it's an impersonal verb it does not need a grammatical subject, and only the third person singular is used. It's most commonly used with the present and other simple tenses.

When to use "bisogna"?

When it's used to express a need or an obligation for some action to be performed "bisogna" is followed by a verb in the infinitive form; and when it expresses a need or an obligation for some action to be performed when a subject is determined "bisogna" is followed by che + subjunctive.

Is "bisogna" followed by an infinitive verb?

Yes, when "bisogna" is used to express a general need or obligation, it is followed by a verb in the infinitive form. For example, "Bisogna abituarsi alle nuove circostanze" means "It is necessary to get used to the new circumstances."

Italian word of the day
cappuccino
Example
Vorrei un cappuccino, per favore.
I’d like a cappuccino, please.
Follow me to fluency​

Receive my free resources once a week together with my best offers! 

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.

4 Responses

  1. I think this lesson could mention the usage of ‘aver bisogno di + sostantivo/infinito’ –> in which case the ‘avere’ can be conjugated with any person:

    Ho bisogno di fare una passeggiata.
    Forza, hai bisogno di riposare.
    Questa signorina ha bisogno di riposare.
    Ecc.

    1. Ciao @donaldbell09@gmail.com!

      Avere bisogno di is not mentioned in this lesson because we have a whole grammar note dedicated to it. You can find it here.

      Happy reading!

  2. According to word.reference.com, all the 3rd person forms are listed except the imperative, but I imagine their use might be extremely rare.

    1. Yes! For the 3rd person, you use the infamous subjunctive. 🙂
      It’s covered in the advanced lessons.

Leave a Reply

Share:

Take a free lesson today!

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lessons and other resources.

I’ll also deliver my free resources my best offers to your mailbox (opt out at any time).

Read more about Italian grammar lessons
Master essential techniques for learning Italian vocabulary in this article. Discover effective strategies to enhance your acquisition skills. Let’s dive in and master Italian vocabulary! Introduction to Learning Italian Vocabulary...
How to use the irregular future tense in Italian? Grammar lesson with simple rules, examples, conjugations, sentences, and exercises.
What is the passive voice? In this post, we’re going to focus on how to form the passive voice with the verb andare. Have a look at the two examples...
How to use the preposition da in Italian? Overcome your barriers in 3 minutes What's holding you back from becoming fluent?Find out with this free checklist! FREE DOWNLOAD The preposition...
Try my courses for free​
Stefano

Log in

Reset password or get in touch.

Not a member yet? Join today!

How long to fluency?

Find out how long it will take you to master Italian!
Get on the right track in 3 minutes.

dolce vita logo

We're already friends!

Coming from Luca and Marina?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
all language resources

We're already friends!

Coming from All Language Resources?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
GRAB A COUPON NOW, REDEEM IT LATER
50% OFF

To receive free resources once a week together with my best offers, just tell me where to send everything. Opt out at any time.

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.