Good in Italian: translation and examples
There are actually 4 Italian words for “good”, depending on how you’re going to use it.
English speakers use “good” as:
- An adjective, i.e.: “a good school” or “a good movie“;
- A noun, i.e: “Good vs. Evil“;
- An adverb or to express appreciation, i.e: “Oh, good, you’re back!“
Let’s see the right words to use in each situation.
As an adjective
In the first case, there are two words for “good”: buono and bravo.
Let’s start with the former. It’s a masculine singular adjective and it is pronounced bwo-no – with an open O on the first syllable, as in “clock”.
Its other forms are buona (f.s.), buoni (m.p.) and buone (f.p.).
Sometimes you can shorten the masculine form to buon, as in buongiorno (“good morning”) or:
Questo dolce è davvero buono!
This dessert is really good!
When speaking about the qualities of a person or an animal, you can also use the word “bravo“.
Giorgio è proprio un bravo allenatore!
Giorgio is such a good coach!
In other cases, when you would use it as a synonym of “nice”, you can translate “good” to “bello” (beautiful) or its feminine and plural forms bella, belli, and belle.
As for buono, you can shorten its masculine singular form to bel.
For instance, in the example above, I translated “such a good coach” with “un bravo allenatore“.
But if I wanted to say something like: “I had a really good day“, in which “good” can easily be replaced by “nice“, the right translation would be: “Ho avuto proprio una bella giornata”
E’ proprio un bel film.
It is such a good movie.
As a noun, an adverb or to express appreciation
Sometimes, “good” is used as a noun. In those cases, its right translation is bene.
È una battaglia fra Bene e Male.
It is a battle between Good and Evil.
Dovresti usare le tue abilità per il bene dell’umanità.
You should use your ability for the good of mankind.
This also applies to those situations in which you would use “good” to express your appreciation or happiness for something.
Bene! Ora che sono arrivati tutti, posso cominciare a servire il pranzo.
Good! Now that everyone has arrived, I can start serving lunch.
Very good / all good
Let’s move to the next level. How do you say “very good” in Italian? There are two ways to translate the word “very”, and they are both be used in this situation.
So, you can either say:
- molto bene, or
- davvero bene.
And what if you want to say “all good” in Italian? In that case, the right words are va tutto bene.
Start this new year the good way
Here in Italy, we have a proverb that says: “Il buongiorno si vede dal mattino“, which can be translated as “You can tell a good day by its morning“.
It’s our equivalent of “a good beginning bodes well”.
If your New Year resolutions included improving your Italian, make sure to start with the right foot!
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