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How to use dipende: Italian grammar lesson 88

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Dipende

Dipende. Da che dipende? Da che punto guardi il mondo. Tutto dipende.

Have you ever heard that song by the Spanish group Jarabe de Palo? If not, we recommend listening to it.

Here’s the translation of the phrase above:

“It depends. What does it depend on? On what side you look at the world from. Everything depends (on something).”

Well, in this post, we’re going to teach you how to use dipende. We use it a lot since many things depend on many other things.

Before we go into more detail, keep in mind that dipende is a conjugated form of the verb dipendere (to depend).

Dipendere is regular so, if you want to talk about many things depending on other things you can use the plural dipendono.

How to say it depends on

What goes before dipende

We can use dipende on its own, that is, without a subject.

This is because we usually refer to a situation or a context that we mentioned just before and we don’t want to repeat, like in the example below:

Non so se posso venire domani. Dipende dai miei genitori.

I don’t know if I can come tomorrow. It depends on my parents.

But dipende can also be preceded by a specific subject, just like in the sentence below:

Il concetto di bellezza dipende dalla cultura.

The concept of beauty depends on culture.

As you can see, it really depends on what you’re referring to, pretty much like in English.

Meaning of dipende

What goes after dipende

In English we have two possible scenarios:

  • “It depends.” – if we’re not going to continue the sentence;
  • “It depends on…” – if we’re going to continue the sentence.

It’s the same in Italian: we can either just say “dipende” and that’s it, or we can say “dipende da…” if we’re going to continue the sentence.

So, make sure not to forget the short word da if you’re going to continue your sentence. Of course, you can also say dal, dallo, dalla, dai, dalle, or dagli, depending on what you’re referring to.

We can continue the sentence with just one noun (a person, a thing, etc.) or a pronoun (me, te, lui, etc.), like in the following sentence:

Questo dipende da te.

This depends on you.

We can also continue the sentence with a longer sentence introduced by words like come (how), quando (when), and cosa (what) like in the example below:

Non so se Sara viene. Dipende da come si sente.

I don’t know if Sara is coming. It depends on how she’s feeling.

How to use dipende

A question with dipende

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If it’s a question we can just ask “da cosa dipende?” (or “da che dipende?”), which means “what does it depend on?”

The answer will then start with da (or dal, dalla, etc) depending on what you’re referring to, like in the dialogue below:

A: Da che cosa dipende?
B: Dalle mie amiche.

A: What does it depend on?
B: On my friends.

Whats the meaning of dipende

Examples with dipende

Have a look at the dialogues below:

A: Puoi tornare a lavorare?
B: Dipende da cosa mi dice la dottoressa.

A: Can you go back to work?
B: It depends on what the doctor says.

A: Ci vediamo stasera?
B:Dipende.
A:Da cosa dipende?

A: Are we seeing each other tonight?
B: It depends.
A:What does it depend on?

A: Non so se veniamo domani.
B: Da cosa dipende?
A: Dal clima.

A: I don’t know if we’re coming tomorrow.
B: What does it depend on?
A: On the weather.

Dipende meaning

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