How to use “dipende”: Italian grammar lesson 88

Summary

Unlock the secrets of the Italian word “dipende” and master the art of saying “it depends” like a true Italian! This guide will show you the ropes, from what goes before and after “dipende” to forming questions and understanding context. 🇮🇹🔍

  • Going Solo:Dipende” can fly solo without a subject, especially when the context is clear from the conversation. It’s like saying “it depends” and leaving the mystery hanging in the air. 🤷‍♂️
  • Subject Matters: Sometimes “dipende” needs company. Hook it up with a subject when you’re talking specifics, like “Il concetto di bellezza dipende dalla cultura” (The concept of beauty depends on culture). 🎨
  • Don’t Drop the “Da“: If you’re continuing the sentence after “dipende,” don’t forget to add “da.” It’s the glue that holds the sentence together, like peanut butter in a PB&J. 🥪
  • Keep It Simple or Go Long: You can follow “dipende da…” with just a noun or pronoun, or spice it up with a longer phrase. Flexibility is key, just like in your yoga class. 🧘‍♀️
  • Question Time: Get nosy and ask “Da cosa dipende?” when you want to know what something depends on. It’s the Italian way of saying “Give me the deets!” 🕵️‍♂️
  • Real-Life Chatter: Use “dipende” in everyday convo to sound like a local. Whether you’re unsure about plans or waiting on a friend’s decision, it’s your go-to phrase for playing it cool. 😎

My thoughts

What does dipende mean in Italian?

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. Everything depends (on something).”

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 depends on what you’re referring to, like in English.

What goes after dipende?

In English, we have two possible scenarios:

  1. It depends if we’re not going to continue the sentence.
  2. 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, depending on what you’re referring to, you can also say dal, dallo, dalla, dai, dalle, or dagli.

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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 form questions with dipende?

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.

Dipende: examples

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.

What goes before "dipende"?

We can use "dipende" with a specific subject or on its own (without a subject) because we usually refer to a situation or a context that we mentioned just before and we don’t want to repeat.

What goes after dipende?

da, dal, dallo, dalla, dai, dalle, or dagli, or come (how), quando (when), and cosa, depending on what you're referring to.

How to form questions with dipende?

We can just ask "da cosa dipende?" or "da che dipende?", which means “what does it depend on?”

Italian word of the day
passeggiata
Example
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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