How to use insomma: Italian grammar lesson 49

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Insomma

There are certain words in Italian that carry different meanings depending on the context. These words sometimes don’t have exact equivalents in English.

But we can certainly find the words to translate them. This is one of the great aspects of learning a foreign language. You can be creative and original when it comes to translating a word that is unique to that language.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to see how to use insomma in a sentence.

Have a look at the different translations of insomma below:

  • in short, all in all
  • well
  • not too bad
  • for goodness’ sake!

As we said earlier, we need more context to understand how to use insomma, so let’s get started!

Insomma meaning

In short, all in all

We mainly use insomma when we want to give a quick conclusion.

An easy way to remember this is to think that insomma is made of two Latin words: the preposition in (in) and the noun somma, which means “sum”, “summary”, and “total”.

We usually use insomma after a sentence that mentions different things. This is because we want to finish our discourse with a conclusion or a summary.

It could be translated as “in short”, “all in all”, or even as “basically”. The good thing about this is that you can choose the one you prefer.

Here are some examples:

Laura è simpatica, tenera, intelligente e brava. Insomma, è fantastica!

Laura is fun, sweet, intelligent, and nice! Basically, she’s fantastic!

Mi sono svegliata alle 6, sono andata in aeroporto e poi a lavorare. Insomma, sono stanchissima!

I woke up at 6, I went to the airport, and then I went to work. In short, I’m exhausted!

Mi piace la pizza, la pasta, la lasagna. Insomma, mi piace tutto!

I like pizza, pasta, lasagna. All in all, I like everything!

How to use insomma

Well

Insomma might also mean “well”, “then”, or “so”. We usually use it to introduce a question and when we’re impatient or we cannot wait to hear the answer.

Have a look at the sentences below to understand better:

Insomma, vieni con noi o no?

Well, are you coming with us or not?

Insomma, cosa vi hanno detto?

So, what did they say?

Insomma, cosa vuoi?

So, what do you want?

What does insomma mean 1

Not too bad

Insomma can also be the answer to a question. We use insomma to say something like “so-so”, “not too bad”, “can’t complain”, or even like “not really”, again, depending on the context.

For instance, if you’re not feeling great but you don’t want to say you’re feeling bad, you can just say insomma!

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Here are some examples:

A: Come stai oggi?
B: Insomma!

A: How are you?
B: Not too bad!

A: Com’è andata?
B: Insomma!

A: How did it go?
B: So-so!

A: Vi siete divertiti?
B: Insomma!

A: Did you have fun?
B: Not really!

Insomma Italian

For goodness’ sake!

Last but not least, insomma might also mean something like “for goodness’ sake!” or “that’s enough”! We use it this way when we’re tired of something.

We usually find it after ma (but) to express indignation, impatience, or exasperation.

Make sure to sound convincing if you use it this way. Your tone of voice is important since it’s an exclamation.

Here are some examples:

Insomma! Smettete di urlare!

That’s enough! Stop shouting!

Ma insomma! Cosa hai fatto?

For goodness’ sake! What did you do?

Italian insomma meaning

As you can tell, insomma is a multi-meaning word, and it’s also very common and versatile.

Try to spot it whenever you’re listening to someone speaking in Italian, and then try to use it in different contexts!

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!

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