How to use invece: Italian grammar lesson 109

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Invece di meaning


Invece is a very common word in Italian. You’ll hear it all the time if you go to Italy or if you hang out with Italians.

Before we start, we’d like to remind you that certain words (like invece) have different meanings and, thus, can be translated in different ways, depending on the context.

But don’t worry. We’ll go little by little and we’ll show you examples.

For now, you should know that invece is a linking word that lets us join two ideas or sentences.

We can use invece on its own, but we can also say invece di or invece che, again depending on what we want to say.

Let’s now see how to use invece!

Invece meaning

Invece on its own

Let’s focus on invece on its own.

On its own, invece introduces a phrase contrasting with what we have just mentioned.

Here are all of its possible translations:

  • But
  • Instead
  • But, instead
  • Whereas
  • On the other hand
  • On the contrary

Have a look at the following sentences and see if you can replace the translation we have given you of invece with other linking words:

Io non posso andare al mare, invece tu sì.

I cannot go to the beach but you can.

Luigi sembrava simpatico, invece è proprio antipatico.

Luigi seemed nice but, instead, he’s very unpleasant.

Io adoro la pizza. Marco invece preferisce la pasta.

I love pizza. Marco, on the other hand, prefers pasta.

Noi siamo andati alla riunione. Loro invece sono rimasti in ufficio.

We went to the meeting whereas they stayed in the office.

How to use invece

Invece di

If we want to say “instead of”, we can simply say invece di or invece del/della/dello/dell’/dei/delle, depending on what you’re referring to.

Invece di lets us give or choose an alternative. So, we usually mention two options.

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It can either be followed by a noun (an object, a person, etc.) or by a verb in the infinitive (like mangiare and ridere).

Have a look at the examples below:

Ho comprato una maglia invece di una camicia.

I bought a t-shirt instead of a shirt.

Avete preferito uscire invece di studiare!

You preferred to go out instead of studying!

Fai qualcosa invece di lamentarti sempre!

Do something instead of always complaining!

Preferiamo il vino invece della birra.

We prefer wine instead of beer.

How to translate invece

Invece che

We say invece che when the second clause starts with a preposition (e.g.: in, di, a, con, etc.).

In this case, we can translate it as “instead of” or “rather than“.

Here are some examples:

Preferisco lavorare in ufficio invece che a casa.

I prefer to work in the office rather than at home.

Devi parlare con Marta invece che con Francesca.

You have to talk to Marta rather than Francesca.

Lei vuole andare in Peru invece che in Bolivia.

She wants to go to Peru instead of Bolivia.

Meaning of invece

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