How to use “magari”: Italian grammar lesson 51


Dive into the versatile world of the Italian word magari! This guide breaks down how to use it to express possibility, desire, or even dish out advice like a true Italian. 🇮🇹🗣️

  • Maybe or Might: Swap out forse (maybe) with magari when you want to play it cool and suggest a possibility without committing. “I might go to the gym later” becomes “Magari dopo vado in palestra.” 😏
  • Expressing Wishes: Use magari solo to drop a heavy hint of your heart’s desires. It’s like saying “I wish!” with the passion of an Italian opera. 🎭
  • Subjunctive Mood: When starting a sentence with magari to express a wish, pair it with the subjunctive mood to add that Italian chef’s kiss to your longing. 🤌
  • Advice or Suggestions: Lead with magari followed by the imperative mood to soften the blow of your advice. It’s like saying “Maybe you could…” but with an Italian flair. 📝
  • Intonation Matters: The secret sauce? It’s all in the intonation. Whether you’re wishing, suggesting, or pondering, the way you say magari sets the mood. 🗣️🎶

My thoughts

What does magari mean?

In this lesson, we will not only look at what magari means but also at how to use it correctly in different contexts.

Here are some examples of magari used in a sentence to have a general idea of what we’re going to explore in this lesson:

Cosa fate stasera?
No so, magari andremo al cinema.

What are you doing tonight?
I don’t know, we might go to the cinema.

Andrai al mare quest’estate?

Will you go to the seaside this summer?
I wish!

Magari potessi venire, mi piacerebbe molto.

I wish I could come, it would be great.

Magari scrivimi appena arrivi così non mi preoccupo, ok?

You could write to me once you get home, so I do not get worried, ok?

How to use magari as maybe?

The main translation of magari into English is “maybe”. Of course, it can also be translated with a synonym of “maybe”, like “might, possibly, perhaps, etc.”

Let’s see some examples of this.

Magari dopo vado in palestra.

I might go to the gym later.

Dov’è Giacomo?
Non so, magari è uscito.

Where is Giacomo?
I do not know, maybe he went out.

Its use with this meaning is pretty straightforward, just replace forse (maybe) with it to express a possibility, and you’re all set.

How to use magari to express wishes?

On the other hand, magari can also be used with a completely different meaning: to express wishes (for something to happen) and sorrow (that something did not happen).

It is very similar to “I wish” in English.

In this case, you will use it on its own as an answer or reaction to something someone else said.

Have a look at the examples below and notice that nothing changes in the two contexts, the only thing that will change is the intonation you use.

Andiamo a teatro stasera?

Shall we go to the theatre tonight?
I wish!

Giuseppe ti ha regalato la sua vecchia bici alla fine?
Magari! No, alla fine me ne sono comprata una.

Did Giuseppe give you his old bike in the end?
I wish! No, in the end, I bought one.

If you use it to start a sentence to express a wish, magari must be followed by the subjunctive mood (congiuntivo).

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In this case, it can translate as I wish or as If only

Magari mi chiamasse, andrei senza pensarci!

I wish she called me, I would go without even thinking about it!

Magari nevicasse! Potrei andare a sciare domani.

If only it would snow! I could go skiing tomorrow.

How to use magari to give advice or make suggestions?

Magari at the beginning of a sentence can also be used to give a suggestion or advice to someone.

In this case, it is followed by the imperative mood (imperative), and it has the function of making it sound less like a command and more like a suggestion.

Have a look at the examples below:

Magari vai a fare la spesa prima che arrivi Fabrizia.

Maybe you could go shopping before Fabrizia arrives.

Non so, magari cerca di essere un po’ più comprensivo con lei.

I don’t know, maybe try to be more understanding with her.

Magari scrivimi quando arrivi, così non mi preoccupo.

You could write to me once you get there, so I do not worry.

What's the general meaning of "magari"?

Is maybe or one of it's synonyms: might, possibly or perhaps.

Magari with the subjunctive is used to ... ?

Is used to express wishes and sorrows.

Magari with the Imperative is used to ... ?

Is used to express an advice or a suggestion.

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