How to use ORMAI: Italian grammar lesson 54

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ormai italian

Ormai in Italian

If you are studying a foreign language you are probably aware of the existence of some words, usually adverbs, prepositions or conjunctions, that are extremely tricky to learn to use correctly.

These words usually have different translations for different contexts and can be a pain to learn, but they will give a great boost to your language skills once you do.

Today, we’ll look at how to use ormai in Italian, which is just one of those little words we were talking about.

Sono sicura che ormai è andato via, gli parlerò domani.

I am sure he’s gone by now, I will talk to him tomorrow.

Ormai is an adverb of time and it can generally be translated to the English “by now“. However, it can take on different shades of meaning depending on the context.

Let’s see how!

Ormai as “at this point”

ormai by now italian

Ormai can be used with the meaning of “at this point” or “currently” as opposed to a past time. This is a very similar meaning to “by now”.

Have a look at the examples below:

Ormai questo programma non lo guarda più nessuno.

Currently, no one watches this show anymore.

Ormai dovresti sapere cosa fare.

You should know what to do at this point (by now).

Ormai to emphasize the passing of time

already ormai italian


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Sometimes, we use ormai to emphasize the passing of time. In this case, we could translate it as “already“.

Sono ormai due settimane che non ci vediamo.

It’s been already two weeks since we last met.

Ormai sono due anni che mi sono trasferita.

It’s been already two years since I moved.

Ormai can be translated as “already” in other contexts, too. Have a look at the following examples:

Ormai è grande, non trattarlo come un  bambino.

He’s already a grown up, do not treat him like a child.

Lo sapevo che si sarebbe arrabbiato, ormai lo conosco.

I knew he would get angry, I already know him. (I know him by now)

Ormai to say it is too late

too late ormai italian

Even if it can be translated in many different ways, one of the main functions of ormai is to state that it is too late for something. 

Using ormai rather than già (already) or a questo punto (at this point) often adds a negative connotation of being too late.

Read this examples and find the difference:

Sono già le dieci, arriveremo in ritardo.

It’s already 10 o’clock, we’ll be late.

Ormai sono le dieci, è troppo tardi.

It’s already ten o’clock, it’s too late.

In the first example, già implies that it is getting late, but we’re still in time, while in the other sentence ormai implies that it is actually too late to do what we had to do.

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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