How to use “senza”: Italian grammar lesson 87

Summary

Unlock the secrets of the Italian word senza and transform your language skills! This guide will teach you to master the art of expressing absence in Italian like a native speaker. 🇮🇹✨

  • Understand the Basics: Senza is your go-to word for ‘without’ in Italian, capturing the essence of ‘absence’ with elegance and simplicity.
  • Noun Companions: Pair senza with a noun to effortlessly convey what’s missing. Example: “Vita senza problemi” (Life without problems).
  • Verb Pairing: Use senza before an infinitive verb to express actions not taken. Example: “Uscire senza fare rumore” (Leave without making noise).
  • Personal Pronouns: When it’s personal, add ‘di’ after senza for a touch of Italian flair. Example: “Andare senza di loro” (Go without them).
  • Colloquial Charm: Dropping ‘di’ in casual chat is cool, but keep it classy with ‘di’ in formal settings. Italians will appreciate your style!

My thoughts

What is senza in Italian?

Senza comes from the Latin word absentia, which means absence. So, if you think about it, it makes sense since both senza and without mean in the absence of.

Senza can either be followed by a noun (for instance, a person or a thing) or by a verb in the infinitive.

If you look at the sentences below, you’ll see that in the first case, senza is followed by a noun and, in the second case, by a verb.

Mi piace il caffè senza zucchero.

I like coffee without sugar.

Esci senza fare rumore.

Get out without making any noise.

How to use senza + noun?

As we mentioned above, senza can be followed by a noun.

Let’s have a look at some more examples:

La vita è più semplice senza problemi.

Life is simpler without problems.

Siamo usciti senza i bambini.

We went out without the children.

La città è più tranquilla senza traffico.

The city is quieter without traffic.

How to use senza + verb?

Senza can also be followed by a verb. It’s similar in English when we use without + a verb ending in -ing.

Have a look at the sentences below:

Sei sparito senza dire niente.

You disappeared without saying anything.

Potete stare qui senza fare rumore.

You can stay here without making any noise.

Puoi vivere in Germania senza conoscere la lingua.

You can live in Germany without knowing the language.

How to use senza + di + pronoun?

When senza is followed by a personal pronoun (me, te, lui/lei, noi, voi, loro) we can say senza di.

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You will notice that Italians, when speaking colloquially, usually say senza + personal pronoun and is not considered a mistake but is not encouraged in formal scenarios.

Have a look at the sentences below:

Non voglio andare a casa senza di lei.

I don’t want to go home without her.

Vado in vacanza senza di loro.

I’m going on holiday without them.

How to use "senza" + noun?

"Senza" can be followed by a noun being a person or a thing.

How to use "senza" + verb?

"Senza" can be complemented by a verb in the infinitive. In English is similar to without and a verb ending in -ing.

How to use "senza" + "di" + pronoun?

When "senza" is followed by a personal pronoun we say "senza di" and add the pronoun.

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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4 Responses

  1. Some additional useful phrases using senza:
    senza speranza adjective
    hopeless

    senza problemi adjective
    without problems

    senza limiti adjective
    without limits, limitless

    senza motivo adverb
    for no reason, unjustifiable

    senza fretta adverb
    no hurry, leisurely

    senza dubbio adverb
    no doubt, certainly, doubtless, definitely, rather

    senza fiato adjective
    breathless

    senza senso adjective
    nonsense, meaningless, pointless

    senza nome adjective
    nameless

    senza fine adjective
    endless, unending

  2. Hi Stefano, you mean that colloquially people say for instance senza me but the grammatically correct form to use is senza di me? Thanks!

    1. Ciao Julia!

      Yes. You will notice that Italians, when speaking colloquially, usually say senza + personal pronoun and is not considered a mistake but is not encouraged in formal scenarios.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions or doubts about it.

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