In caso + subjunctive: Italian grammar lesson 213

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Key Takeaways

Unlock the secrets of expressing possibilities in Italian with ease! Our guide dives into the nuances of the subjunctive mood, showing you how to convey hypothetical situations across different tenses with practical examples. 🇮🇹✨

  • Subjunctive Mood Mastery: Learn to use the congiuntivo to articulate possibilities, from likely scenarios to long shots, in both present and past contexts.
  • Present Possibilities: Use congiuntivo presente for present situations that are more probable. For example, “In caso tu voglia venire” means “In case you want to come”.
  • Less Likely Present: Opt for congiuntivo imperfetto when the present situation seems less likely. “In caso tu volessi venire” translates to “In case you wanted to come”.
  • Past Probabilities: When referring to past events that were likely, use congiuntivo passato. For instance, “Nel caso in cui tu abbia finito” means “In case you finished”.
  • Improbable Past: For less likely past events, the congiuntivo trapassato is your go-to. “Nel caso in cui tu avessi finito” translates as “In case you had finished”.
  • Interchangeable Phrases: Remember, “in caso” and “nel caso in cui” are synonyms, so feel free to use them interchangeably to fit your style. 🔄

Quick facts

How can you express possibility in Italian?

In Italian, possibility is often expressed using the subjunctive mood, which is used to convey uncertainty or hypothetical situations.

What role does the subjunctive play in expressing possibilities?

The subjunctive is essential for discussing possibilities and hypothetical situations, emphasizing uncertainty and potential rather than definite reality.

How is "in caso + subjunctive" used in Italian?

"In caso + subjunctive" introduces a hypothetical situation, requiring the subjunctive to reflect uncertainty and potential.

When would you use "in caso + congiuntivo presente"?

Use "in caso + congiuntivo presente" for a more likely present possibility, indicating a realistic chance of the event occurring.

When is "in caso + congiuntivo imperfetto" appropriate?

"In caso + congiuntivo imperfetto" is used for less likely present possibilities, suggesting that the event is improbable but not impossible.

How do you convey a likely past possibility in Italian?

For likely past possibilities, use "in caso + congiuntivo passato," indicating that the event probably occurred.

What structure is used for a less likely past possibility?

"In caso + congiuntivo trapassato" conveys less likely past possibilities, reflecting events that are improbable in retrospect.

Can "in caso" and "nel caso in cui" be used interchangeably?

Yes, "in caso" and "nel caso in cui" are synonyms and can be used interchangeably to introduce hypothetical situations.

How do you express a likely possibility of attending a party?

"In caso tu voglia venire alla nostra festa, fammi sapere" is used for a likely possibility of attending a party.

How would you express a less likely possibility of finishing homework?

"Nel caso in cui tu avessi finito i compiti, puoi uscire" expresses a less likely possibility of homework completion in the past.

My Thoughts

How to express a possibility in Italian?

As you might have realized after reading the previous lessons, the subjunctive is quite common. Once again, we use the subjunctive to talk about possibilities and chances.

How to use in caso + subjunctive in Italian?

We use these constructions to talk about a hypothetical situation and not something that’s definitely real. This is why we need the subjunctive.

Now, we could use this structure with all the types of subjunctive: presente, imperfetto,passato and trapassato.

Let’s have a look at the four possible options:

  1. In caso + congiuntivo presente: a more likely possibility in the present
  2. In caso + congiuntivo imperfetto: a less likely possibility in the present
  3. In caso + congiuntivo passato: a more likely possibility in the past
  4. In caso + congiuntivo trapassato: a less likely possibility in the past
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Let’s compare these constructions with some examples in the present:

In caso tu voglia venire alla nostra festa, fammi sapere.

In (the likely) case you want to come to our party, let me know.

In caso tu volessi venire alla nostra festa, fammi sapere.

In (the not-so-likely) case you wanted to come to our party, let me know.

Now, let’s compare these constructions with some examples in the past:

Nel caso in cui tu abbia finito i compiti, puoi uscire.

In (the likely) case, you finished your homework; you can go out.

Nel caso in cui tu avessi finito i compiti, puoi uscire.

In (the not-so-likely) case, you finished your homework; you can go out.

In caso + subjunctive: Examples

In order to understand this, we need to have a look at some more examples. Keep in mind in caso and nel caso in cui are synonyms, so they can be used interchangeably.

Make sure you pay attention to the likelihood of the possibility and whether it’s in the present or in the past.

In caso lei non possa lavorare, devi venire tu.

In case she can’t work, you have to come.

In caso non lo sappiate, bisogna finire tutto entro la prossima settimana.

In case you didn’t know, you need to finish everything by next week. 

Nel caso in cui tu non abbia ricevuto il regalo, facci sapere.

In case you didn’t receive your present, let us know. 

Nel caso in cui le cose non fossero andate bene, puoi chiamarci.

In case things didn’t go well, you can call us.

In caso fosse necessario comprare più cibo, possiamo andare al supermercato.

In case it was necessary to buy more food, we could go to the supermarket.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

Why we need subjunctive when using "in caso"?

Because we use "in caso" o "nel caso in cui" to talk about a hypothetical situation and not something that’s definitely real.

Which type of subjuntive is needed?

We could use this structure with all the types of subjunctive: in caso + presente, imperfetto, passato, or trapassato.

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2 Responses

    1. Hi Maureen,

      Thank you for your positive feedback! We’re glad to hear that you find the grammar comments and examples helpful for your learning. It’s our aim to provide clear and concise explanations to help you understand and practice Italian effectively. If you have any questions or need further clarification on any topic, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re here to assist you in your Italian learning journey.

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