Magari + subjunctive: Italian grammar lesson 214

Key Takeaways

Readers will learn how to use the versatile Italian word magari with the subjunctive to express wishes and hopes in different tenses.

  • Magari expresses a wish or desire, often with a sense of hopefulness.
  • When used with the congiuntivo imperfetto, it expresses a wish in the present.
  • When paired with the congiuntivo trapassato, it refers to a wish about the past.
  • Examples include: Magari venisse (I hope she comes) and Magari fosse venuta (I wish she had come).
  • Understanding the context and tense is crucial for correctly using magari in sentences.

Quick facts

What does the Italian word "magari" express?

"Magari" expresses a wish or hope with a sense of hopefulness and positivity.

How can "magari" be translated in English?

"Magari" can be loosely translated as "perhaps" or "maybe," but with added hopeful connotations.

When is "magari" commonly used with the subjunctive mood?

"Magari" is used with the subjunctive to express wishes, often in hypothetical or desired scenarios.

How do you use "magari" with the congiuntivo imperfetto?

Use "magari" with the congiuntivo imperfetto to express a present wish, like "Magari venisse alla festa!" (I hope she comes to the party).

How do you use "magari" with the congiuntivo trapassato?

Use "magari" with the congiuntivo trapassato to express a past wish, like "Magari fosse venuta alla festa!" (I wish she had come to the party).

Can "magari" be used to express a wish that didn't happen?

Yes, "magari" plus congiuntivo trapassato can express regret for something that didn't happen, such as "I wish we had gone to the beach!"

How does "magari" differ when expressing present versus past wishes?

For present wishes, use congiuntivo imperfetto; for past regrets, use congiuntivo trapassato.

Is "magari" always optimistic in tone?

Yes, "magari" generally carries a hopeful or positive tone, even when expressing regrets.

Can "magari" be used in expressing impossible wishes?

Yes, "magari" can express impossible wishes, like "Magari facesse caldo!" (If only it were hot!).

Does "magari" require a subjunctive verb?

Yes, "magari" typically requires a subjunctive verb to convey the wishful aspect of the sentence.

My Thoughts

What is magari in Italian?

In all languages, some words are very useful, and common, and carry lots of meanings. An excellent example of this is the Italian word magari.

We use magari to talk about a wish or a desire. There’s no direct English translation for magari, but it’s like saying perhaps or maybe with a sense of hopefulness and positivity.

This word is also used a lot with the subjunctive. In this case, we can translate magari + subjunctive as if only, I wish, or even as it would be nice if.

In other words, this word expresses a wish or hope.

Magari finisse prima il lavoro!

How to use magari + subjunctive?

We use magari with either the congiuntivo imperfetto or the congiuntivo trapassato when we wish for something.

Now let’s look at the two possible scenarios:

  • Magari + congiuntivo imperfetto: to express a wish in the present.
  • Magari + congiuntivo trapassato: to express a wish referring to the past.
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Let’s compare the two following sentences:

Magari venisse alla festa!

If only she came to the party! / I hope she comes to the party! (She might or might not come)

Magari fosse venuta alla festa!

If only she had come to the party! / I wish she had come to the party! (But she didn’t)

Magari trovassimo una soluzione presto.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Magari + subjunctive: examples

Let’s have a look at some more examples. Make sure you pay attention to whether the verbs are in the congiuntivo imperfetto or congiuntivo trapassato.

Magari potessi venire con voi, ma non posso!

I wish I could come with you, but I can’t.

Magari ci dessero più tempo per mandare tutti i documenti.

If only they gave us more time to send all the documents.

Magari aveste avuto una seconda opportunità!

If only you had had a second opportunity!

Magari facesse caldo!

If only it were hot!

Magari fossimo andati al mare!

I wish we had gone to the beach!

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What is the meaning of "magari"?

The origin of the commonly used expression "magari" can be traced back to its Greek roots, where it meant blessed or happy. It was originally used to convey hope or optimism, and can still be used in that context today. When using "magari," it is typically to express desire, aspiration, or hope for something.

What is the difference between Italian "magari" and "forse"?

The Italian language has two words that express possibility: "forse" and "magari". Although "forse" has a neutral connotation, "magari" implies a sense of excitement and optimism. When using "magari", you express a strong desire for that possibility to become a reality.

Italian word of the day
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
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