How to Use “Ogni”: Italian Grammar Lesson

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Key Takeaways

Learn the secrets of the Italian word ogni and master its use in everyday conversation! This guide will show you how to seamlessly integrate this versatile word, meaning each, all, and every, into your Italian vocabulary.

  • Meaning and Translation: Ogni can mean “each,” “all,” or “every,” with its precise meaning determined by the context.
  • Common Uses: Used in distributional, including, and temporal contexts, such as calling every colleague, every student studying, or shopping every week.
  • Comparing Ogni and Tutti: While ogni remains singular, tutti requires a plural noun, highlighting their grammatical differences.
  • Idiomatic Expressions: Phrases like ogni tanto (from time to time) and ogni morte di papa (every death of a pope) illustrate ogni‘s idiomatic usage.
  • Usage in Daily Conversations: Practice using ogni to enhance your Italian fluency and understand its flexible applications.

Quick facts

How versatile is the Italian word "ogni"?

"Ogni" can mean "each," "all," and "every," depending on context.

What are the distributional uses of "ogni" in Italian?

It denotes each member or item in a group, like in "ho chiamato ogni collega" (I called every colleague).

How does "ogni" emphasize inclusion in a group?

"Ogni" ensures no individual is left out, as in "ogni studente deve studiare" (every student must study).

In what way is "ogni" used temporally?

It indicates frequency, such as "faccio la spesa ogni settimana" (I do the grocery every week).

How does "ogni" relate to "tutti" in Italian?

Both can mean "each" and "all," but "ogni" always uses singular nouns, whereas "tutti" requires plural nouns.

What are some idiomatic phrases using "ogni"?

Phrases include "ogni tanto" (from time to time) and "ogni morte di papa" (every death of a pope).

How would you translate "ogni qualvolta"?

"Ogni qualvolta" translates to "whenever," indicating an action that can happen at any time.

Can "ogni" be part of compound phrases?

Yes, examples are "ogni cosa" (everything) and "in ogni caso" (in any case).

What is a quirky idiom involving "ogni" for rare events?

"Ogni morte di papa" describes events that happen very rarely.

How can you practice using "ogni" in Italian?

Engage in conversations, practice listening, writing, and speaking to become fluent like a native speaker.

My Thoughts

“Ogni” in Italian

Ogni: Meaning in Italian

I am pretty sure you already heard or read the word ogni many times, but let me explain to you its different uses.

Ogni is a widespread and versatile word. It can be translated into “each, “all, and “every. The context, of course, is extremely important to understand its precise meaning.

How to Use “Ogni” in Italian

Given its diverse translations, “ogni” is very commonly used in day-to-day interactions. It can be used with a:

  • Distributional meaning, as in sentences like ho chiamato ogni collega (I called every colleague);
  • Including meaning, as in sentences like ogni studente deve studiare (every student must study), meaning all students;
  • Temporal meaning, as in sentences like faccio la spesa ogni settimana (I do the grocery every week).

When it is used with its distributional meaning, “ogni” individually denotes each member or item of a group that takes part in an activity or action.

When it is used with its including meaning, it underlines and ensures that no individual or item is left out, emphasizing equal treatment within a specified group.

When it is used with its temporal meaning, “ogni” in Italian denotes the frequency with which an action is performed and it takes on the meaning of temporal adverb.

As you might have noticed, the border between every translation is very blurred. In particular, distributional and including meanings often overlap, because if you want to distribute an action throughout an entire group of items, then you are including them all.

Let’s have a look at three different examples:

Ogni persona deve presentare questo documento.

Each person has to hand in this document.

Il treno passa ogni mezz’ora.

The train comes past every half hour.

C’era gente di ogni tipo.

There were people of all type.

“Ogni” vs “Tutti”

The difference between “each”, “all”, and “every” is very subtle in English, but the good thing about Italian is that you can use ogni to mean all of them.

My advice is that you don’t focus too much on English, but rather think in Italian, and it’ll be easier to understand how this language works.

Here are some examples:

Ogni suo film è un capolavoro.

Each of his movies is a masterpiece.

Ho letto ogni pagina del libro.

I read each of the pages of the book.

Vado da lei ogni giorno.

I go to hers each day.

As you can see, in all these cases the meanings are both “each” and “all”. In fact, you could use “tutti” in these sentence as well.

However, there is an important grammatical difference between the two: “tutti” requires the noun to be plural and agrees in gender with the noun itself. This is why you can also find “tutte” for feminine plural nouns. Instead, “ogni” is always followed by the singular form of the noun and never changes.

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Therefore, if you were to use “tutti” in the sentence I wrote before, you would have to say:

Tutti i suoi film sono dei capolavori.

Ho letto tutte le pagine de libro.

Vado da lei tutti i giorni.

Expressions and Idioms with “Ogni”

I showed you that “ogni” can be flexibly used to talk about frequency and inclusivity, but it can also be part of expressive phrases and idioms in Italian.

  • Ogni tanto (from time to time) used to describe something that happens sporadically;
  • Ogni qualvolta (Whenever)
  • Ogni due per tre (Literally “every two by three”), used to describe something that happens more often than usual
  • Ogni morte di papa (Every death of a pope), an idiom used to describe events that happen very rarely, just like the death of a Pope

Beside these Italian idioms, there are also some words containing the word “ogni” that have specific translations in English.

  • Ogni cosa (everything)
  • In ogni caso (in any case)
  • In ogni modo (anyway, anyhow)
  • Da ogni parte (everywhere)

Practice with Quizlet

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

Use “Ogni” in Your Daily Conversations

Did you understand “ogni” thing I explained? My advice is that you revise these topics “ogni tanto”, to make sure you won’t forget anything important.

Engage in conversations, practice your listening, writing, and conversational skills, and become fluent as an Italian native speaker!

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

Is "ogni" in Italian singular or plural?

In Italian, "ogni," is reserved for singular nouns, such as "ogni sera". Note that "ogni" is invariable, meaning its ending does not change regardless of the noun it is used with. On the other hand, "tutti/e" is used with plural nouns and has different endings depending on the gender of the noun. Before a masculine noun, it ends in -i (e.g. "tutti i giorni"), while before a feminine noun it ends in -e (e.g. "tutte le sere").

What is the difference between "ogni" and "tutto"?

In the singular form, the adjective tutto/-a refers to the entirety or whole of something. Meanwhile, the plural form tutti/-e is equivalent to ogni, which means "each" or "every."

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