What does quando mean in Italian? We’ve all heard this word at least once. It’s featured in the most famous line of the most famous 20th-century Italian song.
“Dimmi quando tornerai, dimmi quando… quando… quando…“
Sounds familiar? Turns out, quando is one of the first words you should learn when you start learning Italian. Let’s see why.
The Meaning of Quando
Quando is one of the Italian Five Ws (chi, cosa, dove, quando, perché) – questions that are the basis of information-gathering and problem-solving processes.
As you can guess, this makes it a must-know for everyone who wants to start speaking and writing in Italian.
If you think about the hierarchy of the Five Ws, the meaning of quando is quite clear: it is the Italian word for “when”. Just like in English, you can use it:
- as a question-word, like in: “When will we meet again?”
- as a conjunction, like in: “I love it when you smile.“
Quando sei libero per un caffè?
When are you free for a coffee?
Da quando si è iscritto a quel corso di Filologia Germanica non parla d’altro. Se sento un’altra parola sulla rotazione consonantica divento matto!
Since when he signed up for that German Philology class, he doesn’t talk about anything else. If I hear one more word about the consonant shift, I’m gonna lose my mind!
Quando can also be used to make a comparison between two opposite situations. In these cases, it implies some incompatibility between the two.
E’ assurdo che lui faccia l’offeso, quando dovrei essere io ad arrabbiarmi.
It’s absurd that he acts like he’s offended when I should be the one getting angry.
Finally, you can also pair it with mai (“never”) in a rhetorical question to imply that something has never happened for sure.
Quando mai ho fatto una cosa del genere?
When did I ever do such a thing?
Dimmi quando… tornerai a leggere questo blog
Knowing the meaning of quando is important to start forming sentences with time-related words in Italian.
If you want to take practice, you can take our Italian language quiz for total beginners (A1) and test your skill.
I’ll be back soon to teach you new Italian words. And you.. quando tornaria?
Learn more about making questions in Italian.
Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!