How to say “then” in Italian
If you’ve been around Italian people or have watched Italian movies, I am sure you heard the words quindi and allora over and over again.
These two words have a very similar meaning, and can often be used interchangeably.
They can both translate into English with the words “then” or “so“, although they can also have other English equivalents.
Allora, che cosa facciamo stasera?
What shall we do tonight, then?
Era finito il cioccolato quindi ho comprato dei biscotti.
The chocolate was finished so I bought some biscuits.
As in the case of the words “then” and “so” in English, quindi and allora in Italian can be used in a variety of different contexts and can take on different meanings.
In this article, we will explain the difference between them and how to use them correctly.
Allora in Italian
You must have noticed, even just by listening to colloquial Italian, that allora is used all the time. In fact, it is one of the most used Italian words.
Why? Because it can be used as a filler word, which is a word that does not really add any meaning to the sentence but is used to fill a blank.
With this function, it is often used at the beginning of a sentence:
Allora… oggi studieremo i pronomi personali.
So… today we will study personal pronouns.
Allora can also be used to say “in that case”. Have a look at the example below:
Se non conosci Roma, allora devi per forza andare al Colosseo.
If you do not know Rome, then you must go to the Colosseum.
In another context, allora can be used to indicate a moment in time, like “then” or “back then“:
Mio nonno è nato nel secolo scorso, allora non c’era quasi nulla qui.
My grandfather was born last century; there was almost nothing here back then.
If it is preceded by the preposition da, it means “from that moment on“, “since then“:
Giovanni ha avuto un problema con la droga, da allora non è più lo stesso.
Giovanni had a problem with drugs and since then he is not the same anymore.
Sometimes, we can also use allora to express a logical connection. This is when it takes on the same meaning of quindi and the two can be interchangeable.
Non c’era il gelato, allora ho mangiato la pannacotta.
There was no icecream, so I had a pannacotta.
Lastly, allora is often used at the beginning of a question to emphasize it. In this case, we can also use quindi.
Allora, che hai fatto ieri sera?
So, what did you do last night?
Quindi in Italian
As we just mentioned, quindi is used in Italian to express logical connection as in “so” or “therefore”:
Sta piovendo, quindi portati un ombrello.
It is raining, so bring an umbrella.
Mi stai simpatico, quindi ti voglio invitare a cena.
I think you’re nice, so I want to take you out for dinner.
Quindi is also often used at the beginning of a question to emphasize often with a reference back to what you were talking about:
Quindi, cos’hai deciso alla fine?
So then, what did you decide in the end?
And you can even use it on its own or at the end of a sentence, the same as you would “so…”:
Non mi ha neanche chiamato, quindi…
He did not even bother to call, so…
A more formal version of quindi is dunque. These are completely interchangeable. Dunque is also used as allora as a filler word at the beginning of a sentence:
Dunque… Grazie a tutti per essere venuti.
So… Thank you, everyone, for coming.
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