What does “man mano che” mean in Italian?

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A mano a mano meaning in Italian

What does “a mano a mano” mean in Italian?

In order to get in the mood for today’s post, listen to this song: “A mano a mano” written by Riccardo Cocciante and sung by Rino Gaetano.

Focus on this part of the lyrics:

A mano a mano ti accorgi che il vento
Ti soffia sul viso e ti ruba un sorriso
E a mano a mano si scioglie nel pianto
Quel dolce ricordo sbiadito dal tempo
Di quando vivevi con me in una stanza
E a mano a mano mi perdi e ti perdo
E a mano a mano vedrai con il tempo
Lì sopra il suo viso lo stesso sorriso

Here’s the translation:

Little by little you realize that the wind
Blows on your face and steals a smile from you
Little by little crying melts
That sweet memory, faded by time
From when you lived with me in a room
And little by little you lose me and I lose you
And little by little you’ll see, over time,
On your face the same smile

As you can see, there’s a recurring expression: “a mano a mano”.

You probably guessed by looking at the lyrics that it means “little by little”.

Well, in today’s post, we’re going to focus on an expression that comes from that expression: “man mano che”.

But, what does “man mano che” mean in Italian?

Let’s find out!

How to use man mano che in Italian

How to use “man mano che” in Italian?

In order to understand what “man mano che” means, we have to focus on “a mano a mano”, which, as we already mentioned, means “little by little”.

In other words, “a mano a mano” means “gradually”.

Here’s an example:

A mano a mano la faccenda si faceva più interessante.

Little by little the matter was getting more interesting.

We could even say “mano a mano” without the first “a” because it’s easier and shorter.

Now that you understand this, it’ll be easier for you to understand why and when we say “man mano che”.

We basically use this expression when we want to link two different clauses and indicate that something happens during the time when something else is taking place, as you can see below:

Man mano che s’avvicinava l’inverno gli alberi si facevano più spogli.

As winter was coming in, trees were becoming more and more leafless.

As you can see, we translated “man mano che” with a simple “as”. It could also be translated as “while”.

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As you can see, both “a mano a mano” and “man mano che” carry a slightly similar meaning which is related to time.

You might be wondering why we say “man mano che” instead of “mano a mano che”.

Well, once again, it’s just because it’s shorter and faster.

We’re lazy, right?

What does man mano che mean

Man mano che: examples

Let’s now have a look at some examples:

Mescolate man mano che aggiungete il latte.

Stir as you add the milk.

La personalità si sviluppa man mano che cresciamo.

Personality develops as we grow older.

Questa attività diventa sempre più difficile man mano che andiamo avanti.

This activity gets harder and harder as we go on.

Man mano che i giorni passano, capisco meglio le cose.

As days pass by, I understand things better.

Man mano che invecchia si dimentica sempre più le cose.

As he gets older, he forgets things more and more.

Man mano che meaning

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!


I’m originally from Argentina but grew up in Italy, so I’m bilingual. I love languages, which is why I studied French and Linguistics in London. I’m a grammar nerd and I love finding out about the meaning of words.

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