How to use “man mano che”: Italian grammar lesson 238

stefano lodola italian teacher
Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn’t find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you’ll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.
How long does it take to learn Italian? Is it hard? How fast you improve depends on your study method. Learn why in this honest guide by an Italian polyglot!
Struggling with new words? An Italian polyglot has valuable advice about spaced repetition. A quick guide to memorize vocabulary fast, from pain to joy!
Struggling with listening? An Italian polyglot has valuable advice about comprehensible input. A quick guide to master any language fast. From pain to joy!
Activities to improve communication skills in a foreign language shift the focus of teaching from the language itself to actually doing things in that language.
What is active recall? In the last years, there has been so much hype around active recall as it is believed to improve your study results and get you better...
How to practice speaking alone? For best results, turn virtually any study time (reading, listening, writing) into speaking practice for language immersion!
Italian for beginners can be a pain to learn. Not with this polyglot's video guide with 8 solutions to get started! The best way to survive and avoid pitfalls.
Language learning is an artificial exercise that occupies time, money, and effort that could be better spent doing language acquisition. Learn to communicate!
What makes a good method of learning a language? To me, a study method is good if it delivers results. Typically, people want to learn Italian to communicate. Thus, progress...


Discover the subtle beauty of Italian expressions with our deep dive into “a mano a mano” and “man mano che.” Learn how these phrases elegantly capture the essence of time and change, enhancing your Italian fluency and appreciation for the language’s poetic nature.

  • Understand “a mano a mano“: Grasp the meaning of this Italian phrase, which translates to “little by little,” and conveys the gradual progression of events or emotions. 🌱
  • Shorter is sweeter: Italians often drop the first ‘a’ for convenience, so don’t be surprised to hear just “mano a mano” in casual conversation. Brevity is the soul of wit, after all! 😌
  • Connecting clauses with “man mano che“: This handy expression is used to link two events, showing that as one occurs, so does the other. It’s like saying “as” or “while” in English. 🔄
  • Practical usage: Incorporate “man mano che” into your Italian to sound more native. Use it to describe simultaneous actions or changes, such as “As winter approaches, the trees lose their leaves.” 🍂
  • Real-life examples: Get comfortable with “man mano che” by practicing with examples. Try using it when cooking (“Stir as you add the milk”) or discussing personal growth (“Personality develops as we grow older”). 📈

What is a mano a mano in Italian?

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.

How to use man mano che in Italian

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

What does man mano che mean in Italian?

To understand what man mano che means, we have to focus on a mano a mano little by little. In other words, it 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 use this expression when we want to link two different clauses and indicate that something happens 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.

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.

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

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

Learn in the car with Think in Italian
Play Video about Learn in the car with Think in Italian

FAQs on How to use “man mano che”: Italian grammar lesson 238

What is "a mano a mano"?

It means little by little but can also mean gradually.

What is "man mano che"?

It's an expression that comes from "a mano a mano" and means as or while.

When do we use "man mano che"?

To link two different clauses and indicate that something happens during the time when something else is taking place.

Italian word of the day
Vorrei un cappuccino, per favore.
I’d like a cappuccino, please.
Follow me to fluency​

Receive my free resources once a week together with my best offers! 

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.

2 Responses

  1. Lesson 238 Man mano che

    Given mano a mano can mean ‘little by little, then it seems you might also be able to use ‘piano piano’, correct, or, is piano piano closer to ‘gradually’ rather than man mano che being more like ‘as’, or, ‘while’ (like mentre) ?

    1. Ciao!

      In Italian, piano piano means slowly while mano a mano means progressively.

Leave a Reply


Take a free lesson today!

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lessons and other resources.

I’ll also deliver my free resources my best offers to your mailbox (opt out at any time).

Read more about Italian grammar lessons
Trouble Identifying the Gender of Italian Nouns Ending with ‘e’? Not to worry! This article is here to help. We’ll provide a simple guide to make sure you can easily...
What is avere intenzione di in Italian? In this post, we’re going to focus on how to say to intend in Italian, as in to have the intention to do...
An Italian grammar checker is a tool designed to assist individuals in improving their written Italian language skills. It helps identify and correct grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, and...
What da and per mean in Italian? Have a look at the examples below: Da quanto tempo vivi in Italia? How long have you been living in Italy? Oggi ho...
Try my courses for free​

Log in

Reset password or get in touch.

Not a member yet? Join today!

How long to fluency?

Find out how long it will take you to master Italian!
Get on the right track in 3 minutes.

dolce vita logo

We're already friends!

Coming from Luca and Marina?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
all language resources

We're already friends!

Coming from All Language Resources?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
50% OFF

To receive free resources once a week together with my best offers, just tell me where to send everything. Opt out at any time.

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.