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

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Summary

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.

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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

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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.

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I’d like a cappuccino, please.
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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 @donaldbell09@gmail.com!

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

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