How to say “when”: Italian grammar lesson 40


Dive into the versatile world of the Italian word quando, a key player in forming questions and linking thoughts. Master its use as an adverb, conjunction, and in expressions to level up your Italian fluency!

  • Interrogative Adverb: Quando is your go-to for asking “when” in Italian. It’s simple and straightforward, just like in English. Use it to pry into timings like a pro!
  • Conjunction Junction: Quando isn’t just a question master; it’s also a smooth connector of sentences. It’s like the glue that holds your Italian story together.
  • Preposition Pairing: Spice up quando by pairing it with prepositions. Da quando for “since when,” per quando for deadlines, and fino a quando for “until.” It’s like giving quando a power-up!
  • Rhetorical Flair: Throw in a Quando mai? when you’re feeling sassy. It’s the Italian equivalent of “When have I ever…?” and adds that chef’s kiss to your banter.
  • Casual Vibes: Use Di quando in quando to keep things chill. It means “from time to time” and is perfect for those laid-back, “I’m cool like that” moments.

My thoughts

What is quando in Italian?

Quando is one of the Italian Five Ws (chi, cosa, dove, quando, perché) and is a must-know for Italian students.

The meaning of quando can be both when and once, just like in English. Here are some examples:

Quando parti per il Brasile?

When are you leaving for Brazil?

Chiamami quando finisci di lavorare.

Call me when you finish work.

Uscirò quando ho finito di studiare.

I will go out once I’m done studying.

How to use quando?

Quando can be used both as an interrogative adverb, to ask when something happened or is happening, or as a conjunction to link two sentences or to talk about a specific time.

  • Examples as an interrogative adverb:

Quando compie gli anni tua figlia?

When is your daughter’s birthday?

Quando siete arrivati?

When did you arrive?

Quando l’hai chiamato?

When did you call him?

  • Examples as a conjunction:

Ha iniziato a piovere quando sono arrivata.

It started raining when I arrived.

È arrivato proprio quando non me lo aspettavo.

It arrived when I did not expect it.

Quando è nato Giorgio eravamo felicissimi.

We were so happy when Giorgio was born.

How to use quando with prepositions?

The word quando in Italian can be followed by various prepositions to express different meanings, all related to time.

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Have a look at the sentences below for some examples:

  • da quando (since when)

Da quando t’interessa la politica?

Since when you’re interested in politics?

Sono passate settimane da quando l’ho vista l’ultima volta.

Weeks have passed since I last saw her.

  • per quando(when for or by the time)

Per quando ha preso appuntamento?

When did you get your appointment for?

Spero che sarà tutto a posto per quando arrivo.

I hope everything will be ok by the time I arrive.

  • fino a quando or fin quando(until)

Starò qui fin quando torni.

I will stay here until you come back.

Fino a quando possiamo rimanere?

Until when can we stay?

Potete rimanere fino a quando volete!

You can stay as long as you want!

Common Italian expressions with quando

Quando can also be found in some common Italian expressions such as:

  • Quando mai? (Since when? or when … ever)

This can be used on its own, or in a sentence, as a rhetorical question implying that never happened:

Quando mai mi hai visto fumare?

When have you ever seen me smoke?

  • Di quando in quando (Sometimes or from time to time)

Di quando in quando mi piace andare a nuotare.

I like going swimming from time to time.

What is the meaning of "quando"?

Quando in Italian can mean "when" and "once".

How to use "quando" as an interrogative adverb?

Is used to ask when something happened or is happening.

How to use "quando" as a conjunction?

To link two sentences or to talk about a specific time.

How to use "quando" with time-related prepositions?

It can express different meanings such as since when (da quando), when for or by the time (per quando), and until (fino a quando).

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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