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Bastare, mancare and piacere are weird verbs in Italian if you’re a native English speaker.
To help you clear up how to use these lovely verbs, I decided to do three speed dates for them, and I guarantee that afterward you’ll have a much better understanding of when and how to use them.
Round 1: Bastare – To be enough
So when we think of the definition “to be enough,” we might think of a person who is struggling with self-worth.
Plus we may have heard the expression “Basta!” in Italian, which translates to “Enough!” so it’s understandable that we’re confused.
It’s not as likely that we’ll think of it as an amount of time necessary to do something or an amount necessary to complete a recipe.
The definition that we’ll be most comfortable with is “to be sufficient,” so I’ll refer to that definition throughout this section as well.
– Ti bastano due giorni per finire questo compito. – Two days are sufficient for you to finish this homework.
– Vi basta vedere le foto per sapere la verità. – It’s enough for you all to see the pictures to know the truth.
– Mi basta un niente per essere contento. – It takes nothing to make me happy.
There is a way to use “bastare” without the indirect object pronoun (mi, ti, vi) before it, and some examples of that are:
– Basta! – Enough!
– Basta così. – This is enough.
– Basta il pensiero. – It’s the thought that counts. (Literally: It’s enough the thought.)
– Fallo e basta. – Just do it. (a la Nike)
– Quanto basta – Just the right amount, just enough
– Basta il tempo di un caffé – In less time that it takes for an espresso
– Basta urlare. – Stop shouting (usually said by moms talking to their kids.)
Round 2: Mancare – To miss
Okay, the top questions I get about this verb are about the following three phrases:
– I miss you. – Mi manchi.
– Do you miss me? – Ti manco?
– I miss him/her. – Mi manca.
We could get this right and clear up our confusion if we remembered the literal translation for “Mi manchi” is “You are missing to me”.
– Ti manco? – Am I missing to you?
– Mi manca. – He/She is missing to me.
Knowing this now, how would say “I miss you all”?
It would be “Mi mancate.” – You all are missing to me.
However, there is another way to use “mancare” that isn’t often covered and that’s with talking about what’s left of something, as in:
How many stops left until the Colosseum? – Quante fermate mancano al Colosseo?
There is one stop left until the Colosseum. – Manca una fermata al Colosseo.
How many days left until your arrival? – Quanti giorni mancano al tuo arrivo?
There are six days left until my arrival. – Mancano sei giorni al mio arrivo.
Notice in these examples when “manca” changes to “mancano”.
In the first example “manca” refers to the number of stops and since it’s singular, so is “manca”.
In the second example “mancano” refers to the number of days and since they’re plural, so is “mancano”.
Round 3: Piacere – To be pleasing
You most certainly have learned this verb in the early stages of your Italian education because we all want to talk about the things that we do and don’t like.
Mi piacciono le fragole. – I like strawberries.
Mi piace il Colosseo. – I like the Colosseum.
This much we understand:
– The verb “piacere” refers to the thing we like and NOT to ourselves, which is why it changes from singular to plural depending on what we like.
1.) Piacciono –> fragole
2.) Piace –> Colosseo
– We use little words like “mi”, “ti”, and “ci” before it so we can say “I like”, “you like” and “we like”.
What we might still be confused about is what we do when we want to say something like “I like it.”
Where does this “it” go?
You don’t need to say it because it’s implied.
Mi piace – I like it (after the thing you like has already been discussed).
In the search for finding something to say to replace “it”, we come up with all weird sorts of things, and one thing I ALWAYS want to avoid saying is this phrase:
A me mi piace.
It’s bad grammar, and it’s redundant.
Keep it simple and just say “Mi piace”.
Other phrases with piacere:
– Con piacere – With pleasure
– Il piacere è mio. – The pleasure is mine.
– Piacere! – Nice to meet you!
– Ma fammi il piacere. – Oh, please, come on (In a sarcastic tone)
Questions about any of these speed dates? Leave them in the comments below!
More word speed dates:
– Italian Word Speed Dates: Tale, Eccome, e Semmai
– Italian Word Speed Dates: Appena, Addirittura, Comunque and Quindi
– Italian Word Speed Dates: Anzi, Dunque e Piuttosto
– Italian Word Speed Dates: Ne + Ci