You know when you’re having a conversation with a friend and they say something that is so completely on point with what you were talking about?
You can’t help but exclaim “Exactly!”
Or you know when a friend suggests that you should move to Italy if you for a while if you love it so much, and you wistfully say “I wish!”
You would express these two concepts in Italian using the wonderful words “appunto” and “magari”, respectively.
But their usages don’t end there.
In fact, these two words are incredibly diverse and useful for everyday conversation, and I’m going to share exactly how to use them with you.
Round #1: Appunto
First things first, what are the definitions of “appunto”?
—Like I was saying
— More precisely
— As already stated
Synonyms in Italian:
USAGE #1: To refer back to something you’ve already mentioned
— Hai sentito parlare dei flashcard SRS? Studiare i flashcard, appunto quelli di SRS, è il modo più efficace per imparare un’altra lingua. – Have you heard about SRS flashcards? Studying flashcards, the SRS ones already stated, is the most effective way to learn another language.
—Infatti oggi è Natale, il giorno creato dalla chiesa appunto per soppiantare quel giorno pagano, e c’è un bel clima festivo nell’aria. – In fact, today is Christmas, more precisely the day created by the church to replace that pagan holiday, e there is a nice festive atmosphere.
USAGE #2: To agree or say yes
Example 1: Italophile #1: Che ne pensi? Giulia vuole sposarmi, però penso che sia troppo presto. Ci stiamo frequentando solo da quattro mesi! – What do you think about it? Giulia wants to marry me, but I think it’s too soon. We’ve only been dating for four months.
Italophile #2: Sono d’accordo con te. Ho sentito che la maggior parte dei matrimoni, appunto quelli di persone che si sposano troppo velocemente, finiscono in sei mesi! – I agree with you. I heard that most marriages, particularly those with people who marry too quickly, end in six months!
Italophile #1: Appunto! – Exactly!
Example 2: Italophile #1: Quest’esame di C1 è troppo avanzato. Non so nemmeno una parola sola in quest’esercizio. – This C1 exam is too advanced. I don’t even know one word in this exercise.
Italophile #2: Appunto! Magari dovremmo fare l’esame B2. – Exactly! Maybe we should take the B2 exam.
It could also be used to agree in a way that expresses scorn.
Example 3: Italophile #1: Ti ho detto di girare a destra all’incrocio. – I told you to turn right at the intersection.
Italophile #2: Non ho girato a destra e adesso abbiamo sbagliato strada. – I didn’t turn right and now we took the wrong street.
Italophile #1: APPUNTO!!! – EXACTLY!!!
USAGE #3: To add extra emphasis on a word or a statement
— Ho appunto chiesto mio ragazzo se potesse venire a prendermi, ma penso che l’abbia dimenticato. – I specifically asked my boyfriend if he could come to pick me up, but I think he forgot.
— Italophile #1: È una bella giornata! Andiamo al mare? – It’s a beautiful day. Let’s go to the sea?
Italophile #2: Eccome! Stavo appunto pensando alla stessa cosa. – Definitely! I was just thinking the same thing.
USAGE #4: To show some logical connection
— Se vuoi essere fluente in italiano, devi appunto parlare spesso in italiano. – If you want to be fluent in Italian, then you have to, logically, speak often in Italian.
DON’T GET IT CONFUSED WITH…
— Appunto – Note
— Appuntare – To sharpen, to hone
Round #2: Magari
WordReference & Context-Reverso define “magari” as:
— If only
USAGE #1: To say “I wish!”
This is the usage that students typically read about in their textbooks, and it’s a phrase that can be used when someone gives you a suggestion, one that may not be realistic given your current circumstances, so you answer with a “magari” to show how much you’d like, but just can’t.
Ti faccio un paio di esempi.
Example 1: Italophile #1: Hai comprato due biglietti per la lotteria, vero? Hai vinto? – You bought two lottery tickets, right? Did you win?
Italophile #2: Magari! – I wish!
Example 2: Italophile #1: Hai vissuto in Italia per sei mesi? Ora sei fluente in Italiano? – You lived in Italy for six months? Are you fluent in Italian now?
Italophile #2: Magari! – I wish.
In the same vein, but a bit more complicated, you use it to talk about something you want that won’t necessarily come true or isn’t realistic.
— Magari fosse vero. – If only it were true./I wish it were true.
— Magari potessi vederti. – If only I could see you./I wish I could see you.
— Magari abitassi in Italia! – If only I lived in Italy!/I wish I lived in Italy.
USAGE #2: To say “Maybe”
I use “magari” to say “maybe” constantly. A synonym that you might be familiar with is “forse”.
— Magari domani vado al supermercato per comprare del panettone. Ho tanta voglia di mangiarlo! – Maybe tomorrow I’ll go the store to buy some panettone. I’m really craving it!
— Voglio iscrivermi ad un corso di italiano, però non so dove. Magari Firenze…o meglio, Orvieto! – I want to enroll in an Italian course, but I don’t know where. Maybe Florence…or better, Orvieto!
Italophile #1: Di che cosa potremmo parlare? – What should we talk about?
Italophile #2: Magari di…Andrea Bocelli! – Maybe about…Andrea Bocelli!
As you might have noticed, you must use the subjunctive imperfect after “magari” if you want to convey this meaning.
USAGE #3: To say “I’d love to!”
Example 1: Italophile #1: Vado a fare spese. Vuoi accompagnarmi? – I’m going shopping. Do you want to join me?
Italophile #2: Magari! – Yes, I’d love to!
Example 2: Italophile #1: Prendo un bicchiere di vino bianco. Ne vuoi uno? – I’m getting a glass of white wine. Do you want one?
Italophile #2: Magari! Grazie! – Yes, I’d love one. Thanks!
Have any questions? Leave ‘em in the comments below!