And, in all these messages, over the years, we started to notice a theme. When someone can’t recall something in particular in Italian, they automatically switched to English to say, “I can’t remember” or “I don’t know.” This got us thinking, maybe it was worth adding those phrases to your studies, so you can keep the conversation flowing in Italian.
Next time, you find yourself struggling to recall a certain word or phrase, try these on for size.
To express uncertainty:
— Non lo so. – I don’t know.
— Boh. – I don’t know (technically this is a sound, not a word per se, but you can learn more about it here).
— Non mi viene in mente. – It doesn’t come to mind (a word or phrase doesn’t come to mind).
— Devo pensare un secondo. – I need to think for a second.
— Aspetta un attimo. – Wait a second.
Phrase to actually say you don’t remember:
— Non mi ricordo. – I don’t remember (note: the verb, ricordare (ricordarsi) is reflexive).
— Mi sono scordato/a. – I didn’t remember (past tense) / I forgot (note: here the verb is reflexive and in this case, you would use this if you’re telling someone you forgot something that happened in the past, like “mi sono scordata il suo compleanno!” – I forgot his birthday!).
— Ho dimenticato. – I forgot.
— Mi scordo. – I don’t remember (present tense).
Example: Mi scordo sempre il passato prossimo – I always forget the past tense!
— Mi è passato di mente. – It slipped my mind.
And just to add some more fun to the mix, when you want to say, “forget it” as in, let it go, or let’s not talk about it:
— Lascia perdere. – Let it go.
— Lascia stare. – Let it stay (i.e. let it go).
— Non ci pensare. – Let’s not think about it.
— Non è importante / Niente di importante. – It’s not important.
Do you have other ways you express yourself when you can’t remember something in Italian? Let us know your favorites in the comments!