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When I started learning Italian one of the phrases I always wanted to know how to say was “I wonder,” as in “I wonder where we’re going tomorrow” or “I wonder what he was talking to her about last night.”
Unfortunately, this doesn’t exist in Italian.
The first few people I asked (who may or may not have spoken English very well) kindly suggested the verb “immaginare – to imagine, to suppose” to me, which I used but didn’t think was sufficient.
Fast forward a year and I’m thumbing through an Italian textbook when I stumble upon a blurb telling me exactly how to say things like “I wonder” or “He must be…” – phrases that express probability.
(Sigh. I really shouldn’t discount textbooks so much.)
Here’s my discovery with “wonder”:
When you want to express “to wonder”, you use the future tense or the future perfect tense.
– I wonder what Marco is doing. – Cosa starà facendo Marco?
> Or you might say “Mi chiedo cosa stia facendo Marco.”
– I wonder what they’re talking about. – Di cosa staranno parlando?
> Or “Mi chiedo di cosa stiano parlando.”
– I wonder where Giulia is going. – Dove starà andando Giulia?
> Or “Mi chiedo dove stia andando Giulia.”
She must be going to Milan to see her parents. – Dovrebbe andare a Milano a trovare i suoi genitori.
– Sarà andata a Milano per incontrare i suoi.
In this case, you are not sure of where she is. You’re assuming or guessing.
– Probabilmente andrà a Milano per incontrare i suoi.
In this case you’re more certain of where she is.