If someone comes up to you and starts gloating about the fact that they won the lottery, you could a) be polite and say Che bello! (That’s great!), b) act genuinely happy for the person and say Sono felicissimo/a per te! (I’m so/very happy for you!) or c) let your sarcastic side loose and respond with Buon per te.
Possible English equivalents include the word-for-word translation Good for you, It’s alright for some and the more informal Whoop-dee-do.
Let’s see how this phrase is constructed:
The adjective buono (good) as it appears before a singular masculine noun.
A preposition that means for.
The second person informal pronoun meaning you.
Although it can be used in complete seriousness to express happiness for another person, Buon per te! is often used sarcastically, especially if delivered with a mocking tone of voice. In this case, it carries the connotation of, “And you’re telling me this because…?” or “Do you want a pat on the back or something?“.
There can be various hidden meanings behind this phrase depending on the situation and what the person is secretly thinking. In addition to sarcasm, there could also be a hint of jealousy, or you could be implying that you simply don’t care about what the other person is saying but don’t want to be rude at the same time. You may also be insinuating that what is good for that person is not necessarily good for you.
Mio padre mi ha regalato una Ferrari per Natale! – Buon per te...
My dad gave me a Ferrari for Christmas! – Good for you…
Oggi non devo studiare quindi passo la giornata in montagna. – Buon per te. Io invece ho dieci compiti da consegnare…
I don’t have to study today so I’m spending the day in the mountains. – Good for you. I, on the other hand, have ten assignments to hand in…
Similar expressions include Beato/a te! which means Lucky you! and E allora…? which means And so…? Similar to buon per te, how the former phrase is interpreted all depends on the tone of voice you use.