Italian Phrase: Come si dice…? (How do you say…?)

One of the most useful travel phrases you can learn in preparation for a trip to Italy is Come si dice…? which means How do you say…?

Italian phrase "Come si dice ... ?"

If, in English, you want to speak about people in general rather than a specific individual, there are many options:

  • one > “One goes to the market.”
  • you > “You can eat a lot of delicious things.”
  • they > “In England, they speak English.”
  • people > “In Italy, people speak Italian.”

In Italian, you can express the impersonal nature of a phrase with the impersonal pronoun si. Let’s take a look at how these English phrases would be rendered in Italian:

  • Si va al mercato. = One goes to the market.
  • Si possono mangiare tante cose buone. = You can eat a lot of delicious things.
  • In Inghilterra, si parla inglese. = In England, they speak English.
  • In Italia, si parla italiano. = In Italy, people speak Italian.

Today’s phrase uses the impersonal si, so the translation could be any of the following:

  • How do you say…?
  • How does one say…?
  • How do they say…?
  • How do people say…?

Of course, since we are talking about how to say something Italian, it makes sense to complete the phrase with …in italiano which means in Italian.

Woman holding speech bubble

Another common impersonal phrase is si dice che which means it is said that / people say that. Take a look at the following example:

Ethics statement: Below you will find affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!

Lingopie (affiliate link) is the Netflix of language learning application that uses real TV shows and movies to help you learn a new language. You can choose a show to watch based on your fluency level, and use the interactive subtitles to get instant translations to help you learn quickly.

Are you interested in improving your Italian in a fun and stress-free manner? Then we highly recommend Serena Capilli's short stories in Italian (affiliate link), designed for beginners, advanced beginners, and lower intermediate learners (A1-B1 CEFR). These stories have been optimised for English speakers in search of a fun, laid-back learning experience! Read our full review here.

Leave a Comment