If you’re experiencing sadness from the absence of a family member, close friend, lover or spouse, a good phrase to know is I miss you which translates as (Tu) mi manchi in Italian.
In conversation, the personal pronoun tu is almost always omitted since the grammatical person is clear from the conjugation of the verb mancare (to miss / to lack).
Mi manchi tanto. Quando posso venire a trovarti?
I miss you a lot. When can I come and see you?
The only time you’d make a point to include the personal pronoun is if some emphasis were required or if the subject remained unclear. In the sentence below, for example, the speaker wants to emphasise the fact that he misses you rather than him, so both tu and lui are needed.
Tu mi manchi ma lui non mi manca.
I miss you but I don’t miss him.
The more formal version of (Tu) mi manchi is (Lei) mi manca. However you won’t hear it nearly as often because people generally do not suffer the loss or absence of someone with whom they have a formal relationship such as a boss or a shopkeeper.
The plural (Voi) mi mancate (I miss you all), on the other hand, is heard a lot. You can use it when talking to a group of two or more people.
Mi mancate, ragazzi! Dobbiamo vederci presto!
I miss you, guys! We have to see each other soon!
Below is a chart showing all the possible ways to say I miss (someone/something) in Italian.
(Io) mi manco*
I miss me / myself*
(Tu) mi manchi
I miss you (informal)
(Lui) mi manca
I miss him
(Lei) mi manca
I miss her
(Lei) mi manca
I miss you (formal)
(-) mi manca
I miss (it)
Note that in Italian, the object ‘it’ is not required
Mi manca (fare…)
I miss (doing…)
(L’Italia) mi manca
I miss (Italy)
(Noi) mi manchiamo*
I miss us*
(Voi) mi mancate
I miss you (plural)
(Loro) mi mancano
I miss them
*Rarely used in either language, if not in a poetic sense
Below are some more indirect ways of saying mi manchi in Italian if you want to get creative!
- Vorrei vederti! = I’d like to see you. / I wish I could see you.
- Sento la tua mancanza. = I miss you. (Lit: I feel your absence.)
- Vorrei che fossi qui! = I wish you were here.
- Spero di rivederti presto! = I hope to see you soon!
- Non vedo l’ora di rivederti! = I can’t wait to see you again!
- Mi sento triste senza di te. = I feel sad without you.
- Ti penso spesso. = I often think of you.