Italian Phrase of the Week: Non fa niente! (It doesn’t matter!)

If someone inconveniences you or unintentionally causes you offence, a handy phrase you can use to reassure or comfort him or her is Non fa niente, which is one way of saying It doesn’t matter in Italian.

IPA: /nón ˈfa ˈnjɛn.te/

It is made up of the following components: Non (negation) + fa (third person of fareto do/make‘) + niente (nothing).

Caspita, ho dimenticato il portafoglio a casa! – Non fa niente, pago io.

Dang, I forgot my wallet at home! – It doesn’t matter, I’ll pay.

empty wallet
Mannaggia, sono rimasto senza soldi. – Non fa niente, te li presto io. = Damn, I don’t have any money. – It doesn’t matter, I can lend some to you.

Quite often, non fa niente is shortened to simply fa niente in conversation.

Non capisci? Vabbè, fa niente. Te lo spiego di nuovo.

You don’t understand? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I’ll explain it to you again.

Some other possible translations in English include Never mind, No problem or No big deal whereas an Italian might opt for one of the following expressions instead:

  • Non ti preoccupare. / Non preoccuparti. = Don’t worry.
  • Stai tranquillo. / Tranquillo. = Relax, it’s fine.
  • Non importa. = It doesn’t matter.
  • Non è grave. = It’s not serious / a big deal.

Sometimes niente is replaced with the nulla, which is another way of saying nothing in Italian.

Non ho visto la tua email. – Non ti preoccupare, non fa nulla.

I didn’t see your email. – Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter.

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