Italian Phrase of the Week: Non mi va! (I don’t feel like it!)

Whenever you don’t feel up to doing something, perhaps due to tiredness or simply because you aren’t in the mood, you can use the phrase Non mi va! which roughly translates as I don’t feel like it! / I don’t fancy it! / It doesn’t sit well with me! in English.

This expression is made up of three parts: non (negation) + mi (to/for me) + va (third person, present tense of andare: to go), so it literally translates as (It) doesn’t go for me.

Vuoi mangiare fuori stasera? – No, non mi va.

Do you want to eat out tonight? – No, I don’t feel like it.

Although it can be used on its own, it is often combined with the preposition di and an additional clause. For example:

  • Non mi va di andare al lavoro. = I don’t feel like going to work.
  • Non mi va di mangiare la pizza. = I don’t fancy eating pizza.
  • Non mi va di vedere questa trasmissione. = I don’t feel like watching this program.

Italians often stick the adverb tanto (much, a lot) onto the end to tone down the bluntness the phrase.

Non mi va tanto di vedere un film.

I don’t really feel like watching a movie.

Be aware that this phrase is only used for momentary feelings or whims, not long term plans that require careful thought. For example, it would be somewhat strange to say Non mi va di iscrivermi all’università (I don’t feel like registering for university) because entering university is something that calls for careful planning.

Alternative ways of saying the same thing include:

  • Non me la sento di… (I don’t feel like… / I don’t feel up to…)
  • Non ho voglia di… (I don’t want to…)

Of course, the affirmative phrase Mi va! exists as well, but the negative form is far more common. You are also bound to encounter the interrogative Ti va? which means Do you feel like it?

Ti va di prendere un caffè? – Sì, perché no?

Do you feel like getting a coffee? – Okay, why not?

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