So… It’s now time to explain once and for all the meaning of the small word ALLORA in Italian!
What does ALLORA mean and how is it used?
Now, you have to know that probably ALLORA is the most used Italian word, after the word “cosa” (thing)… ALLORA is used in different ways and with different meanings that we are now going to see together!
1. First of all, it’s often used at the beginning of a sentence in order to begin a speech, because it helps us to get more time to think better about what to say!
For example, many teachers start their classes by saying:
Allora, ragazzi, oggi parleremo di un argomento molto interessante… (So, guys, today we are going to talk about a very interesting subject…)
2. Furthermore, at the beginning of a sentence, ALLORA can also be used to make a clarification, with the meaning of “let’s make it clear that”. It is very often used in arguments!
– Sai che oggi i tuoi capelli stanno male? (– Do you know that your hair is terrible today?)
– Allora, forse non lo sai, ma mentre venivo qui mi sono trovata sotto un temporale! (– Well, probably you don’t know that, but while I was coming here, I found myself under a storm!)
3. ALLORA can also be used with the meaning of “in that moment”, “at that time” with reference to a single event or a whole period in the past or even in the future.
Negli anni ‘60 era più difficile comunicare con le persone lontane perché allora non c’era Internet! (In the 1960s, it was more difficult to keep in touch with the people who were very far, because at that time there was no Internet!)
Quando gli uomini capiranno che i soldi non fanno la felicità, allora sarà troppo tardi… (When men understand that money can’t buy happiness, then it will be too late…)
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N.B. We have to add that, in this case, if ALLORA is preceded by the preposition DA it takes the meaning of “from that moment”.
L’anno scorso è morto il pesciolino rosso di Davide; da allora la sua vita è cambiata completamente. (Last year Davide’s red fish died; from that moment, his life has completely changed)
4. What’s more, ALLORA can also be a conclusive conjunction and can take the meaning of “therefore”, “so”.
Ieri Luca aveva la febbre, allora ha preferito restare a casa invece di andare a lavoro. (Yesterday Luca had the flu, so he preferred to stay at home rather than going to work)
5. ALLORA, however, can also take the meaning of “in that case”, “if that’s the case”.
Se sei a Milano, allora devi visitare il Duomo! (If you’re in Milan, then you have to visit the Cathedral!)
Hai voluto la bicicletta? E allora pedala! [You made your bed, now lie in it]
This expression is used to warn someone not to complain for the consequences coming from a choice they did make.
6. Finally, ALLORA is often used in questions to emphasize, to underline, that we do want to have an answer! In this case, it can be put at the beginning or at the end of the sentence!
– Allora, come è andata la tua presentazione? (So, how did your presentation go?)
– Eh, niente male! (Not too bad!)
– Che hai cucinato, allora? (What have you cooked, then?)
– Un banale risotto ai funghi! (A simple risotto with mushrooms!)
Sometimes, if our question is pretty obvious because the context makes it clear what you want to know, we simply say “Allora?”.
For example, if our friend has just finished his/her exam, we might ask: “allora?”. In this case, it would be crystal clear that what we want to know is how the exam went!
Now… Why don’t you have a look at all our Italian lessons? 🙂
Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!