Anzi or anziché? Anzitutto or innanzitutto? Meaning and use!

Anzi, anziché, anzitutto, innanzitutto, poc’anzi… But what on earth does this small word “anzi” mean? Fortunately (meno male), Angela decided to help us to find out the meaning of this word and how it is used. We hope that you enjoy this lesson! 


ANZI has several meanings.

1)  First of all, ANZI is used to contradict a negative sentence previously said. In this case it has the meaning of al contrario (on the contrary)


Non fa freddo, anzi (= al contrario) ci sono 35 gradi! (It’s not cold, on the contrary, it’s 35 degrees!)

Lucia non è brava a giocare a tennis, anzi (= al contrario) è proprio negata! (Lucia isn’t good at playing tennis, on the contrary, she is really bad!)

With the same meaning ANZI can be used alone, suggesting the rest of the sentence. In this case the intonation of ANZI is stronger.


Non fa freddo, anzi!

Lucia non è brava a giocare a tennis, anzi

2) ANZI can also be used with the meaning of o meglio, piuttosto (rather), when you change your mind (in this case, the other sentence must be negative!)


Prendo una pizza, anzi, prendo un primo! (I’ll have a pizza or, rather, a main course)

When we use ANZI to change our mind we could also add a NO if the previous sentence is affirmative:


Gradirei un calice di vino… anzino, prendo una birra! (I’d like a glass of wine… actually,no, I’ll have a beer!)

Instead, we will add, if wanted, a SI if the previous sentence is negative:


Non mi va di andare al cinema… anzi, dai, andiamo! (I don’t want to go the cinema… rather, yes, c’mon, let’s go!)

3) At last ANZI can be also used to strengthen what said before, to insist on a notion, to give more emphasis!


L’Italia è bella, anzi bellissima! (Italy is nice, no, actually it’s beautiful!)

Sono arrabbiato, anzi adirato! (I’m angry, no, actually irate)

Now, you need to know that the word ANZI can also be found in compound words such as: ANZITUTTO or INNANZITUTTO which are used to start a conversation or a list of things, in other words, they have the same meaning of prima di tutto (first of all).


Anzitutto compriamo gli ingredienti, poi faremo una torta. (First of all we buy the ingredients, then we will make a cake)

ANZI can also be found in the word POC’ANZI that means poco fa (a while ago / earlier).


Devo raccontarti quello che mi è successo poc’anzi(I need to tell you what happened to me earlier)

Finally, we have ANZICHÉ, which means invece di and is used with the verb in the infinitive form, without prepositions. Usually it introduces an action that you don’t want to do!

For example:

Preferisco comprare una casa nuova anziché affittarne una. (I’d rather buy a new house than renting one!)

Domani vado in spiaggia anziché fare jogging! (Tomorrow I will go to the beach instead of jogging)

Anziché mangiare sempre, Sara dovrebbe andare in palestra! (Sara should go to the gym, rather than eating all the time)

If the verbs of the two sentences (the one with and the one without anziché) are the same, the second verb can be omitted.

For example:

Preferisco mangiare carne anziché (mangiare) pesce. (I prefer eating meat rather than fish.)

“Già” or “ancora”? Still doubts? Don’t miss our lesson, then!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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