In Italian there are many little words used by native speakers that apparently don’t have a very precise meaning, but in reality, they express a concept, a well-defined meaning. In fact, in this lesson, we’ll look at one of these words: “appunto”, with all its uses and meanings, because it has many… Obviously, as always, we’ll give you many examples, to make learning easier and more practical.
How and When to use APPUNTO in Italian
The word “appunto” has different meanings, this comes from the fact that the word has two different etymologies, so two different origins.
“APPUNTO” AS AN EXCLAMATION
- The first origin of the word comes from the expression “A PUNTO”, that after the phenomenon of the doubling of the sound became a single word with two Ps: APPUNTO.
In this case, it’s used alone as an exclamation, meaning “indeed”, “precisely”, “exactly”. It’s used to point out, to give emphasis. Let’s look at some examples:
– Oggi ho incontrato Luca che faceva shopping: era arrabbiatissimo. → Today I met Luca while he was shopping: he was really angry.
-Ma Luca non odiava fare shopping? → Doesn’t Luca hate shopping?
-Appunto! Proprio per quello era arrabbiato! → Indeed. That’s why he was so angry!
– Sono stufa: è da una settimana che continuo a ricevere chiamate da operatori telefonici che vogliono propormi nuove offerte! → I’ve had enough: it’s a week that I’ve been getting calls from phone operators trying to offer me new deals!
– Capita la stessa cosa anche a me! Che poi mi chiedo: ma da dove li prendono i nostri numeri di telefono? → It happens to me too! And I wonder: where do they get our numbers?
– Appunto! Io non l’ho neanche pubblicato sulle pagine gialle!” → Exactly! I never even published mine on the yellow pages!
“APPUNTO” AS A FILLER WORD
With this meaning, the word “appunto” is also used as a filler word: a word that is constantly added into conversations, without even being conscious of it and without it being needed. It’s used just to point out what we are saying, to highlight the things we consider more important.
“Nella mia tesi di laurea ho trattato appunto il tema dell’inquinamento ambientale che è appunto molto sentito al giorno d’oggi. La prima parte del lavoro si concentra appunto sui principali problemi che l’inquinamento, appunto, causa all’ambiente. Nella seconda parte ho menzionato invece le possibili strategie che si potrebbero appunto attuare per risolvere tali problemi.”
→ “In my degree thesis, indeed, I dealt with the topic of environmental pollution, which is indeed a very heartfelt topic nowadays. The first part of the work focuses indeed on the main problems that pollution, indeed, causes to the environment. In the second part, I mentioned some possible strategies that could indeed be implemented to solve said problems.”
Be careful though: I don’t recommend learning to use “appunto” as a filler word, at least not as frequently as we saw in the last example, because in the long run it can seem redundant and even annoying. You too were a little annoyed by its frequency, weren’t you?
This doesn’t mean that you won’t hear it from native speakers.
“PER L’APPUNTO”, A FORMAL INTENSIFIER
Another use for “appunto” with the same meaning is in the expression “PER L’APPUNTO”, this is a simple intensifier and it’s used more or less in the same exact way. The only difference, if we really want to find one, is that this expression is not often used in the colloquial language, it’s more common in the formal and elevated language.
“Un aspetto fondamentale nel nostro progetto è, per l’appunto, costruire uno spazio di libertà, sicurezza e serenità per tutti i membri della nostra azienda.” → “An essential aspect of our project is, in fact, building a free, calm and safe space for the members of our company.”
THE SECOND ORIGIN: “APPUNTARE” (TO WRITE DOWN)
- The second etymology of the word APPUNTO comes from the verb “appuntare”, that means “to write”, “to write down”.
In this case, “appunto”, in addition to being the first person singular of the present tense of the verb “appuntare” (io appunto qualcosa → I write down something), it’s a noun. This indicates a quick and brief memo written down to remember an event, a date, the most important points of a speech or of a lesson, but also as a reminder of what we have to say or do.
In this case we could prendere appunti (→ take notes) , maybe on our quaderno (di appunti) (→notebook) or on our blocchetto degli appunti (→notepad).
“APPUNTO” AS A REPROACH, AN OBSERVATION
- When “appunto” is used in the singular form, it can often indicate a reproach, an observation or a not so serious complaint.
For example, if we are late for work, our boss could “farci un appunto” (→ reproach us) on our conduct, he could lecture us on our behaviour. But I want to point out that when we use the word “appunto” we want to underline the fact that our reproach was not so serious.
EVERY “APPUNTO” PUT INTO PRACTICE
Now let’s see a dialogue with every use we saw of the word “appunto”.
– Ciao Rocco, oggi sei andato alla lezione di Diritto? → Hi Rocco, did you go to law class today?
– Ciao! Sì ci sono andato.. Ma non ti ho vista! → Hi! Yes, I did…But I didn’t see you there!
– Appunto (1), non sono venuta perché non stavo bene. Ti dispiacerebbe passarmi gli appunti (2)? → That’s right, I didn’t come because I was not feeling well. Do you mind giving me your notes?
– Ma certo, figurati! Se perdi una lezione di diritto sei rovinata! → Yes of course, no problem! If you miss law class you’re ruined!
– Eh, appunto (1), non vorrei che sia troppo difficile recuperare → Indeed, I hope it’s not too hard to catch up.
– Ma no, non preoccuparti, in un paio d’ore la recuperi. Ma oggi non dovevi andare dal dentista? → No, don’t worry, you’ll catch up in just a few hours. But weren’t you supposed to go to the dentist today?
– Eh sì, appunto (1), mi sa che dovrò recuperarla domani. Spero di fare in tempo prima della prossima lezione → Yes, precisely, I think I’ll have to catch up tomorrow. I hope I’ll be able to do it before our next class.
-Se posso farti un appunto (3), sarebbe il caso che tu mandassi una mail alla professoressa per spiegarle il motivo della tua assenza… → If I can make a remark, you should send an email to the professor to tell her why you were absent…
We finally got to the end. I’ll give you some homework: try to use the word “appunto” in a dialogue and leave it in the comments. You can choose whether to use it in a colloquial or a more formal context!
If you are a fan of these little words that allow you to buy some time in a conversation to think about what you want to say, then you can’t miss our lesson dedicated to the word ALLORA.
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