Stop saying FORSE in Italian: Learn all its SYNONYMS

Has anyone said “forse” (maybe)? Or maybe i just imagined it? Yet I really think i heard it… Bah, maybe I’m getting crazy. In this lesson we will talk about a very common word, that everyone uses, maybe even a bit too often. Maybe you have already guessed it. Or maybe not. Did you get it? That’s right, I’m talking about FORSE! So without further ado, let’s start right away: I have a lot of interesting alternatives to show you!

FORSE and its alternatives

This word is a very common adverb, used to express doubt, meaning that we are not completely sure about something. We can differentiate several uses for this word


In affirmative sentences, forse expresses doubt towards what we are saying, so to say that we are not completely sure. For example:

Beh, quel che è fatto è fatto. Forse è stato meglio così. → Well, what’s done is done. Maybe it’s better this way


Mentirgli non è stata una buona idea. Forse avrei dovuto dirglielo. → Lying to him wasn’t a good idea. Maybe I should have told him.

In these situations, forse can be replaced with probabilmente o magari.

Beh, quel che è fatto è fatto. Magari è stato meglio così. → Well what’s done is done. Perhaps it’s better tis way.


Mentirgli non è stata una buona idea. Probabilmente avrei dovuto dirglielo. → Lying to him wasn’t a good idea. Probably I should have told him.

As you can see, these three expressions are pretty much interchangeable, but remember, compared to forse, probabilmente means that we are a bit more sure about what we are saying, while magari means that we are a bit more doubtful. 


In answers, maybe can be used by itself to express uncertainty regarding what has just been said.

– Non credi sia meglio parlarne direttamente con lui? → Don’t you think it would be better to talk directly to him?

Forse. → Maybe

In these situations, it can be replaced with probabilmente, può darsi o può essere or with chissà, chi lo sa o dipende.

– Credi che, se fosse andata diversamente, ora staremmo ancora insieme? → Do you think that, had it been different, we would still be together?

Chissà. Può darsi. → Who knows. It’s possible.

– Se vincessi il concorso, inizieresti subito a lavorare? → If you won the contest, would you start working right away?

– MmmhDipende. → Mmmh… It depends.

– Se ti chiedessi di sposarmi, accetteresti? → If I asked you to marry me, would you accept?

– BehProbabilmente → Well… Probably.

As you’ve probably noticed, it is often possible to combine two of these alternatives together:

– Ve neravate accorti? Mmm… Chissà. Probabilmente sì. → Had you noticed? Mmm… Who knows. Probably yes.


Lasltly, when followed by a numeral, forse shows approximation or uncertainty about the number.

In these situations, it can be replaced with all’incircaa occhio e croceapprossimativamentecircapiù o menopressappocoquasi o su per giù. let’s look at some examples: *at the hairdresser*

– Buongiorno, vorrei spuntare un poi capelli. → Goodmorning, i’d like to cut my hair

– Daccordo, mi dica quanto vuole tagliarli. → Alright, please tell me mhow much should I cut.

– Beh, a occhio e croce direi qualche centimetro. Non so, allincirca 5-6 centimetri. → Well, I’d say about a few centimeters. I don’t know, approximately 5-6 centimeters. 

– Va bene, quindi pressappoco 3-4 dita? → Got it, so roughly 3-4 inches?

– Sì, su per giù. → Yes, more or less.


Forse can also be used in rhetorical questions to express a false doubt, when in realitywe already know the answer.

– Quindi sei sicuro che questa sera dobbiamo guardare un film horror? → So are you sure that we have to watch a horror movie tonight?

– Certo, perché? Avresti forse paura? → Of course, why? Are you, perhaps, scared?

– No, no, macché. Dicevo così, per curiosità. → No, no, don’t be silly. I was Just asking, out of curiosity.

In this case we can replace it with per caso.

– Non ho chiuso occhio tutta la notte per colpa di quei maledetti cani che non la smettevano di abbaiare. → I couldn’t sleep all night because of those bloody dogs and their constant barking.

– Credi per caso che io sia riuscito a dormire? Ero proprio accanto a te! → Do you by chance think i could? I was right beside you!


Then we have the prepositional phrase in forse, used to show that something isn’t certain or that some event made it uncertain.

In these situations you can replace it with in dubbio, in discussione o a rischio.

Ti direi che ci vediamo domani, ma il mio orario di lavoro è ancora in forse, quindi non sono sicura su quando finirò in ufficio. → I’d like to tell you that we’ll meet tomorrow, but my work schedule is a maybe, so I don’t know when i’ll finsh working. 


Stiamo aspettando la conferma dellazienda, ma per il momento è ancora tutto in dubbio. → We are waiting for confirmation from the company, but right now everithing is still in doubt.

Or again

La nostra collaborazione con quei grandi marchi è stata messa in discussione dopo la diffusione di una notizia falsa. → Our collaboration with those famous brands was questioned after the spreading of a fake news.

So, what do you think? As you can see, there are tons of ways to avoid repeating the word forse, so don’t waste any time and learn how to use all of them!

If you instead want to learn how to differentiate between formal and informal Italian, don’t miss our super interesting video in which you’ll be able to study many formal and informal examples that will help you understand how to speak properly in any situation.

And don’t forget to read our book Italiano Colloquiale: Parole ed Espressioni per Tutti i Giorni.

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