Stop saying “OK”: Learn the Italian ALTERNATIVES!

Italians tend to use English words in speeches in Italian, probably to enhance their image and to sound more interesting. But there’s a word that is far more used that others: ok. For this reason, in the following lesson we are going to see some alternatives to this word that’s now ingrained in everyday conversations.

The best Italian alternatives to the word “ok”

First of all, it should be noted that the word ok is  used in various contexts, with different meanings. Consequently, every meaning has its own alternative in Italian:

1) va bene/ d’accordo (alright/fine)

We can use these alternatives when OK is used as a reply to give approval, to agree, to reply affirmatively to a command or a request, by saying we are going to accomplish them, though without too much enthusiasm.

Examples: “– Mi passi a prendere, per favore? – D’accordo…” (- Would you pick me up, please? – Alright…)

– Andiamo a ballare stasera! – Va bene…” (- Let’s go dancing tonight! – Fine…)

If they’re said with an elongated and slightly sarcastic pronunciation,they indicate that we are going to do what we are asked to do, but… we are complaining about it, because we’d prefer not do that!

Example: “– Andiamo a fare shopping? – Vaaaa beeeene…” (- Shall we go shopping? – Fiiiine…)

2) (ma) certo/altroché (sure/ of course/ absolutely)

We can use these alternatives in the same cases seen before, namely as a reply to a command or a request. Moreover, if they’re pronounced with a dynamic intonation, they emphasizes our enthusiasm in doing what we are asked to do.

Examples: “– Abbiamo vinto la lotteria! Compra lo champagne! – Altroché! Siamo ricchi ora!” (- We won the lottery! Buy the champagne! – Absolutely! We’re rich now!)

– Andiamo a prenderci un caffè? Ma certo! – Ho proprio bisogno di un po’ di caffeina… ” ( Let’s have a coffee! – Sure! I really need some caffeine!)

3) ho capito/ha senso/tutto chiaro (I get it/ makes sense/ everything’s clear)

These forms are used when we’re listening to some advice, a suggestion, a clarification or some explanations on how to do something and you want to prove you’re following the reasoning, that there’s no doubt and that the person can continue, maybe nodding and adding “mh-mh”.

Examples: “- Per fare una live su Instagram devi cliccare su Your Story dalla foto profilo e poi su “Live”
Mh-mh, tutto chiaro! Ne farò una più tardi” (- In order to share a live video on Instagram you have to click on Your Story from your profile picture and then you have to click on “Live” – Mh-mh, it’s all clear! I’ll record one later)

– Forse dovresti assumere un’assistente: la tua agenda è un caos! – Mh… Ha senso… Ne cercherò una!” (- Maybe you should hire an assistant: your schedule is a mess! – Mh… it makes sense… I’ll look for one!)

– Quando parlerai durante la conferenza, non fissare nessuno in particolare, così non sarai distratta e non dimenticherai quello che devi dire! – Ho capito! Cercherò di seguire questi consigli!” (- When you’ll talk to the audience during the conference, don’t stare at anybody in particular, so you won’t get distracted and you won’t forget what you need to say! – I get it! ll’try to follow these suggestions!)

4) (ci) siamo intesi (so it’s clear)/perfetto (great)/ abbiamo un accordo (we have a deal)/ mi sembra eccellente (seems excellent)

These expressions are used to arrange something with someone, to tell that person that the idea seems good, that an agreement has been reached and the terms of which will be fulfilled. In formal contexts (or also in  informal contexts in a kidding manner), these expressions can be also accompanied by a handshake and they can be also combined.

Examples: “– La nostra banca le concederà il prestito che ha richiesto! Deve solo rispettare le scadenze dei pagamenti delle rate! Perfetto! Mi sembra eccellente! La ringrazio!” (- Our bank will grant you the loan requested! You just have to respect the payment schedule of installments! – Great! It seems excellent! Thank you!)

– Ti aiuterò con il tuo computer a patto che tu mi dia una mano con il trasloco domani!
Siamo intesi! Ma dopo il trasloco andiamo a mangiare una bella pizza! – Abbiamo un accordo!” ( I’ll help you with that new program on your computer as long as you’ll give me a hand with the move tomorrow! – It’s clear!)

5) bene…/allora…/dunque… (well…)

We can use these forms when we’re about to talk, when we’re about to start a conversation.

Example: “Bene, come molti di voi sapranno, oggi siamo qui per discutere di un eventuale ampliamento della nostra azienda anche all’estero…” (Well, as many of you are aware, today we’re here to discuss a possible expansion of the company abroad…)

6) vabbè…./ fai come vuoi (well,whatever/do what you want, as you wish)

These expressions accompanied by cold are used when we want to finish a conversation, because it gets on our nerves or because we don’t want to hear anything anymore, maybe when they tell us they’re going to do something we don’t like, but we have no intention to say that openly to avoid an argument or they have been talking for a long time and we don’t want to to hear them anymore. But be careful when you use them because the other person might get angry.

Examples: “Stasera vado a giocare a calcetto con i miei amici, potrei tornare un po’ tardi… – Fai come vuoi…” (- I’m going to play soccer with my friends tonight, don’t wait up for me, I might be late… – Do as you wish…)

“- Ascoltami, questo investimento potrebbe essere buono per noi, potrebbe diventare qualcosa di grande e…
Vabbè… Che ne pensi di questa foto? Pensi che possa postarla sui social?” (- Listen to me this investment might be good for us, it might become something bigger and… – Whatever… what do you think of this photo? Do you think I should share it on my social pages?)

7) (tutto) bene/ a posto (all right/ everything’s fine)

These alternatives replace OK when it’s used with “tutto” as a reply to “Come stai?” (How are you) or “Come va?” (What’s up).

Example: “– Ciao! Da quanto tempo! Come stai? –Tutto a posto, nessuna novità! E tu?” – Hi! Long time no see! How are you? – It’s all right, nothing new! How are you?)

By the way, we made a video on the possible alternatives to “Come stai? Bene e tu?” (How are you? I’m fine and you?) that will help you to increase your linguistic arsenal to amaze the Italians you’ll talk with!

8) giusto/ buono/ non male/ niente male (right/ good/not bad/pretty good) (things) – perbene/ a modo/ bravo (nice/ decent/ good) (people)

At last, we use these expressions to replace OK , when it’s used as an adjective to refer to something or someone that is fine, that’s not bad, all things considered.

Example: “– Hai visto il nuovo fidanzato di Valeria? – Sì, l’ho conosciuto alla sua festa ieri, mi sembra una persona perbene. Tu cosa ne pensi? – Mh non so, a me non è sembrato un ragazzo troppo a modo, ma forse è solo una mia impressione. – Il regalo che le ha fatto non era male però!  – Forse, ma secondo me non era il regalo giusto per lei“. (Did you meet Valeria’s boyfriend? – Yes, I met him at her party yesterday, he seems a nice guy. What do you think of him? – Mh I don’t know, he didn’t look so decent, but maybe it’s just an impression. – But the gift he gave her wasn’t bad! – Perhaps, but it wasn’t the right for Valeria, because she didn’t seem very excited…)

Well, so much for the alternatives to the word OK! We suggest you to take a look at the video we made devoted to all the foreign words that are used and integrated in Italian language. In addition, if you want to achieve a high level in Italian, like a true native speaker, don’t miss our book Italiano Colloquiale!

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

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