How to HURRY Someone UP in ITALIAN: Expressions & Words to Say «MUOVITI!»

If you haven’t been living in Italy for a long time, and you are not used to living among Italians, you might have noticed that some stereotypes are not that far from reality. For instance, we are often portrayed as latecomers, and it’s kind of true. But what would you do if you had to go out with some Italian friends and you need to tell them to get a move on? What would you say to hurry them? Obviously, there are plenty of useful expressions that convey this intention, but they could be not too known to those who study Italian but have never lived in Italy – they tend to be quite informal. Keep reading if you are interested to know what we say to hurry the latecomers!


In this article I will present you a series of expressions that Italians use to urge others to do something quickly or faster. You will find both invariable and variable expressions; but, above all, you need to know that all these phrases can be used on their own, or together with other(s) from this list!

Well, that said, we can start with the INVARIABLE expressions, those that always stay the same and never change, whether we refer to one person or several people.

“Dai!” (Come on!)

This is probably the most common expression used to incite or urge someone to do something. Sometimes, it can be used as a mild form of rebuke, perhaps speaking in a stronger tone.

For instance, if you are with a friend and you are ready to go out, but she takes selfies after selfies, your conversation might go like this…

+ Dai! Ma ti rendi conto di che ore sono? Avevamo un appuntamento con gli altri 10 minuti fa ormai…
(Come on! Do you even realize what time it is? We had an appointment with the others 10 minutes ago …)

Ancora una e ho finito!
(One more and I’m done!)

+ … E dai!!!
(…Come on!!!)

*si fa una foto*
(*takes a picture of herself*)

+ Ciao! Ci vado senza di te! Trovati un passaggio!
(Bye! I’m going without you! Get your own ride!)

“Su!” (Come on!)

The simple prepositionsu” (on) can be used to express exhortation– it means that you exhort, encourage someone. It can also be used to encourage someone to do something, or to start doing something.

So, we could find “su!” in sentences such as…

-Puzzi di sudore! Vai a farti una doccia! Su!
(You smell of sweat! Go take a shower, come on!)

+Eh vado vado… Ho appena finito di allenarmi…
(I’m going, I’m going… I just finished my workout…)

Su! Iscriviti a quel corso di cucina! Che aspetti? Fai qualcosa della tua vita!
(Come on, sign up for that cooking class! What are you waiting for? Do something with your life!)

*prova a fare una foto*
(*tries to take a picture*)

+*si mette in posa* Su! Dai! Scatta! Mi sta venendo un crampo al braccio!
(*strikes a pose* Come on! Come on! Take it! I’m getting an arm cramp!)

“Animo!” (Come on! / Courage!)

This is another form of exhortation, encouragement but it’s also used to express impatience. All the expressions we have seen so far must be accompanied by hand gestures and head movements, but this one in particular calls for big gestures because it indicates that the person using this expression is really exasperated and annoyed.

For example:

Allora ragazzi? Non avete ancora finito il compito che vi ho assegnato? Animo! Non ho tutta la mattina! Devo andare in un’altra classe!
(So, guys…? You haven’t finished the task I have assigned to you yet? Come on! I don’t have all morning! I have another class I have to go to!)

Now let’s see the VARIABLE expressions, those that change depending on whether we’re talking one or more people. All the expressions below are conjugated according to the second person singular (“tu”), but you can conjugate them to all persons, following the classic rules of Italian verbs.

“Fai/ Fa’ presto!” (Hurry up!)

This expression is used to refer to someone who has to hurry or that has to finish their task earlier than expected. As in the case of other verbs in the imperative mood, the last letter of the second person singular of the verb “fare” (do) -“(tu) fai”- is omitted and so the verb must be written with an apostrophe, becoming “(tu) fa’ “. This phenomenon is called elision and it’s also common in verbs such as “andare” (go), “stare” (stay) and “dare” (give), which become va’, sta’, da’.

For example:

Dai, vieni! Fai / Fa’ presto… Altrimenti la cena si fredda!
(Come on, come here! Hurry up… or dinner will get cold!)

“Sbrigati! /Spicciati! /Datti una mossa! /Muoviti!” (Get a move on!)

All these expressions are synonymous with each other, so they can be used interchangeably. “Sbrigarsi” and “spicciarsi” are more colloquial versions of “fare in fretta”, just like “darsi una mossa” and “muoversi” – yes, “muoversi” too! In fact, in informal and colloquial Italian, “muoversi” is used with the meaning of “fare in fretta”, besides the classic meaning we all know (“spostarsi” -moving-, or “mettersi in moto” -start- )!

For instance:

+ *parla al telefono*
(*is speaking on the phone*)

-Oh! Sbrigati! Quando parla al telefono non la smette più! Datti una mossaaaa!
(*Oh! Hurry up! When she speaks on the phone, she doesn’t stop! Get a move on!*)

*Other similar expressions that are just as colloquial are: shake a leg; chop-chop; get moving; make it snappy!

“Svegliati!” (Wake up!)

This one is similar to the last four expressions we’ve seen in the previous point – it used to urge someone to hurry up, or to ask someone to be more productive.

However, unlike the others, this one can also be used to encourage someone to open their eyes, to become aware of a specific situation or activity.

An example could be:

+ Oh! Svegliati! Abbiamo un sacco di lavoro da fare! Non è il momento di cazzeggiare!
(Oh, wake up! * We have a lot of work to do! Now is not the time to fool around!)

(I’m coming!)

* “Snap out of it” could work too!

As I told you at the beginning of this article, these expressions can be combined together and create compound expressions, such as: dai, su!… or su/dai, sbrigati!… or even dai, svegliati!

This article ends here. I hope you liked it, and above all I hope you have learned some new expressions! Becoming fluent in a foreign language is not easy, I now, but you might find some good tips in our article “9 Tricks To Speak Italian like a Native” – we think it might be useful for many of you!

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