The verb CHIEDERE and its many expressions in Italian

In Italian the verb CHIEDERE is widely used to express the desire to own, the need to have something and also to ask and question somebody to acquire new information. Listening to Italians, however, you may have noticed that this verb is present in many figures of speech, set phrases, and other verbal expressions. In this video you’ll learn about the most common ones!


Let’s see together the main Italian verbal expressions that include the verb CHIEDERE

1. Chiedere scusa (apologize)

To express sadness, regret o guilt for something you have said or done to someone, by admitting your own errors, in order to make peace and restore a relationship.


Ops… Vi chiedo scusa! Stavo rispondendo a qualche messaggio… (Ops… I’m sorry! I was answering to some messages…)

2. Chiedere perdono (ask for forgiveness)

This is another way to “apologize”. This expression, however, is used also in religious context: You ask to someone (a person or God) to absolve the sin you’ve committed.


Vi chiedo perdono se sono stata un po’ assente… Avete sentito la mia mancanza? (I apologize if I have been a little absent…Have you missed me?)

3. Chiedere venia (beg pardon)

The word “venia” means pardon, grace, forgiveness, usually it is rather mild. Therefore, “chiedere venia” means to ask forgiveness in situations of small faults.

This expression is used quite often in very grand and classy contexts to apologize, even in a jokingly way in everyday life.


Come hai detto che ti chiami? Lisa Petragallo? Pietragalla? Petrigallia? Chiedo venia se l’ho pronunciato male! Non l’ho mai sentito però… (What did you say your name was? Lisa Petragallo? Pietragalla? Petrigallia? I’m sorry if I pronounced it wrong! I have never heard it though…)

4. Chiedere clemenza (ask for clemency)

This is employed in legal contexts, to request benevolence in punishment and willingness to forgive.


Signor giudice, sento di dover chiedere clemenza per il mio cliente. È innocente! (Judge, I feel I must ask for clemency for my client. He is innocent!)

5. Chiedere giustizia (demand justice)

This too is employed in legal contexts, but it is also used quite often in ordinary life: the request is to act justly and fairly towards someone, or to restore a right trampled on, or a wrong suffered.


Graziana mi ha rotto questo bracciale e io adesso chiedo giustizia! Me ne deve ricomprare almeno tre! (Graziana broke my bracelet and now I demand justice! She must buy me back at least three!)

6. Chiedere (il) permesso (ask for permission)

Asking other people for permission (verbal or written) to say or do something. It is mostly used by children, at school or at home, to ask the teacher or parents the permission to do something.


Più tardi c’è l’aperitivo in centro? Più tardi quando? Tra 15 minuti? Non so se riesco a farcela… Dovrei chiedere il permesso a Graziana perché la sto aiutando con un video… Lo so, anche io penso che dirà di no! Lei è così stakanovista… (Is there an aperitif downtown later? Later when? In 15 minutes? I don’t know I’ll be able to make it… I should ask Graziana’s permission, because I’m helping her with a video… I know, I too think she’ll say no! She is such a workaholic!)

7. Chiedere uno sforzo (ask someone to make an effort)

Demangin someone the maximum energy and commitment in whatever activity they are carrying out or will carry out in the future.


Mi dispiace, non posso venire. Graziana mi ha chiesto uno sforzo per completare questo video e non posso deluderla. È lei che mi paga! Però ti prometto che ci sarò al prossimo aperitivo! (I’m sorry, I can’t come. Graziana asked me to make an effort to complete this video, I cannot disappoint her. She’s the one who’s paying me! But I promise you I’ll come to the next aperitif!)

8. Chiedere conto (call to account)

Demanding urgently, an explanation or justification for something that has been done or said.


Finalmente ho trovato i miei auricolari! Chissà chi li aveva presi! Sicuramente Graziana… Ma gliene chiederò conto… Non la passerà liscia questa volta! (I finally found my earphones! I wonder who had taken them! Definitely Graziana…but I’ll ask her about it…She won’t get away with it this time!) 

9. Chiedere conferma (ask for confirmation)

To ascertain the truth of a piece of news or the correctness of a thing done or said, to have certain proof of a fact or assumption.


Mi hanno invitata a una festa questa sera, però ho ricevuto un messaggio molto generico… Ma davvero c’è una festa a casa di Luca? Ti chiamavo per chiedere conferma… Sì? Benissimo! (I was invited to a party this evening, but I received a very vague message…Is there really a party at Luca’s place? I was calling you to confirm…Yes? That’s great!)

10. Chiedere lumi (ask for enlightenment)

Wanting clarification, an explanation from someone. The word “lumi”, in fact, means light. Therefore, with this expression you want someone to shed light on a matter, with a well-detailed explanation


Chi ha mangiato la torta che avevo lasciato in frigo? Chiedo lumi su questa questione! Non è possibile! Ogni volta che c’è un pezzo di torta al cioccolato, finisce sempre! (Who ate the cake I left in the fridge? I ask for enlightenment on the matter! This is unacceptable! Every time there’s a piece of chocolate cake, it ends right away!)

11. Chiedere la luna (ask for the moon)

Asking for something impossible. It is often used in ironic and joking contexts.


Ma non ti sto chiedendo la luna… Ti sto solo chiedendo di prestarmi la tua Ferrari per questa sera… Tecnicamente non ho ancora la patente, ma sto facendo le guide con la scuola guida! (I’m not asking for the moon…I’m just asking you to lend me your Ferrari for this evening… Technically I don’t have a licence yet, but I’m learning how to drive in driving school!)

12. Chiedere una mano (ask for a hand)

Asking someone for help to do something.


Ti posso chiedere una mano? Sto provando a scaricare un programma sul mio computer ma proprio non ci capisco nulla! Mica potresti aiutarmi? (Can I ask you for some help? I’m trying to download a programme on my computer, but I don’t understand a thing! Could you please help me?)

13. Chiedere la mano (propose)

Make a formal marriage request.

This expression has very ancient origins: it dates back to ancient Rome, where the “manus” was the responsibility of the parent on the daughter, which thus passed from the father to the future husband.


Ho uno scoop per te: lo sai che Antonio ha chiesto la mano al padre di Sara? È successo ieri sera, nessuno se lo aspettava! (I have a scoop for you: did you know that Antonio asked Sara’s father for her hand in marriage? It happened last night, nobody expected it!)

Do you want to know more about other curiosities related to ancient times? Watch our new video on expressions related to mythology!

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