The adverb “MANCO” in Italian: What does it mean? When is it used?

In this lesson, as you may have guessed from the title, I will talk about a very special word, which you may have heard spoken by some native Italian speakers, but which you will rarely have encountered in a written text. I’m talking about the word “manco“! In this video I will explain its meaning and I will show you the different contexts in which it can be used, giving you many examples, so that you can get a clear idea.

Facebook logo Instagram logo Twitter logo YouTube logo TikTok Logo Pinterest logo

Uses and meanings of the adverb “MANCO”

First of all, there is one thing we have to specify: the adverb “manco” should not be confused with the verb “mancare” to the first person singular of the indicative. 

The adverb “manco” comes from latin: MANCUM, which in modern Italian we coud translate as  “difettoso”, “manchevole.

In the colloquial spoken language, the adverb is not used as a synonym of “nemmeno”, “neanche”, but be careful: it is an extremely colloquial use, which you will not find ina formal text, neither spoken nor wirtten. For this reason, if you want to use it, you must be sure to find yourself in a suitable context to do so.

In particular, there are some more or less fixed expressions in which this adverb often appears as an alternative to the adverbs “neanche” or “nemmeno” (which can always replace it without changing its meaning).

 

However, the use of “manco” brings a more colloquial and informal connotation.

Often you will hear the expressions introduced by a “ma“: the meaning remains identical, the “ma” only serves to emphasize the whole. So there may or may not be.

 

The expression “manco morto

The expression “manco morto” is used as an exclamation when you’re talking about something you don’t want to do at all. It is similar to the expressions “Non ci penso proprio!”, “Non intendo farlo!”. For example:

– Perché non scrivi al tuo ex? Dovresti perdonarlo…

(Ma) manco morta! Non lo perdonerò mai!

 

The expression “manco se mi paghi

The expression “manco se mi paghi” is similar “manco morto”  and it is used in similar contexts: in this case, the verb “pagare” can be conjugated according to the context and the person. The general meaning corresponds to Non lo farei nemmeno se ricevessi dei soldi per farlo. Let’s see two examples:

  • Hai parlato con Giorgio? Non lo inviti al tuo compleanno?
  • (Ma) manco se mi paga! Dopo quello che mi ha fatto non lo voglio vedere mai più!
  • Che ne dici di cucinare una bella cenetta per i tuoi amici stasera?
  • (Ma) manco se mi pagano! Ho già cucinato ieri e non hanno mangiato quasi nulla!

 

The expressions “manco per sogno” or “manco per idea” 

Other expressions similar to the previous two are “manco per sogno” or “manco per idea” [the bad version would be “manco per il ca**o”], and again, it is used in the same contexts to say “assolutamente no”.

– Alla fine vai in vacanza con i tuoi?

(Ma) manco per sogno! Non li sopporto più!

 

The expressions “manco io” and “manco tu” 

The fourth use is very simple. The expressions “manco io”, “manco tu”, ecc., but it is also frequent in the colloquial speech: they are synonyms of  “neanche io”, “neanche tu”, ecc.

Let’s see an example:

  • Sei preoccupata per la settimana bianca? Io non ho mai sciato in vita mia, non so se sono capace…
  • Manco io! Ma mi hanno detto che non è così difficile, quindi sono abbastanza tranquilla.

 

The expression “manco per sbaglio” 

Another very used expression is “manco per sbaglio”: in particular, it is used to indicate that something did not happen or  we couldn’t do it. For example:

– Marco ti ha raccontato di ieri sera?

Manco per sbaglio! Sono stufa che non mi racconta mai niente!

 

– Ho passato tutta la giornata a cercare il libro che mi hai consigliato e non l’ho trovato manco per sbaglio! Probabilmente sarà già sold out!

 

“Manco” as synonym of “Neanche”

Finally, the adverb “manco” is generally used in colloquial speech as a synonym of “neanche”. Let’s see some examples:

  • Ieri ho visto la mia ex compagna di scuola Giulia, mi ha guardato in faccia e non mi ha manco salutato. Che cafona!
  • Quando era piccola, mia nonna era poverissima, non aveva manco i soldi per campare.
  • Ho cercato una gelateria che facesse il gelato senza lattosio ma non ne ho trovata manco una in tutta la città.

 

The expression “manco a farlo apposta!”

“Apposta” means “intenzionalmente”, “di proposito”.

The entire expression, however, means “per una pura coincidenza” and it is used when we want point out that something has happened by chance and that, if we had planned it (that is, if we had done it on purpose), maybe it wouldn’t have happened or otherwise it wouldn’t have happened in the same way.

For example:

Ero alla fermata dell’autobus perché dovevo prenderne uno per andare a Palermo quando ho visto la macchina di Francesca che si è fermata per salutarmi. Manco a farlo apposta, anche lei doveva andare a Palermo, così mi ha dato un passaggio e ho evitato di pagare il biglietto per l’autobus.

 

 

Here we are at the end of this lesson! As you have seen, the word “manco” can be used in many different contexts, the important thing is that it is always inserted in a very colloquial use and never in formal speech or in writing. Anyway, there is another word that Italians really use: PROPRIO!

If you want to learn the Italian language in a natural and contextualized environment with real dialogues, have a look at our course Italiano in Contesto: the only course in the world entirely based on Il Metodo Contestuale!

 

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

 

Rispondi