What does the word MICA mean? How is it used? Let’s learn it together!

Hello everybody! Today we are going to study a word that Italians use quite a lot: MICA ! Are you ready? Let’s begin!

How to use MICA in Italian 

MICA can seem like a little insignificant word but it has several different meanings!

1)  It can have the meaning of AFFATTO, PER NIENTE, PER NULLA, therefore it can enhance, emphasize, a negation.


Non sto mica (= affatto) bene! (I’m not at all well!)


Non ho mica (= per niente) una Ferrari! (It’s not like I have a Ferrari!

2) With the same meaning,  MICA can also be used without the other negation (NON). In this case, however, it must be placed before the verb (and not after the verb as in the previous sentence)


Mica sto bene! (I am not at all well!)

Mica ho una Ferrari! (It’s not like I have a Ferrari!)

3)  MICA can take on the meaning of PER CASO in interrogative sentences (with or without the other negation)


Mica vuoi quest’altro pezzo di crostata? (By chance, would you like to eat another piece of cobbler?)


Non hai mica visto in giro i miei occhiali? (Did you happen to see my glasses around here?)

4)  Finally, MICA can be used in expressions such as MICA MALE and MICA TANTO 

MICA MALE is used to express a positive evaluation, but not excessively…


Ti piace questa maglietta? (Do you like this t-shirt?)

– Eh mica male  (Eh not bad…) (→ it’s not remarkably great, but it’s nice)

MICA TANTO is used to express a negative assessment, but not excessively… 


– Ti piace questa maglietta? (Do you like this t-shirt?)

– Mica tanto(Not too much!)

As you might have noticed, both these expressions can be used alone. But be careful: MICA MALE can be followed by a noun, but not MICA TANTO 


Mica male questo vino! (Not bad this wine!) (→ there are better wines, but this one is ok)

But we can’t say:

Mica tanto questo vino! 

Now that you know the small word “mica”, also learn other typical Italian small words: proprio, macché, magari!

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

One thought to “What does the word MICA mean? How is it used? Let’s learn it together!”

  1. Ho letto in un libro questa frase: “mica tanto piccola”
    Penso che la traduzione è “not too small” oppure “not really small”, ma non ho trovato questo caso nella vostra lezione. Potete spiegarmene?
    Vi ringrazio d’avanti.

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