“- Ciao! Come stai? – Sto bene, grazie! E tu? – Anche io sto bene!”… Wow! What an engaging beginning of a conversation! No, really… It’s too ordinary… Now it’s time to stop using this boring back-and-forth! Now it’s time to start speaking like Italians do! In this lesson, we’ll see all the alternatives!
How to avoid “Come stai?” “Sto bene!” – Speak Italian like a native!
First of all, you must know that, when two Italians meet, they don’t always ask “Come stai?” (How are you?), but they also use many other questions to ask the same thing:
“Come va?” (How are you doing?)
“Come vanno le cose?” (How’s everything going?)
“Come va la vita?” (How’s life?)
“Come te la passi?” (How are you doing?)
“Come butta?” (this last one is used above all among young people)
They are, of course, informal ways to address people we know very well or people who are our age.
With someone we don’t know, we only use the formal “Come sta?” (yes, the formal language is a little boring…).
Now the problem is: how do we answer these questions? First of all, we need to make a distinction between BENE (well) e MALE (bad)!
Alternatives for “Sto bene” (I’m fine):
“Benissimo, mai stato/a meglio!” (Very well, I’ve never been better!) – if you won the lottery, you found a new partner or your dream job!
“Da Dio!” or “Alla Grande!” (I feel great!)
– Ehi ciao! Come va? (Hi! How is it going?)
– Ciaoo! Benissimo, grazie! Mai stata meglio! Ho finalmente trovato l’uomo della mia vita! Alto, bello, ricco e intelligente! Ah, e sa anche usare i congiuntivi correttamente! (Hi! Very well, I’ve never been better! I finally found the man of my life! He’s tall, handsome, rich and intelligent! Oh, he also knows how to use Italian subjunctive!)
– Avrà sicuramente guardato le video-lezioni di LearnAmo su quando usare il congiuntivo e quando NON usarlo! (He must have watched all LearnAmo video-lessons about when to use and when NOT to use Italian subjunctive!)
Alternatives for intermediate situations:
If you’re not over the moon, but you’re in an intermediate situation, you might say:
“Niente male!” (Not bad!)
“Non c’è male!” (Not that bad!)
“Niente di speciale” (Nothing special!)
“Non mi posso lamentare!” or “Non mi lamento!” (I can’t complain!)
“Si tira avanti” (Hanging in!)
“Tutto a posto” (It’s all right!)
“Tutto ok” (It’s all right! – this last one is used more often among young people than among grownups)
– Ooh! Chi si rivede! Come vanno le cose? (Oh… Who’s back! How’s everything going?)
– Ehilà! Mh.. Niente male! Ieri ho conosciuto un bel ragazzo alla festa, ma non so se si farà più sentire… E a te come va la vita? (Ehy… Not bad! Yesterday I met an interesting guy at the party, but I don’t know if I’m going to hear from him again… What about you?)
– Non c’è male… continuo a lavorare nell’azienda di famiglia, ma ho in mente di aprire un negozio di abbigliamento… (Not that bad! I’m still working in the family business, but I want to open a clothing store…)
Talking about clothes, have a look at our online shop LearnAmo Collection and find the product for you!
Alternatives for “Sto male” (I feel bad):
Instead, if your life is not fine, if you’re living hard times, you might answer:
“(Sto) così e così” (So and so)
“Insomma” (So and so)
“Non molto / troppo bene” (Not very well)
“Sono stato/a meglio” (I’ve been better)
“Ho visto giorni migliori” (I’ve seen better days)
Among the most informal expressions for saying the same, we find:
“Da cani” (I feel terrible)
“Da schifo” (I’m a mess)
“Uno schifo” (I feel awful)
“Una tragedia” (I feel terrible)
– Ehilà! Come va? (Ehy! How are you?)
– Da cani! Il mio tipo mi ha mollata e ho appena preso una multa! (I feel terrible! My boyfriend left me and I’ve just got a fine!)
– A chi lo dici! Pure a me una tragedia! (You’re telling me? I feel awful…)
Asking for news and updates:
Now here you are some questions (and answers) if you want to ask someone about the latest updates in their life:
“Che/cosa si dice?” or “Che/cosa mi racconti?” (What’s up?)
“Ci sono novità?” or simply “Novità?” (What’s new?)
If you don’t want to tell that person your real problems, the most common answer is “Niente!” (Nothing!)
But obviously there are also other better alternatives to tell the same, such as:
“Non molto” (Not so much!)
“Niente di speciale” (Nothing special!)
“Niente di che” (No big thing)
“La solita” (The usual)
“Il solito” (The usual)
“Sempre le stesse cose” (Always the same)
“Tutto uguale” (Always the same)
Alternatives if the person is sad:
Finally, if the person that stands in front of you looks sad and worried, then you can ask questions such as:
“Che succede?” (What’s going on?)
“Qualcosa non va?” (What’s wrong?)
“Tutto bene?” (Everything ok?)
These questions show concern and interest towards the other person, especially if they’re asked in the right way. If the other person wants, they’ll answer!
Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!