Italian word of the day: ‘Anzi’

Italian word of the day: 'Anzi'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This word is nothing to get antsy about; actually it's rather straightforward.

Sometimes might feel like you don't speak a word of Italian – but in fact, if you've been following all our Words of the Day, by now you'll know quite a few.

See what we did there? If, like us, you want to say “the opposite of what I just said is true”, in Italian you can use the word anzi. It means 'actually' or 'in fact'.

Quell'albergo non era brutto, anzi mi piaceva.
That hotel wasn't bad, in fact I liked it.

Non è costoso, anzi è un vero affare.
It's not expensive, actually it's a real bargain.

If you're really concise, you can use anzi all on its own to stand in for a contradictory phrase – like saying “quite the contrary” in English.

Non mi disturbi, anzi!
You're not bothering me, quite the contrary!

Non è cattivo, anzi.
He's not mean, quite the opposite in fact.

You don't have to be contradicting yourself to use anzi. It also applies when you're just modifying or emphasizing what you just said, similar to “or rather” or “better yet”. 

Ho bisogno di un favore, anzi due.
I need a favour, better yet two.

Ti amo, anzi ti adoro.
I love you, or rather I adore you.

Anzi comes from the Latin root ante (“before”), which is why you might occasionally see it used in phrases such as anzi tempo (“ahead of time”, “prematurely”), anzi tutto (“first of all”) and poc'anzi (“just now”, “just before”). 

They aren't common in everyday speech, though; you're only really likely to encounter them in literature, in fact. Or should we say, anzi

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