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Italian word of the day: 'Forza'

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Italian word of the day: 'Forza'
13:54 CET+01:00
Think you'll never be able to learn Italian? Come on! You can do it.

Let's talk about the first word I heard this morning.

“Forza, amore mio!” My husband stood over me in the early morning gloom, clutching his running shoes and a cup of very strong coffee, while I tried to disappear beneath the covers.

He might be full of energy at six o'clock on a January morning, but I'm not, even if I did stupidly agree to join him for a run before work.

And he repeated that phrase, or some variation of it, quite a lot of times as I dragged myself out of the door.

Forza literally means force, or power.

But also, as one Italian dictionary puts it, "the ability to face the difficulties of life."

Used in this context, forza means something like “come on” or “you can do it!”

Almost like saying “be strong” or “you've got the strength to do this.”

And it's often used along with dai, which also means “come on”.

- Dai, forza, andiamo!

- Come on, come on, let's go!

Just like with dai, you need to say this word with plenty of conviction.

The verb forzare meanwhile is used to talk about being forced to do something, much like you would in English:

- hanno forzato la mia volontà

- they forced me into it

And the phrase per forza can mean the same thing:

- l'ha fatto per forza

- he was forced to do it

Confusingly, the very same phrase can also be used as an adverb to mean “obviously,” “of course” or “necessarily”

- Non dovete dire qualcosa per forza.

- You don't have to say anything, obviously.

- Se lo chiedi così, per forza dirà di sì.

- If you ask like that, of course he'll say yes.

It's a very useful word to have in your vocabulary, whatever you want to persuade or encourage someone (or yourself) to do.

Especially if you're feeling like you'll never get to grips with the Italian language...


Do you have a favourite Italian word you'd like us to feature? If so, please email our editor Jessica Phelan with your suggestion.


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