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Italian word of the day: 'Infatti'

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Italian word of the day: 'Infatti'
Photo: DepositPhotos
10:42 CET+01:00
Sure enough, this word comes up a lot.

What do you say when you agree with someone? 'Yes', of course. But what about when you really, really agree with them?

For all those times when a simple isn't enough, infatti is the word to which you can turn. 

And for once it's not a false friend: infatti is just like the English phrase it might remind you of, 'in fact' – in the middle of a sentence, it introduces something that confirms what's just been said.

Fa caldo, infatti la neve si va sciogliendo.
It's warm, in fact the snow is melting.

Other synonyms for infatti are 'indeed' or 'sure enough'. 

Penso che sia uscita... infatti non risponde nessuno.
I think she went out... sure enough, no one's answering.

Dubitavamo di quella notizia, e infatti era falsa.
We doubted that information, and indeed it wasn't true.

And like 'indeed', you can use it on its own to confirm someone else's question or statement.

– Hai dovuto abbandonare l'idea, vero?
– Infatti!

– You had to give up on the idea, right?
– Indeed!

This is how I probably hear infatti used the most: as a term of agreement. 'It's chilly today, isn't it' Infatti! 'Aren't the buses dreadful?' Eh, infatti. 'You need that form filed? These things don't get done in a day...' Infatti and amen.

It's so emphatic it can be almost like saying 'well, obviously' – what you've just heard is so true it almost goes without saying.

But there are also times when infatti means that something isn't right. It's not so much that you disagree, more that you're a bit sceptical – imagine someone raising their eyebrow as they say it and you might get the idea. It's tricky to illustrate in writing, but we assure you you'll know by the tone.

Ha promesso che mi avrebbe pagato subito; infatti....!
He promised he would pay me right away; indeed...!

– Ha detto che avrebbe telefonato?
– Sì, infatti... 
– She said she'd phone?
– Yes, well, indeed...

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

 
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