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Italian expression of the day: 'Secondo me'

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Italian expression of the day: 'Secondo me'
Photo: DepositPhotos
12:14 CET+01:00
Today's phrase will help you express your opinions just like an Italian.

I don't know about you, but the Italians I know have no qualms about letting rip with their opinions, asked for or not. No sugar-coating required.

My Italian friends can have a raging argument about politics for half an hour, then simply shrug and say “let's go for gelato.” My Italian relatives deliver a crushing insult and, seconds later, invite me for lunch.

Because you're not supposed to take offence. It's just an opinion.

And yet, having an opinion is seen as paramount. Italian friends and family insist I must have one, on every topic, and any fence-sitting is often seen as being "fake", rather than polite. It seems lke it doesn't really matter what your opinion is, as long as you have one.

So perhaps it's no surprise that today's phrase is one of the first Italian phrases I picked up after moving here

When introducing your latest opinion, you'd say secondo me, which means “according to me” and is used like "I think..." or "It seems to me..."

- Secondo me, pioverà stasera.
- I think it will rain tonight.

- Secondo me, il prezzo è troppo alto.
- In my opinion, the price is too high

- Secondo me è una persona rispettabile.

- It seems to me that he's a good person.

You also use secondo to ask other people for their opinions. This time with te.

- Secondo te, questa maglietta è brutta?

- Do you think this shirt is ugly?

- Dove cade l'accento secondo te?

- Where do you think the accent falls?

As you can see, when you're asking a question like this you have to structure your sentence very differently than you would in English.

After a while, it might have a strange effect on your English. Once or twice I've accidentally said "According to me..." when I meant to say "I think...". I got some very strange looks indeed.

READ ALSO: The 12 ways speaking Italian will mess up your English

If you're sharing information from someone else, you can use secondo like this:

- Secondo le previsioni, pioverà stasera.

- According to the forecast, it will rain tonight.

The word secondo comes from the Latin secundum, which means “following”, and has the same etymology as ‘second’ (as in second place.)

Secondo is also used to mean “following” or "in compliance with” in Italian - much like “according to” can also be used in English.

- Dovremmo guidare secondo il codice della strada.
- We should drive in compliance with/according to/following the traffic laws.

It might take some time to get used to Italians' insistence on sharing their unasked-for opinions on everything from politics to how you should dress, cook, or decorate.

But still. Secondo me, being able to ask and give your opinions in Italian is a really useful skill to have

Do you have an Italian word you'd like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.
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