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Italian expression of the day: 'Secondo me'

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Italian expression of the day: 'Secondo me'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond"

We're sure you'll have an opinion on today's Italian phrase.


I don't know about you, but I find Italians generally have no qualms about letting rip with their opinions, whether asked-for or not. And there's no sugar-coating.

Having an opinion is paramount. Italian friends and family insist I must have one, on every topic; whether or not there's any conviction behind it seems less important. You just need to take a stance.

In fact, my English tendency to veer towards (what I think is) politeness, diplomacy or general fence-sitting when it comes to heated debates on sensitive topics among people I barely know may seem sensible to me, but Italian friends warn it can come across as false or aloof.

So perhaps it's no surprise that today's phrase is one I picked up soon after moving to Italy.

When introducing your latest opinion, you'd say secondo me, which literally means “according to me” and is used much 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.

- He seems like a good person to me.


Hear the pronunciation here.

You also use secondo to ask other people for their opinions simply by changing the pronoun.

- 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.

Once you get used to this, watch out - 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..." in English, which earned me some funny looks.

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

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

- Secondo le previsioni, pioverà stasera.

- According to the forecast, it will rain tonight.

If you're wondering where this comes from, the word secondo is a descendent of the Latin secundum, which means “following”. As does the English word ‘second’ (as in second place.)

Secondo is also used to mean “following” or "in compliance with” in Italian - much like the other sense of “according to” in English.

- Dovremmo guidare secondo il codice della strada.
- We should drive according to the traffic laws.

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

But, secondo me, being able to express your own opinions in Italian is absolutely vital.

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