Italian expression of the day: ‘Non ne posso più’

We're not gonna take it.

Italian expression of the day non ne posso più
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

If you’re exasperated, at your wit’s end, fed up to the back teeth with some aspect of life in Italy, there’s one phrase you’ll want to have in your repertoire: Non ne posso più (‘non-nay-poss-oh-pyoo’).

It means I’m sick of this, I’m done.

”Ne’ is a handy little preposition that’s usually used to mean ‘of it’ or ‘of them’, ‘non posso‘ is ‘I can’t’ and ‘più‘ is ‘more’, so the phrase literally means something like ‘I can’t do any more of this/it/them’.

It’s slightly different to non ce la faccio, which is more like ‘I can’t manage’/’I can’t take it any more’, but the two are often interchangeable. You can think of non ne posso più as being a little more emphatic and/or belligerent.

Mi mancheranno molto i miei amici ma devo andare via da questo paese, non ne posso più.
I’ll miss my friends a lot but I need to get out of this country, I’m done.

Sarà un sollievo finire questo lavoro, non ne posso più.
It will be a relief to finish this job, I’m sick of it.

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When talking about being fed up with something in particular, we use the preposition di at the end of the phrase. It can be followed by a verb or a noun; if followed by the latter, the di should change its form to agree with the noun’s gender and quantity.

Sono stanca, non ne posso più di lavorare in quest’azienda.
I’m tired, I’ve had it with working at this company.

E già non ne posso più dell’università.
I’m already sick of university.

The phrase can be tweaked to any tense and for any sentence subject; all you have to do is change the conjugation of potere.

Me ne sono andata perché non potevo più dei suoi capricci.
I left because I couldn’t take her tantrums anymore.

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Devi dirgli che non ne puoi più.
You have to tell him you’ve had enough.

Lei non ne può più di starti a sentire.
She’s sick of listening to you.

Now you know what to say to your Italian teacher the next time conjugating those subjunctives gets too much.

Is there an Italian word of expression you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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Italian word of the day: ‘Delusione’

We hope this word doesn't disappoint.

Italian word of the day: 'Delusione'

Experiencing a delusione (deh-loo-zee-OH-neh) in Italian may not be pleasant, but it doesn’t mean you need escorting to the psychiatrist’s chair.

That’s because while delusione may look and sound like its English cousin ‘delusion’, the word actually means something quite different: disappointment.

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The two nouns actually have the same root in the Latin dēlūsiō, meaning a deceiving or deluding, and delūdō, meaning to deceive, dupe, or mock.

But while the English ‘delusion’ has hewn close to the original Latin meaning over the centuries, delusione at some point branched off to its current, quite different, definition.

There’s not much in the way of information about exactly when and how that happened, but it’s clearly a short associative hop from feeling ‘deceived’ or ‘duped’ by things turning out differently to what you’d expected to feeling ‘disappointed’.

Che delusione.
How disappointing.

La festa era, purtroppo, una grande delusione.
The party unfortunately was a big disappointment.

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The adjective for ‘disappointed’ is deluso for a single masculine subject, changing to delusa/delusi/deluse if the subject being described is feminine singular/masculine plural/feminine plural.

Era delusa da come era venuta la torta.
She was disappointed with how the cake turned out.

Devo dire che siamo davvero delusi dal fatto che siamo stati trattati in questo modo.
I have to say that we’re very disappointed to have been treated this way.

A word you’ll often see used in combination with deluso/a/i/e is rimanere (ree-man-EH-reh): rimanere deluso.

You might correctly recognise rimanere as meaning ‘to remain’, and wonder why we’d use that word here – but rimanere also has an alternative meaning along the lines of ‘to become’, ‘to get’, or simply ‘to be’.

For example, you can rimanere incinta (get pregnant), or rimanere ferito (get hurt or wounded, for example in a car accident).

It’s also very often used with emotions, usually those experienced in the moment rather than long-term ones: you can rimanere sorpreso (be surprised), rimanere triste (be sad), rimanere scioccato (be shocked)… and rimanere deluso (be disappointed).

Sono rimasto molto deluso quando mi ha detto di aver abbandonato la scuola.
I was very disappointed when she told me she had dropped out of school.

Siamo rimasti delusi dalle condizioni della stanza d’albergo al nostro arrivo.
We were disappointed by the condition of the hotel room when we arrived.

With that, we wish you a weekend free of delusioni (disappointments)!

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