Helpfully, as Italian native speakers will demonstrate during almost any phone call, these words can also be used as fillers at times when you’re not sure what to say – but are still talking anyhow:
Ecco, così è, così siamo messi, così è andata
There you go, that’s the way it is, that’s where we are, that’s how it went
Today’s word might just be the most versatile of them all.
Così is a word that you’ll hear used all the time in spoken Italian, in all sorts of different ways. Here are a couple that you’ve probably heard or used yourself:
È così – That’s how it is (literally ‘it is so’)
Basta cosi? – Is that all?
Per così dire – so to speak/as it were
Non si fa così – don’t do that/that’s not cool (literally ‘it’s not done like that’)
As you can probably tell, così in its most common usages translates roughly into English as so, thus, such, that, or like this.
You pronounce it ‘koh-zee’ – click here to hear some examples.
Much like the English ‘that’, così can also be used to add emphasis, as in così tanto (‘so much’) or così poco (so little), or to modify an adjective:
Non è così comune
It’s not that common
It’s used to mean ‘so’ as in ‘therefore’:
C’era sciopero dei treni, così non siamo potuti partire.
There was a train strike, so we couldn’t leave.
You could even use it like this to stress how strongly you feel:
Siamo così così dispiaciuti per ieri sera.
We’re so, so sorry for last night
But normally, when you see it doubled up, it has a different meaning.
Così così is the equivalent of ‘so-so’ in English, which means ‘not good, not bad’ – but is the sort of phrase you might euphemistically use to indicate that you’re not feeling well, or didn’t like something very much.
Com’era il film?
Così così… ho visto di meglio.
How was the film?
So-so, I’ve seen better.
(Here, you could also use the word insomma instead of così così)
Le case sono mantenuti solo così così.
The houses aren’t very well maintained.
These are just a few of the many possible uses of così, but we’re sure you can see why this is a word every Italian learner should be familiar with.
È così utile sapere! (It’s so useful to know)
Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.