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Italian expression of the day: 'Farsi in quattro'

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Italian expression of the day: 'Farsi in quattro'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

You'll want to go the extra mile to learn this Italian phrase.


Quattro (four) is an important number in everyday Italian, coming up in phrases from a quattro palmenti to quattro gatti to a quattr'occhi

Today's expression is another to add to the list: Farsi in quattro - literally, to make yourself in four.

It doesn't mean to cut yourself into quarters, but to extend yourself for someone or something: to go all out or bend over backwards, as we'd say in English.

The idea is that you're quadrupling your forces to make something happen.

Si fa sempre in quattro per far divertire i suoi ospiti.
She always goes the extra mile to give her guests a good time.

Ci stiamo facendo in quattro per far sì che il ristorante sia pronto ad aprire in tempo.
We're bending over backwards to get the restaurant ready to open in time.

You can also say farsi in cento or even just farsi in due, substituting one hundred or two for four, but farsi in quattro is more common.

Bear in mind that because farsi is reflexive, you'll need to remember to include a reflexive pronoun, and any past perfect formulation takes essere.

Mi sono fatta in quattro per far decollare la sua attività e ora non mi degna di uno sguardo.
I bent over backwards to get his business off the ground and now he won't even give me the time of day.


So che vi siete fatti in quattro per rendere l'evento un successo.
I know you all bent over backwards to make the event a success.

Now you've learnt this phrase, you shouldn't need to farti in quattro to throw it into everyday conversation every now and then.

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