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How to Say Please in Italian to Impress the Natives

You may be surprised to learn that there are languages that do not have a word for “please”. Icelandic, for example, has a word for “thank you,” but no direct translation for “please”. Italian, however, is not one of them.

As you will discover in this article, there are more ways to say “please” in Italian, and even two different ways of addressing people, depending on the level of formality between the speakers. Social etiquette is a big deal on the peninsula, so knowing how to navigate the conventions is the right way to avoid side glances.

(But don’t fret, we’re also very forgiving and eager to help you learn our language in the best way possible!)

Let’s dive right into Italian etiquette!

How to say “please” in Italian

Per favore/piacere

You may already know how to translate “please” in Italian, since it’s one of the first things you learn as a beginner. There are two simple translations:

  • Per favore
  • Per piacere

You may be wondering what the difference is between the two. Well, there’s no difference other than your taste, because both expressions are completely interchangeable. Per favore means “for favor”, while per piacere means “for pleasure”. Examples:

  • Accendi la luce, per favore.
    Turn on the light, please.
  • Sparecchia la tavola, per piacere.
    Clear the table, please.

These can be used in both informal and formal situations in spoken language. Per favore and per piacere can also be used in questions. Examples:

  • Mi prendi la borsa, per piacere?
    Can you get my bag, please?
  • Posso parlare con la signora Bianchi, per favore?
    Can I speak to Mrs. Bianchi, please?

You can also use them at the end of a sentence in the form of a request. Examples:

  • Il conto, per piacere.
    The bill, please.
  • Compili questo modulo, per favore.
    Please fill out this form.

Per cortesia

A more formal translation of “please” in Italian is per cortesia, “out of courtesy”. Examples:

  • Per cortesia, mi aiuteresti a mettere via questi libri?
    Would you please help me put these books away?
  • Metti un po’ d’acqua nella pentola, per cortesia.
    Put some water in the pot, please.
  • Per cortesia, potrebbe portarmi un’altra forchetta?
    Could you please bring me another fork?


You can also translate “please” in Italian as prego. Prego is the most common translation for “you’re welcome,” but in this case it actually means “go ahead”. For example:

  • Prego, si accomodi pure.
    Please have a seat.

Si prega di…

In instruction manuals and public announcements, it’s common to translate “please” with an impersonal third-person expression, si prega di, followed by an infinitive verb. Si prega di literally means “one begs that”, from the verb pregare, “to pray, to beg”. We could translate it as “we beg you to”. For example:

  • Si prega di tenersi a distanza dalla linea gialla.
    Please keep your distance from the yellow line.
  • Si prega di chiudere il cancello.
    Please close the gate.

In formal language, you can also find la preghiamo, “we beg you”. Example:

  • La preghiamo di attendere in linea.
    Please hold the line.

There are also ti prego and la prego, which are used in informal and formal speech, respectively, to say “I beg you,” as in:

  • Ti prego di non dire niente.
    Please don’t say anything.
  • Mi faccia parlare con il dottore, la prego.
    Please let me talk to the doctor.

Ti prego and la prego have a stronger emphasis and convey urgency. If you are begging a group of people, use vi prego:

  • Andiamo via, vi prego.
    Let’s go, I beg you all.

In written formal communications, however, you are more likely to read cortesemente, an adverb meaning “kindly,” as in:

  • La prego cortesemente di farmi sapere quando…
    I should be most grateful if you would let me know when…

Formal vs. informal

There are two ways to say “you” in Italian. You probably already know this, but this pronoun is used differently than in English, so it’s worth brushing up.

Tu is the informal translation of the “you” pronoun. You can use tu with friends, children, relatives, co-workers, and your significant other.

Lei is the formal translation of “you”, and you use it with your boss at work, with shopkeepers, with older people you don’t know, and with other strangers.

That’s why you need to consider who you’re talking to when making a request. For example:

  • Puoi spegnere la luce?
    Can you turn off the light? (informal)
  • Può spegnere la luce?
    Can you turn off the light? (polite)
  • Potete spegnere la luce?
    Can you turn off the light? (plural)

Verb tenses with “please” in Italian

When you say “please” in Italian, you are often asking for something or needing help. When you’re in an informal situation, it’s common to use verbs in the present tense. For example:

  • Puoi aiutarmi, per favore?
    Can you please help me?
  • Mi passi la marmellata, per favore?
    Can you pass me the jam, please?

However, when people say “please” in a formal setting, they often formulate their request using the conditional tense, along with changing the pronoun from tu to Lei. This also happens in English, where “can” becomes “could”.

  • Potrebbe aiutarmi, per favore?
    Could you please help me?
  • Potrebbe passarmi la marmellata, per favore?
    Could you please pass me the jam?

Indirect requests

Italians often don’t use “please” at all, especially in informal settings. Instead, we ask things with indirect requests and rely on verbal constructions such as:

  • Ti dispiacerebbe chiudere la finestra?
    Would you mind closing the window? (informal)
  • Le dispiacerebbe chiamare il signor Rossi?
    Would you mind calling Mr. Rossi? (formal)

Or also:

  • Mi fa un cappuccino?
    Would you make me a cappuccino? (polite)
  • Mi farebbe un decaffeinato?
    Would you make me a decaf?

Another way to say “please” in Italian is to use the expression saresti/sarebbe così gentile da…? which translates as “would you be so kind as to…?”. For example:

  • Saresti così gentile da passarmi il sale?
    Would you be so kind as to pass me the salt?
  • Signora Paoli, sarebbe così gentile da prepararmi un caffè?
    Mrs. Paoli, would you be so kind as to make me a coffee?

Another common request is mi faresti/farebbe il favore di…?, literally “would you do me the favor of…?”. For example:

  • Mamma, mi faresti il favore di comprare due quaderni a righe?
    Mom, would you do me a favor and buy two ruled notebooks?
  • Mi farebbe il favore di fotocopiare questo foglio?
    Would you do me the favor of photocopying this paper?

If all this seems too much and you are afraid of seeming rude, just stick to per favore and per piacere and you will never fail, even if you accidentally use an informal pronoun with a stranger.

When not to use “please” in Italian

You don’t use “please” to translate “yes, please”. You must say sì, grazie, which means “yes, thank you”. Examples:

  • Vorresti una tazza di tè? – Sì, grazie.
    Would you like a cup of tea? – Yes, please.
  • Vuoi un po’ di latte nel tè? – Sì, grazie.
    Do you want some milk in your tea? – Yes, please.

To translate “no, thank you”, use no, grazie. Examples:

  • Vorresti ancora un po’ di tè? – No, grazie.
    Would you like some more tea? – No, thank you.
  • Vuoi qualche biscotto? – No, grazie, sono a posto.
    Would you like some cookies? – No, thanks, I’m good.

Idiomatic expressions with “please” in Italian

Fammi il favore! / Mi faccia il favore!

Fammi il favore and mi faccia il favore translate as “do me a favor,” but they are not used to say “please”. They translate as “give me a break”, so they are used ironically. They are often preceded by ma, “but”, and you can also say fammi il piacere / mi faccia il piacere. For example:

  • Ti sei dimenticato di fare i compiti? Ma fammi il piacere!
    You forgot to do your homework? Give me a break!

Fammi il favore/piacere is what you would use with a friend or family member. You would use mi faccia il favore/piacere with someone to whom you need to show a certain amount of respect, but of course I don’t recommend using this expression in a formal setting. It might come across as rude!

Con il favore di

Con il favore di can be translated literally as “with the favor of”. It is often used in books to translate “under the cover of night”, such as:

  • Il ladro scappa con il favore della notte.
    The thief escapes under the cover of night.

How to say “you’re welcome” in Italian

We have seen how to say “please” in Italian. Now it’s time to learn what others can say.


Prego is the most common way to say “you’re welcome” in Italian and can be used in both informal and formal settings.

Di nulla/niente

Di niente and di nulla can be used to translate “it was nothing”. Like prego, they can be used in both informal and formal situations.

Non c’è di che

Non c’è di che is the shortened form of non c’è di che ringraziare, which literally means “there is nothing to say thanks for”. It can be translated as “don’t mention it”. It’s a bit more formal than the other two translations above, but it can still be used with friends and relatives.

Figurati / Si figuri

Figurati and si figuri literally mean “imagine yourself”. You use figurati in informal contexts, while you use si figuri in formal settings. They translate as “don’t mention it”.

Useful vocabulary for saying “please” in Italian

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the different words you can use to talk about saying “please” in Italian:

  • favore, favor
  • chiedere, to ask
  • gentile, kind
  • gentilezza, kindness
  • cortesia, courtesy
  • compiacere, to please, appease
  • cortese, courteous
  • educazione, politeness, education
  • grazie, thanks
  • accontentare, to please, satisfy
  • ringraziare, to thank
  • richiesta, request
  • domanda, question


  • Posso farti una domanda?
    Can I ask you a question?
  • Posso chiederti una cortesia?
    Can I ask you a courtesy?
  • Ti ringrazio per il tuo aiuto.
    I thank you for your help.

And that wraps up our exploration of the ways to say “please” in Italian. Practice these expressions during your vacation in Italy, and you’ll soon be greeted with broad smiles! You’ll discover that a little goes a long way.

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1 thought on “How to Say Please in Italian to Impress the Natives”

  1. Navigating through the linguistic landscape with your guidance feels as delightful as savoring a scoop of gelato on a sunny day. The examples provided are like little language truffles, each one a flavorful expression of courtesy.

    Grazie mille for this linguistic journey! Your blog is not just a guide; it’s a passport to the heart of Italian etiquette. Now, armed with these linguistic treasures, I’m ready to sprinkle a bit of “per favore” magic in my conversations!

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