Do you want to learn how to say thank you in Italian? Italians put great emphasis on expressing gratitude and showing good manners, so if you’re an Italian student or you’re planning to go to Italy you really need to know how to do it properly! There are many ways you can express your gratitude beyond the well-known word “grazie”. In this article we’ll cover both formal and informal ways to thank people in different situations.
How to say thank you in Italian the easy way
Even those who have just started learning Italian know the word grazie. This is a very common way to express gratitude which you can use in every occasion, both casual and formal. Even if you say a simple grazie and accompany it with a nice and friendly tone you’ll be sure to efficiently convey your message. Grazie is the equivalent for “Thanks” or “Thank you”.
A common mistake among non-native Italian speakers is to pronounce grazie as “gra-zee”, while you should actually say “graht-see-eh”. The ‘ie’ sound is different in Italian than in English, so be sure to check how to pronounce it correctly (click here to hear the pronunciation).
What is the difference between grazie and grazia?
Do not confuse grazie with grazia: these are two different words with different meanings. Grazie is the plural form of grazia, but you cannot use grazia to express gratitude. Some people may confuse the two because they have a similar pronunciation, but grazia actually means “grace” and has nothing to do with thank you. Grazia with a capital G is also a name, same as the English “Grace”. If you hear an Italian person saying grazia as thank you, it is an individual’s way of speaking but it’s not the standard, right form. The only correct pronunciation for thank you in Italian is “graht-see-eh “.
When to use grazie
When you’re studying a foreign language and have doubts, remember that keeping it simple is always the safest option.
By using a simple grazie you will be able to thank people both in formal and informal occasions: it can be used with anyone and anywhere. Grazie is used whether you want to thank a man or a woman, or whether you are thanking one person or many people at the same time. You can say grazie when the waiter or waitress come to clean your table or bring you food, when someone gives you direction, holds the door for you or helps you with something. Italian people also say grazie to accept whatever is being offered to them. If you want to accept something you can reinforce the sentence by saying: sì, grazie, which means “yes, please”, or, literally “yes, thanks”.
Vuoi una fetta di torta?
Would you like a piece of cake?
You say grazie when someone is offering you something that you want to accept, but you also use it if you want to refuse. Unlike English, there is no difference such as Yes, please/ No thanks in Italian. Italians say grazie in any case, both if they want to accept or to refuse. So, if you accept the offer you will say sì, grazie or, if you want to refuse, you can just say no, grazie, with a smile to politely decline.
Posso offrirti un caffè?
Sì, grazie! / No, grazie.
Can I buy you a coffee?
Sure, thank you! / No, thanks.
Other ways to say thank you in Italian
While grazie is a safe choice in almost every situation and will rarely sound inappropriate, it’s not the only way to say thank you in Italian. Sometimes you may think that a simple grazie would be too obvious or not enough, or maybe you want to find new phrases to sound more like a native. Depending on how thankful you are, you can definitely embellish your grazie in many different ways. Now let’s see how to add new words to emphasize your meaning:
- Grazie mille! (graht-see-eh mee-leh)
- Mille grazie! (mee-leh graht-see-eh)
- Molte grazie (mole-teh graht-see-eh)
The meaning of all these examples is “Thank you very much”, with the first two phrases that can be literally translated with “a thousand thanks”. Mille may sound similar to the English word “million”, but its actual meaning is “one thousand”. These sentences convey the same message as “Thank you”, but with more energy and enthusiasm that will be greatly appreciated by the person you’re thanking. Or, alternatively, you can use:
- Ti ringrazio tanto (tea reen-graht-see-oh tahn-toe)
- Grazie tante (graht-see-eh tahn-teh)
Both these sentences mean “Thank you so much”. Tanto and tante mean “much” or “a lot”. Note that the first phrase can only be used to thank a single person, and never be used to talk to a group of people. This is because the pronoun ti is the equivalent of “you” in its singular form.
If you want to refer to two or more people you should say Vi ringrazio tanto (vee reen-graht-see-oh tahn-toe). You also need to pay attention to the use of the second example, grazie tante, which is sometimes used sarcastically, to reply to an offence or to express annoyance for an inconvenience. However, it is more frequently used in its serious meaning to show gratitude. Pay attention to the tone of the speaker and the context to decipher the meaning of grazie tante.
Another expression which is often used to express your deep sense of gratitude is:
- Grazie infinite (graht-see-eh een-feen-eet-eh)
This phrase also means “Thank you very much”. Literally, it translates to “infinite thanks”. Infinite means the same thing in Italian as in English, but pay attention to the pronunciation of the final “e” which in Italian is never mute. You can use this expression when you want to show that you’re particularly thankful or when someone has done something really special for you.
- Grazie di tutto (Graht-see-eh di too-toh)
It means “thanks for everything”. It is generally used when someone helped you to do something, facilitated your work, or repeatedly assisted you with a task. You can use it to put emphasis on the fact that you truly appreciated what someone did for you and his or her commitment.
Formal ways to say thank you in Italian
Now let’s see how to say grazie the formal way. You can say:
- La ringrazio tanto (la reen-graht-see-oh tahn-toe)
This expression also translates to “Thank you very much”, same as the one we’ve seen before: ti ringrazio tanto. The difference is that the pronoun “ti” is more casual, while the pronoun “la” shows that you want to express gratitude to someone the formal way. In Italian, there are many kinds of pronouns and depending on which one you choose you can sound more polite and respectful. You can use the expression La ringrazio tanto when you are speaking to an older person or to someone who you don’t know very well or you have just met.
Note that you can’t use it when speaking with two or more people, but only when you want to thank one single person. The plural form of this sentence, used both in formal and informal occasions, will be:
- Vi ringrazio tanto (Vee reen-graht-see-oh tahn-toe)
A tender way to say thank you in Italian
When you are really, really thankful and want to sound sincere and express your deep feelings you can say:
- Grazie di cuore (Graht-see-eh dee qwor-eh)
This is the equivalent of “thanks from the bottom of my heart” or “thanks with all my heart” and is usually said when someone goes the extra mile to help you.
How to say “thanks for…”
If you want to express a more complete sentence you can use the construction Thanks for + verb. Grazie per is literally “thanks for” and must be followed by a verb or a noun. However, this structure can be tricky for English speakers, as a very common mistake a lot of people do is using grazie di / per + the infinitive form of the verb. Let’s see some examples.
- Grazie di chiamare
- Grazie per cucinare
- Grazie di aiutarmi
- Thanks for calling
- Thanks for cooking
- Thanks for helping
A lot of people use this structure, but it’s wrong. The right construction is formed by using grazie + di / per + infinitive form of the auxiliary verb + past participle of the verb. Let’s see how to put it in use:
- Grazie di aver chiamato
- Grazie per aver cucinato
- Grazie di avermi aiutato
- Thanks for calling
- Thanks for cooking
- Thanks for helping
Or, you can also use this alternative structure: grazie + di / per + noun
- Grazie della chiamata
- Grazie per il pranzo
- Grazie dell’aiuto
- Thanks for the call
- Thanks for the lunch
- Thanks for the help
How to respond to thank you in Italian?
The classic answer to the word grazie is the word prego (pronounced pray-go). Prego means you’re welcome and is the first person singular of the present tense of the verb pregare (to pray). It works in both formal and informal situations and is used either to thank a single individual or a group. An example:
Mi passi il sale, per favore?
Ecco a te!
Would you pass me the salt, please?
Here you are!
You are welcome!
Di niente is as much used as prego and means “it’s nothing”. Sometimes you can also hear Italian people replying to grazie with one of the following:
All of these have a similar meaning to “it’s nothing” or “no big deal”. You can use one of these sentences to reply to grazie if you want to minimize the importance of what the person is thanking you for, letting him or her understand that it wasn’t a hassle for you. You can also say Non c’è problema, which means “no problem”.
So now you know how to say thank you in Italian and how to properly respond to someone who is thanking you. If you want to learn Italian from English use these sincerely and often and you will bring a smile to any face!
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