My Italian Word of the Week - Magari

Photo Credit: My cousin's FB Page (She got this for her B'day). – Magari io avessi questa!

Photo Credit: My cousin's FB Page (She got this for her B'day). – Magari io avessi questa!


idiom. I wish!
idiom. If only
idiom. If possible
conj. Even if
adv. Maybe, Probably

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW

Have mentioned I'm learning the congiuntivo (subjunctive)? As any student of Romance languages knows, the subjunctive is one of the more difficult moods to master (even in English). One of the difficulties is that the change is triggered by a subset of words and phrases. Magari happens to be one of them. 

Grammatical intricacies aside, magari  happens to be one of those all-purpose and extremely useful words. The most common use is as a response for when someone asks you something you wish were true. For example: Guadagni molto soldi come una scrittrice? Magari! - Do you make a lot of money as a writer? I wish!

Related to this use is the idiomatic use of magari to mean "If only." Since I'm a huge fan of green tea-flavored Kit Kat (which is impossible to buy outside Japanese specialty stores), I might be compelled to make this comment on my cousin's Facebook page: Magari avessi ricevuto questi dolci per il giorno di mio compleanno! - If only I received these sweets for my birthday! (Side note: avessi ricevuto  is the trapassato congiuntivo mood for ricevere)

One can also use magari to signify "Yes, if possible." For example, when asked Vorrei una prenotazione? (Would you like a reservation?), you could answer "Sì, magari" or even just "Magari."

Using magari as a conjunction "even if" can be a bit tricky, but here's my attempt: Scrivo piu libri, magari non guadagnassi nessun soldi (I'll write more books even if I won't earn any money).  

Dulcis in fundo (Last but not least), magari is the equivalent of the English adverb maybe or probably. For example, I could say, magari lui è qui (maybe he is here) or magari parlerò italiano quando sarò in Italia (I probably will speak Italian when I'm in Italy). 

Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.


Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at