Italian expression of the day: ‘Non c’è di che’

You'll be grateful you learned this phrase.

Italian expression of the day: 'Non c'è di che'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Of course you know how to say ‘thank you’ in Italian (graziejust don’t forget to pronounce that final ‘e’).

But are you au fait with the many and varied ways to say ‘you’re welcome’?

There’s prego, to start with, but also figurati and ci mancherebbe. And here’s another one to add to your list: non c’è di che. Click here to hear it pronounced.

It means roughly ‘there’s no need’, and you say it when you want to assure someone that they have no reason to thank you – the same thing you imply when you say ‘don’t mention it’ or ‘not at all’ in English.

– Grazie per l’aiuto.
– Non c’è di che.
– Thanks for the help.
– Not at all.

– Non so come ringraziarti… 
– Prego, non c’è di che!
– I don’t know how to thank you…
– You’re welcome, don’t mention it!

It’s polite but conversational, so you’re more likely to hear it said than see it written down.

You might even hear it shortened to simply di che

All clear? You’re welcome.

Do you have a favourite Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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Italian expression of the day: ‘Farla franca’

You won't get away with neglecting to learn this Italian phrase.

Italian expression of the day: 'Farla franca'

If you like Italian detective or murder mystery novels, sooner or later you’re bound to encounter the phrase farla franca: to get away with something.

Con Poirot alle calcagna, l’assassino non riuscirà mai a farla franca.
With Poirot on the scent, the killer will never get away with it.

Pensavi davvero di potermi derubare e farla franca?
You really thought you could steal from me and get away with it?

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According to the Treccani dictionary, the expression comes from the bureaucratic use of the adjective franco to mean ‘free’, describing either people that are exempt from carrying out their duties (like off-duty naval officers) or goods that are exempt from tariffs and duties.

One of the first recorded uses of farla franca as a phrase comes from the early 14th century.

The Florentine historian Giovanni Villani wrote that in June 1322, the city of Florence celebrated the Feast of San Giovanni with a big fair, ‘la quale feciono franca‘ for non-citizens – in other words, foreign merchants who came didn’t have to pay the usual taxes.

By the mid-1800s, the expression to mean escaping from some illicit act or risky endeavour without having to pay a penalty. In English (if you were being old-fashioned) you might talk in the same way about someone ‘getting off scot free’.

The la in farla franca is the part of the phrase that stands in for the ‘it’. It doesn’t necessarily have to be attached to fare but can go somewhere else, as long as it’s there.

Non possiamo permettere che la faccia franca.
We can’t let him get away with this.

Pensa di poterla fare franca.
She thinks she can get away with it.

With this phrase now in your repertoire, there’s no telling what you’ll get away with.

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.