Italian Lessons


Ancora: Again, Still, Yet, and More

The first translation of ancorathe one many of us know, is “again.”

This certainly applies to the title of a Gabriele Muccino film, whose trailer is on Yabla.

Trailer ufficiale: Baciami ancora
Official trailer: Kiss Me Again 

You can watch the music video for the film's title song with English subtitles:

Baciami ancora, baciami ancora
Kiss me again, kiss me again
Caption 1, Lorenzo Jovanotti: Baciami ancora

In fact, quite often, ancora does mean “again.”

Arrivederci. -Ci scusi ancora.
Good bye. -Again, please excuse us.
Caption 13: Il Commissario Manara 1: Un delitto perfetto - Ep. 1 - Part 12 

But Italians also use ancora to mean “still.”

Scusatelo, però è ancora sconvolto per quello che è successo.
Excuse him, but he's still in shock for what happened. 
Caption 38, Il Commissario Manara 1: Morte di un buttero Ep 8 - Part 11


A proposito (speaking of which), another Italian word for “still” is sempre (always). This word, too, has several meanings. Check out the Yabla lesson about sempre here.


The above example could just as well have been:

Scusatelo, però è sempre sconvolto per quello che è successo.
Excuse him, but he's still in shock for what happened.


Juggling these words can take a bit of getting used to!

When there is the negative non before it, ancora means “yet,” as in “not yet.”

Allora? Come è andata?
So? How did it go?
Non lo so ancora. Tu che fai adesso?
I don't know yet. What are you going to do now?
Captions 51-52, Il Commissario Manara 1: Morte di un buttero Ep 8 - Part 11


Still another way to use ancora is to reinforce the adverbs più (more) or meno(less). The English equivalent in this case would be “even” or "still."

Gli anni Cinquanta, a pensarci, sembrano ancora più lontani.
The fifties, if you think about it, seem even more remote.
Captions 1,  L'arte della cucina: Terre d'Acqua - Part 11


When più is by itself rather than modifying another word, it will be preceded by di (of) as in the following example. In this case it also means "even more so."

Mi piace questo vestito, ma quello mi piace ancora di più.
I like this dress, but I like that one even more so.


And lastly, ancora can also mean simply “more.”


When someone is putting sugar in your coffee, you can say ancora, to mean “more” or “keep going!”

Ancora qualche erbetta sulla nostra carne.
A few more more herbs on our meat.
Caption 39, Battuta di Fassone: in Insalata Chef 

You may have learned that più means more, and that’s true, but ancora can often replace it.

E prova a dire ancora una parola prima di sparire
And try saying one more word before disappearing
Caption 22, Cesare Cremonini: Io e Anna

To use più in the preceding example, we would have to add a preposition and change the word order, like this:

E prova a dire una parola di più prima di sparire.
E prova a dire una parola in più prima di sparire.

And try saying one more word before disappearing.


Even in English there is a close connection between “more” and “again.” It’s up to us to keep our eyes and ears open to gradually get a feel for the Italian perspective on the word. Thinking back on the first examples about kissing, the person could have either been saying “kiss me again” or “kiss me some more,” which has a slightly more emotional and intense feeling about it. Context and tone are key!


In a nutshell:

Ancora is used to mean:

yet (preceded by non)
even (followed by più or meno plus an adjective or adverb)
more so (ancora di più)
some more


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