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Comodo: Comfortable or Handy?

The adjective comodo (comfortable) is easy to find in the dictionary, and is easy to understand, too, in a normal context.

Questo divano è molto comodo (this sofa is very comfortable).

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Tu disfa le valigie, mettiti comodo.

You unpack your bags. Get comfortable.

Caption 114, Casa Vianello - Natale in Casa Vianello - Part 1

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In this context, we also have the verb accomodare, which means to get comfortable, but it is used in a wide range of expressions about placing someone or something somewhere or even repairing something. 

Se ho degli ospiti a pranzo o a cena, li faccio accomodare qui, a questo tavolo.

If I have guests for lunch or for dinner, I have them sit here at this table.

Captions 34-36, Marika spiega - Il salone

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This verb is very often used in its reflexive form, accomodarsi, especially in formal situations, such as in an office when someone asks you to come in, sit down, or wait somewhere.

Signora Casadio, prego, si accomodi.

Missus Casadio, please have a seat.

Caption 21, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP4 - Miss Maremma - Part 4

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Consider this exchange between two young people. Here the ti (the object pronoun "you") is connected to the verb, but the information is the same as in the previous example. And make sure to put the accent on the first in accomodati.

Scusami, è libero? Sì certo, accomodati. -Posso? -Sì sì... -Grazie.

Pardon me, is this place free? Yes, sure, have a seat. -May I? -Sure... -Thanks.

Captions 2-3, Milena e Mattia - L'incontro

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But there are other contexts in which comodo is used in Italian, and these might be a bit harder to grasp.

 

Comodo can mean "convenient," as in an easy answer, as in over-simplifying.

Ho cambiato idea, me ne ero dimenticato, non gliel'ho detto?

I changed my mind, I had forgotten, didn't I tell you?

Troppo comodo, Manara. Ormai le sue dimissioni saranno già protocollate.

Too convenient, Manara. At this point, your resignation will have been registered.

Captions 33-35, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP12 - Le verità nascoste - Part 4

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In a recent segment of a special Christmas video Casa Vianello, after welcoming their guest and asking him to make himself at home (as in our first example), the Vianellos argue, as they often do. They use a common expression: fare comodo (to be useful, convenient, handy), often paired with the adverb sempre (always) to qualify it. Mrs. Vianello starts in without really thinking through what she is saying:

Comunque, un figlio fa sempre comodo.

Anyway, a child always comes in handy.

Ma come fa sempre comodo? Tu parli di un figlio come se si trattasse di un paio di pantofole di lana.

But what do you mean "One always comes in handy?" You talk about kids as if it were about a pair of woolen house slippers.

Captions 150-152, Casa Vianello - Natale in Casa Vianello - Part 1

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The following example offers a more normal context for fare comodo, this time in the past conditional.

Che caldo!

It's so hot!

Certo, un ombrellone nelle ore centrali del giorno avrebbe fatto veramente comodo.

Of course, an umbrella for the middle of the day would have been really handy.

Captions 1-2, Una gita - al lago - Part 3

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And here's an example closer to home!

Fanno molto comodo i sottotitoli in due lingue, no?
Subtitles in two languages are very handy, aren't they?

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

For a different sort of expression where comodo is featured, see this lesson

Comodofare comodoaccomodare, and accomodarsi are all closely related, but cover a lot of different kinds of situations and contexts. Little by little, you will get better at untangling them from one another as you continue to listen, read, speak, and write.

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