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How to Hurry Up in Italian

We may think of Italians as being relaxed, but they have to rush around just like the rest of us. And since they do so much rushing around, there is some variety in how they talk about it. There are verbs, nouns, and adverbs to choose from. Let's take a look.

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The verb sbrigarsi (to hurry, to hurry up)

 

Come in ritardo?

What do you mean "late?"

Senta, Barbara, lasci perdere le scuse e cerchi di sbrigarsi invece.

Listen, Barbara, forget these excuses and try to hurry up instead.

Captions 28-29, La Ladra - Ep. 5 - Chi la fa l'aspetti

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It's common to use the familiar form with a family member or friend. The following example is in the second person singular, so don't forget to stress the first syllable, not the second! The three consonants in a row make it fun to say. The "s" always has a "z" sound when it comes before "b."

 

Dai, sbrigati che ci perdiamo l'inizio del film.

Come on, hurry up, otherwise we'll miss the beginning of the movie.

Caption 47, Adriano Olivetti - La forza di un sogno

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By the way, dai (come on) is just an interjection that is generally used in the second person singular regardless of whom you are talking to (although you wouldn't say it at all to someone you need to be formal with). 

 

If I want to tell two or more friends or family members to hurry up, then I need to say sbrigatevi. Here, the stress is on the second syllable (the "a")!

 

Io vado avanti, vi aspetto là, eh, sbrigatevi.

I'm going ahead, I'll wait for you there, eh, hurry.

Ah, ricordatevi le cinture di sicurezza!

Oh, remember your seat belts!

Captions 40-41, Un medico in famiglia - S1 EP1 - Casa nuova

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If we need to say the same thing using the polite form, it's si sbrighi in the singular. This might be used by a police officer who is asking to you move your car out of the way. The plural would be si sbrighino.

So this verb isn't super easy to use, but if you memorize the second person singular familiar, it will come in very useful.

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One more thing: sbrigare in its non-reflexive form means to "to deal with." 

 

Va be', noi andiamo che abbiamo un sacco di lavoro da sbrigare.

All right, we're going, because we have a lot of work to get done.

Caption 37, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP6 - Reazione a Catena

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La fretta

Another way to tell someone to hurry is fai in fretta. Note that here the verb is fare which means both "to make" and "to do."

 

Fai in fretta, ti prego.

Be quick, please.

Caption 57, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP5 - Il Raggio Verde

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La furia

Often fretta goes hand in hand with furia. In fretta e furia (in a big hurry).

 

Se tu trovi un cadavere in una stanza d'albergo

If you find a dead body in a hotel room

e scopri che l'occupante della stanza ha pagato per altri due giorni in anticipo,

and you discover that the occupant of the room had paid in advance for two more days,

però se ne va prima in fretta e furia,

but he leaves beforehand in a big hurry,

ti insospettisci, no? -Eh!

you become suspicious, don't you? -Yeah.

Captions 11-14, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP7 - Sogni di Vetro

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If you see someone rushing out of the house, you might say:

Dove vai così in fretta e furia (where you are off to all of a sudden)?

In some parts of Italy, in Tuscany, for instance, people just say ho furia to mean ho fretta, sono di corsa. I'm in a hurry.

 

Non è neanche passato a salutarlo?

You didn't even stop by to say goodbye?

No. Dovevo andare via, c'avevo furia [toscano: fretta].

No. I had to leave. I was in a hurry.

Captions 9-10, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP8 - Fuori servizio

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You might get asked if you are in a particular rush, for example, when someone wants to talk to you or spend some time with you. If you're in Tuscany they might say:

Hai furia o possiamo fermarci per prendere un caffè (are you in a rush or can we stop for a coffee)?

Anywhere else in Italy, they would probably say:

Hai fretta o possiamo fermarci per prendere un caffè (are you in a rush or can we stop for a coffee)?

Di corsaa compound adverb

 

"Scusa, ma vado di corsa".

"Sorry, but I'm in a rush."

"Parliamo più tardi".

"We'll talk later."

Captions 55-56, Marika spiega - Gli avverbi di modo

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We shouldn't think that these are the only ways to talk about being in a hurry, or telling someone to hurry up. But they will give you a good start. In substance, they have similar meanings, but they are used differently, and that's where it can get a bit tricky. Vado di fretta or ho fretta both work. Vado di corsa works, but not ho corsa. So keep your antennae up, and you will gradually absorb these words into your vocabulary. You'll have your favorites, too. 

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