We looked at the noun torto in a previous lesson. We can say hai torto (you're wrong). But what about when you're right? Being right uses the noun ragione, but let's first take a closer look at this versatile noun and related forms.
In Italian, la ragione is a partial true cognate. When used to mean "the reason," it makes sense to us because it's a true cognate:
E c'è una ragione molto precisa.
And there is a very precise reason.
Caption 21, Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 2Play Caption
We also have a verb form: ragionare (to reason, to think, to reflect):
Cerchiamo di ragionare con calma.
Let's try to think about this calmly.Play Caption
We have an adjective, too: ragionevole (reasonable):
Siccome mi sembra anche una persona piuttosto ragionevole,
Since you also seem like a rather reasonable person,
io spero non ci saranno problemi, ecco.
I hope there won't be any problems, that's it.
Captions 55-56, Sei mai stata sulla luna? - filmPlay Caption
But we also use the noun ragione (without the article) together with the verb avere (to have) to mean "to be right."
avere ragione (to be right) -- literally, it would be "to have right."
In Italian, aver ragione has come to mean "to be right." And people use this expression countless times every day, so it's great to have it in your toolbox. The verb you need to conjugate is avere (to have), which is probably one of the first verbs to learn in Italian. Here's the conjugation chart for avere. But you don't need an article for ragione in this case, so it couldn't get much easier than that. Abbiamo ragione (are we right)?
Avevi ragione tu. Gabriele s'era messo nei guai.
You were right. Gabriele got into trouble.
Gare di cross illegali.
Illegal dirt bike racing.
Captions 18-19, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP1 - Matrimonio con delitto - Part 8Play Caption
Il cliente ha sempre ragione?
The customer is always right?
Caption 70, La Ladra - Ep. 4 - Una magica bionda - Part 2Play Caption
Sono stufa delle tue promesse.
I'm sick of your promises.
Sono anni che aspetto che lasci tua moglie...
I've been waiting for you to leave your wife for years...
-Hai ragione. -e io non...
-You're right. -and I won't...
Hai ragione, hai ragione. Va bene.
You're right, you're right. All right.
Captions 68-71, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP9 - L'amica ritrovata - Part 5Play Caption
"To prove someone right" can be dare ragione,
Non ti interessa il parere di nessuno.
You're not interested in anyone's opinion.
-Ma poi i risultati mi danno ragione.
-But afterwards, the results prove me right.
Captions 21-22, Adriano Olivetti - La forza di un sogno Ep. 1Play Caption
But we can also use dare ragione when we admit or agree that someone else is right. It's just an additional nuance to saying "you're right."
Su questo, ti dò ragione.
About that, I agree you're right.
Do a search of ragione on the videos page and you will get plenty of examples in various conjugations and contexts, where ragione might mean "right" and where it might mean "reason." It's a great way to get lots of different examples all at once. Try repeating some of them out loud.
And remember: The trickiest thing to remember is that the verb to use is avere (to have), not essere (to be).
We will close with a little expression that's also the title of this lesson:
a torto o a ragione (wrong or right), rimango della mia idea (I'm not changing my mind).
In English, we would start with "right," but you get the idea!
That's it for this lesson, and we hope that when someone else is right, you will be able to tell them so in Italian! If you have questions about this, just write to us at email@example.com.