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When Things Don't Matter

Saying something doesn’t matter is a little like saying it’s not important. This can be helpful when examining one way to say “it doesn’t matter” in Italian. The adjective “important“ has an Italian cognate, importante—easy enough—but importare (to matter, to be important) is the original verb. In fact, the third person singular of the intransitive verb importare is used in the negative when something doesn’t matter: non importa! It’s a great little phrase, because there’s an impersonal subject (hidden in the third person singular conjugation of the verb) just like in English: it doesn’t matter. It just works, and is easy to say (give or take the “r” which some English speakers have trouble with).  Add a little shrug of your shoulders, and you’ll fit right in!


Che non importa ciò che dice la gente.

And it doesn't matter what people say.

Caption 12, Tiziano Ferro - Il regalo più grande

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Importare can also be used reflexively (but here it gets more complex and much more personal) as in non m’importa (I don’t care, it’s not important to me), non t’importa niente di me (you don’t care about me at all, I’m not important to you), or non m’importa niente (I don’t care at all). For some great examples, do a search of importa in Yabla videos.

There’s also the question, “What does it matter?” Che importa?


Che importa se questo è il momento in cui tutto

What does it matter if this is the moment in which everything

comincia e finisce?

begins and ends?

Captions 12-13, Neffa - Passione - Part 1

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Another easy way to say something doesn’t matter is fa niente, or non fa niente (remember that Italian thrives on double negatives!). In this case the verb fare (to make, to do) is used. We need to stretch our imaginations a bit to find a viable word-by-word translation. Something like: it doesn’t make a difference, no big deal!


Va bene, non fa niente.

All right, it doesn't matter.

Focalizziamoci sulla lezione di oggi.

Let's focus on today's lesson.

Captions 4-5, Marika spiega - La forma impersonale

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Learning Italian does matter!

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