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Wishing You the Best, with "Buono"

When Italians want to wish someone luck, or just express their good wishes, one word they use is buono (good):

Buon compleanno! (Happy birthday!)

Buon natale! (Merry Christmas!)

Buon anno! (Happy New Year!)

They often add auguri (best wishes), which comes from the verb augurare (to wish):


Buon anno a tutti! Auguri!

Happy New Year everyone! Best wishes!

Caption 31, Orchestra Pit Pot - Buon anno e buona fortuna

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Whatever someone is about to do, buono is a way of hoping it goes well. Note that when the object is masculine, buono gets shortened to buon, and when the object is feminine, it becomes buona.

Buon lavoro. (Good luck on your job.)

Buon viaggio. (Have a good trip.)

Buona dormita. (Have a good sleep.)

Buon appetito. (Have a nice meal.) 

Buon ascolto. (Enjoy the concert/lecture/CD.)

Buona visione. (Enjoy the show/film.)

Buona notte. (Good night.)

Buona giornata. (Have a nice day.)

...and plenty more!

You may be wondering what the difference is between giorno and giornata. They both mean “day” and although there are no hard and fast rules, there are conventions in using one or the other. In deciding whether to use giorno or giornata, think of the calendar. As a general rule, use giorno when talking about the calendar, where a day is a unit in a larger block of time (week, year, month).

For example,

Il giorno di natale i negozi sono chiusi.

On Christmas day the stores are closed.

Sarò via per due giorni.

I’ll be away for two days.

Giorno is used in opposition to notte (night):


Di giorno sgobbavo in un cantiere e di notte sui libri.

By day I slogged away at a construction site and by night with my books.

Caption 6, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP1 - Un delitto perfetto

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When you greet someone in the morning, you'll say buongiorno (good morning, hello). After noon, you’ll greet them with buonasera. But when saying goodbye, buona giornata (have a nice day) and buona serata (have a good evening) are commonly used to wish someone well.

Giornata (day) is more subjective and approximate than giorno. It describes the time between morning and night. Think about the quality of your day or someone else’s: the weather, your mood, your health, your workload.

Che giornata!

What a day!


Oggi ho deciso di passare una giornata diversa dal solito.

Today I've decided to spend the day differently from usual.

Caption 1, Francesca - sulla spiaggia

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Whatever your level of Italian is, it’s always nice to be able to say something nice, and to understand when someone is saying something nice to you! In a nutshell, giorno and sera are used when you arrive, while giornata and serata are used when you leave. And when you’re wishing someone well in whatever they may be doing next, buono is your friend!


Further learning:

Do a search of both giorno and giornata in Yabla videos to get a sense of when one or the other is used. Supplement your learning by reading about giorno and giornata in WordReference.



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