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Non ci piove

When you want to say that something is watertight, that you have no doubt about it —in other words, there is no use in discussing it further —there is a great Italian expression at your disposal. Even if you don't understand why people say it, you can start noticing when people say it and imitate them. And you will soon start sounding like a native as you say it.


Ragazze, la C sta per Catullo

Girls, the "C" stands for Catullus,

e su questo non ci piove.

and the rain can't touch it [there is no doubt about it].

Captions 71-72, La Ladra - EP. 9 L'amico sconosciuto

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It means there is no hole in the argument, but that's not so easy to figure out from the expression, especially since it uses that pesky particle ci that means so many thingsIt's kind of fun to figure out, or at least imagine why Italians use this colorful expression, and where it comes from.

In Italy, roofs are often made of tiles or tegole. If you move a tegola around, the rain might leak into the house. This can happen accidentally, with high winds, or if someone walks on the roof for some reason, like to clean out the gutters or adjust an antenna. If it rains into the house, ci piove (it rains there, it rains in it).

So besides being a great expression, when talking about leaky roofs, it usually means the rain comes in.  It's not easy finding a literal translation that makes sense, which is why we've talked about it here.

When the leak has to do with a pipe or a faucet, we talk about it losing water. We use the verb perdere (to lose, to leak).


Ma... questo non perde più! -No!

Well! This no longer leaks! -No!

Non mi dire che l'idraulico s'è degnato?

Don't tell me the plumber deigned?

Eva, stamattina qua è passato un vero uomo, eh?

Eva, this morning a real man came here, huh?

Che oltre ad aggiustà [aggiustare] i rubinetti così, proprio tà tà tà l'ha fatto eh!

Who besides fixing the faucet just like that, he did it really fast, huh!

Captions 11-14, La Ladra - Ep. 1 - Le cose cambiano

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See this lesson about the verb perdere.


Another thing to say when an argument is airtight is: Non fa una piega (there isn't even one wrinkle).


È evidente che avrebbe dovuto vincere Fabiola Alfieri.

It's clear that Fabiola Alfieri should have won.

Allora perché non ha votato per lei?

So why didn't you vote for her?

-Perché il direttore di un giornale può essere

Because the director of a newspaper can be

molto utile alla carriera di un marito come il mio.

very useful to the career of a husband like mine.

-Non fa una piega, però non mi convince.

That a perfect argument, but it doesn't convince me.

Captions 34-37, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP4 - Miss Maremma

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Practice commenting inside your head with su questo non ci piove or non fa una piega when people are justifying, explaining, arguing, debating.

Note that another way to say non fa una piega is non fa una grinza. They both mean the same thing. There's a lesson about this!

Finding No Fault with Grinza and Piega


Learning expressions by hearing them, repeating them, and figuring out, little by little, the right context to use them in is a great way to learn. But sometimes it’s fun to see where these expressions come from and a visual image can help us remember them. Let's talk about wrinkles.


Somebody has a plan, or an explanation for something. How do we say that it “holds water,” it’s “faultless,” it “makes perfect sense,” "there's no argument?"


But let's start off with the premise that Italians are very concerned with clothes, and figura (impression  — how they are viewed by the outside world) and most people know that Italy is an important fashion center. Many Italian kids learn early on that getting their t-shirts dirty will make mamma unhappy, so they try to keep their clothes clean. Not only puliti (clean) but stirati (ironed). So it makes a certain amount of sense that some expressions use ironing metaphors!


In an episode of La Ladra, Eva has an elaborate plan all worked out, which she describes to her girlfriends.

Here’s Gina’s response.


Non fa una grinza.

It's flawless.

Captions 45-47, La Ladra - Ep. 3 - L'oro dello squalo

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Gina’s comment non fa una grinza literally means, “it doesn’t make a wrinkle.” She could have said non fa una piega, which is also very common, if not more common, and means the same thing. So the expression means, “it’s clean, it has no blemishes, it’s smooth — no bumps, no wrinkles. It’s perfect.”


If you have been following Commissario Manara, you might have noticed the following exchange between Manara and his chief’s wife, who was on the Miss Maremma jury. There’s a contradiction between how she voted and who she really thought should win. Here is the conversation.


È evidente che avrebbe dovuto vincere Fabiola Alfieri.

It's clear that Fabiola Alfieri should have won.

-Allora perché non ha votato per lei?

-So why didn't you vote for her?

Perché il direttore di un giornale può essere molto utile alla carriera di un marito come il mio.

Because the director of a newspaper can be very useful to the career of a husband like mine.

-Non fa una piega, però non mi convince.

-That makes perfect sense, but it doesn't convince me.

E va bene. Quella Fabiola è di una strafottenza mai vista. Ma chi si crede di essere?

And all right. That Fabiola is unbelievably arrogant. But who does she think she is?

Captions 34-40, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP4 - Miss Maremma

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So in this expression, regardless of whether grinza or piega is used, the verb is fare (to do/to make). It generally  refers to a statement, a reason, an explanation, or a motive, so, di conseguenza (consequently), it’s usually in the third person singular.


It’s a handy expression when all the evidence points to one answer or reasoning you can’t find fault with (even though you wish you could).

Una grinza (a crease, a wrinkle) is the noun form, and its verb form is raggrinzare (to wrinkle) or raggrinzire (to wrinkle).

Piegare means “to fold,” “to bend,” so the noun una piega is “a fold” or “a crease.”

In the negative sense una piega is something that shouldn’t be there, like a crease caused by careless ironing.

The noun form piega is used in another common expression. It is almost always negative, it goes together with brutto (bad/ugly), and usually refers to some kind of situation. In this case, the meaning of piega is closer to “bend,” than to “fold” or “crease.”


Smettiamo prima che questa conversazione prenda una brutta piega.

Let’s stop before this conversation takes a turn for the worse.

Let’s stop before this conversation gets ugly/goes bad.

Check out WordReference for more meanings of la piega.


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Caption 40, 39, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34

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.


Che dici, sarà comodo questo letto per la tedesca con la puzza sotto il naso?

What do you say? Will this bed be comfortable for the snobbish German lady?

Captions 12-13, Sposami EP 3 - Part 5

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Quindi non dimenticatevi di indossare delle scarpe comode, un abbigliamento comodo per potervi godere questo spettacolo meraviglioso.

So don't forget to wear comfortable shoes, comfortable clothing, to be able to enjoy this marvelous show.

Captions 45-46, Marika spiega Expo 2015 - Part 2

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Grammar corner

As you can see, comodo ends in "O." So when using it to describe a noun, you have to pay attention to both the gender and the number of the noun it's describing. There are 4 possibilities: o, a, i, and e. Here are some examples.

Questo vestito è comodo (this dress is comfortable).

Questa gonna è comoda (this skirt is comfortable).

Questi pantaloni sono comodi (these pants are comfortable).

Queste scarpe sono comode (these shoes are comfortable).



Try making sentences with other appropriate nouns you know, such as la sedia, il letto, la maglietta, il cappotto, gli stivali, i calzini, l'anello, il divano, il cuscino, i guanti, 


The opposite of comfortable

To say "uncomfortable," we use the famous "S" prefix: scomodo.  Quite often, but certainly not always, the S prefix will indicate the opposite of the original meaning of the word. For more about how the S prefix works, examples, see this lesson

Ma perché le donne devono aver un abito così scomodo?

But why do women have to have such uncomfortable clothing?

Caption 52, L'Oriana film - Part 23

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Try doing the same exercises as above (with comodo) with scomodo. It works the same way! Make sure and say your sentences out loud, if possible.


Being comfortable

Up until now, we have talked about things that are or aren't comfortable. We can use the verb essere (to be). But when it comes to how we are feeling, such as sitting in an armchair, we use comodo and scomodo  with the verb stare, also translated as "to be." We're talking about our state of being. Let's assume a woman is talking. She might say:

Su questa sedia, sto un po' scomoda. Manca un cuscino (I'm kind of uncomfortable on this chair. There's no cushion).

Su quell'altra, sto piuttosto comoda, invece (but on that other one, I am pretty comfortable).


❇️ Food for thought:

What if a guy were talking?

What if a couple were talking together about how they feel sleeping on the ground?

What if you were asking someone if they are comfortable, when it's clear they are not comfortable?


Stare is also used with comodo in another situation. Sometimes comodo specifically implies remaining seated, as in the command:

 Stai comodo (don't bother getting up).


Getting comfortable

When you get comfortable, the verb is mettersi (to put oneself). We use the reflexive form of mettere (to put) as if to say, "Put yourself" into a comfortable position or state.

Quando torno a casa, la prima cosa che faccio è mettermi comodo.

When I get back home, the first thing I do is to get comfortable.

Caption 39, Adriano Giornata

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If I invite you to my place, and you are just standing in the entranceway, I might say:

Mettiti comodo (relax, make yourself at home, take off your shoes if you want, have a seat). 


Comodo meaning "convenient"

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.

Too convenient, Manara.

Ormai le sue dimissioni saranno già protocollate.

At this point, your resignation will have been registered.

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

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And to talk about inconveniencing someone, the verb is scomodare

Non ti voglio scomodare (I don't want to inconvenience you).


Fare comodo

A common expression is fare comodo (to be or to come in useful, handy, or to be convenient). So in Italian, the verb is fare, while in English it's "to be" or "to come in."


Here's an example that's close to home for Yabla users:

Fa molto comodo avere i sottotitoli in due lingue, no?

Having subtitles in two languages is very handy, isn't it?

Having subtitles in two languages comes in very handy, doesn't it?


The following example is in the past conditional. They wished they'd had a beach umbrella.


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 come in really handy.

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

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In a future lesson, we'll talk about comodo as a noun.