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3 expressions with tanto

Tanto is a word used in a host of expressions to mean lots of different things. Sometimes it's by itself, sometimes it's put together with other words to form an expression, and sometimes there's a preposition to make it mean something particular. The combinations are fairly endless. Little by little, you will figure them out on a need-to-know basis.


Here's one that is clear and easy to use and understand:

Ogni tanto penso di aver sbagliato a lasciarti.

Every now and then I think I made a mistake by leaving you.

Caption 30, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep. 1 - Part 14

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Tanto by itself can mean "much" and is used as an adjective, but here, it's one way to say "in any case," or "anyway."

Tanto non mi avrebbe mai presa.

In any case, you would never have taken me on.

Caption 10, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep. 1 - Part 11

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In the next example, tanto is used with other words to form the expression: Tanto per cambiare


Let's first remember that  the verb cambiare means "to change." This expression is primarily used to be ironic or sarcastic. In this case, Cettina always does the shopping, so why is Libero even asking her about it? She's saying something to the effect of "Yeah, so what else is new?" 


Hai fatto la spesa? -Eh, tanto per cambiare.

Did you do the shopping? -Yeah, for a change.

Captions 3-4, Un medico in famiglia Stagione 1 EP 4 Buon Compleanno Maria - Part 2

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As expressions with tanto come up in our videos, we will point them out in lessons. For now, maybe you can experiment with using these three ways to use tanto.

Ogni tanto


Tanto per cambiare 

Being non-specific with da + infinitive

I can ask you if you have a pen or a pencil, or I can ask you if you have something to write with. I don't always need to be specific. I can offer you a glass of water, a glass of wine, or I can just offer you something to drink. I might not want to be specific. Let's look at one way to say this in Italian.


We can use the preposition da (from, to, at) and the infinitive of a verb. Let's look at some examples. 


Hai da scrivere (do you have something to write with)?

Scusate, mica avete da accendere? -Sì.

Excuse me, do you happen to have a light? -Yes.

Caption 1, Imma Tataranni Sostituto procuratore S1EP1 L'estate del dito - Part 26

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The person we ask for a light might have un accendino (a lighter) or dei fiammiferi (some matches). So we don't need to be specific. We just indicate what we need it for.


Faccio da mangiare (I'm going to make something to eat). 


Devo dare da mangiare a mia figlia.

I have to feed my daughter.

Caption 15, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep. 1 - Part 11

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Dai da bere a 'sti [questi] quattro lavoratori qua.

Give these four workers something to drink.

Caption 26, Chi m'ha visto film - Part 4

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Quando viaggio in treno porto sempre da leggere (when I travel by train I always bring something to read).


I can also say:

Porto sempre qualcosa da leggere (I always bring something to read).


Ci vorrebbe da dormire e da mangiare. -Bene.

We need lodging and food. -Fine.

Caption 20, Dafne Film - Part 17

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Ho da fare (I have stuff to do).


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