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More expressions with caso

We have already talked about different meanings and uses of the noun caso (case, chance) — see this previous lesson. In the present lesson, we will further explore expressions using this super common and useful noun. 


Farci caso

In a different previous lesson devoted to noticing things in Italian, we briefly discussed the expression farci caso (to notice something / to make an issue of something). Although the different meanings are related, they are different enough to warrant translating them differently.

Non lo so, non ci ho fatto caso, mi dispiace.

I don't know. I didn't notice, I'm sorry.

Caption 41, Provaci ancora prof! S2E3 Dietro la porta - Part 7

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Non ci far caso, che ha avuto una giornata molto difficile.

Don't pay any attention to it, because he's had a very hard day.

Caption 28, Un medico in famiglia Stagione 3 S3 EP1: Ciao famiglia - Part 6

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For more examples and explanations, check out the lesson! There you will find a list of possible English translations. And let's keep in mind that the basic meaning of caso here is "case" (not "chance"). 


Guarda caso

Let's build on another expression we talked about in the other lesson: guarda caso, another nuanced expression with "caso." If we take it apart, it's sort of a command. "Look at what happened by chance." It can be inserted into a sentence just about anywhere, as is. 



Here are some examples from recent videos to demonstrate. Guarda caso very often has the connotation of a coincidence that isn't really a coincidence. Something looks like it happened by chance, but was likely planned. 


A detective is interviewing a suspect, putting two and two together.

Anche perché chi ha ucciso a [sic] Ramaglia è arrivato in cortile con una motocicletta, e guarda caso tu c'hai una moto.

Also because whoever killed Ramaglia arrived in the courtyard on a motorcycle, and what a coincidence, you have a motorcycle.

Captions 79-81, I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone EP2 Rabbia - Part 10

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All'appello mancano quattro abiti da sposa. Guarda caso, i più preziosi.

At the count, four wedding dresses are missing. As chance would have it, the most costly ones.

At the count, four wedding dresses are missing. What a coincidence, the most costly ones.

Captions 44-45, La Ladra EP. 2 - Viva le spose - Part 13

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This expression was once two words, but at some point in history, the two words became one, as happens with many compound words. Casomai is a rather intriguing expression. The two words are caso (chance) and mai (never, ever). Italian synonyms might be: nel caso che; semmai; eventualmente.


The literal translation is "chance ever." That's very unhelpful and makes no sense. But what the expression actually means is something like "if appropriate," "if at all," or "if anything." "in the event that." We could construe the Italian to mean "if there is ever the chance," and some additional translations could be: "if the situation/case comes up," "if the situation calls for it," "if circumstances permit," "if need be," and sometimes, "just in case." Translating it is tricky, and somewhat subjective, but if you hear it enough and start using it yourself, you'll find it very handy without thinking about what it would be in English. 


And, what's more, Casomai is user-friendly, as it's one of those expressions we can throw in wherever we want, without worrying about the grammar. We could include it in the category of expressions such as magari, or mi sa that can stand alone at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a sentence. 

Va be', noi casomai torniamo un altro giorno, eh.

OK, if appropriate, we'll come back another day, huh.

Caption 57, Sei mai stata sulla Luna? film - Part 10

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Eh, perché ero qua non posso dirglielo. Casomai dovrebbe essere Lei a dirmi che cosa ci faceva qua.

Uh, the reason I was here, I can't tell you. If anything, you're the one who should tell me what you were doing here.

Captions 4-5, Provaci ancora prof! S1E1 - Il regalo di Babbo Natale - Part 16

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Dopo, casomai... -Yeah. Dopo, magari fra...

Later, if need be. -Yeah. Later, maybe in a...

Captions 47-48, Provaci ancora prof! S1E3 - Una piccola bestia ferita - Part 15

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Tu non cerchi nessuno. Casomai la polizia.

You're not going to look for anyone. If anyone does, it'll be the police.

Caption 10, Provaci ancora prof! S1E1 - Il regalo di Babbo Natale - Part 11

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We hope this lesson has shed light on some expressions using caso (chance). Let us know if you have questions or comments. You can write to us a or write a comment in the comment section of any video.