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Giorno or giornata: What's the difference?

What's the difference between giorno and giornata? They both refer to "day." To start off with, we can say that one difference is that un giorno is 24 hours. But una giornata is roughly from dawn to dusk. In some cases, giorno and giornata can be used interchangeably, but let's look at the ways we generally use one or the other.

 

It might also be helpful to think of giorno as rather static and giornata as something in motion, or progressing.

 

Since we have to greet people most days, it's good to mention buongiorno, which actually means "good morning," as a greeting. We use it up to lunchtime, or noon, to be more precise. After that it's buonasera (good afternoon, good evening).

Buongiorno, signora Caterina.

Good morning, Missus Caterina.

Caption 58, Il Commissario Manara S1EP3 - Rapsodia in Blu - Part 3

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Let's keep in mind that, used as a greeting, buongiorno is one word. 

 

For more about greetings, check out this lesson 

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If we say buona giornata, we are saying, "Have a nice day." I hope your day goes well. It's kind of a progressive thing, thinking ahead to the day. We say it when we are leaving or when someone else is leaving. 

Va bene. -Buona giornata. Buona cavalcata. -Buona cavalcata. Buona giornata e buon lavoro. -Grazie.

All right. -Have a nice day. Have a nice ride. -Have a nice ride. Have a nice day, and good luck with your work. -Thank you.

Captions 14-16, Fratelli Taviani La passione e l'utopia - Part 23

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We can replace giornata with another -ata word: if we want to wish someone a good ride (on horseback) as in the example above, or, if they are taking a walk, we can say buona passeggiata

 

Let's look at other situations in which we will want to use giornata, not giorno,  or vice versa. It may be helpful to think of giornata as the progression of the day towards night. 

 

Let's say you are waiting for a package.

The corriere (the shipping company) says:

Il pacchetto sarà consegnato in giornata. This means the package will be delivered anytime before the end of the day.

 

If it's going to arrive before lunchtime, they might say arriverà in mattinata.

 

When you get off work, and you are thinking about what a difficult (or fantastic) day you have had, you can say:

Che giornata (what a day)!

 

But then, you might use a mix of giornata and giorno. The important thing is to remember that giorno is a masculine noun and giornata is a feminine noun. 

 

You can say:

Ho lavorato tutto il giorno (I worked all day).

 

You can also say:

Ho lavorato tutta la giornata (I worked all day).

 

It kind of depends on what you are thinking or visualizing. They are both correct. Google says tutto il giorno is more common.

 

When we are talking about the weather, we'll usually use giornata.

Oggi è una bellissima giornata, un po' fredda,

Today, it's such a beautiful day, a bit cold,

Caption 4, Professioni e mestieri Erica - archeologa - Part 2

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When describing the day, especially in a personal way, we use giornata:

Ti sto rovinando la giornata, scusami.

I'm wrecking your day, forgive me.

Caption 14, Provaci ancora prof! S1E4 - La mia compagna di banco - Part 7

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If I ask you how your day went, I might say?

 

Come'è andata la giornata (how did your day go, how was your day)?

 

When we're talking about a length of time, then it's usually giornata. In some cases, we can talk about una mezza giornata (a half day')

La prego, solo mezza giornata.

Please, just half a day.

Caption 19, Ma che ci faccio qui! Un film di Francesco Amato - Part 4

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While we tend to use giorno for birthdays and the days of the week (we think of the calendar), giornata is more common for describing special commemorative occasions or major historical events, for example, Giornata mondiale della pace (International peace day). It's connected with the activity.

 

If you have questions about giorno and giornata, please let us know and we'll expand this lesson.

 

Vocabulary

In gita, in giro: What's the difference?

There are different ways to travel. It can be for pleasure or work, it can be for multiple days, weeks, or months, or it can be a day trip or an overnight, an excursion.

 

So, let's look at an interesting alternative to the true cognate, escursione (that works just fine, too):

la gita, una gita, andare in gita.

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So the noun is la gita. But where does it come from? It originally comes from the verb ire (to go). People don't use this verb much at all, in fact we could say they never use it in converstion, as it is literary (we mostly use andare), but those of you who know Latin, Spanish, or other Romance languages, will most likely recognize it. 

 

A dialectical version of ire has a g sound in front of it, turning it into gire. We can trace it to the feminine past participle: andataitagita. You don't need to know this, but some of us enjoy knowing where words come from.

La gita in practical terms

In practical terms, una gita implies traveling somewhere, not necessarily sleeping over, but maybe. 

For example, kids in school might go on una gita scolastica (a class trip).

 

E perché? -Partono, per la gita scolastica!

And, why? -They're leaving on a school trip!

Fuori di casa due giorni da soli.

Away from home for two days, all alone.

-Mamma, siamo in trentadue!

-Mom, there are thirty-two of us!

E quattro insegnanti.

And four teachers.

Captions 5-8, Acqua in bocca - Allarme gita

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Erica works at the tourist office of Palaia in Tuscany. She's talking about her job.

 

E quindi è un po' il punto di arrivo,

And so it's kind of the point of arrival

eh, di tutte quelle persone che vengono qua in vacanza,

uh, for all those people who come here on vacation,

o anche semplicemente per fare u', una gita o una, una breve sosta

or even just to make a, a day trip, or a quick stop

qui, in questo territorio, che è la Valdera.

here, in this area, which is the Valdera.

Captions 14-17, Professioni e mestieri - Erica - archeologa

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Check out this Yabla mini-series about a girl who goes on an outing — Una gita al lago (a day trip to the lake).

Girare

The verb gire sounds kind of like the verb girare, which means "to go around." Girare and gire don't have the same root, but they are related through one definition of girare:

 

andare qua e là, andare in giro, vagare, con o senza uno scopo determinato
(to go here and there, to go about, with or without a specific purpose).

 

Firenze è una città piccola, si può girare benissimo a piedi.

Florence is a small city, you can go around very easily on foot.

Caption 9, In giro per l'Italia - Firenze

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The noun form is il giro. Un giro can be a bike ride, a walk, a ride in a car... anything really, even a swing, or one of the machines at a gym.

 

Continuando il mio giro in bicicletta sulle mura di Lucca,

Continuing my bike ride around the Lucca walls,

mi sono fermata davanti a questo bellissimo palazzo.

I stopped in front of this very beautiful villa.

Captions 1-2, In giro per l'Italia - Lucca

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Fare un giro can mean "to take a turn."

Let's say I am on the treadmill at the gym, and there is someone waiting. I can ask, ci vuoi fare un giro (do you want to take a turn on it, do you want to have a go)?

 

Italians love diminutives, so we also have un giretto, or un girettino (or some say una girata or girattina) more like a brief stroll, synonymous with passeggiata, or passeggiatina

 

E nonna, ho fatto un bel giretto nel bosco.

Well Grandma, I had a nice walk around the woods.

Caption 5, Anna e Marika - in Cappuccetto Rosso e la nonnina

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Gramatically speaking...

Note that we use the verb fare (to make, to do) with the noun una gita, —fare una gita or the noun un giro —fare un giro. Or we use the verb andare (to go) and the preposition in (on a) before gita or giro. Andare in gita, andare in giro. Tuscans often say andare a giro. It means the same thing.

 

Sono sicura che passeremo una bellissima giornata in giro per la città.

I'm sure we'll have a great day going around the city.

Caption 6, In giro per l'Italia - Firenze

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There is plenty more to say about in giro, but that will be for another lesson. Meanwhile, let's try to assimilate the meanings we have talked about here by looking at some questions and some possible answers. Feel free to write to us with your attempts. Mistakes are welcome. That's how we learn.

 

Practice and examples

E tu? Che fai oggi? Vai in gita? Fai un giro? Fai una passeggiata? Vai in giro?
And you? What are you doing today? Are you going on an excursion? Are you going to go out and about? Are you going to take a walk? Are you going to cruise around the area?

 

Here are some possible answers:

Facciamo una gita turistica. Viviamo a Pisa, e andremo a visitare Siena. 
We're going on a day trip. We live in Pisa and we're going to go and see Siena.

 

Andiamo in gita, che bello!
We're going on an outing, how great!

 

Facciamo il giro dell'isolotto.
We're going to walk around the block.

 

Facciamo un giro.
Let's go and have a look around.

 

Facciamo un giro in bici.
We're going on a bike ride.

 

Ho fatto una passeggiata vicino a casa.
I took a walk close to home.

 

Siamo andati in giro per la toscana.
We went for a ride around Tuscany.

 

Feel free to send us some of your own examples. If they work, we'll add them to this list. write to us at newsletter@yabla.com.

  

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