When you say Please in Italian, properly, it will open doors and make your experience here go more smoothly. If you’ve been studying how to speak Italian, or if you’re just getting started, it’s easy to zoom past this one and pat yourself on the back for getting it right.
“Please” can be a tiny bit complicated…
It’s not always just “per favore” or “per piacere” tacked onto a request. So, I believe it’s a good idea to delve into this topic more deeply. And, who better to explain the subtleties of this than Manu, of ItalyMadeEasy.com. I admit, until I watched the video below, I realized I was making mistakes that were as good as placing a flashing red light on my forehead that shouted “unenlightened foreigner”. I’m loathe to get things wrongs, especially when it comes to following Italian good manners. The biggie for me was the proper reply when someone asked me if I wanted something in particular. I’d been saying “Yes, please” (sì, per favore) instead of “Yes, thank you” (sì, grazie). While the former isn’t technically wrong, people here just don’t say that. They respond with the latter.
“Prego” can be another place where people get tripped up.
This use of please (technically it means “I pray” – I just love that!) is used when a person responds to another person thanking them, or when you are standing aside and indicating for another person to go first. Some people mistakenly respond “Prego” when a person asks if they want something in particular.
Don’t rush past the fundamentals!
Let Manu guide you. As I’ve said, in many previous posts, Italy Made Easy is my favorite go-to source for learning Italian. In fact, I’ve started the Zero to Italian course he offers, and I’m duly impressed. Manu has TONS of free online tutorials, on his YouTube channel and on his website. Kick the tires with this video on how to say Please in Italian. I think you’ll be glad you did.