Start pedaling? Huh?

You’re probably scratching your head, wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Well, as you work towards immersing yourself in the Italian language and the Italian culture, listen up.

Italian idiomatic expressions often vary considerably from English equivalents.

I’ll repeat this ad nauseam so as to help you avoid making some of the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve learned (much to the entertainment of my Italian friends and family) that I can’t just take an English expression and simply translate it, word for word, into Italian. The one I’m sharing with you in this post is one that is used frequently here.

Hai voluto la bicicletta, e adesso pedala! (You wanted the bicycle, now start pedaling!)

Can you guess what the English equivalent is? If you guessed, “You made your bed, now lie in it!” you’re right! Bravo or brava! My mom was quick to use this expression with me. Now, in my mind I imagine her telling me, “You wanted the bicycle, now start pedaling!” with her signature raised eyebrow as she left me to deal with a situation that I created. And, believe me, Italian mammas don’t hesitate to use the same with their obstinate children who insist they know better. I’m also sure many an Italian husband has received a tongue-lashing that includes this phrase.

As always, use with caution!

It’s tempting to try to put these new Italian expressions into practice a bit too quickly. But, wait for the right opportunity and with someone you know and love and who will forgive you if you say it with the wrong inflection. Practice your technique with a native speaker who can help you to perfect the delivery of “start pedaling” and do a bit of role-playing first!

If you’ve enjoyed learning this Italian idiomatic expression…

I encourage you to watch this video on my YouTube channel (and be sure to subscribe)!

And, be sure to check out other important Italian expressions in my Italian Snippets here on my blog!