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Italian - English translations for "ma"

"ma" Italian translation




The Italian conjunction 'ma' is used to express contrast or opposition between two ideas.

Part of speech



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Meaning: but

Mi piacerebbe uscire, ma devo studiare.

I would like to go out, but I have to study.

Meaning: however

Ho cercato ovunque, ma non riesco a trovare le chiavi.

I searched everywhere, however I can't find the keys.

Meaning: yet

Non ho ancora finito il mio compito, ma lo farò presto.

I haven't finished my homework yet, but I will do it soon.

Meaning: although

È una giornata fredda, ma mi piace camminare all'aperto.

It's a cold day, although I enjoy walking outdoors.

Meaning: except

Tutti sono andati alla festa, ma io no.

Everyone went to the party, except me.


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A1: Oggi è freddo, ma il sole splende.

Today is cold, but the sun is shining.

A1: Ho fame, ma non ho soldi per comprare cibo.

I'm hungry, but I don't have money to buy food.

A1: Vado al cinema, ma non so quale film vedere.

I'm going to the cinema, but I don't know which movie to watch.

B1: Ho studiato molto, ma non sono riuscito a superare l'esame.

I studied a lot, but I couldn't pass the exam.

B1: Sono andato in vacanza, ma ho dimenticato di portare il passaporto.

I went on vacation, but I forgot to bring my passport.

B1: Ho cercato di chiamarti, ma il tuo telefono era spento.

I tried to call you, but your phone was off.

C1: Avrei voluto partecipare all'evento, ma ero già impegnato.

I would have liked to attend the event, but I was already busy.

C1: Mi piacerebbe viaggiare di più, ma non ho abbastanza tempo libero.

I would like to travel more, but I don't have enough free time.

C1: Ho provato a risolvere il problema, ma non sono riuscito a trovare una soluzione.

I tried to solve the problem, but I couldn't find a solution.

Advanced Description

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In Italian, 'ma' is one of the most commonly used conjunctions. It is often translated as 'but' in English. The main function of 'ma' is to introduce a contrasting idea or statement. For example, 'Mi piace il gelato, ma non posso mangiarlo perché sono allergico al latte' (I like ice cream, but I can't eat it because I'm allergic to milk). In this sentence, the first part expresses a positive sentiment towards ice cream, while the second part introduces a negative aspect that contradicts the first part.

'Ma' can also be used to express an unexpected result or consequence. For instance, 'Ho studiato molto per l'esame, ma ho comunque preso una brutta votazione' (I studied hard for the exam, but I still got a bad grade). In this case, the speaker expected to get a good grade because of their efforts, but the opposite happened. Therefore, 'ma' signals a surprising outcome that goes against the speaker's expectations.

It is important to note that 'ma' is not always interchangeable with the English word 'but'. Depending on the context and the tone of the sentence, other conjunctions such as 'però', 'tuttavia', or 'anzi' may be more appropriate. Moreover, 'ma' can also be used in idiomatic expressions and fixed phrases that do not necessarily convey a contrastive meaning. Therefore, it is essential to understand the nuances and subtleties of this conjunction in different contexts.

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