English speakers always have a hard time when they need to say ‘to leave’ in Italian.
In fact, English has just one verb to express that concept, while Italian has at least three different verbs: uscire, lasciare, and partire. I have seen my students struggle a bit with that and I thought it could be useful to write a post about this aspect of the Italian language.
As I always do with these types of posts, I have created a pdf file with the content of the post, so that you can download it and keep it for future reference. As usual, you can find the file in Your Italian Toolbox, the page on my site where I upload all language learning material, which you can access if you subscribe to my newsletter. In Your Italian Toolbox, you’ll find a lot of pdf and audio files about grammar rules and Italian vocabulary.
But let’s find out how to say to leave in Italian.
As I said, the English verb to leave can be translated into Italian with three different verbs: uscire, lasciare, and partire. Actually, there are also other two verbs, which are andare via and andarsene, and I’ve included them here as well. Let’s now focus on each of these verbs.
This verb means to leave in the sense of physically exiting from a place, of going out of a place to go somewhere else. It is intransitive and is the opposite of entrare, which means to enter or to go in.
Here are some examples of its use:
Esco dall’ufficio alle otto – I will leave the office at eight (now I am inside the building, I’ll go out at eight)
A che ora sei uscito di casa? – What time did you leave your house? (when you actually left your house to go out)
“Dove siete?” “Stiamo uscendo dal cinema adesso” – Where are you? We’re leaving the cinema now (we were inside the cinema before)
The verb uscire can also have other two meanings:
It can mean going out to socialize, seeing people, and hanging out.
Usciamo stasera? Ho voglia di vedere un po’ di gente – Shall we go out tonight? I’d love to see people
It also means to date someone.
Francesco e Marta escono insieme da due mesi – Francesco and Marta have been dating for two months.
This verb means to abandon someone or something. It is transitive, which means that is always followed by an object, be it a thing, a person, or a place.
If lasciare is followed by a thing, it means to leave that thing behind (on purpose or because you forgot)
Ho lasciato la mia borsa sul tavolo – I’ve left my bag on the table
Sono senza soldi e non so dove ho lasciato il portafoglio – I have no cash and I don’t know where I’ve left my wallet
Dove hai lasciato la macchina? Non me lo ricordo! – Where did you leave your car? I don’t remember!
If you use it in reference to a place, it means that you are leaving that place for good:
Ho vissuto in Portogallo per due anni, ma ora l’ho lasciato per tornare a Roma – I have lived in Portugal for two years but now I have left it to return to Rome
Ho lasciato la mia casa in affitto, adesso vado a vivere in una villa in collina – I’ve left my rental house, I am moving to a house on the hills
Ho lasciato l’Italia per andare a vivere in Cina, ma non sono felice – I’ve left Italy to go to live in China, but I am not happy
Dobbiamo lasciare la stanza alle undici – We have to leave the room at 11
Finally, some examples with people:
Ho lasciato mio figlio con mia sorella piccola e sono un po’ preoccupata – I’ve left my son with my youngest sister and I am a bit worried
Ho lasciato il mio ragazzo a casa e sono andata in vacanza con le amiche – I’ve left my boyfriend home and I went on holiday with my friends (in this case, it means that I am still with my boyfriend and that I am just going on holiday with friends)
Ho lasciato il mio ragazzo e sono andata in vacanza con le amiche – I’ve left my boyfriend and I went on holiday with my friends (in this case, it means that I have broken up with him)
This verb means to leave for a trip and it is intransitive. You can use it with places or means of transport (it always implies you are on a trip).
Here are some examples:
Partirò per Parigi domani mattina – I’ll leave for Paris tomorrow morning
Sono partita per l’Australia due mesi fa e non voglio più tornare a casa – I left for Australia two months ago and I don’t want to return home anymore
Parto dall’aeroporto alle dieci e arriverò a casa due ore dopo – I leave the airport at ten and I’ll be home two hours later
Parto con il treno alle otto e mezza – I leave by train at eight-thirty
Il mio volo parte alle nove. Spero non sia in ritardo – My flight leaves at nine. I hope it won’t be late.
Andare via and andarsene
Andare via means that you are leaving a place and won’t be coming back anytime soon. Andarsene, a pronominal verb, has the same meaning.
Here are some examples with andare via:
Questa festa è davvero noiosa, vado via! – This party is really boring, I’m leaving
Mia mamma è andata via di casa quando avevo dieci anni – My mom left the family when I was ten years old
Dobbiamo andare via da qui tra dieci minuti – We have to leave this place in ten minutes
Here are the same sentences with andarsene:
Questa festa è davvero noiosa, me ne vado! – This party is really boring, I’m leaving
Mia mamma se n’è andata di casa quando avevo dieci anni – My mom left the family when I was ten years old
Dobbiamo andarcene da qui tra dieci minuti – We have to leave this place in ten minutes
I hope this post helps you better understand which verbs you need to use if you want to say to leave in Italian. Leave a comment below if you have questions!
As I always do with posts about the Italian language, I have created a downloadable pdf file for you to keep for future reference. You will find it in Your Italian Toolbox, the private page on my site where I upload all language learning materials, under the section Grammar. If can access the page by simply subscribing to my newsletter.
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