Ti amo o ti voglio bene? “I love you” in italiano!

Collina Italiana

Today we’re doing a quick lesson about a very important phrase: I love you. More specifically, we’re taking a look at how exactly you should say “I love you” in italiano!

You may already be familiar with the Standard Italian, Ti amo, which does mean “I love you”, but did you know that there are actually two ways of saying “I love you” in Standard Italian? Most importantly, did you know that there is a clear and impactful difference between the two?

How do you say “I love you” in italiano?

The first way is Ti amo

Now, this case is used only in a romantic sense! This means you would use this phrase only with your significant other.

This phrase is the more well-known of the two. In fact, it is even the focus of an Italian song that is very recognizable even here in the States. Are you familiar with the song?

Of course, it the perfect symbol of the romantic language that is Italian, and thus over time, the phrase has become very popular, but it is often used in the wrong sense!

An example of when to use "ti amo".
“The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt

The second way is Ti voglio bene

Here is the key: this case is used specifically in a non-romantic sense! You use this phrase with your family, friends, and anyone who is near-and-dear. This phrase, literally translated, means “I want you to be well”, which makes such a lovely phrase all the more kind and loving!

Friendship, a great example of when to use "ti voglio bene"!

Con questo abbraccio voglio dirti…

che ti voglio bene!

Interestingly, several languages have this distinction in place when it comes to expressing love verbally. What kinds of phrases do you use to express your love for someone? Can you find distinct phrases like this in English?

There you have it, a quick lesson on a very important phrase no matter the language! Now when you’re ready to express your love for someone, make sure to stop and think: ti amo o ti voglio bene?

A presto!

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