L'angolo della lingua

L’angolo della lingua

The word then is used in various contexts in English and translates in different ways in Italian, depending on the context and meaning: poi, dopo, allora, quindi. Here are some examples to show the different ways in which it can be translated.

When it indicates time, ie an action taking place after another one, you use poi or dopo:

I’m having lunch now, then I’m going to meet some friends = ora/adesso pranzo e poi/dopo vado ad incontrare alcuni amici.

First we visited the imperial palace and then the poor suburbs of the city = prima abbiamo visitato il palazzo reale e poi i quartieri poveri della città.

Note that in these two examples you cannot use allora.

When it suggests a consequence (and it could be interchangeable with so/therefore) then you use allora or quindi or even perciò:

If you’re not coming with me to the gym, then I’m not going either = se non vieni con me in palestra, allora non ci [meaning there ie in the gym] vado neanch’io [note the double negative in Italian]

Seen that he lived in Italy for three years, then he should speak Italian well = visto che ha vissuto in Italia per tre anni, allora dovrebbe parlare l’italiano bene.   

NB: in these cases you cannot use poi or dopo.

Other examples in which allora is used:

I dont’ understand a thing about mechanics so don’t ask me how come the car doesn’t work = non capisco niente di meccanica [note the double negative in Italian] quindi/allora non chiedermi come mai non funziona la macchina.

So, have you decided to join us for a week-end by the sea? = allora, hai deciso di unirti a noi per un week-end al mare?

So, are we all agreed? = allora, siamo tutti d’accordo?

When we were young … at that time the world was at peace and there were not many displaced people = quando eravamo giovani noi … allora c’era la pace nel mondo e non c’erano tanti sfollati.

Yvette Devlin