Basta/Abbastanza/Mi basta: The Difference 

Everyone has heard at least once the words “basta! or “abbastanza” or “mi basta.”And although they all look very similar, their uses and meanings differ significantly. Let’s take a look at it now!

Basta

Basta! means enough! stop! 

 It’s an invariable noun, and it’s used as an interjection or exclamation. 

 Sometimes we can attach an additional phrase to basta, like this:

Basta con questo rumore!Enough with this noise.
Basta parlare ad alta voceEnough with speaking loudly.

Don’t forget that the tone you use when saying “basta” defines the message you want to get across.

 Basta (enough!) can sound very harsh if you yell it at someone, or it can sound just like “that’s all.”

Basta or basta così, is a common phrase you can use at a market or restaurant, and it means that’s all.

 For example:

Vuole altro, Signora?Anything else, M’am?
No, basta così, grazieThat’s all, thank you

Abbastanza 

Abbastanza is an adverb of quantity. As all adverbs, abbastanza is an invariable word (it always stays the same).

When abbastanza is used after a verb, it always means “enough“.

Stanotte non ho dormito abbastanzaI didn’t get enough sleep last night
Hai abbastanza soldi?Do you have enough money?
Ho comprato abbastanza libri per oggiI’ve bought enough books for today

When abbastanza is used before an adjective, so before a noun, it always means “quite” or “pretty”.

Questa casa è abbastanza nuovaThis house is quite new
Questo libro è abbastanza vecchioThis book is pretty old

Mi basta / Mi bastano

(If you’re a beginner learner, you can skip this for now.)

Mi basta is a form of the verb “bastare.” Bastare is an impersonal verb (just like the verbs piacere, mancare, and servire), which follows a different conjugation than the other regular verbs.

 Bastare doesn’t have a straightforward translation into English, and it means something close to “enough” or “sufficient.”

Similar to the verb piacere, bastare gets conjugated in the third person singular and plural and with the indirect object pronouns, like in the following chart.

3rd person singular3rd person pluralin English
mi bastami bastanoit’s enough for me
ti bastati bastanoit’s enough for you
gli/le bastagli/le bastanoit’s enough for him/her
ci bastaci bastanoit’s enough for us
vi bastavi bastanoit’s enough for you
gli bastagli bastanoit’s enough for them

Example sentences using the verb ‘bastare

Mi bastano 6 ore di sonnoSix hours of sleep is enough for me
Ti basta questo formaggio per cucinare la lasagna?Is this cheese sufficient to make the lasagna?
Questo mi bastaThis is enough for me
Ti bastano 20 dollari?Is 20 dollars enough for you?
Ci basta questo paneIs the bread enough for us?
Gli bastano sei mesi per prepararsi all’esame?Is six months enough for him to prepare for the exam?

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

Learn Italian
the smart way!

Sign up and receive the best exercises that have already helped my private clients to finally speak italiano + weekly doses of Italian!

Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

7 Romance Short Stories for Italian Language Learners