Expressing Positive Emotions in Italian

Italians have a reputation for being emotional and sentimental, and this is entirely right. No need to say, we like to express positive and (negative) emotions with friends and family, and we do it often.

Have you ever wondered what the most common ways to say in “well done” or” was happy about..” or “cool‘” are?

Keep reading this article to find it out!

Rimanere + Adjective

By using the present perfect of rimanere followed by an adjective you will mean you were happy/excited/ satisfied with something.

Sono rimasto soddisfatto della lezione di ieriI was satisfied with yesterday’s lesson
Lucia è rimasta molto contenta del regalo che hai ricevutoLucia was very happy with the gift you received
L’insegnante rimane contento del mio livello di italiano durante ogni lezioneThe teacher remains happy with my Italian level during every lesson

Don’t forget, most adjectives expressing feelings are followed by the preposition di and the verb infinitive.

Essere felice di + infinitoTo be happy to + infinitive
Rimanere felice di + infinitoTo remain happy about + infinitive
Essere contento di + infinitoTo be content with + infinitive
Rimanere contento di + infinitoTo remain content with + infinitive
Essere soddisfatto di + infinitoTo be satisfied with + infinitive
Rimanere soddisfatto di + infinitoTo remain satisfied with + infinitive
Essere scioccato di + infinitoTo be shocked by + infinitive
Rimanere scioccato di + infinitoTo remain shocked by + infinitive
Essere sorpreso di + infinitoTo be surprised by + infinitive
Rimanere sorpreso di + infinitoTo remain surprised by + infinitive
Avere paura di + infinitoTo be afraid of + infinitive

Postive Exclamations

Exclamations are the most everyday ways to express positive emotions.

Many joyous Italian exclamations result from the combination of che with adjectives.

Che bello!How beautiful!
Che buono!How good!
Che dolce!How sweet!
Che piacere!How nice!
Che bel film!What an excellent movie!
Che bella donna!What a beautiful woman!
Che giornata fantastica!What a fantastic day!

There are also many other exclamations used in day to day Italian that take the shape of simple adjectives.

Bravissimo!Well done!
Ottimo!Excellent!
Bello!Beautiful!
Figo!Cool! (very informal)
Eccezionale!Outstanding!

Another way to express satisfaction or happiness in Italian is using the expression fare piacere a qualcuno, which means ‘to make someone happy or to please someone).

Mi fa molto piacere che tu sia arrivatoI’m very pleased that you have arrived
Mi fa piacere che tu abbia superato l’esameI’m pleased that you have passed the exam

Fare piacere is an impersonal expression; so it has to be conjugated in the same way you would conjugate the verb piacere:

‘Mi fa piacere’ with the present tense

Mi fa piacereIt pleases me/I’m pleased /it makes me happy
Ti fa piacereIt pleases you/You’re pleased /it makes you happy
Gli/Le fa piacereIt pleases him/her – it pleased him/her /it makes him/her happy
Ci fa piacereIt pleases us/We’re pleased / /it makes us happy
Vi fa piacereIt pleases you (plural)/You’re pleased / /it makes you all happy
Gli fa piacereIt pleases them/They’re pleased /it makes theme happy

‘Mi fa piacere’ with the passato prossimo

Mi ha fatto piacereIt pleased me / it make me happy
Ti ha fatto piacereIt pleased you / it make you happy
Gli/Le ha fatto piacereIt pleased him/her – it make him/her happy
Ci ha fatto piacereIt pleased us / it make us happy
Vi ha fatto piacereIt pleased you (plural) / it make you all happy
Gli ha fatto piacereIt pleased them / it make them happy

Showing Approval in Italian

Expressing positive emotions can take the shape of showing approval. The most common ways to show support or approval in Italian are:

  • Va bene! – All right!
  • D’accordo! – Agreed!
  • Giusto! – Correct!
  • Certo! – Of course!
  • Esatto! – Precisely!

Showing Relief in Italian

Last but not least, let’s see how to express relief in Italian:

  • Meno male! – Thank goodness!
  • Per fortuna! – Luckily!
  • Grazie a Dio! – Thank God!

Meno male is Italy’s most common verbal sigh of relief. This phrase is used when you want to explain that you have prevented a possible situation, like in the following examples:

  • Meno male che ho preso l’autobus delle 11, sennò avrei perso l’aereo.
  • Meno male che Lucia è arrivata in orario per l’appuntamento con il capo.

Both Grazie a Dio and per fortuna are used with the same meaning. However, meno male is the expression you are most likely to hear in your Italian conversations.

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.

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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.

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