Ecco and cioè are Italian filler words that Italians use all the time. Hard to translate into English, they will come in handy when you travel to Italy or speak with your Italian friends. Here is a list of how and when to use them. Buona lettura!
ECCO describes the appearance of something or somebody, replacing in English the sentences here it is / here they are or look (something/somebody)!
- Ecco i nostri amici
- Ecco il treno
- Ecco l’esercizio
If used with the pronouns mi, ti, lo, la, ci, vi, li, le means
- Eccomi – here I am
- Eccoti – here you are
- Eccola – here she is
Sometimes it is used as a filler word at the beginning of a sentence when you are figuring out what to say and it means something close to well in English
- Ecco..volevo dirti, che non posso venire al cinema con te stasera
In several Italian fixed collocations
- Ecco perché – that’s why…
- Ecco fatto! – that’s that done!
- Ecco tutto – that’s all
- Ecco cosa succede quando… – this is what happens when…
- Ecco come – this is how…
One of the most common meanings of cioè is that is to say or namely
- L’attuale papa, cioè Francesco I, incontrerà il primo ministro tedesco oggi
- Nell’Unione Europea esiste la libertà di movimento delle persone, cioè i cittadini possono risiedere e lavorare in uno qualsiasi dei paesi membri.
It is used to correct what you have just said or to add more information, meaning I mean or I meant
- Mi piace veramente Marco…cioè solo come amico
It is also something that people often say before they start or continue their sentence
- Cioè….questo tempo ad agosto non è possibile.
- Cioè..non ne posso più di questa classe politica!
It can be used in the shape of a question to ask further explanation about something which is not clear
- Vado a Panarea in estate
- Cioè, dove?
- Un’ isola dell’arcipelago delle Isole Eolie, in Sicilia
Both ecco and cioè are considered Italian filler words. A filler word is a word that has not a specific meaning that people use in sentences when they speak informally, for mainly two reasons: buying time or giving additional information about what they are saying (such as an emotion).
Understanding fillers is a must if you want to take your Italian to the next level and become eventually fluent. Besides cioè and ecco, the Italian language is plenty of other fillers words that Italians use all the time. Allora, insomma, and beh are just a few examples. In 9 frequent Italian filler words, I discuss this subject more in-depth.
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Serena is a proud polyglot, teacher and language expert. After learning 8+ foreign languages and working long hours a job she was not born for, she decided she urged a significant life change. She is now combining what she loves doing with what she is good at, helping people to learn Italian online. She has been sharing her love for Italy and the Bella Lingua across the world for the last four years. Her goal is helping enthusiastic humans to transform Italian Language Learning into a habit in their lives.