How to use in Italian ECCO e CIOÈ

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

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…

CIOÈ

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

VOLETE PARLARE ITALIANO? JOIN MY NEWSLETTER

GET BITE-SIZED ITALIAN LESSONS AND UPDATES EACH MONTH