Have you ever hesitated when saying in Italian the sentences “I leave home/ I leave work“?
If you have ever taken an Italian language course to learn how to speak Italian, there is a good chance, that yes, you had.
Tell me why!
Because the verb to leave has not a straightforward translation in Italian and Italian has three different verbs meaning “to leave” in English: uscire, partire, lasciare, andarsene.
Back to the linguistic dilemma. How do you say to leave in Italian?
If you need to say you are leaving your home or your office, then you say…
To leave mean “uscire” in Italian when implying the movement of physically exiting from one place. Uscire is just the opposite of entrare (to enter). You can “uscire” a house, a room or your office.
Uscire is NOT a transitive verb, meaning that it always requires the use of the prepositions di or da
Esco dall’ufficio alle 18 – I leave the office at 6 p.m.
Sono uscita di casa molto presto – I left home very early
Uscire is used in everyday Italian with other meanings.
uscire / uscire con “to go out, to meet up”
Stasera esco con i miei amici – Tonight I go out with my friends
Usciamo stasera? – Are you going out tonight?
uscire con = “to date someone”
Esco con Luigi da due settimane – I have been dating Luigi for two weeks
Uscire is also used to say that a movie or a book is released
Il nuovo film di Tornatore e’ uscito ieri – The new Tornatore’s movie came out yesterday
So, when shall you use partire in Italian?
Partire means to leave for a trip and oftentimes comes with the preposition per
Partirò per gli Stati Uniti tra due settimane
Another correct usage of partire comes with means of transportation.
A che ora parte il treno? – What times does the train leave?
Parte alle 10 – it leaves at 10
Sono partito in aereo – I left by plane
Can one say“parto da casa”? Yes, but, it implies that you are taking a trip to somewhere or you are going a long way somewhere.
Siamo partiti questa mattina alle 8 – We left this morning at 8 am
(it implies you are on a trip)
Lasciare means to abandon a place, a person or to break up with someone.
If you use lasciare speaking of place, you mean that you won’t come back to the place you left.
Ho lasciato la casa dei miei genitori a 20 anni – I left my parents home at 20
Lasciare also means to break up with someone or to quit
Ho lasciato il mio ragazzo – I broke up with my boyfriend
Ho lasciato il mio lavoro – I quit my job
The other ordinary meaning of lasciare is to leave something behind on purpose or because you forget
If you forget your keys in the office, you can say:
Ho lasciato le chiavi in ufficio, per sbaglio – I left the keys in the office, by accident
Andarsene (pronominal verb) means to leave a place or home. The use of andarsene implies that you are not coming back any soon. Thus, if you want to say that you are leaving home to go to the office every morning, you should not use “andarsene” but “uscire”. Instead, if you are leaving a place knowing that you are not coming back, you can use the verb “andarsene” and just say “me ne vado”
For example, if you are out with your friends, and it gets late, and you want to leave, it is appropriate to say “me ne vado”.
Common mistakes I frequently hear on my Italian online classes
Ho lasciato casa ( Lasciare la casa means you are abandoning it. Instead, you have left your place to go to work)
Sono uscito di casa
Sono partita dal lavoro
Sono uscito dal lavoro
Ogni mattina parto alle 8
Ogni mattina esco alle 8
In both cases the use of partire suggests the idea that you are leaving for a trip
Stasera vado fuori con i miei amici
stasera esco con miei amici
Going out is better translated in Italian as ‘uscire’
USEFUL ITALIAN SENTENCES WITH “LASCIARE”
how to say in Italian “leave me alone”?
- lasciami stare!
how to say in Italian “let it go”?
- lascia perdere