Basta/Abbastanza/Mi basta: The Difference Explained
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! 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 voce
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.
- Vuole altro, Signora? – anything else, M’am?
- No, basta così, grazie – that’s all, thank you
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 means “enough“.
- Stanotte non ho dormito abbastanza – I didn’t get enough sleep last night
- Hai abbastanza soldi? – Do you have enough money?
- Ho comprato abbastanza libri per oggi – I’ve bought enough books for today
When abbastanza is used before an adjective means “quite” or “pretty”.
- Questo casa è abbastanza nuova – this house is quite new
- Questa libro è abbastanza vecchio – this 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 singular||3rd person plural||in English|
|mi basta||mi bastano||it's enough for me|
|ti basta||ti bastano||it's enough for you|
|gli/le basta||gli/le bastano||it's enough for him/her|
|ci basta||ci bastano||it's enough for us|
|vi basta||vi bastano||it's enough for you|
|gli basta||gli bastano||it's enough for them|
- Mi bastano 6 ore di sonno – six hours of sleep is enough for me
- Ti basta questa formaggio per cucina la lasagna? – is this cheese sufficient to make the lasagna?
- Questo mi basta – this is enough for me
- Ti bastano 20 dollari? – is 20 dollars enough for you?
- Ci basta questo pane – is the bread enough for us?
- Gli bastano 6 ore di sonno due mesi per prepararmi all’esame? – is two months enough for him to prepare for the exam?