In this blog, “Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with Sentirsi, “ we will focus on how to conjugate and use the Italian verb sentirsi when talking to your speacial someone on Valentines Day. Or, any day, for that matter!
The heart of any language is its verbs. I believe that to speak fluently in any language, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of how each verb is used in real life situations. And what can be more important than telling the one you love how special they are to you?
Enjoy the second topic in my blog series about Italian verbs: Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with Sentirsi. —Kathryn Occhipinti
Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.
Parts of this blog have been reposted from Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – “How to Say ‘I feel…’ on Valentines Day with ‘Sentirsi'” from Conversational Italian! a blog by the same author. Check out this blog as well if you are interested in phrases to use every day!
Valentines Day Sayings in Italian:
Italian Verb Sentirsi
The verb sentirsi means “to feel” in Italian and therefore sentirsi is the verb Italians use to describe their deepest emotions.
You will immediately notice from the -si ending that sentirsi is a reflexive verb. English, on the other hand, does not consider “feeling” a reflexive activity; so when we English speakers put our emotions into words, we do not use a reflexive verb. Because of this important difference, we will really have to learn how to think in Italian to express our feelings with sentirsi!
Learning how to use the verb sentirsi is really not all that tricky, though, once you understand the general idea of how to conjugate a reflexive verb. Just remember to add one of the reflexive pronouns (mi, ti, si, ci, vi, si) before the conjugated form of sentirsi. Then finish the sentence by saying how you feel, just as you would in English.
Sentirsi has been conjugated in full in the table below. Sentirsi is a regular -ire verb, so its conjugations are presented in green. The reflexive pronouns that go with each conjugation are in blue. Since we do not use reflexive pronouns with the equivalent verb “to feel” in English, the Italian reflexive pronouns will not appear in the translation.
Sentirsi – to feel
|io||mi sento||I feel|
|tu||ti senti||you (familiar) feel|
|Lei lei/lui||si sente||you (polite) feel she/he feels|
|noi||ci sentiamo||we feel|
|voi||vi sentite||you all feel|
|loro||si sentono||they feel|
Sentirsi vs. Stare
People across the globe commonly talk about how they are feeling. and Italians are no different! Let’s try to use our newly conjugated Italian verb sentirsi by creating some simple sentences to describe how we may feel.
From the table above, we can see that the common statement, “I feel…” is, “Io mi sento…” But, of course, we always leave out the Italian subject pronoun, so the phrase that Italians use is conversation is just, “Mi sento…” To complete the phrase, just add how you are feeling after the verb!
One way to use the verb sentirsi in conversation is to say, “Mi sento bene!” which means, “I feel well!” (Notice Italians do not say, “I feel good,” which is actually grammatically incorrect, although we say this in English all of the time.) If we remember how to use our reflexive verbs, we know that if we want to ask someone how they are feeling, we can simply say, “Ti senti bene?” “Are you feeling well?” (By the way, if you need a review of Italian reflexive verbs, please see previous blogs on this topic or our Conversational Italian for Travelers book, “Just the Important Verbs.”)
To have a conversation with one person about another person’s health, we can use the same phrase to relay a fact or to ask a question: “Si sente bene.” “He/she is feeling well.” “Si sente bene?” “Is he/she feeling well?”
|(Io) Mi sento bene. (Io) Non mi sento bene. (Io) Mi sento male.||I feel well. I don’t feel well. I don’t feel well.|
|(Tu) Ti senti bene.||Do you feel well?|
|(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene.||She/he feels well.|
|(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene.||Does she/he feel well?|
You may have read our Conversational Italian! blog about stare and learned that stare is also used to talk about general well-being, either “good” or “bad,” similar to the sentences above.” Since both stare and sentirsi are used to describe how we feel, the difference in meaning between these verbs can seem insignificant. But, by convention, stare is always the verb used when greeting someone. And, although sentirsi can be used to make generalizations, the use of sentirsi is more often a specific referral about how we feel, either to a health issue or actual feelings of happiness, sadness, etc.
Adjectives to Use with Sentirsi
The table below is a list of adjectives that you can use to describe how you are feeling. Just add one of these adjectives after the words, “I feel…” in Italian, just as you would in English. Remember that male speakers must use the “o” ending and female speakers the “a” ending for these adjectives that refer back to the subject. If the adjective ends in an “e,” the ending does not need to be changed, of course.
|contento(a) / felice||happy|
|nervoso(a) emotionato(a)||nervous excited/thrilled|
Some simple example sentences:
|Mi sento conteno.||I am happy. (male speaker)|
|Mi sento contenta.||I am happy. (female speaker)|
|Mi sento triste.||I feel sad. (male or female speaker)|
Notice, that both “contento(a)” and “felice” mean “happy” in Italian. But when an Italian wants to describe an internal feeling of happiness, the word chosen is usually “contento(a).”
Contento also translates into the English word, “content,” meaning to feel comfortable with or about something. The phrase, “Contento lui!” translates as, “Whatever makes him happy!”
Also, a note about feeling “excited” about things. In America, a very common phrase is, “I am excited…” about what I am about to do, or perhaps an event I will attend. In Italy, the word for “excited” or “thrilled” is “emotionato(a).” Although the Italian word emotionato sounds to the English speaker like “emotional,” the Italian adjectives for emotional are actually, “emotivo(a),” or “emozionale.” Be careful! The Italian adjectives emotivo(a) and emozionale are most commonly used to mean “excited” with a negative connotation.
The words emotionato and emotional, which sound like they should have similar meanings in each language, but do not, are often called, “false friends.”
Valentines Day Sayings with Sentirsi
Now that we know how to make sentences with the verb sentirsi, let’s see how we can tell others how we feel on Valentines Day, or La Festa Degli Innamorati, as the Italians call this day.
One of the legends surrounding Saint Valentines Day is that San Valentino, a priest in the Christian church who was jailed by the Romans, wrote the girl he loved a farewell love letter and signed it ‘Your Valentine.” He knew that this lettera d’amore, would be the last he would write to her before his execution as a Christian. What do you imagine he could have written in this letter?
The Italian phrase for “I love you,” — when talking about love in a romantic way — is easy. It takes just two short words to relay your special feelings for someone: “Ti amo.” But after that, what do you say? How do you tell someone how wonderful they make you feel when you are with them?
Below are a few expressions that one can use on Valentines day, some of which use the verb sentirsi.
|Quando ti vedo… mi sento contento(a).||When I see you… I am happy.|
|…mi sento un uomo fortunato.||I feel like a lucky man.|
|…mi sento una donna fortunata.||I feel like a lucky woman.|
|…sento che la mia vita è appena cominciata.*||I feel like my life has just begun.|
|… sento che il mondo è tutto mio.*||I feel like the world is all mine.|
*You will notice from two of our examples above that the verb sentire was chosen for the Italian verb that means “to feel,” rather than the reflexive sentirsi. In these two cases, sentire is used in order to make a general comparison about how one’s feeling relates to something else, rather than to state one’s exact feeling. This type of comparison is called a simile and is used to make an idea more vivid — or in our examples, more “flowery” and romantic. It is easy to spot a comparison in Italian, because “che” will be used to link one’s feeling to the descriptive phrase. In English we can translate che into “like.”
Sentire is used in the following to phrases in our table below as well, but for a different reason. These two examples use the sentence structure, “You make me feel…” which requires sentire to be used in it’s infinitive form.
|Mi fai sentire molto contento(a).||You make me feel very happy.|
|Mi fai sentire che tutto è possibile.||You make me feel that everything is possible.|
If the time “feels right” for you and your Italian love to “officially” declare your feelings for each other, you may want to try the important phrases listed here.
|Vuoi essere la mia fidanzata?||Do you want to be my girlfriend?|
|Vuoi essere il mio fidanzato?||Do you want to be my boyfriend?|
|Vuoi stare insieme a me per sempre?||Do you want to stay together forever?|
|Vuoi fidanzarti con me?||Do you want to get engaged (engage yourself to me)?|
|Vuoi fidanzarti con me?||Will you be my fiancée/finance?|
|Vuoi sposarti con me?||Do you want to get married (marry yourself to me)?|
|Vuoi sposarti con me?||Will you marry me?|
How would you use sentirsi to tell your love how you feel? Please leave some examples. I’d love to hear from you!
One last note…
Italians do not use the words contenta or felice, to wish each other a “Happy Valentines Day,” but instead use “buon/buono/buona,” as for other holiday expressions, as in: Buona Festa degli Innamorati! Click on this blog from expoloreitalianculture.com if you are interested in learning more about the traditions of Valentines Day in Italy.
Buon Festa degli Innamorati a tutti voi!
Valentines Day Sentiments in Italian with “Sentirsi”