How can we say please in Italian?

As you can imagine there are many expressions to say please in Italian: sometimes they are interchangeable, so they have almost the same meaning and use, in some other cases they differ in terms of context and level of formality.

Please is one of the first words that we learn when we study another language, actually one of those words that we need to survive in a foreign country even to do the most basic things, such as buying something or asking an information.

Normally we learn the most common ways to say that first and then, step by step, we discover that there are many other equivalent expressions. Also, we start adapting the expression to the people we talk to and the situation.

Let’s have a look! 

Per favore –> this is the most common way to say please and is used in most situations, made exception for very formal requests

Per piacere –> it’s very similar to “per favore” and can be also used in the majority of situations

Per cortesia –> it’s more formal than the previous two expressions and it sounds more polite when used with people that you don’t know or older than you

Gentilmente/cortesemente –> they mean “kindly” and “courteously”, however they often translate please as well.

Prego –> its more common meaning is “you are welcome” in reply to “grazie” (thank you), however it may mean please as well. In this case, it doesn’t express a request but an invitation to do something.

how to say please in Italian

Some examples to go through!

Italian English
Puoi darmi un bicchiere d’acqua, per favore? Can you give me a glass of water, please?
Mi puoi telefonare dopo le 3pm, per piacere? Can you call me after 3pm, please?
Potrebbe dirmi come arrivare in centro, per cortesia? Could you tell me how to get to the city centre, please?
Potreste gentilmente confermare la data del volo? Could you please confirm the flight’s date?
Si sieda, prego! Sit down, please!


Now try to use the different expressions and change them depending on the formality of the situation: it’s quite useful to get used to them!

If you are interested in learning more Italian, follow this link or watch some lovely video tutorials on our Youtube Channel.