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Italian Language/use of "forsi sì”


Dear Lauren,  

Would you please help me with the following dialogue?

1st man speaking:     Conosci Gabriella?
2nd man speaking:   Ah, forsi sì.

I am trying to understand “forsi sì”.

My dictionary states that “forsi” is an adverb that means “maybe”.  But,  my dictionary also states that  “forsi sì” means “maybe”.

Can you please tell me the difference between “forsi” and “forsi sì”?

I am trying to understand why the 2nd man speaking doesn’t say “Ah, forse” (Ah, maybe) instead of saying “Ah, forsi sì” (Ah, maybe).

Is “forsi sì” a commonly used phrase in informal language?

Thank you very much.



Hi Rich,

Thanks very much for your question.

There is only really a subtle difference between the two adverbs. Forsi and forsi si both mean 'maybe'. However, forsi si has more strength too it so would be used to emphasise that you are more certain about something. The literal translation would be 'maybe yes' so you are showing more certainty about the fact of knowing Gabriella. If the speaker was just to have said 'forsi' his uncertainty would have been shown.

So in summary, both are correct, however 'forsi si' will always show more strength in conviction.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Italian Language

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Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I have spoken Italian fluently for more than 12 years so I am very confident to answer any questions about the Italian language. I am also competent in Roman Dialect if there are any questions relating to this.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) Received the top grade in the whole of UK for GCSE Italian, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Italian Consulate Completed my two-year A Level in 1 year with a grade A country. Carried out many translation jobs for a wide range of clients and topics including self-help, literature and exam papers. For personal reference, I have also translated Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo and 2 of Francesco Totti's book.

El Pensador, University of Bristol

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