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Italian Language/"basta" vs "abbastanza"


Dear Lauren,

Can you please help me to understand the use of the words - “basta” for “enough” and “abbastanza” for “enough”.

I was wondering if “basta” is actually the third person, singular form of the verb “bastare” (to be enough).  

If so, when an Italian states - “basta” ,  is he actually saying “it is enough”?

Also, my dictionary lists “abbastanza” as an adverb, yet “enough” can be a pronoun in English.  

Can “abbastanza’ be used as a pronoun in Italian?

Thank you very much for your help.



Hi Rich,

Basta does comes from the third person singular of the verb 'bastare' (to be enough). It is typically only employed in the third person form and when used on its own means 'That's enough.' You can add nouns or verbs to it to create longer sentences too. For example, 'basta vederti per essere felice' (it's enough to see you to be happy) or 'non basta il caffè' (not enough coffee). Basta is something that you will hear often when around young children. Their parents will often tell them 'basta' when they have got over-excited or misbehaved!

However, the verb bastare can also be used in the sense of 'to be sufficient'. For example, 'mi bastano 100 euro' (100 euros is enough) or 'basta un chilo di farina' (1kg of flour is enough)

As for 'abbastanza', it also means enough in the sense of being sufficient. Unlike English, its usage is not as a pronoun in Italian. It can be used as an adverb or an adjective only. For example, 'non ti ringrazierò mai abbastanza' (I can't thank you enough) or 'non è ancora abbastanza caldo' (it's still not warm enough)

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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