Expression of the Day: Non vedo l'ora

If you translate literally non vedo l’ora (noh-n vai-doh l’oh-rah), it doesn’t make much sense. What could “not being able to see the time” possibly mean?


Well, we don’t use it with that meaning, really. 


Non vedo l’ora is the Italian equivalent of the English “I can’t wait” and we use it with all forms of the verb vedere (to see): this means you have  to conjugate it, remember that! So if I can’t wait to do something  it’snon vedo l’ora,” but if you can’t, it becomes “non vedi  l’ora.” It is usually followed by di and the infinitive of the verb  you  want to use. 


As an  expression, it embodies excitement, happiness  and eagerness and it is used very  much  in all registers, so feel free to whip it out with your Italian best friend or boss: it’s equally acceptable. 


However, be aware it is an incredibly emphatic expression, so you may like to avoid it if said boss gives you  a  pile of work an hour before you’re  supposed to leave the office on a Friday afternoon, or you may sound pretty sarcastic. Mind, we do use it that  way, too: mia suocera sta da noi  per una settimana: non vedo  l’ora… (“my mother  in law is staying for a week: I can’t wait…”). Well, of course, when you speak it’s all in the intonation, you  know. 


On a more pleasant — and hopefully, more useful  — note, we love to use non vedo l’ora romantically: so, you non vedi l’ora to meet your date and to share the  evening with them. You know,  that sort of thing.  

Ritorna in città domani! Non vedo l’ora di vederlo!

He’s back in town  tomorrow. I can’t wait to see him!

Sono stanco morto. Non vedo l’ora di andare a dormire. 

I’m wrecked. I can’t wait to go to bed. 

Quando ero bambina, non vedevo  l’ora di andare a casa dei nonni.

When I  was a child, I couldn’t wait to visit my grandparents.  

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