Ogni tanto (oh- ñee tahn-toh) is used more than sometimes in Italian! Why do I say “sometimes?” Because that’s what it means. Indeed ogni tanto stands for the English “sometimes,” or “every now and then,” which in fact may be closer to a literal translation of the original.
Ogni tanto is an expression formed by two words: “ogni,” which means “every” or “each,” and “tanto” which means “much,” or “many.” Ogni tanto works pretty much like its English counterparts, because it always refers to something we don’t do regularly, but only on occasions: vado in palestra ogni tanto (“Sometimes I go to the gym”), or chiamami ogni tanto! (“give me a ring, every now and then”).
There are a number of expressions in Italian that have a similar meaning to ogni tanto. For instance, you could also say qualche volta, which means “sometimes” literally, or even the fancier occasionalmente (“occasionally”), which sound pretty posh though, and you’re more likely to use when writing than when chatting with your friends. For instance, in an official work announcement, you may read that occasionalmente le riunioni dello staff si terranno fuori dall’orario di lavoro (“occasionally, team meetings will take place outside regular working hours”), but the use of ogni tanto in the same context is unlikely, even if the meaning is exactly the same. A matter of register, as it often happens!
- Ogni tanto, mi piace bere una tisana prima di andare a letto
- I like to drink a cup of herbal tea before bed, every now and then
- Vado al cinema ogni tanto, ma non sono un esperto.
- I go to the cinema sometimes, but I’m not an expert.
- Ogni tanto, mi piace preparare la pizza a casa.
- I like to make pizza at home every now and then.