Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by duckie, Sep 14, 2006.
When is po used instead of poco?
po' is the shorter form for poco = po'(co)
I was just wondering when one uses po and when one uses poco, because it seems to depend on the words it's referring to..
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Thanks so much, and glad to have you here,
È poco simpatico. (you can't say È po' simpatico)
È un poco noioso = È un po' noioso
Ok, so un poco or un po'
Does it sound formal to say un poco?
The two forms are not interchangeable.
You may say only the long form, poco, when you mean a small amount of something (English little or few):
C'è poca benzina nel serbatoio.
C'erano pochi spettatori al concerto.
The short form un po' is only to be used as to indicate an uncertain quantity (English a bit of):
Metto un po' di sale nell'acqua per la pasta.
Ho avuto un po' da fare questa settimana.
Ho avuto poco da fare = I had little to do
Ho avuto un po' da fare = I had quite a lot to do
Hope it helps...
No, it doesn't. But "un po'" is a little more informal.
Why does ho avuto un po' da fare = I had quite a lot to do?
claudine, ok - I'll probably stick to poco for now then until I've figured out everything a little better
I think it's missing the English "quite"
I had a bit to do
I had quite a bit to do
They both mean, to an Italian "a bit" and "a lot" respectively, I think this is the case.
Ah.. that's very tricky.
Providing I am right, of course, please wait for a confirmation!
Maybe a lot was too exaggerated and might have confused you; I'm sorry if it's so. Un po' works like the English a bit, but actually indicates an uncertain amount of something. This uncertain amount is anyway more than the small amount indicated by poco alone... I realise this is just a terrible explanation, I think you can get the meaning by having some examples and just practising.
From my example:
Ho avuto poco da fare... so I had plenty of spare time to do something else.
Ho avuto un po' da fare... so I didn't have time to phone you.
C'è poca benzina nel serbatoio... we'll have to refuel as soon as possible.
C'è un po' di benzina nel serbatoio... we can reach Milan without stopping.
Ti è piaciuta la festa? - Poco... it was boring.
Ti è piaciuta la festa? - Un po'... there might be better parties, but we had some fun anyway.
Hope I've made it a bit clearer (...un po' più chiaro!) rather than confusing you more!
Ok, another go with this one:
Ora è poco più chiaro - Very little has changed from before
Ora è un po' più chiaro - I didn't get it completely, but I understood enough to use the two forms correctly.
That helps a lot, thanks!
I understood the sentences except maybe for the last two examples, is this right?
1) Now it's a little bit clearer
2) It's a bit clearer now (it's very subtle, but that does indicate that things are somewhat clearer and have therefore improved).
I don't get the first one.
I've heard "Ora è molto più chiaro" or "Ora è un poco/un po' più chiaro" but never "Ora è poco più chiaro".
Ciao a tutti,
Here's a silly little question:
I'm simply wondering if po' is an acceptable word to write in a very formal letter, or if I should write out the word poco.
Try thinking of "poco" as the English "not much"-
That would make this last one:
Hope that helps...
I'm afraid the answer to this question is it depends...
You have some contest, or is it just a general question?
As gatto said (yes, again ), it depends. Anyway they are not exactly he same: po' is always preceded by article and it is used to soften or intensify the meaning.
It's for a letter I'm writing, but have not completed yet. The sentence is going to be something similar to: "We need a little more time to consider your request". This is a very formal letter, written from one company to another.
For "a little" in a sentence like this, does "un po'" sound too informal? It sounds strange to me to say "un poco" in Italian (it makes me feel like I'm mixing up my Italian and Spanish ).
Thank you very much.
To me, it seems appropriate to use 'un pò' in this case.
'Abbiamo bisogno di un altro pò di tempo/di un pò più di tempo...'
I'd simply say "abbiamo bisogno di più tempo (/di qualche giorno/ settimana in più) per valutare la vostra richiesta".
Perfetto! Grazie mille, Gatto e Necsus.
I agree with Necsus on the translation for your letter, but not about his remark about "un poco".
I know you probably meant it referred to this particular case, but it should be remarked that IN GENERAL, you can find it used in a number of expressions like:
un 'poco di buono'
un poco alla volta (also un pò alla volta)
but obviously I didn't make myself enough clear, my fault.
Grazie a tutti e due per le spiegazioni agguinte di "un poco". Ho detto sempre "un po'", e non sapevo se "un poco" sia usato. Molto interessante!
E' stato un piacere, specie fare la ramanzina a Necsus
Precisazioni e puntualizzazioni sono sempre utili (e benaccette) quando non pedanti o autocelebrative.
In a formal letter I wouldn't use "un po'" (or un poco), just something more formal (as above suggested). You should use other words to explain it:
f.e. abbiamo bisogno di più tempo
abbiamo bisogno di maggior tempo
Po' vs. Poco
In my opinion, you can't interchange them:
Ho un po' di fame is for me 99% better than "ho un poco di fame".
È un po' stanco = è un poco stanco (that sounds from Naples only to me?)
Separate names with a comma.