Ti voglio bene vs. ti amo

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Unregistered, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. Unregistered Guest

    my friend takes Italain in school and he said something to me and refuses to tell me what it is. He said:
    "ti volgio bene"
    I don't speak any Italian at all and would really like to know what he is saying. As far as I know that is how it is spelled because that is how he spells it. I tried an online translator but it didnt work for "volgio" as he told me it wouldn't. So if someone could help me I would really truely appreciate it. Thanks
  2. el alabamiano Senior Member

    English (US)
    Volgio is the first person (present) of volere - to want.

    Ti volgio bene = I really want you / I really love you.

    Note: This is what you'd say to a girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend, etc. In other words, this isn't "soulmate" love. ;)
  3. carlafed Senior Member

    Genova, Italy
    The correct spelling is
    ti voglio bene
    and it literally means : I want you good or I want your good
    It is less strong and yet sweeter than 'ti amo'
    "Ti amo" has frequently a more physical and passionate implication, while 'ti voglio bene' just deals with feelings. It is more used with siblings, parents and friends than with lovers. But it can also be used with lovers.

    You will get some other answers, I am sure, and different opinions will help you to understand better.

    please correct my English if needed
  4. Tormenta

    Tormenta Senior Member


    I totaly understad de meaning of "ti amo" (I love you) ;) , but would it be correct to say that "ti voglio bene" is very close in meaning to "I wish you well?


    Tormenta :)
  5. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    No, don't be misled. It means I love you. It is sweeter, but it can imply "I want to have sex with you" why not?!!!
    Ti amo can be more passionate, though people from the South of Italy can say "ti amo" to their siblings, but I've never heard that from the Northerner! That's just because in the South people talk with more pathos.

    Ti voglio bene can be said to a friend to show affection and love, but also to the girl/boy you like, in fact kids send sms with TVB or write that in their diaries, like english speaking people would write ILU, or ILY for I love you. That TVB is often used between boyfriend and girlfriend.

    So, in the end, I would just say "ti amo" is more binding, more serious, having more pathos to it, but "ti voglio bene" is not necessarily linked to a non-physical, asexual feeling. Got it?!

    But one thing for sure, I'd never say "ti amo" to a friend :D

    Ti voglio bene means I love you, not only between friends, but also between boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife, in a homosexual relationship... anywhere the phrase "I love you" is involved.
  6. carlafed Senior Member

    Genova, Italy
    Well, no, it is definitely more than that ...
    Most of the time 'ti amo' is just for lovers, and 'ti voglio bene' is for all people you love ...
    It is kind of difficult to explain, because you can say something like:
    "Ti voglio bene, ma non ti amo"
    meaning: I am affectionate to you, but I am not feeling a physical and passionate attraction ... I will be your dear friend, but not your lover.
    Yet I agree you can definitely say 'ti voglio bene' to someone you entirely love.
    Sorry, it is so difficult

    I do not agree 'ti amo' and 'ti voglio bene' mean exactly the same, although in many istances the meaning is very close.
    In English there is only one way to express a feeling: 'I love you'
    But in Italian we have many ways, these two and other expressions as well ...
    'Ti voglio bene' is a rather compelling assertion, but it is also a way to convey courage, and hope.
    'Ti amo' is just for lovers
    I am just trying to help ;)
  7. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Do forget the "I wish you well" or "I wish you good", it's just misleading you!

    Ti voglio bene NEVER means that.

    I wish you well/I wish you good = ti auguro tutto il bene

    I wish you the best = ti auguro il meglio

    ti voglio bene = I love you

    ti voglio bene, cara = I love you, (my) dear, which can either be passionate love or affection

    I know it can be confusing, but it is confusing for English speaking people as well! If an American friend says "I love you" to me, I will ask how? what do you mean? :D It's necessary for me to understand. Unless you like to live in the doubt :p
  8. miri

    miri Senior Member


    Maybe I am just ignorant or I haven't got enough English friends, so I apologize in advance if my question sounds silly. I was wondering if there is a "milder" sentence to be used instead of "I love you" when feeling like voicing affection for a friend. Something very close to "Ti voglio bene" in Italian.
    Thank you:)
  9. Rob625

    Rob625 Senior Member

    Murlo (SI)
    English - England
    'I like you' or even 'I like you a lot' are milder than I 'I love you'.

    As a true stiff-upper-lip englishman, I don't find it easy to say 'I love you', except as a declaration of romantic love. But it is not so hard if I dilute it. For example, 'I love you, Alice, you are so funny' or 'I love you, Brian, you're the only person I know who thinks I'm too thin.'

    This has been discussed before, so you might like to try searching.
  10. miri

    miri Senior Member

    Thank you Rob, you confirmed my assumptions! I think "I like you" is so unemotional (can I say that?), but definitely in keeping with reserved "true stiff-upper-lip Englishmen" !:) I find the idea of "distempering" feelings a very interesting mediation, though.

    What about Englishwomen? Is their attitude different somehow?

    I did try searching but couldn't find the thread you are mentioning:confused:
  11. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    "I'm fond of you." That has more affection than "I like you" and less intensity than "I love you."
  12. miri

    miri Senior Member

    Thank you, lsp, you are always very helpful!:)

    What I'd like to know now is: is it natural and common for a woman or a girl to say "I'm fond of you" to a female or a male friend? Or is there a sort of cultural self-censorship which holds people back from expressing feelings of friendship in such a straightforward way? I mean, okay, those are the right words, but is there some kind of reluctance about using them?

    I have read the posts in the thread you suggested, but it is Italian more than English oriented. Thank you anyway:)
  13. DesertCat Senior Member

    inglese | English
    "I'm fond of you" sounds to me like something a man would say to woman he is just spending time with until something better comes along. Personally, I wouldn't use the sentence to anyone, male or female.

    Unfortunately, I can't offer anything better. I would have to agree with Lsp. Americans aren't as demonstrative as other cultures. Culturally, I believe it is seen as a sign of weakness.
  14. Tede Senior Member

    Warwick, RI
    USA - English
    I agree, but I think it's more so a case with males. Culturally, males are pressured into being big tough macho Rambo-style men, and expressing one's feelings is likened to being weak. So between guys you almost never have this kind of talking about feelings and telling other guys how you feel, it's somewhat taboo. At least that's my perspective from having grown up here in the US.

    And I agree about the difference between Italy, it was an interesting change to say the least :)
  15. Pennyblack New Member

    "ti voglio bene" is a sentence that comes originally from Latin, and means "I care so much of you, that I wish the best for you". It basically means selfless care of the other, while "Ti amo" implies that we would like to be loved in return.

    This is why it is a sentence used between friends and relatives, as well as in a couple.

    "ti voglio bene" has a very deep meaning to me, but..
    for some people, "ti voglio bene" is what they say when they are starting to get involved with someone, but not enough involved to say "Ti amo". I wouldn't use "Ti voglio bene" to imply that I am not 100% involved, but some people do.
    Up to you to discover what he meant!!!

    Ciao, take care
  16. santino New Member

    Italy italian
    Wow all this confusion over two simple terms, i just stumbled accross this thread by accident and realise how late this comment is but nevertheless i just had to post it...that poor boy at the top who posted the question initially was asking for clarity and most likely went away a confused wreck of a human being....

    Ti voglio bene = I love you (plutonic)

    Ti amo = I love you (Intimate)

    There are often no words in English to describe some Italian phrases because the Italian Language is so much more rich and full than English, but this reflects in the characteristics of the people aswell, the English by nature are a very cold race in comparison (no offence intended) and therefore half the time would not even dream of using the term 'Ti voglio bene' toward another friend (males especially) but alas! its a sad, sad situation...

    Now I also noticed that poor rbk34 never got an answer to her question..... your sms message simply read...'I havent forgotten the time we spent together and I love you (plutonic) ' he probably was afraid to tell you Ti amo (intimate) (even though he may feel it...) because of the time scale that you didnt communicate or maybe how you left things...this is just how it sounds to me but truly only you know what happened between you both....

    All that said, im going...

    Santino (unfortunately born in this cold land they call...Inghilterra)
  17. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Santino, I think what we all said so far was pretty comprehensive... also, I'm sure you meant "platonic".

    That said, I do not agree with your explanation, because it's too reductive. Nowadays, platonic love usually refers to romantic love and romance, while the love felt by someone saying "ti voglio bene" is much broader.
  18. La Bionda Senior Member

    German (Living in England)
    Ciao a tutti

    Ti voglio bene - I love you in the sense of 'I care for you'.i I think it depends who says it to you and what the rapport/relationship is between the people.
    I understand you can say 'Ti voglio bene' to a good friend in Italian - meaning you like them, even love them - why not? Just not 'love' in the romantic sense but friendship love.
    It can be both - again, depends of who, why, when and how it is said! ;)

    I like the expression. It is very selfless. To me it has connotations that I wish my friend/partner/sister well putting myself to the back of importance - correct me if I am wrong!

    The English 'I love you' is similar. It depends very much on the context but you can tell your very close friend 'I love you' and they'd understand what you mean. But in that case you might more often hear 'Love you' rather than the full 'I love you'....

    But I think it is more girls who'd use it among friends than guys....It is very much a cultural and contextual thing...
    You would not want to call your male friend 'I love you' if you are a guy yourself......:D

    Ti amo I feel is very strong and intimate.....amo a te even more so...:eek:
  19. Hillbilly Senior Member

    The other day I ran across an interesting use of the two phrases "ti voglio bene" and "mi ami" in the Bible. (Versione Nuova Riveduta)

    In this context "amare" is used in a stronger sense than "ti voglio bene," but neither is romantic or sexual.

    The passage is from the 21st chapter of John's gospel.
    Quand'ebbero fatto colzione, Gesù disse a Simon Pietro: "Simone di Giovanni, mi ami più di questi?" Egli rispose: "Si, Signore, tu sai che ti voglio bene"...
    ...Gli disse la terza volta: "Simone di Giovanni, mi vuoi bene?"
    It seems that both English and Italian are imprecise and poetic when it comes to love/amore/amare.
  20. sarah001 New Member

    I'd like to know more about "TVB" - as in when it's used at the end of a letter/sms.
    Someone special to me has signed his last four letters to me, with TVB. I understand what it means, however I'm confused. Is it common to say "I care about you" when ending a letter or a text message? I can understand if you end a letter with "Take care", I'm just not quite sure of the meaning..

    Just to add a bit about our history together. Well, we've rushed into the relationship and said "Ti Amo" way too fast and way to many times.We decided that our relationship wasn't gonna go anywhere. A lot of time has passed since then, and now he said that he wants to win my trust back, start all over - as friends first ( he repeated several times that he isn't asking for more and I shouldn't be "afraid"). He said that he won't give up on me and wishes that he would have never let me go. To be clear, we kept in touch even after we sort of "broke up", so it isn't anything out of the blue.
    (He is terribly romantic BTW)
    So here I am, starting to have feelings for the guy, but I'm afraid to ask or to feel anything at all. I don't want to mess up the friendship or be a fool for thinking that this meant more than "I like you" or "I care for you".

  21. talpazzo New Member

    Normally we use "TVB" at the end of a message when this person is important to you!

    If I met a girl for the firts time and I write to her "TVB" it could be misunderstood like "I start to feel something".
    If I pass a lot of time with this girl and we start to feel something or we start to be very good friends I can write to her "TVB".

    I said "ti voglio bene" only to a man in my life, it was a REAL good friend, one of those person you find rarely. But in SMS sometimes I wrote TVB to a friend when he do something important for me. Like I want to say "Thank you very much! I appreciate and you are a good friend."

    TVB is an abbreviation that can maybe change the sentence "Ti voglio bene" and can give it another mean less sentimental as the extended version.

    It could be used also in forums when a person always save you and give you the right aswer.
  22. Stolly969 Member

    Io credo che "ti voglio bene" non implichi affatto il desiderio sessuale e che detto tra fidanzati non sia esattamente lo stesso che Ti amo, ma che non per questo abbia meno intensità, si sposta solo su un altro piano.
    La locuzione italiana "voler bene" viene da Catullo (carme 72) che riporto di seguito così magari può essere d'aiuto a chi non lo conosce.
    Il carme evidenzia come l'amare una persona implica una passione forte ma combattuta, cieca perché non vede i torti subiti, insomma molto irrazionale. Il "voler bene" invece, appare come un sentimento fondamentalmente disinteressato (il padre verso i figli) che però è più forte dell'amore perché più razionale, è più un "tenere" a una persona ed essere interessati a ciò che gli accade, ma che implica di più una corrispondenza, un'empatia che nell'amore non sempre si trova. E infatti è interessante come lui affermi che dopo i torti subiti la ama di più ma le vuole meno bene. Il traduttore qui ha scelto "to wish someone well".

    I think that "ti voglio bene" doesnt implies any sexual issue and if your boyfriend says it to you is different from "ti voglio bene" but not less deep, it just moves to a different level.
    The Italian "ti voglio bene" comes from Catullus (poem 72) that you can find here below if you dont know it.This poem underscores that loving someone implies a very deep passion but struggled, blind cause it cannot see the backstabbings, a very irrational feeling. The "voler bene"(here translated as "To wish someone well") appears to be a very good-natured feeling (like a father to a child), stronger than love because more rational, more like "to care for someone", which implies more a balance, an empathy that you cant always find in a love-story. In fact its interesting to read that after all the bad things she did to him he actually love her more but "vuole bene" less.
    Here's the poem, ecco il carme
    Dicevi che tu conosci solo Catullo,
    Lesbia, e per me non vuoi possedere Giove.
    Ti amai allora non tanto come il volgo un'amica,
    ma come un padre ama i figli ed i generi.
    Ora ti ho conosciuto: perciò anche se brucio troppo intensamente,
    tuttavia mi sei molto più vile e leggera.
    Come è possibile, ribatti? Perché una tale offesa
    costringe ad amare di più, e a voler bene di meno.
    At one time you used to say that you alone knew Catullus,
    Lesbia, neither did you wish to know Jupiter instead of me.
    At that time I loved you not as the common crowd of men love a girlfriend
    but as a father loves his sons and sons in law.
    Now I know you: wherefore even if I burn the worse,
    you are cheaper and of less meaning to me.
    You say how can this be? Because a hurt of such a kind
    forces a lover to love more, but to wish her less well.

    Ciao a tutti
  23. Grungeman

    Grungeman New Member

    Bergamo, Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Hi there,
    I'm a native Italian from Northern Italy.

    This is a difficult question. I've read this post: every reply by my fellow country[wo]men is right in its way.

    I don't want to sound preachy (sorry about that!!!) but we will end up confusing our foreign friends even more if we don't provide ONLY the general trend(s) of the issue.
    Life (languages and feelings) are always more complicated than their rules, but nobody will understand anything, IMHO, if we do not pretend that there are clear-cut differences (at least in the early stages of learning).

    I know all too well that an Italian boy in love with a girl MAY EVEN tell her "Ti voglio bene" or text "TVB" through an SMS, but it's confusing, if you have just finushed saying that "ti voglio bene" doesn't imply an erotic-sexual-romantic relationship.

    I know I don't hold God's Truth about this but I'm going to indicate the "general trend" , some "Play-it-safe rules" of this issue:

    1) "I'm in love with you" - "Sono innamorato di te" [(Romantic + physical-sexual) relationship]

    2) "I've fallen in love with you" - "Mi sono innamorato di te"

    3) "Mi piaci" - Literally it would be "I like you" but..............

    If you use it as a stand-alone sentence, it's very compromising, it means something like "I think I'm falling in love with you"

    If you want to use it as in "I like you [or "I love you"], Brian, you're the only person I know who thinks I'm too thin", use something like "Sei troppo forte, Brian, sei l'unico che crede che sono troppo magra", literally meaning "You're a gas, Brian,..."

    4) "Ti voglio bene" - "I love you", "I care for you", "I'm fond of you" ONLY expressing:

    a - affection towards your relatives ["Mummy, I love you", "Ti voglio bene, mammina"];

    b - friendship between same-sex people, assuming that you both clearly aren't homosexual;

    c - [CAUTION] friendship with the opposite sex, if the situation is clear enough to avoid misunderstandings (e.g. if you know you both have a partner).
    If not, use "Ciao, stammi bene" - "Bye, take care" or "Sei davvero un amico" - "You're really some friend!"

    d - [CAUTION] if you're in a friendly relationship with a girl, you would like it to evolve into a romantic-physical relationship, but you don't know if she wants it too.
    It enables you to pussyfoot, it gives you time to test the waters.

    e - [CAUTION] if you don't want to commit yourself too much in a relationship with a girl, and you sense she wants you to jump in it with both feets

    d - [ESP. IN FLIRTING or SMS] Another * very casual* way of saying "I'm in love with you", especially in puppy loves in colleges.

    5) "Ti amo" - "I love you" ONLY in the sense of "I'm in love with you", I wanna go steady with you, I want our relationship to be something serious

    6) "Amare" always implies something erotic when used towards the opposite sex except for:

    a - when a third party talking about the motherly - fatherly love towards their children ["Ama molto i suoi figli" "She loves her children very much"]
    It's obvious that she's not a paedophile!!!
    NB. Remember that a son addresses his mother (and viceversa) with "Ti voglio bene" - cfr. 4a

    b - when speaking of your hometown or your motherland ["Amo molto l'Italia" - "I love Italy very much"]

    7) "I want you" Although it's a wonderful Bob Dylan song, this expression in Italian ("Ti voglio") sounds very rude to me, if you use it as a stand-alone sentence.
    It always implies something like "I want to f**k you", which is not so kind.
    Instead, "Ti voglio sempre con me" is a very sweet sentence to say: it means "I want to be with you forever!".

    I hope I have been clear enough. Any comments, criticism, heart-felt insults are welcome!

    Bye, bye
  24. Rinias Member

    Washington, DC

    Not usually one to beat a dead horse, after reading the sticky posts on the subject, I am still in need of some clarification...

    From what I have read, "ti amo" and "ti voglio bene" both mean "I love you." The circumstances sometimes differ, which changes the interpretation a bit...

    My problem is that I associate "ti voglio bene" with (yes, I know this is the Italian-English forum ;) ) "je t'aime bien" in French, which if said in a girlfriend/boyfriend situation leaves one wanting a bit more... Secondly, my girlfriend seems to not like "ti amo" but prefers "ti voglio bene" or "ti voglio tanto bene."

    My question is then, just how strong can "ti voglio bene" be? And when does one pass from "ti voglio bene" to "ti amo"? Is there in fact a difference? She seems to "love" me but for some reason I can't get over the fact that she only says that she "likes me a lot." :p Perhaps I am just being silly or getting caught up on words :D

    Thank you so much in advance for any input you can give me (and for putting up with yet another "love" post :p)


    PS - She is from Tessin, the italian part of Switzerland, if that makes any difference... Oh, and she's a bit shy ;)
  25. valy822

    valy822 Senior Member

    Naples / Milan
    Italy- Italian
    Ciao Rinias!This is a very complicated situation when talking about these two expressions in a context where there are already a boyfriend and a girlfriend. It's true that most times ti voglio bene and ti amo are different but sometimes the difference may disappear. I mean that a ti voglio bene may imply a very deep feeling similar or sometimes equivalent to ti amo..maybe she is just shy as you said or maybe she doesn't feel like saying ti amo yet.
    Anyway, when does one pass from ti voglio bene to ti amo? It is an extremely personal matter.
  26. cscarfo Senior Member

    Italy Italian
    And to add more confusion to this complex matter, I want to mention a new usage of "Ti voglio bene" that I often heard in Salerno (south of Naples) in discussions among colleagues in a big public institution.
    In the middle of a heated debate, young and older officers would tell their opponent ".... Ti voglio bene" which means:
    "I tried hard to explain my point to you, but it seems that it didn't get across. I will try once again to explain, and please listen carefully, because I just want to share with you my opinion".
    It took me while to get it, but then...
    ALL THIS IN THREE WORDS!! It's magic!!

  27. SunDraw

    SunDraw Senior Member

    Veneto (Italia)
    (Please forgive & correct my english)

    A rare situation in which I felt LOVING people from my own country:
    ALL their answers were so honest and considerate, and their background so ...unusually similar to mine!
    (Grungeman: un graande)
    Interesting, nice, the nuance of consideration of the question by the male and female point of view.

    I can add something.

    Years ago it happened to me to talk (directly) with this topic with old people, and they told me that in the past (we could say up to the 2nd World War) nobody would have said "ti amo" at all.
    With the "hollywood" and media globalization, something changed: people became more "melodramatic" themselves in their own affairs. Common people without modern soap operas... were more shy.
    "Amare" may be one of the verbs more frequently used in italian literature..., but I wouldn't imagine for the direct expression "Ti amo" as well, in the past, up to and including latin.
    The "Te vojo bene assai" in those days, today would be translated simply: I love you so much.

    Today, I think that still a sort of genuine sentiment is always present in a "Ti voglio bene": I mean that it sounds polite and conscious, in any case.
    This way, a sincere male would really pay attention in using "Ti amo" before feeling something with which he is really (ready to get) involved quite enough.

    Anyway, a "luv'u" is so common all around the world nowadays, that maybe its direct translation "Ti amo" can be used just for saying "I like you a lot" in Italy too, by everybody to everyone!

    So, you HAVE TO look in the deep of the eyes...
  28. daco_uk New Member

    I'm Italian but I've read so many answers about "ti voglio bene" and "I love you" and I got confused even if I'm Italian!!!

    My English is not perfect, please correct me for any mistake, but I think everything can be really simplified.

    I would say "Ti voglio bene" only to:

    - girlfriends/boyfriends (when you want to say something important, especially in the beginning of the relationship, but not too much because it's too soon. In this stage "Ti amo" would be inappropriate)

    - close relatives such as parents, sister, grandparents ( but not too many times ;P)

    - friends who you really care about (especially girls do it, rather than men)

    I would say "Ti amo" only to:

    - your partner when the relationship is ready to step up to the next stage, you have really strong feelings for the other person.
    Never say it in the beginning of a relationship, your partner is likely to run faster than Carl Lewis or Marion Jones in that case and you will never see him/her again...!

    I hope it helps..
  29. federicoft Senior Member

    I mostly agree with your explanation, but apart from that do you agree that ti voglio bene is somewhat more intimate and passionate than ti amo, don't you? So, after all the differences between these two expressions are not so sharp, they rather overlap each other in many ways and it's quite hard to explain them clearly.
    There was a very interesting discussion above, and I think that it might be useful for non natives to grasp all the different shades of meaning.
  30. daco_uk New Member

    Yes federicoft, I totally agree with you, sometimes "Ti voglio bene" is more passionate and intimate than "Ti amo".

    This can happen in my opinion when a relationship has been lasting for long time and you have said "Ti amo" so many times that it has kind of lost its meaning..
    In this case, you could say "Ti voglio bene" in order to emphasize the "Ti amo".
    I know it's a bit complicated...but it's like if you were saying:
    "I love you, I always did, but this time I deeply mean it"

    Do you agree?
  31. Saoul

    Saoul Senior Member

    Spain, Valencia
    Oh, well, I don't :D

    If a woman I have a long relationship with, would tell me "ti voglio bene", I would take it as a "I don't really love you like a woman loves his man, but I'm used to you, and I care about you!"
  32. daco_uk New Member

    Probably it depends on how it's said...
  33. crikey New Member

    Brescia, Italy
    Italy English

    I am not sure that I agree with you on this point.
    My boyfriend and I are engaged to be married next March (so obviously very much in love), and he often tells me that 'mi vuole bene'.
    I take it as a compliment.
    I suppose that the difference is that he still tells me that 'mi ama' as well, so if he were to repalce the 'ti amo' with 'ti voglio bene' and use only that form then yes... I suppose that it would mean that he is used to having me around. I guess I'd feel a bit like a comfortable pillow...
    So long as he uses both forms, I think it's rather sweet and almost adds a different level to l'amore. It is like saying - I love you, and particularly so in this moment.
    Perhaps I don't explain myself too well. What a complex language!
  34. fluugy

    fluugy New Member

    USA English
    Can ti voglio bene be used for pets or THINGS? Can the verb AMARE be used for things like things? which would you use for THINGS or Petss?
  35. emanuela77 Senior Member

    You can't really say 'ti voglio bene' to things....You can say 'IO AMO IL MIO LAVORO' ...I love my job..but you can't say 'IO VOGLIO BENE AL MIO LAVORO'..same thing...'IO AMO LA MIA MAGLETTA ROSSA'...I love my red top'...but you can't say 'IO VOGLIO BENE ALLA MIA MAGLIETTA ROSSA' - Otherway you can VOLERE BENE to your pets instead....Well...I would use AMARE e VOLER BENE for pets and just AMARE for things!!! CIAO xx
  36. coder058 New Member

    Australia, English
    I would have thought Ti voglio bene would better translated to 'I care about you' (alot)???
  37. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
  38. emanuela77 Senior Member


    Yeah! that's quite right.
    "I care about you".....I would translate 'Io tengo molto a te'...what do you guys think???
    Ti voglio bene is more....maybe 'deep'?!?!
  39. SunDraw

    SunDraw Senior Member

    Veneto (Italia)
    I find this an interesting question.
    Maybe at first I could twist it, asking if the translation of "to be fond of" can be "voler bene a". I'm not sure at all. In Italian we normally use to say "essere affezionato a" a pet.
    Anyhow (this is my problem!) personally I never cared to have animal mates.
    I am really moved, very soften (can we say for that?) by all those creatures (let's hope not stumble on a crocodile, but this is another matter). Let's feed them, I believe that it's important.
    But I find difficult to widen precious reserved human feelings to them.

    Then... sometimes I kissed my motorbike!
    With a pat to its body I think "You well made!"
    But it doesn't mean anything else than "With you I felt well ...you scrap" and I feel it totally inanimate: it's just maybe an extension of me, like the best sword for the knight maybe, a magic one maybe, but just a tool (and/or toy) finally. Infine non ci "tengo" neppure così tanto.
    When does a child begin to separate love from material teddies? He cares maybe a lot for his things, but I am not so sure that he loves them, che ci voglia poi bene. It may happen one day that your best friend is your dog... But in my opinion we always distinguish, about the feeling.

    Of course we are not so accurate when we speak.
    "Vuole così bene ai suoi gatti!"
    "...Ma tu ritieni che gli voglia davvero bene? che li ami? che senta il suo cuore ...in mano a loro?"
    "Penso che ci tenga molto, che si commuova proprio, per loro: dà il nome ad ognuno ovviamente, conosce e rispetta il carattere di ognuno, non ha problemi a una certa comunicazione con loro".
    "Magari gli intesterà un'eredità, ma non credi che comunque stia provando un affetto comunque diverso, che non si può paragonare, da quello che coinvolge gli umani tra loro? Ti dirò di più: in un certo senso è come se se li fosse sposati. Ma quel voler bene resta di altra natura, e insomma se lo diciamo è per enfatizzare."
    "Mah. Io voglio bene alla mia iguana."
    (Please forgive & correct my English, thank you)
  40. Riccardo1984 Member

    Italia, Italiano
    I guess the best method to understand is: ti voglio bene is the kind of love you can feel for your mother, ti amo is for your girlfriend
  41. Giak Senior Member

    Italy / Italian
    This is how I use the words "ti amo" and "ti voglio bene":

    If I am talking to a person, I would say:

    "Ti amo" to my girlfriend, if I am sure she is the most important person for me in world.

    "Ti voglio (tanto) bene" to my girlfriend

    "Ti voglio bene" to my best friend

    "Ti voglio bene" to a good friend

    "Ti voglio (tanto) bene" to my mother, father, brother, etc. ect.

    "Ti voglio bene" to my dog, or my cat, etc. etc. (I know that all of you speak to pets...)

    And I hope you don't speak to things.... ;-)

    But.... If I am talking with someone, but speaking about someone else, I could use both of "Io amo..." and "Io voglio bene a..." for each category listed above:

    "Io voglio bene alla mia ragazza" (but "io amo la mia ragazza" should be better in this case)

    "Io voglio bene alla mia famiglia/Io amo la mia famiglia"

    "Io voglio bene al mio cane/Io amo (adoro) il mio cane"

    But you may be speaking about something, and in this case you must use "io amo" or "io adoro", and NEVER "io voglio bene a...":

    "Io amo (adoro) il mio lavoro"
    "Io amo (adoro) il mio Paese"
    "Io amo (adoro) la pasta"
    "Io amo (adoro) andare al cinema"

    etc. etc. etc.....
  42. fluugy

    fluugy New Member

    USA English
    What about God? Seems to me God would take AMARE, right? Can't imagine God would take VOLERE, but I guess I could be wrong.

    For one's beloved pets it seems that AMARE would be correct, just seems that VOLERE goes just with people who can actually appreciate what you are saying, not that pets would really understand the meaning of either verb.

    But say you love animals, in the sense of being an animal activist, then should that sort of love be more precisely conveyed with VOLERE, at least when speaking of your love to another person?
  43. Giak Senior Member

    Italy / Italian
    Yes, it's like this:

    "Io amo Dio" if YOU is the subject.

    If GOD is the subject, you may hear both:

    "Dio mi ama" (stronger)
    "Dio mi vuole bene"

    Ok, pets cannot understand the meaning of any verb you may use :)
    But you may be talking with me, saying that you love your dog with these words:

    "E' un cane adorabile, gli voglio un bene dell'anima!"

    An animal activist may say "voglio bene agli animali", or "voglio bene alla natura", it's not a linguistic crime :)
    Anyway, in my opinion, it would be better to use "amare" in this case, because "voler bene" implies that you feel something strong about whom you are talking with or talking about (that may be a relative, a friend, a partner... a pet).
    In a paradoxical way, the verb "amare" is stronger than "voler bene" on the one hand (just think that you may say "amare" to your girl/boyfirned, wife/husband, or to God) while on the other hand it may be used talking about things.
    But "voler bene" may not be used talking about things (unless you want to be/seem ironic and not serious).
  44. rosastellata New Member

    US - english
    I have recently been dumped by a wonderful Italian man. I started researching "ti voglio bene" because in his follow-up email urging me to not be angry with him and not to feel bad, he ended with "remember TI VOGLIO BENE." I thought I understood what that meant, when it was delivered with love, but what is that phrase's place in the language of breakups? Now I wonder if all this time he just meant that he was rather fond of me?

    grazie a tutti,

  45. nicotripo Member

    Ivrea (TO)
    Italy, Italian
    Hi rosastellata,
    I'm sorry for what happend to you...
    I'm not so "expert" in love, but I'm quite sure that he would have told you just to don't worry, and that he cares for you. But not so much to say he loves you. I mean, he loves you, but just like a friend.

    hope it helps,
  46. amnariel

    amnariel Member

    Sarajevo, B&H
    Bosnia and Herzegovina - Croatian
    So I can definitelly tell/write this to my Italian friend and he will not misinterpret it under any circumstances?

    Grazie mille!
  47. emanuela77 Senior Member

    I suppose so...Be aware, it is a deep feeling, not as deep as AMORE, but still is a kind of love.
    If he/she is a friend you REALLY care about and you are fond of...just go ahead with it!!

    Ciao xx
  48. Giak Senior Member

    Italy / Italian
    I agree with Emanuela77.
    Please, be careful :)
    If you two are really good friends, you can tell/write "ti voglio bene" and he won't misunderstand your words.
    As Emanuela77 said, *voler bene* is a very deep feeling, when you say "ti voglio bene" it means that you feel very *close* to the person you're saying it to.
    Some Italian guys are pretty *vulnerable* to things like "ti voglio bene" when it's told by a girl, because if they feel something special to her (and she often may not know that, just thinking they're good friends) they might think that they may hope it to become something else (like *amore*)... ;)
  49. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
  50. Napoletana

    Napoletana New Member

    Albany, New York
    USA - English
    Yay first post. :)

    Coming across this thread actually made me smile, I had a similar discussion with my cousin while I was visiting Italy this summer. I think most of us agree that "ti voglio bene" is a pretty general statement, but I think what makes it more passionate is not only the way it is said.. but what you add to it.

    Ti voglio tanto bene
    Ti voglio bene assai
    Ti voglio un mondo di bene
    Ti voglio un casino di bene

    And so on and so forth. Then if you start adding little pet names or cara, tesoro, stella, etc.. I think it can come out a lot more affectionate or passionate than just a simple "ti amo."

    Maybe it depends on what region you're from? I believe someone mentioned that quite a few posts back. Hmm. I wonder if that really does play into it..

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