In all languages, there are some words that are very useful, common, and carry lots of meanings. A good example of this is the Italian word “magari”.
We use magari to talk about a wish or a desire. There’s no direct English translation for magari, but it’s like saying perhaps or maybe with a sense of hopefulness and positivity. This word is also used a lot with the subjunctive. In this case, we can translate magari + subjunctive as “if only”, “I wish”, or even as “it would be nice if”.
In other words, this word expresses a wish or hope.
Magari + subjunctive
We use magari with either the congiuntivo imperfetto or the congiuntivo trapassato when we wish for something. If you need to review these two constructions, we suggest you have a look at the Italian grammar lessons 209 and 2010. Now let’s look at the two possible scenarios:
- Magari + congiuntivo imperfetto: to express a wish in the present
- Magari + congiuntivo trapassato: to express a wish referring to the past
Let’s compare the two following sentences:
- Magari venisse alla festa!
If only she came to the party! / I hope she comes to the party! (She might or might not come.)
- Magari fosse venuta alla festa!
If only she had come to the party! / I wish she had come to the party! (But she didn’t.)
Practice with QuizletHere's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.
Magari + subjunctive: examples
Let’s have a look at some more examples. Make sure you pay attention to whether the verbs are in the congiuntivo imperfetto or congiuntivo trapassato.
- Magari potessi venire con voi, ma non posso!
I wish I could come with you, but I can’t.
- Magari ci dessero più tempo per mandare tutti i documenti.
If only they gave us more time to send all the documents.
- Magari aveste avuto una seconda opportunità!
If only you had had a second opportunity!
- Magari facesse caldo!
If only it was hot!
- Magari fossimo andati al mare!
I wish we had gone to the beach!