[Course Forum] 4000 Intermediate Advanced Audio EXPRESSIONS by @Polpo_D

hi, @Polpo_D

In https://www.memrise.com/course/755503/1100-intermediate-expressions/

level 4

“meno male” is not “It’s a good thing that …”, but “thanks goodness, just as well” (http://dizionari.repubblica.it/Italiano-Inglese/M/menomale.php; https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/italian-english/meno-male-),


Hi Hydroptere,

Thanks for the input. I’m always trying to improve the course. I live in Italy and I find that “meno male” suitably encapsulates both meanings. “Thank goodness” is a slightly less flexible and more restrictively exclamative expression than “meno male.” I can see why a dictationary would choose “thank goodness” as a definition given that it is very clearly a fixed expression. The fact is that the usage of “meno male” is often more synonymous with “It’s a good thing.” I have noticed this from personal conversations but also feel free to check these translations: http://context.reverso.net/translation/italian-english/meno+male

Please let me know if there’s anything else you can comment on or would like to add.
Cheers always!

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thanks for the reply…
I would not take reverso very seriously, to be honest…

as for the “natives”, ahm, my own natives around here claim “meno male” means “Halb so schlimm (in the sense the situation is not that bad)”

I understand Hydroptere,

Are you a native English speaker? “It’s a good thing” is used in exactly that way.

There is a very subtle difference in meaning that leads me to prefer “It’s a good thing”. I’d be happy to go into it more at some point when I have a little more time.

Here are two other sources for you :



What is the link to this course?

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have a look at my profile (you see a link there) and you’ll find out

also, you can browse by searching for “expression”/“sentence”/ “grammar” etc in the “Italian” category

hope you find what you need

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Dear Polpo_D,

I have once again been enjoying this wonderful course, and finding it as well-designed and beautifully produced as before. Thank you so much for the time, care and intelligence you have put into it. Also, it works more smoothly on my Kindle without the audio levels that you had before.

I have a query about an expression in level 47:
C’eravamo arrivati da soli / we would’ve figured that out on our own .
Should that be: Ci saremmo arrivati da soli ?

Yours, in gloomy London, Sam

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Hey Sam, thanks again!

That’s a great question. I actually had the same thought when I added this entry to the course. Your translation is obviously the literal one and now it should work as well. If I remember correctly, the reason I added this entry is because sometimes, in a given situation, the languages tend to opt for different tenses. That is to say, situations where English uses: “we would’ve figured that out”, Italian tends to use the trapassato prossimo “C’eravamo arrivati”, instead of the literal English translation.

Another way to look at it is that the English phrase uses the past conditional to express the notion that what has just been said is rather obvious, (if I’m correct) Italian tends to use the trapassato prossimo for that function.

That said, my memory about this is not super great so I’ll have to double check my source and ask a few friends to be sure. Thanks for bringing it up and let me know if you see anything else!

Thanks again!

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Dear Polpo_D

I have conducted extensive research with at least one Italian, and can confirm that you are right. While using C’eravamo arrivati da soli might be considered “wrong” in an academic sense, it is very much used in general conversation.
I don’t know if you ever listen to La Lingua batte on radio Rai3; they had an edition on political language where they said of some politician: finalmente abbiamo un politico chi sbaglia i congiuntive come noi! I guess that is the kind of distinction we are dealing with here.

Yours, Sam

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Haha very funny, thanks for checking that!

All the best!

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Hi @TianaHarris17

What is the link to this course?

I had trouble finding it too, but I think it’s now 1100 words!
I’ll change the title, hope @Hydroptere doesn’t mind.

Hi @Polpo_D, I love your in-built mems!


Thank you!

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the link is in the original post… ???

Hi @Hydroptere and @TianaHarris17

the link is in the original post

I put it there for everyone’s convenience (as well as in my post, in full.)

I still don’t understand what you’re saying: I always add the links to the respective courses when opening this kind of threads. You mean, the link was somehow missing from my post and you edited my post?

Yes, somehow it was missing and I was trying to be helpful, so I hope you didn’t mind.

I too had trouble finding the course and when I eventually found it, I saw the title had changed as the word count had gone from 700 to 1100. So I thought it would help if I changed the thread title to reflect that and it gave me the opportunity to also add the course link to your post.

“meno male” is equivalent to the very common Spanish expression “menos mal” which means “less bad” or “not so bad”. To me it seems like quite a positive spin, quite a reach, to “it’s a good thing” or as an expression of thankfulness like " thank goodness." But I guess it is a question of style and when it comes to style nothing beats the Italian langauge, I love it.


Meno male does not mean “menos mal” in the sense of less bad. That is “meno peggio”

It’s a false friend that’s used only in the sense of 'thankfulness". Please see the links I provided about this entry above.

  1. http://www.wordreference.com/enit/good%20thing%20that

  2. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-italian/it-s-a-good-thing-you-were-there

  3. http://context.reverso.net/translation/italian-english/meno+male

  4. Spanish to English - http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=menos%20mal (please try to use a dictionary :smiley:)

For more, see this comment by f.formica relating the Italian to Spansih.

As an Italian, [meno male] does not mean “not so bad”… If I say “ho vinto alla lotteria, meno male che avevo comprato un biglietto” (I won the lottery, thank goodness I had bought a ticket), I’m not meaning that winning the lottery is a bad thing, quite the opposite. “Meno male” in Italian (don’t compare with Spanish and Portuguese) means “luckily”, “good thing”: the Collins dictionary translates it with “good!”, “thank goodness!”, “just as well!”.


Hi @Polpo_D

level 23 (C’è rimasto male)

Sei rimasta male? - Are you upset?

Shouldn’t this be “Ci sei rimasta/o male?”

I love the course by the way - much appreciated

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