Ways To Say Excuse Me In Italian

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Are you planning a trip to Italy and want to make sure you can navigate polite interactions? Look no further! In this article, we will explore various ways to say ‘excuse me’ in Italian, whether you’re in a formal or informal setting.

Knowing how to get someone’s attention, apologize for a mistake, or politely interrupt a conversation can make all the difference in your interactions with locals.

Additionally, we will cover how to ask for directions or help, order food or drinks, apologize for being late, and thank someone for their assistance.

By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the different phrases and expressions you can use to navigate social situations with ease in Italy.

So, let’s dive in and expand your Italian vocabulary!

Informal Ways to Say ‘Excuse Me’

Hey, if you need to get someone’s attention in an informal setting, you can simply say, ‘Hey, excuse me!’ This is a casual and straightforward way to politely interrupt someone.

Another option is to say, ‘Scusa!’ which translates to ‘Sorry!’ or ‘Excuse me!’ It’s a common phrase used when you accidentally bump into someone or need to pass through a crowded area.

If you want to be a bit more polite, you can say, ‘Mi scusi!’ which means ‘Excuse me!’ in a more formal tone. This phrase is often used when addressing strangers or older individuals.

Lastly, if you want to catch someone’s attention in a loud environment, you can say, ‘Ehi!’ which means ‘Hey!’ or ‘Hey, you!’ It’s a more assertive way to say excuse me and get noticed.

Formal Ways to Say ‘Excuse Me’

Apologies for interrupting, but if you’re looking to show respect in formal situations, you might want to consider using the following expressions in Italian.

When you need to get someone’s attention or ask for permission, the phrase ‘Mi scusi’ is commonly used. This translates to ‘Excuse me’ or ‘I’m sorry.’

Another way to politely interrupt someone is by saying ‘Permesso,’ which means ‘May I?’ or ‘Excuse me.’

Additionally, if you need to apologize for a mistake or inconvenience, you can use the phrase ‘Mi dispiace’ which means ‘I’m sorry.’

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These expressions are important when you want to maintain a level of formality and show respect towards others in Italian-speaking environments. Remember, using these phrases will help you navigate formal situations in a knowledgeable and polite manner.

Getting Someone’s Attention

In a crowded room, you find yourself desperately waving your hand, hoping to catch the attention of the busy waiter.

In Italian, there are several ways to politely get someone’s attention. One commonly used phrase is ‘Mi scusi,’ which translates to ‘Excuse me.’ Another option is ‘Per favore,’ which means ‘Please.’ These phrases are polite and show respect, ensuring that you’re not being rude or demanding.

Additionally, you can also use ‘Scusa’ or ‘Scusami,’ which both mean ‘Sorry’ or ‘Excuse me.’ It’s important to use these phrases with a friendly tone and gestures to convey your request clearly. By using these phrases, you can politely grab the attention of the person you need, even in a crowded or busy environment.

Apologizing for a Mistake

When you make a mistake, it’s crucial to sincerely acknowledge and apologize for it. In Italian, there are several ways to express your apology depending on the situation.

One common phrase is "Mi scuso," which translates to "I apologize." This phrase is versatile and can be used in both formal and informal settings.

Another way to apologize is by saying "Mi dispiace," which means "I’m sorry." This phrase is more commonly used in casual situations.

Additionally, if you want to express a deeper sense of regret, you can say "Mi spiace molto," which translates to "I’m very sorry."

Remember, the key to a sincere apology is to express remorse and take responsibility for your actions. By using these phrases, you can effectively apologize for your mistakes in Italian.

Polite Interruptions

Hey there, if you need to politely interrupt someone in a conversation, a smooth way to do it is by saying, ‘Hey, just a quick heads up…’

This phrase conveys your intention to interject without being rude or abrupt. It shows respect for the other person’s time and attention, while also allowing you to share your point or provide important information.

By starting with ‘Hey,’ you establish a friendly tone, which helps to soften the interruption. Adding ‘just a quick heads up’ signals that you have something brief to contribute, avoiding the impression of a lengthy interruption.

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This phrase is effective in both formal and informal settings, making it a versatile tool for navigating conversations with grace and courtesy.

Excusing Yourself from a Conversation

As you’re engaged in a lively conversation, sometimes you just need to gracefully slip away, like a magician disappearing into thin air.

In Italian, there are a few phrases you can use to politely excuse yourself from a conversation. One common phrase is "Mi scuso, devo andare," which translates to "I apologize, I have to go." This phrase is perfect when you need to leave the conversation abruptly but still want to be polite.

Another option is "Mi scuso, devo fare una telefonata urgente," which means "I apologize, I have to make an urgent phone call." This phrase is useful if you want to give a reason for your departure without going into too much detail.

Remember, it’s important to excuse yourself politely to maintain good manners and leave a positive impression.

Asking for Directions or Help

Now that you know how to excuse yourself from a conversation in Italian, it’s time to learn how to ask for directions or help.

When you find yourself lost or in need of assistance, it’s important to know how to communicate effectively. In Italian, there are several phrases you can use to politely ask for directions or help.

For example, you can say "Mi scusi, può aiutarmi?" which means "Excuse me, can you help me?" or "Scusi, dove si trova…?" which means "Excuse me, where can I find…?"

These phrases will come in handy when navigating the streets of Italy or when you need assistance in any other situation. So, don’t hesitate to use them and you’ll be on your way in no time!

Ordering Food or Drinks

Don’t hesitate to ask for help when ordering your favorite food or drinks in Italy. The Italian cuisine is known worldwide for its rich flavors and variety.

To ensure you have the best dining experience, it’s important to understand the menu and communicate your preferences. When you’re ready to order, catch the waiter’s attention by saying ‘Scusi’ or ‘Mi scusi’ which means ‘Excuse me.’ You can then proceed to ask for recommendations or clarify any doubts you may have about the dishes.

If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, it’s crucial to inform the waiter using phrases like ‘Ho delle allergie’ (I have allergies) or ‘Non posso mangiare’ (I can’t eat).

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Remember, the locals are usually friendly and willing to assist you, so don’t be afraid to seek their guidance to ensure a memorable culinary experience in Italy.

Apologizing for Being Late

If you happen to be running behind schedule, extend your apologies for your tardiness in a polite and respectful manner.

Being late can be considered rude in Italian culture, so it’s important to express your regret sincerely. Start by saying "Mi scuso per il ritardo" which translates to "I apologize for the delay." This shows that you take responsibility for your lateness.

You can also add "Mi dispiace tanto" which means "I’m very sorry" to emphasize your remorse.

It’s important to acknowledge the inconvenience caused by your delay, so you can say "So che ho fatto aspettare" which means "I know I made you wait."

Remember to maintain a respectful tone and use appropriate body language. By apologizing sincerely, you can help maintain good relationships and show your respect for Italian customs.

Thanking Someone for Their Help

Grateful for their assistance, it’s wonderful to express your appreciation in Italian culture. When thanking someone for their help, you can use phrases like ‘Grazie mille’ which means ‘thank you very much’ or ‘Ti ringrazio tanto’ which means ‘I thank you so much.’

Another common phrase is ‘Grazie di cuore’ which translates to ‘thank you from the bottom of my heart.’ It’s important to note that Italians value politeness and sincerity, so it’s best to use these phrases genuinely and with a smile. Additionally, you can add ‘Per la tua gentilezza’ which means ‘for your kindness’ to show your gratitude.

Remember, expressing your appreciation in Italian not only shows good manners but also helps you connect with the Italian culture on a deeper level.


In conclusion, knowing how to say ‘excuse me’ in Italian is essential for effective communication in various situations. Whether you need to get someone’s attention, apologize, ask for directions, or order food, there are different phrases to use depending on the level of formality required.

By mastering these expressions, you can navigate social interactions in Italy with ease and show respect to the locals. So next time you find yourself in Italy, don’t forget to use these phrases to make a good impression and effectively communicate with the locals.