Why do Italians respond to 'grazie' with 'di niente'?

20

Why do Italians respond to 'grazie' with 'di niente'?

Kyriakos Kyritsis

Posted 2013-11-11T20:13:52.640

Reputation: 2 839

@I.M., mi sa che sono scomparsi i commenti che c'erano precedentemente qui... – DaG – 2015-11-06T10:40:22.927

@DaG The timeline tells that there was only one comment, and it didn't disappear - it was simply moved below to Gabriele's answer. – I.M. – 2015-11-07T10:10:28.653

Thanks, @I.M. I believed there were more comments here, among which the first one to mention Keine Ursache (before Gabriele's answer). I might mix it up with some other question. – DaG – 2015-11-08T08:22:06.220

Answers

29

Because it means

You have nothing to thank me about

which is somehow equivalent to the English expressions

Don't mention it
Not at all
No worries

and so on.

The idea is minimizing the importance of what the person is thanking you for, letting her understand it wasn't a hassle for you, therefore resulting in a polite expression.

Other alternative forms

Di nulla
Non c'è di che

the latter literally expressing the concept Non c'è di che ringraziarmi


Spanish and Portuguese, as well as French, do the same

De nada

and

De rien

As suggested by I.M. in the comments this is also true in German

Keine Ursache

and Swedish

ingen orsak

and Danish

ingen årsag

Gabriele Petronella

Posted 2013-11-11T20:13:52.640

Reputation: 3 259

Italians (me too) often also answer with "Figùrati", but actually I miss where it comes from :) – TechNyquist – 2015-10-05T07:23:21.663

1You dont say "Keine Ursache" in German. NO NO. - Nichts dafür - Gern geschehen

  • Bitte , etc..
  • < – None – 2015-11-06T08:26:25.457

Nice to know! Noted ;) – Gabriele Petronella – 2013-11-11T20:25:14.043

1How about adding "You are welcome" to the proposed list of English expressions? – Kyriakos Kyritsis – 2013-11-11T20:33:55.387

3It's made on purpose, as it literally doesn't mean the same thing. All the expressions I listed have in common the negative form, explicitly used to minimize the act itself. – Gabriele Petronella – 2013-11-11T20:40:46.637

3Besides "di nulla", also "non c'è di che", which should be the most clear of them all. – Matteo Italia – 2013-11-11T21:37:55.537

1@cristian "keine Ursache" is perfectly fine. Just because it's not used whereever you are doesn't mean it's wrong (I never knew "da nicht für", for example, before I talked to people from Westfalen). – YviDe – 2016-03-29T10:21:50.587

@I.M.: also "nichts zu danken" in German, which in Italian would be "niente di cui ringraziare" – Walter Tross – 2015-06-10T13:11:04.447

Yes, such response is also very common in Slovene where, after being thanked, one usually answers with "Ni zakaj", which is equivalent to "Di niente". – blazs – 2015-06-21T10:30:11.350

8

It's an equivalent of "Not at all" in British English and "No problem" in American English, used just as a polite but informal reply after someone has thanked you.

I.M.

Posted 2013-11-11T20:13:52.640

Reputation: 4 389