I have heard the following two sentences in a discussion between a wife and a husband about the husband's addiction to smoking, in a TV series:

– Non ce la fai proprio a smettere, vero? (= You just can't quit, can you?) – Così però mica mi aiuti! (= That doesn't help at all!)

I see that "mica" is an informal equivalent of "affatto" (= at all), but I don't understand why the Italian sentence is not in the negative as the English one. Does "però" make that sentence negative?


2 Answers 2



L’avverbio di negazione mica ha la funzione di rafforzare la negazione della frase. È tipico dell’uso parlato e informale ed è quindi sconsigliabile nello scritto.

Come per gli altri aggettivi e pronomi indefiniti negativi, richiede la doppia negazione quando si trova dopo il verbo

  • Non sono mica stupido

non quando lo precede

  • Mica sono stupido.


As you can see from the above examples when the adverb “mica” precedes the verb you don’t use the double negative construction.

As per your example:

Così però mica mi aiuti.

  • 3
    It should be noted (from Treccani's dictionary - treccani.it/vocabolario/mica1) that mica means literally "crumb", to mean a very small quantity of something or the smallest/infinitesimal quantity possible. So "Mica sono stupido" could literally mean "I am not stupid, not even a crumb" or "I don't have even a crumb of stupidity". A similar expression is per niente (Non sono per niente stupido, Così non mi aiuti per niente , etc.) Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 14:06
  • 1
    @RiccardoDeContardi - probably “in the least” is the English expression that comes close in usage and meaning. collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/in-the-least
    – user519
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 14:27
  • that's a good one. I would add that to your answer. Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 14:58

The word mica was originally a noun that means breadcrumbs, intended as something insignificant.

Now that this word acts as an adverb can be used both as a replacement or an intensifier of the negation non. The following sentences have the same meaning:

Così mica mi aiuti

Così non mi aiuti mica

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