After being asked to translate «tu più non torni» on a casual conversation and with a sensible lack of context, I was a bit puzzled and assumed that «[you] don't ever come back» could be a valid translation.

Later, in that conversation I was told that it meant you will return no more, at least in Rodolfo's aria from La Bohème, and most of the usage examples on the treccani.it dictionary seem to confirm it.

Was my translation invalid?

  • 1
    What do you mean by “in another context”?
    – Hachi
    Dec 2, 2020 at 21:43
  • 1
    I see, no the sense of “tu più non torni” is not “don’t dare to come back”, but “you’ll never come back...”. I should read the lyrics to understand the Opera context for those words.
    – Hachi
    Dec 2, 2020 at 21:57
  • 1
    Thank you vey much, @Hachi, now it's crystal clear. Feel free to post an answer and cleanup the comments, I'll accept it gladly.
    – 0x2b3bfa0
    Dec 2, 2020 at 22:32
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    Welcome to Italian.SE, 0x2b3bfa0. I hope @Hachi will write an answer to your question. Nevertheless, please take into account that it's almost impossible to give an explanation of the meaning or a translation that is always valid without an specific context.
    – Charo
    Dec 3, 2020 at 7:21
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    @Hachi, you know I'm the first one to flag questions only asking for translations. But I think that assembling what you have already said in the comments, and perhaps adding something about indicativo and imperativo moods, you can give a good, not-just-translation answer.
    – DaG
    Dec 3, 2020 at 8:58

1 Answer 1


The sentence cannot mean “don't ever come back”, which would require the imperative. In Italian the negative imperative is expressed with non and the infinitive

non tornare (mai) più

The form torni is a present tense, either indicative or subjunctive (but the latter can probably be excluded from context). The positive imperative is torna and never torni.

If the context makes the subjunctive possible, then it could be something like

Farò in modo che tu non torni più

I'll do so you don't ever come back again. But it is not imperative.

In the sentence there is a displacement of the adverb: tu non torni più would be more idiomatic. However, being the text of an opera aria, the displacement is not so surprising.

  • "tu più non torni", can also be a poetic phrasing to express "you will never come back", "you are not coming back". For example in the "O Mimì, tu più non torni" aria of Puccini's "La Bohème"
    – secan
    Jan 11, 2021 at 16:33

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