In English we can say:
Well/So, it's time for me to leave.
So/Well, what can I do to help you?
Well/So, what's the problem?

Is allora an equivalent of "so/well" in these cases?

up vote 10 down vote accepted

In the first example I'd use "Beh/be', è ora che io vada". For the other sentences "Allora" is fine, but you may also use "Dunque" which however is a bit more rude.

  • 6
    I find the spelling beh too ovine. ;-) – egreg Mar 25 '14 at 10:45
  • 2
    beh is often used as short form of bene – alepuzio Mar 25 '14 at 11:38
  • 3
    Beh for be', toh for to' and the like are widely used, and - at least the first one - even registered by dictionaries, but are contrary to their etymological origins and, well, ugly. :-) – DaG Mar 25 '14 at 13:38
  • I actually like them (while I hate "bhe" which makes no sense)... – mau Mar 25 '14 at 15:06
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    Free to like them, of course. For me, reading beh for be' has the same effect it would have if someone were to write poh for po'. – DaG Mar 25 '14 at 23:02

You may use "bene":

Well/So, it's time for me to leave -> "bene, è ora che me ne vada"

I think that it depends on affirmative-negative or interrogative forms. If you are asking something you can use "Allora dove andiamo?". If you are in the affirmative form you can use "dunque". The expression "Beh" usually is used only when you are speaking and not in written form. Another way to translate this form is "Ehm"; that indicates that you are trying to take time and don't know how to answer: "Ehm, non so se uscirò".

  • Your answer is very informative and helpful. Ben fatto! – Vic Mar 30 '14 at 4:52
  • It has come the time for something (sudden decision): "bene, beh"
    Bene/Beh, io vado (it's time for me to leave).

  • You want to push someone to do something or you're annoyed by something: "allora" Allora, andiamo? (shall we go?)
    Allora, hai finito? (have you finished?).

  • You want to push someone to take a decision:
    Bene/beh/allora/dunque, che si fa? (what should we do now?)

  • You are asking something to someone: "bene/allora"
    Bene/allora, cosa posso fare per lei?

  • You are asking something to someone as a consequence of something said before: "bene/allora/dunque"
    Bene/allora/dunque, hai preso una decisione?

Generally speaking:

  • allora may have a neutral or negative meaning and is mostly used for questions
  • bene may have a neutral or positive meaning and can be used for both questions and statements
  • beh usually have a neutral meaning and can be used for both questions and statements
  • bene and beh are often used when something has been just decided
  • dunque is mostly used for questions, when you want to sum up (allora, bene, beh can be used in the same way)
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  • Welcome to Italian.SE! – Charo Dec 7 at 8:32
  • 1
    I'd add that beh is a variant of the more etymologically correct be', a truncation of bene. – DaG Dec 7 at 10:31

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