Simple question. I'm confused about when to use "ancora" vs "di nuovo".

They both mean "again", but there seems to be a slight difference in meaning.

Could someone explain the difference?

  • In what context does ancora mean di nuovo?
    – egreg
    Aug 17 '14 at 20:47
  • @egreg E.g. Fallo ancora(=di nuovo) e ti do una sberla.
    – Bakuriu
    Aug 18 '14 at 6:26
  • Though I don't have this down, my Italian teacher says there is a difference between ancora and di nuova. I'll ask again and repost.
    – user2345
    Apr 1 '16 at 18:17

While di nuovo means only again, ancora can have different meanings.

For example it may be translated with still when it refers to the continuity of an action/state in time:

Sono ancora stanco del viaggio. (I'm still tired for the trip)

Or it can mean yet:

Non è ancora giunto il momento. (The moment has yet to come)

It can even mean more:

Ancora un quarto d'ora e ho finito (One more quarter of an hour and I'll finish this).

(Examples taken from Treccani.)

  • So when the two words do mean the same thing, they are completely interchangeable?
    – Groky
    Aug 20 '14 at 17:16
  • @Groky Yes. Whenever you can use di nuovo you can also use ancora. At least I can't come up with any example where this isn't true.
    – Bakuriu
    Aug 21 '14 at 5:52
  • So, for instance, could "le scarpe sono ancora in scatola" mean "the shoes are still in the box" or "the shoes are in the box again" ? Mar 21 '20 at 10:28
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    @AlanEvangelista It can mean both depending on context. Although that "standalone" sentence would more likely be interpreter as the former without any more context.
    – Bakuriu
    Mar 21 '20 at 10:48

I guess it may be difficult to get for a non native. The main difference is that "ancora" in some cases is used to highlight that something is still happening, so to highlight that something started in the past and is still going on at present (or even future). "Di nuovo" means instead that something is happening again /anew. I suggest that you should have a look at these examples:

http://de.bab.la/woerterbuch/italienisch-englisch/ancora http://de.bab.la/woerterbuch/italienisch-englisch/di-nuovo

  • Welcome to Italian.SE!
    – Charo
    Apr 1 '16 at 22:02

As Bakuriu has exhaustively explained, di nuovo indicates just the repetition of actions meanwhile ancora (pronounced ancòra instead of àncora, which mean anchor) alters its meaning depending on the context.

Furthermore, ancòra it's widely and variously (and not necessarily grammatically incorrect) employed in dialects along all the peninsula to describe temporal or hypotetical sentences when followed by a verb at its imperative.

  • 3
    Welcome, Luscinia!
    – DaG
    Oct 8 '18 at 18:30
  • 5
    Could you explain a bit better this dialectal use, adding a source and perhaps some example?
    – DaG
    Oct 8 '18 at 18:31

It seems to me that ancora in the meaning of ‘again’ means actually ‘once again’ while we are using it in phrases we usually use it without ‘once’. If you can replace ‘again’ by ‘once again’, then ‘di nuovo’ is exchangeable. If not, then not. Hope this serves you !

  • 1
    Welcome to Italian.SE, Robert, and thanks for your contribution. It seems to me that, as it is now, this answer is quite confusing. Can you try to explain this with more detail, giving some examples of what you are saying?
    – Charo
    Jun 21 '20 at 8:11

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