As a passionate Italian learner, I find myself on this website a lot. What I enjoy about the website is that askers might find themselves posting their question in English or even Italian. For the most part, I am able to fully comprehend what the asker is confused about when the question is written in Italian. What intrigues me, however, is a commonality I find in many Italian-written questions.

This commonality is the phrase Secondo il... or Secondo me..., even Secondo voi. From studying Italian so far, I've only seen the word secondo used in the context of inferring second. Thus, this brings me to my question, how exactly is secondo being used in these types of phrases?

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    Apart from being the measure unit of time in the International System, and a subunit of the sexagesimal degrees (both translated to second), secondo has essentially two meanings: "immediately after the first" and "according to". For each of those two it has a lot of uses, which roughly correspond to the ones those two expression have in English (including the double usage as a noun or as an adjective). For further details, look here and ask if you can't understand something. – Jeffrey Lebowski Apr 23 '16 at 8:09
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    For secondo, both the meaning of “second” (= after the first) and of “according to”, interestingly, derive from the Latin verb sequi, “to follow”, via the adjective secundus. In the former case, of course, a second person or item follows the first; in the latter, we are talking of “following” an opinion or a model. – DaG Apr 23 '16 at 8:22

In my experience, this question about secondo comes up fairly early when beginning speakers start talking about their opinions.

English speakers infer that Italians are saying second like 'he's second in line', and while there is a direct correspondence to that particular meaning -- Italians also use secondo as an ordinal number for 2 -- this is not the sense to which you refer.

More commonly, secondo is used to express opinions, as in:

secondo me, lui è molto bravo in matematica ma stenta in italiano.

(In my opinion, he is very good at math, but struggles with Italian.)

Also, secondo is used in the sense of according to, as in:

secondo la fonte (according to the source)

secondo Antonio Gramsci (according to Antonio Gramsci)


It means "from one's point of view" and "regarding" also. "Secondo me..." : in my opinion... "Secondo il risultato ottenuto..." : regarding the obtained results... "Secondo piano" : second floor

  • Welcome to Italian.SE! – Charo Apr 23 '16 at 7:48
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    Can you please expand your answer? – egreg Apr 23 '16 at 8:39

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