“Pena” is one of those Italian words you should learn, because ne vale la pena
It’s worth it, ne vale la pena. lit. it’s worth the trouble. But we’ll soon discover that the word “pena” has many other meanings and we can use it in conversational Italian. For example
Quel cane randagio mi fa pena
Non gioco bene a calcio, faccio pena!
The very same fare pena can be said ironically as “to be bad very bad at something”. I’m a bad football player, “I’m painfully bad”. Questo film fa pena, this movie is so bad, I can’t stand it.
Siamo in pena per Luigi, non è ancora tornato a casa.
Mi sembri un’anima in pena
È stata dura ma ne è valsa la pena
It’s time to make it a bit more difficult. We can read in the title Ne vale la pena, it’s worth it now, let’s do it. If it was worth doing that yesterday, we need to use the past tense, passato prossimo. The verb VALERE (to be worth/valid) alas is irregular. The past participle is VALSO/A. The sentence above can be translated as “It was hard but it was worth doing that”.
La squadra ha giocato una partita penosa
La pena per omicidio dovrebbe essere l’ergastolo
Grazie mille for reading this post. A presto!
This article is hosted on Dianne Hales’ blog and is part of a series dedicate to conversational Italian. Dianne is a passionate writer, italophile and best selling author of La bella lingua and Mona Lisa, a life discovered. She patiently fixes my bad English when I write on her site. Grazie!