Expressing obligation

There are various ways to tell someone what they have to do or express an obligation.

1) When addressing a specific person:

  • Dovere (have to, must) dovere, presente + the infinitive:

Devi telefonare al ristorante entro le 19.

You must phone the restaurant before 7pm.

  • Bisogna che/occorre che (it's necessary that, it's essential that) + subjunctive:

Bisogna che / Occorre che tu ti riposi stasera. 

It is essential that you rest this evening.

  • È necessario che (it's necessary that) + subjunctive:

È necessario che voi parliate con Luisa.

You need to speak with Luisa (literally “It's necessary that you speak with Luisa”).

2) To express a general obligation or necessity, in other words, something that applies to everyone:

  • Bisogna/occorre (it's necessary, it's essential) + infinitive:

Quando il semaforo è rosso, occorre fermarsi.

When the traffic light is red, it is necessary to stop.

  • È necessario (it's necessary) + infinitive:

È necessario mangiare frutta e verdura ogni giorno.

It's necessary to eat fruit and vegetables every day.

3) To explain rules or standards of behavior, for example on information signs:

  • È obbligatorio (it's obligatory) + infinitive:

È obbligatorio fare la doccia prima di entrare in piscina. 

It's obligatory to have a shower before entering the pool. 

  • Essere essere, presente tenuti a (to be obliged, to be required) + infinitive (essere is conjugated to match the subject):

Gli ospiti sono tenuti a rispettare le regole. 

Guests are required to respect the rules.


Still facing difficulties with 'Expressing obligation'? Improve your Italian with Gymglish - try our Italian lessons for free now and receive a free level assessment!

What our users say:

Pleasure

         

I enjoy doing my online Italian lessons. Only ten minutes daily are enough...Thank you!

Innovative

         

I love your innovative method which allows me to learn a new language and have fun at the same time!

Unique

         

Your method is unique! Your courses have helped me to progress and gain confidence during my travels.

Progress

         

Gymglish has allowed me to improve my Italian. A daily routine I wouldn't miss for anything in the world!

More testimonials.

Improve your Italian further and test Saga Baldoria, online Italian lessons.