What to Study This Week: Ho un sacco di cose da fare!

As those of you on my mailing list know, I love Yabla! And I love the Italian seriale poliziesca Il Commissario Manara. For the past two weeks, I have been taking a phrase at a time from this RAI television series to improve my Italian and yours. The weekly phrase will now be here on the My Italian Diary, so it will be easier for you to check out all the previous phrases. Just click the link on the sidebar that says La Frase Della Settimana. Of course, for now, there will only be one. This one!

To recap, last week we spoke about ci frequentiamo – the Italian way to say we’re dating. The week before that, we focused on smettila! – the Italian way to say stop it!

This week, we have a lot to do!

Well, what I mean is – that’s our phrase of the week.

Ho un sacco di cose da fare!
I have a lot to do!

Now, a few weeks ago, we also spoke about how to say a lot in Italian. You might remember that un sacco is one of the ways. You could also say:

Ho molte cose da fare.


Ho tante cose da fare.


Ho parecchie cose da fare.

You can use whichever sounds best to you or rolls off the tongue easier. The point is, since all of us have a lot to do, you can start using this phrase right away. To use it in the past tense, just say:

Ho avuto un sacco di cose da fare.
I had a lot to do.

Or if you used to have a lot to do (but maybe now not so much) you could say:

Avevo un sacco di cose da fare, ma adesso non ho niente.
I used to have a lot to do, but now I don’t have anything.

Un sacco is very colloquial and you will sound like a native if you use it. Just like Guido Caprino does when he says it in this episode of Il Commissario Manara. Here it is as it appears in Il Commissario Manara: Un Morto Di Troppo:

Sì, lo so, mi hai chiamato cento volte, però io non ti ho risposto perché ho avuto un sacco di cose da fare, Teresa.
Yes, I know, you called me a hundred times, but I didn’t answer because I had a bunch of things to do, Teresa.

Check out more examples on Reverso and let us know how you used this phrase this week on our Facebook page.

Yabla now has 11 full episodes of Il Commissario Manara. With Yabla you will have:

  • verbatim subtitles in Italian
  • access to English subtitles when you need them
  • the ability to turn the subtitles off as you improve

And… this is especially useful… you can slow the video down! Yes! We all know how fast the Italians talk. You know a lot of the words. If you just had a little more time to process them…. Well, now you do!

If you feel your Italian is good enough to watch without Italian (or English) subtitles, this episode of Il Commissario Manara is also available for free from RAI. You will need to fast forward to exactly 48 minutes for the start of Un morto di troppo.



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