In Italian ‘I miss you’ is ‘mi manchi‘, which literally translates as ‘You are missing to me’. If you are familiar with French this will be easy (easier?) as it is the same structure : ‘tu me manques‘. If you don’t know French this won’t help at all.
I have to think about this verb mancare every time I use it; it falls in with a group of tricky verbs including piacere (to like), volerci (to take), interessare (to interest) and servire (to need, to be useful) in which the phrases are formed in this same non-linear way.
To continue with some more examples of mancare, if you wanted to say ‘I miss my parents’ this would be ‘ Mi mancano i miei genitori’ – ‘My parents are missing to me’. Or to say ‘Do you miss your grandma ?’ you would say ‘ Ti manca la nonna ?‘.
Mancare can also pop up in other useful little phrases such as ‘ Ti manca qualcosa?‘ which means ‘ Do you need anything?’ For this you could also use ‘Ti serve qualcosa ? ‘ which would have the same meaning.
Other examples : Mancano le piante. ( There are no plants). In questo libro mancano le didascalie a tutte le immagini. ( In this book the pictures have no captions).
One final example of how the verb mancare can be used comes from an article I read recently on the Il Post website, which incidentally I highly recommend for practising your Italian with easy news articles . I came across the following headline about the forthcoming new Star Wars film :
‘Mancano due mesi all’uscita del nuovo film di Star Wars‘. In this case you could translate the sentence as ‘ Two months to go until the new Star Wars film comes out’. Or alternatively ‘Only two months to go….’
Possibly a little early to start getting excited ?!! Unless you are a huge Star Wars fan. But a great example of using the first verb on my tricky verbs list! More of these to come later.