Allora (so, then, well) is one of those filler words that’s highly useful when thinking of what to say in the Italian language.

It buys you a little time and tells you’re thinking things, especially when used by itself, or to introduce a sentence. Used by itself, it can express impatience:
Allora! (Come on!, Hey!)
…or can be introductory:
Allora, vediamo. (Well then, let’s see.)
But what does it really mean? The word comes from the Latin ad illa horam. And, not surprisingly, allora can indeed mean “at that time,” when it refers to the past.
It’s true that we can use “then” as a translation, but “then” has other meanings as well, so it helps to have an idea of allora’s underlying meaning.
Allora can also mean “in that case.” In fact, the second instance of allora in the above example could also possibly have meant “in that case.”

We use allora a lot in speech without even thinking about it, so being aware of where it comes from may give us una marcia in più (“an edge,” literally “one more gear”).

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