Italian Classes

Common Conversational Words and Phrases in Italian

By mastering the basics of conversation in Italian, you put yourself and the person you’re talking to at ease. Everyone should learn essential Italian conversational words and phrases before traveling to Italy. These words and expressions are sure to come up in most everyday conversations.

Courteous phrases

Being polite is just as important in Italy as anywhere else in this world. The following words and phrases cover most of the pleasantries required for polite conversation. After all, learning to say the expressions of common courtesy in Italian before traveling is just good manners.
no (no)
per favore; per piacere; per cortesia (please)
Grazie (Thank you)
Molte grazie (Thank you very much.)
Prego! (You’re welcome!)
Si figuri! (It’s nothing.)
Mi scusi. (Excuse me.)
prego (by all means)
Può ripetere, per cortesia? (Can you please repeat.)

Personal pronouns

Once you’ve mastered the common pleasantries, the next important thing to learn is how to refer to people. The most common way is by using personal pronouns. In Italian, the pronouns (you and they) are complicated by gender and formality. You’ll use slightly different variations of these words depending to whom you are referring and how well you know them.
Io (I)
lui (he)
lei (she)
noi (we)
tu (you [singular])
lei (you [singular/formal])
voi (you (plural/informal])
loro (you (plural/formal])
loro (they)
Use the informal tu (singular you) and voi (plural you) for friends, relatives, younger people, and people you know well. Use the formal lei (singular you) when speaking to people you don’t know well; in situations such as in stores, restaurants, hotels, or pharmacies); and with professors, older people, and your friends’ parents.

The formal loro (plural you) is rarely used and is gradually being replaced by the informal voi when addressing a group of people.

References to people

When meeting people in Italy, be sure to use the appropriate formal title. Italians tend to use titles whenever possible. Use the Lei form when using any of the following titles. A man would be called Signore, which is the same as Mr. or Sir. An older or married woman is called Signora and a young lady is called Signorina. It is also helpful to know the correct vocabulary term for referring to people based on their age, gender, or relationship to you.
uomo (a man)
donna (a woman)
ragazzo (a boy)
ragazza (a girl)
bambino [M]; bambina [F] (a child)
padre (a father)
madre (a mother)
figlio [M]; figlia [F] (child)
fratello (a brother)
sorella (a sister)
marito (a husband)
moglie (a wife)
amico [M]; amica [F] (a friend)

In Italian, there are four words to cover the English indefinite articlesa and an. For masculine words, you would use uno if the word begins with a z or an s and a consonant and you would use un for the rest. For feminine words, you should use ‘un for words beginning with a vowel and una for words beginning with a consonant.

Phrases for travelers

There are some Italian phrases that are particularly helpful to international travelers. Below are several phrases may come in handy during your stay in Italy.
  • Mi scusi. (Excuse me. [Formal])

  • Non parlo bene l’italiano. (I don’t speak Italian well.)

  • Parla inglese? (Do you speak English? [Formal])

  • Parlo inglese. (I speak English.)

  • Mi sono perso. [M]; Mi sono persa. [F] (I’m lost.)

  • Sto cercando il mio albergo. (I’m looking for my hotel.)

  • Sì, lo so. (Yes, I know.)

  • Non lo so. (I don’t know.)

  • Non so dove sia. (I don’t know where it is.)

  • Non capisco. (I don’t understand.)

  • Capisco, grazie. (I understand, thanks.)

  • Può ripetere, per cortesia? (Can you repeat, please? [Formal])

  • È bello. (It’s beautiful.)

  • È bellissimo. (It’s very beautiful.)

  • Vado a casa. (I’m going home.)

  • Domani visitiamo Venezia. (We’ll visit Venice tomorrow.)

  • Due cappuccini, per favore. (Two cappuccinos, please.)

  • Non lo so. (I don’t know.)

  • Non posso. (I can’t.)

  • Non potevo. (I couldn’t.)

  • Non lo faccio. (I won’t do it.)

  • Non dimenticare! (Don’t forget!)

  • Lei non mangia la carne. (She doesn’t eat meat.)

  • Non siamo americani. (We aren’t American.)

  • Il caffè non è buono. (The coffee isn’t good.)

  • Non è caro! (It’s not expensive!)

It’s possible to use more than one negative in a sentence. For example, you may say Non capisce niente (He/she doesn’t understand anything). Generally, you may just put non in front of your verb to negate your sentence, such as mama non mama(he/she loves me, he/she loves me not).

Common places and locations

It is also helpful to know the correct vocabulary for some of the common places or locations that you might need or want while traveling in Italy.
banca (bank)
città (city)
il consolato Americano (American consulate)
il ristorante (restaurant)
in campagna (in the country)
in città (in the city)
in montagna (in the mountains)
lalbergo (hotel)
lospedale (hospital)
la casa (house)
la polizia (police)
la stazione dei treni (train station)
metropolitana (subway)
museo (museum)
negozio (store)
paese (country)
spiaggia (beach)
stato (state)
ufficio (office)

Some Italian Phrases:

English Phrases Italian Phrases
English Greetings Italian Greetings:
Hi! Ciao!
Good morning! Buongiorno!
Good evening! Buona sera!
Welcome! (to greet someone) Benvenuto!/ Benvenuta! (female)
How are you? Come stai?/ Come state (polite)?
I’m fine, thanks! Bene, grazie!
And you? e tu? e lei? (polite)
Good/ So-So. Bene/ così e così.
Thank you (very much)! Grazie! / (Molte grazie)!
You’re welcome! (for “thank you”) Prego!
Hey! Friend! Ciao! Amico!
I missed you so much! Mi sei mancato molto!
What’s new? Cosa c’è di nuovo?
Nothing much Non molto
Good night! Buona notte!
See you later! A dopo
Good bye! Arrivederci!
Asking for Help and Directions
I’m lost Mi sono perso/ persa (feminine)
Can I help you? Posso aiutarti?/ posso aiutarla (polite)?
Can you help me? Potresti aiutarmi?/ potrebbe aiutarmi? (polite)
Where is the (bathroom/ pharmacy)? Dove posso trovare (il bagno/ la farmacia?)
Go straight! then turn left/ right! Vada dritto! e poi giri a destra/ sinistra!
I’m looking for john. Sto cercando John.
One moment please! Un momento prego!
Hold on please! (phone) Attenda prego!
How much is this? Quanto costa questo?
Excuse me …! (to ask for something) Scusami!/ Mi scusi! (polite)
Excuse me! ( to pass by) Permesso
Come with me! Vieni con me!/ Venga con me! (polite)

How to Make Small Talk in Italian

Making small talk in Italian is just the same as in English. Touch on familiar topics like jobs, sports, children — just say it in Italian! Small talk describes the brief conversations that you have with people you don’t know well. Small talk generally consists of greetings and introductions and descriptions of personal information and interests.

Greetings and introductions

Although the Italians are often more formal than we are in America, you don’t need to wait around to be introduced to someone. Take the initiative to walk up to someone and say hello. The most common ways to greet someone is to simply say hello (Salve orBuon giorno). The following phrases are all you need to get a conversation started.
  • Mi chiamo . . . (My name is . . .)
  • Lei come si chiama? (What’s your name? [Formal])
  • Permette che mi presenti mia moglie, Fabiana? (May I introduce my wife, Fabiana?).
Greetings and introductions are usually accompanied by a Come sta? (How are you? [Formal]) There are many possible responses, but the most common would be to say I’m doing well (Sto bene!) or I’m so-so (Così così.).

Personal information

After the necessary introductions, small talk is really just a question of sharing information about yourself and asking the other person questions about themselves. The following phrases will come in handy when you’re chitchatting with someone new.
  • Sono degli . . . (I am from . . .)
  • Di dov’è Lei? (Where are you from?)
  • Che lavoro fa? (What is your profession?)
  • Quanti anni hai? (How old are you?)
  • Dove vite? (Where do you live?)
  • Sono uno studente/ studentessa. [M/F] (I’m a student.)
  • Sono insegnante. [M]/Faccio l’insegnate. [F] (I’m a teacher.)
  • Sei sposato? [M]/Sei sposata? [F] (Are you married?)
  • Hai dei figli? [Informal] (Do you have any children?)
  • Ho tre figli. (I have three children.)
  • Sono uno studente. [M]/Sono una studentessa. [F] (I’m a student.)

Remember to use the formal Lei version of you when meeting someone for the first time.

Italian Nouns

All Italian nouns are masculine or feminine in gender. With very few exceptions, nouns which end in -o, -ore, a consonant, or a consonant followed by -one, are masculine.  The names of the days of the week (except Sunday), lakes, months, oceans, rivers, seas, sport teams, and names which denote males are masculine. Words imported from other languages are regarded as masculine regardless of their spelling. With a few exceptions, singular nouns which end in -a, -à, -essa, -i, -ie, -ione, -tà, -trice, or -tù are feminine.  The names of cities, continents, fruits, islands, letters of the alphabet, states, and names which denote females are feminine. In Italian grammar, if a word refers to a group of people, the masculine form is used: bambini           children amici                friends In a some cases, the gender of a noun is determined by its article.  For example, uno studente to denote a male student, or una studente to denote a female student.  All words which end in nte or -ista are treated in this way. un cliente         a male client                            una cliente       a female client un pianista       a male pianist                          una pianista     a female pianist

Italian Pronouns

Pronouns are words that are used in place of a noun. They can stand in for the subject, Io mangio (I eat), the object, Paola mi ama (Paola loves me), or the complement, Io vivo perlei  (I live for her). There are many kinds of pronouns in Italian grammar, including personal, possessive, demonstrative, interrogative, and indefinite. Io mangio        I eat Paola mi ama   Paola loves me Io vivo per lei  I live for her

Italian Verbs

Verbs are the core of the Italian language, and they refer to an action (andare – to go; mangiare – to eat) or to a state (essere – to be; stare – to stay; esistere – to exist). In Italian grammar, there are three classes of verbs, five moods, and 21 verb tenses. Here are some common verbs to get you started: Andare             to go Mangiare         to eat Essere               to be Stare                 to stay Esistere           to exist

Italian Prepositions

Prepositions are words that show position in relation to space or time, or that introduce a complement. Some prepositions that are important to know in Italian are listed below: Preposition     Italian                                   English di:                    La casa di Paola                           Paola’s house a:                     Io vado a casa                               I go (to) home da:                   Il treno viene da Milano          The train comes from Milan in:                    La mamma è in Italia                 The mother is in Italy con:                 Io vivo con Paola                       I live with Paola su:                    La penna è sul tavolo                The pen is on the table per:                  Il regalo è per te                         The gift is for you

Italian Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that link to other words or groups of words, and common ones in Italian grammar include e- (“and”), ma (“but”), and se (“if”). Il cane e il gatto                                                   The dog and the cat Sono stanco, ma vengo                                   I am tired, but I come Se vuoi, puoi dormire qui                             If you want, you can sleep here

The Auxiliary Verbs: Essere and Avere


io sono                I am tu sei                    you are lui/lei/Lei è      he/she is noi siamo           we are voi siete              you are loro sono            they are


io ho                      I have tu hai                     you have lui/lei/Lei ha     he/ she has noi abbiamo       we have voi avete             you have loro hanno          they have

Italian Subject Pronouns / Pronomi personali

io ee-oh I noi noy we
tu too you (informal singular) voi voy you (informal plural)
lui, lei lwee/lay he, she loro loh-roh they
Lei lay you (formal singular) Loro loh-roh you (formal plural)
The Lei form is generally used for you (singular), instead of tu, unless you’re referring to kids or animals.  Loro can also mean you, but only in very polite situations. If you need to specify an inanimate object as “it” you can use esso (masculine noun) and essa (feminine noun), but since subject pronouns are not commonly used in Italian, these words are somewhat rare. Personal pronouns are the only part of the sentence in which Italian makes a distinction between masculine/feminine and neuter. Neuter gender is used for objects, plants and animals except man. How to Conjugate Italian Verbs in the Present Indicative Tense In Italian, the present indicative tense works much like the present tense in English. To conjugate Italian verbs in the present indicative tense, you first need to understand that Italian infinitives (the “to” form, as in to die, to sleep, to dream) end in one of three ways — and that you conjugate the verb based on that ending:
  • Verbs that end in -are
  • Verbs that end in -ere
  • Verbs that end in -ire                                                                     The endings of regular verbs don’t change. Master the endings for each mode and tense, and you’re good to go! Keep in mind that verbs agree with subjects and subject pronouns (io, tu, lui/lei/Lei, noi, voi, loro/Loro):
Common Regular Italian Verbs in the Present Indicative Tense
Subject Pronoun Lavorare (to work) Prendere (to take; to order) Partire (to leave) Capire (to understand)
io lavoro prendo parto capisco
tu lavori prendi parti capisci
lui/lei/Lei lavora prende parte capisce
noi lavoriamo prendiamo partiamo capiamo
voi lavorate prendete partite capite
loro/Loro lavorano prendono partono capiscono
Unfortunately, there are also irregular verbs, which you have to memorize. You’ll find that the more you practice them, the easier it is to use them in conversation:
Common Irregular Italian Verbs in the Present Indicative Tense
Subject Pronoun Andare (to go) Bere (to drink) Dare (to give) Fare (to do) Stare (to stay) Venire (to come)
io vado bevo do faccio sto vengo
tu vai bevi dai fai stai vieni
lui/lei/Lei va beve fa sta viene
noi andiamo beviamo diamo facciamo stiamo veniamo
voi andate bevete date fate state venite
loro/Loro vanno bevono danno fanno stanno vengono
Italian Subject Pronouns and Object Pronouns: DIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS A direct object is the direct recipient of the action of a verb. Direct object pronouns replace direct object nouns. In Italian the forms of the direct object pronouns (i pronomi diretti) are as follows:
Person Singular Plural
1st. person mi » me ci » us
2nd. person familiar ti » you vi » you
2nd. person polite* La » you (m. and f.) Li » You (m.)
Le » You (f.)
3rd. person lo » him, it li » them (m.)
la » her it le » them (f.)
These pronouns are used as follows:
  1. They stand immediately before the verb or the auxiliary verb in the compound tenses. Examples:
  • Li ho invitati a cena  »  I have invited them to dinner
  • L’ho veduta ieri  »  I saw her yesterday
  • Ci hanno guardati e ci hanno seguiti  »  They watched us and followed us
In a negative sentence, the word non must come before the object pronoun.
  • Non la mangia  »  He doesn’t eat it
  • Perchè non li inviti?  »  Why don’t you invite them?
  1. The object pronoun is attached to the end of an infinitive. Note that the final –e of the infinitive is dropped.
  • È importante mangiarla ogni giorno  »  It is important to eat it every day
  • Volevo comprarla  »  I wanted to buy it
  1. The Object pronouns are attached to ecco to express here I am, here you are, here he is, and so on.
  • Dov’è la signorina? – Eccola!  »  Where is the young woman? – Here she is!
  • Hai trovato le chiavi? – Sì, eccole!  »  Have you found the keys? – Yes, here they are!
  1. The pronouns lo and la are often shortened to l’.
(*) Note that second person polite form pronouns are capitalized.

Holiday Phrases:

Buon Anno! Happy New Year!
Buona Pasqua! Happy Easter!
Buon compleanno! Happy Birthday!
Buon Natale! Merry Christmas!
Buone feste! Happy Holidays!
Buona vacanza! Have a good vacation!
Buon divertimento! Have a good time!
Buon viaggio! Have a good trip!
Tanti auguri! Best wishes!
Babbo Natale is Santa Claus and il panettone or il pandoro are the traditional cakes eaten at Christmas. For Easter, the traditional cake is called la colomba. Be careful with the difference between ferie and feriale: le ferie or i giorni di ferie are holidays when most places of business are closed; the opposite is un giorno feriale, or a weekday/working day. INDIRECT OBJECT PRONOUNS While direct object pronouns answer the question what? or whom? Indirect object pronouns answer the question to whom? or for whom? Also, they’re the same as the Direct Object Pronouns except for the pronouns in the Third Person (i.e. to him; to her; to them).
Singolare Singular Plurale Plural
mi (to/for) me ci (to/for) us
ti (to/for) you (informal) vi (to/for) you (informal)
gli (to/for) him, it loro (to/for) them (m. & f.)
le (to/for) her, it
Le (to/for) you (formal f. & m.) Loro (to/for) you (formal f. & m.)
The direct object is governed directly by the verb, for example, in the following statement: Romeo loved her. The Indirect Object in an English sentence often stands where you would expect the direct object but common sense will tell you that the direct object is later in the sentence, e.g.: Romeo bought her a bunch of flowers. The direct object — i.e. the thing that Romeo bought is “a bunch of flowers”; Romeo didn’t buy “her” as if she were a slave. So the pronoun her in the sentence actually means “for her” and is the Indirect Object. Examples: » Qulacuno mi ha mandato una cartolina dalla Spagna Someone (has) sent me a postcard from Spain. » Il professore le ha spiegato il problema The teacher (has) explained the problem to her. » Voglio telefonargli I want to phone him. » Il signor Brambilla ci ha insegnato l’italiano Mr Brambilla taught us Italian. » Cosa gli dici? What are you saying to him/to them? » Lucia,tuo padre vuole parlarti! Lucia, your father wants to speak to you! » Non gli ho mai chiesto di aiutarmi I (have) never asked him to help me. » Non oserei consigliarti I would not dare to advise you » Le ho regalato un paio di orecchini I gave her a present of a pair of earrings

Useful Words in Italian:

and e eh always sempre sehm-preh
or o oh often spesso speh-soh
but ma mah sometimes qualche volta kwal-keh vohl-tah
not non nohn usually usualmente oo-zoo-al-mehn-teh
while mentre mehn-treh especially specialmente speh-chee-al-mehn-teh
if se seh except eccetto eh-cheh-toh
because perché pehr-kay book il libro lee-broh
very, a lot molto mohl-toh pencil la matita mah-tee-tah
also, too anche ahn-keh pen la penna pehn-nah
although benché behn-keh paper la carta kar-tah
now adesso, ora ah-deh-so, oh-rah dog il cane kah-neh
perhaps, maybe forse for-seh cat il gatto gah-toh
then allora, poi ahl-loh-rah, poy friend (fem) l’amica ah-mee-kah
there is c’è cheh friend (masc) l’amico ah-mee-koh
there are ci sono chee soh-noh woman la donna dohn-nah
there was c’era che-rah man l’uomo woh-moh
there were c’erano che-rah-no girl la ragazza rah-gat-sah
here is ecco ehk-koh boy il ragazzo rah-gat-soh

Question Words in Italian:

Who Chi kee
Whose Di chi dee kee
What Che cosa keh koh-sah
Why Perché pehr-keh
When Quando kwahn-doh
Where Dove doh-veh
How Come koh-meh
How much Quanto kwahn-toh
Which Quale kwah-leh

Days of the week:

Monday lunedì loo-neh-dee
Tuesday martedì mahr-teh-dee
Wednesday mercoledì mehr-koh-leh-dee
Thursday giovedì zhoh-veh-dee
Friday venerdì veh-nehr-dee
Saturday sabato sah-bah-toh
Sunday domenica doh-men-ee-kah
yesterday ieri yer-ee
day before yesterday avantieri / l’altroieri (m) ah-vahn-tyee-ree
last night ieri sera yer-ee seh-rah
today oggi ohd-jee
tomorrow domani doh-mahn-ee
day after tomorrow dopodomani doh-poh-doh-mahn-ee
day il giorno eel zhor-noh
To say on Mondays, on Tuesdays, etc., use il before lunedì through sabato, and la before domenica.

Months of the year:

January gennaio jehn-nah-yoh
February febbraio fehb-brah-yoh
March marzo mar-tsoh
April aprile ah-pree-leh
May maggio mahd-joh
June giugno joo-nyoh
July luglio loo-lyoh
August agosto ah-goh-stoh
September settembre seht-tehm-breh
October ottobre oht-toh-breh
November novembre noh-vehm-breh
December dicembre dee-chem-breh
week la settimana lah sett-ee-mah-nah
month il mese eel meh-zeh
year l’anno lahn-noh
Days and months are not capitalized.  To express the date, use È il (number) (month).  May 5th would be È il 5 (or cinque) maggio.  But for the first of the month, use primo instead of 1 or uno. To express ago, as in two days ago, a month ago, etc., just add fa afterwards. To express last, as in last Wednesday, last week, etc., just add scorso (for masculine words) or scorsa (for feminine words) afterwards. una settimana fa – a week ago la settimana scorsa – last week un mese fa – a month ago l’anno scorso – last year

Possessive Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives

Possessive Pronouns:

Maschile singolare Maschile plurale  Femminile singolare  Femminile plurale
il mioil tuo il suo il nostro il vostro il loro i mieii tuoi i suoi i nostri i vostri i loro la miala tua la sua la nostra la vostra la loro le miele tue le sue le nostre le vostre le loro

Italian Grammar Lessons: The Three Groups Of Regular Verbs

This lesson is about the three groups of Italian regular verbs. All Italian regular verbs can be divided into three groups, as classified according to the ending of their infinitive forms. Verbs in the first group or first conjugation end in – are, such as abitare, mangiare or lavare. Abitare – to live io abito tu abiti lui/lei/Lei abita noi abitiamo voi abitate loro/Loro abitano Verbs in the second group or second conjugation end in – ere, such as perdere and correre. Perdere – to lose io perdo tu perdi lui/lei/Lei perde noi perdiamo voi perdete loro/Loro perdono Verbs in the third group or third conjugation end in – ire, such as dormire and aprire. The main characteristic of the third group is that some verbs, such as preferire, add the suffix –isc between the root and the declination. Dormire – to sleep io dormo tu dormi lui/lei/Lei dorme noi dormiamo voi dormite loro/Loro dormono Preferire – to prefer io preferisco tu preferisci lui/lei/Lei preferisce noi preferiamo voi preferite loro/Loro preferiscono It’s important to learn the conjugations for these three groups as early as you can!

Italian Grammar Lessons: Reflexive Verbs

This lesson is about reflexive verbs! A reflexive verb is used when the subject and object of the verb are the same. For example, “kill yourself”. Reflexive verbs are more common in Italian than in English – verbs which in English are too “obvious” to be used in the reflexive form (wake up, get up, wash, clean your teeth, and so on..) do need the reflexive form in Italian. So, for example, in Italian you might “suicide yourself”, absurd as it sounds in English! Many Italian verbs have reflexive forms. You can recognise them because they end in “-si”. For example: alzarsi (get yourself up) svegliarsi (wake yourself up) vestirsi (dress yourself) lavarsi (wash yourself) riposarsi (rest yourself) mettersi (put yourself) fermarsi (stop yourself) sedersi (sit yourself) When you use a reflexive verb you have to put the correct reflexive pronoun before the verbs. The reflexive pronouns are: io – mi tu – ti lui/lei/Lei – si noi – ci voi – vi loro – si Here are two examples of the conjugation of reflexive verbs in Italian: svegliarsi – to wake yourself up (io) mi sveglio (tu) ti svegli (lui/lei/Lei) si sveglia (noi) ci svegliamo (voi) vi svegliate (loro/Loro) si svegliano alzarsi – to get yourself up (io) mi alzo (tu) ti alzi (lui/lei/Lei) si alza (noi) ci alziamo (voi) vi alzate (loro/Loro) si alzano

Modal verbs

Italian modal verbs are called “VERBI SERVILI“. They have irregular forms. They are: POTERE (can) VOLERE (to want, to wish, to need) DOVERE (must, to have to, ought to, should) Watch the following examples: 1. Mi puoi telefonare domani? (Can you call me tomorrow?) 2. Voglio andare a Roma (I want to go to Rome) 3. Aspettami, devo parlarti (Wait, I have to talk to you!) Modal verbs work as a support to other verbs and indicate possibility, will, need and duty. Verb SAPERE (can)  becomes a modal verb when it means  “ESSERE CAPACE DI” “to be able to”. example: So suonare il piano (I can play the piano) Modal verbs can be used with atonic personal pronouns that can stand before the modal verb( 1.) or after the infinitive (3.) Modal verbs are directly added to the infinitive of a verb without any prepositions. POTERE can be used: – with the meaning of “forse” (=perhaps, maybe): “Posso essermi sbagliato, ma non so esattamente” (=I could be wrong, but I don’t know exactly) – as a permission (may I?) : Posso uscire? (May I go out?) – as a capability: Quest’anno possiamo vincere il campionato (This year we can win the championship) – in the polite form: Potresti prestarmi il tuo libro? (Could you lend me your book?) DOVERE can be used: – with the meaning of probability: Deve essergli successo un incidente (He must have had an accident) – as an obligation, a need: Se vuoi migliorare il tuo italiano, devi fare i compiti. ( If you want to improve your italian, you must do your homework)
Modal Verbs – Present Tense
    • Io posso
    • Tu puoi
    • Egli può
    • Noi possiamo
    • Voi potete
    • Essi possono
    • Io voglio
    • Tu vuoi
    • Egli/ella vuole
    • Noi vogliamo
    • Voi volete
    • Essi vogliono
  • Io devo
  • Tu devi
  • Egli/ella deve
  • Noi dobbiamo
  • Voi dovete
  • Essi devono
In Italian as in English these modals verbs (verbi servili) are easy to identify. Modal verbs in Italian indicate a “must,” “capability” or a “wish.” These words can be used alone, as in “Vorrei una pizza” (“I’d like a pizza”), or as modal verbs in conjunction with another verb in the infinitive tense. For example, “Vorrei camminare un pò di più” (“I’d like to walk a little bit more.”) “Volere” for instance can be used with nouns and infinitives (“Voglio partire” or “Voglio una pizza.”) “Potere” and “dovere” can be used with infinitives only (“Non posso lavorare” or “Devomangiare ora.”) In the negative form you have only to put only NON in front of the modal:
  • Non puoi capire
  • Non devi partire
  • Non vuoi lasciarmi vero?
With the compound tenses, the modal verbs take the auxiliary plus the infinitive that follows. For example:
  • Claudio HA DOVUTO lasciare il suo lavoro. (dovere richiede AVERE)
  • Maria HA DOVUTO studiare. (studiare richiede AVERE)
  • Maria E’ DOVUTA uscire (uscire richiede essere)
  • Maria HA POTUTO parlare con lui (potere richiede avere)
  • Maria E’ POTUTA venire alla festa (venire richiede essere)
  • Maria HA VOLUTO mangiare (mangiare richiede volere)
  • Maria E’ VOLUTA VENIRE al cinema con me (venire richiede essere)
The auxiliary verb “to be” is used in the following examples:
  • Compound tenses and with many intransitive verbs like “sono partita“, “mio fratello è uscito.”
  • With impersonal verbs: piove (it’s raining), fa freddo (it’s cold), fa caldo (it’s warm)
  • With reflexive verbs: “Maria si è lavata le mani e si è messa il tovagliolo prima di mangiare.” (“Maria washed her hands and put out the table cloth before eating.”)
volere – to want (to) potere – to be able to dovere – to have to
io voglio io posso io devo
tu vuoi tu puoi tu devi
Lei vuole Lei puo’ Lei deve
lui/lei vuole lui/lei puo’ lui/lei deve
noi vogliamo noi possiamo noi dobbiamo
voi volete voi potete voi dovete
loro vogliono loro possono loro devono
Volere can be used with nouns and infinitives (dictionary form). Voglio una birra. Voglio mangiare. Potere and dovere are used with infinitives only. Non posso studiare. Devo uscire. To negate a modal (to say you don’t want to, can’t or must not), just put non in front of it.

Italian Articles

In Italian grammar, articles identify the gender and the number of the nouns, and they are essential in order to recognize irregular nouns. Articles can be masculine or feminine, singular or plural and, except in some specific cases, they must always be used. The article serves to define the noun associated with it, and with which it must agree in gender and number. Definitive articles In Italian, we put the article before the noun, just like in English. However, in English, the definite article is only one – the.  In Italian, when the noun is masculine, there are three types of articles in the singular, and two types in the plural. For feminine nouns, there are two different articles for the singular, and one for the plural. Let’s take a look! Masculine Articles                                                    Feminine Articles Singular           Il          Lo        L’                                La        L’ Plural               I           Gli       Gli                               Le        Le Now, let’s break down when to use which definitive article in Italian! With masculine articles: Il is used before a noun that begins with a consonant, except“s + consonant, ps, gn, z, y, and z. Examples: Il ragazzo, il libro, il vino. I is the plural form of il. If you use il in singular, you have to use I in plural. Examples: I ragazzi, i libri, i vini. Lo is used before a noun that begins with s + consonant, ps, gn,z,y, and z. Examples: Lo studente, lo sport, lo psicologo, lo yogurt. Gli is the plural form of lo. If you use lo in singular, you have to use gli in plural. Examples: Gli studenti, gli sport, gli psicologi, gli yogurt. L’ is used before a noun that begins with a vowel or with h; in Italian grammar, h is silent.  Examples: L’ orologio, l’amico, l’ufficio, l’hotel. Gli is used for the plural form when l’ is used in the singular: Gli orologi, gli amici, gli uffici, gli hotel. Now, let’s go over when to use feminine definite articles. La is used before a noun that begins with a consonant: La casa, la ragazza, la bottiglia. L’ is used before a noun that begins with a vowel: L’amica, l’alice, l’onda, l’aspirina. Le is used with all feminine words in the plural: Le case, le ragazze, le bottiglie, le amiche, le alici, le onde, le aspirine. Indefinite Articles Indefinite articles in Italian grammar introduce a generic or not defined noun. The masculine indefinite articles are un and uno, and the feminine forms are una and un’ – meaning a or an. Un is used before masculine nouns starting with vowel or consonant: un uomo, un libro. Uno isused before masculine nouns starting with s+ consonant, z, gn, x, y, ps, pn, i+vowel, such as in uno studente. Una is used before feminine nouns starting with consonant, such as una donna. Un’ is used before feminine nouns starting with vowel, such as in un’automobile.

When to Use Articles

In Italian grammar, articles are used in the following cases: Before nouns: : il gatto, la donna, l’uomo, il libro, la casa. Before a person’s profession : il dottore, il meccanico, il professore, la professoressa. Before a title : il signore, la signora, l’onorevole. Before dates: il 2 giugno 1990 Before hours: sono le 3, è l’una. Before names of nations or associations in the plural: gli Stati Uniti, le Nazioni Unite. Before the days of the week to indicate a repeated, habitual activity: la domenica studio italiano.  Articles are not used before nouns in the following cases: When they want to convey a very generic feeling of something indefinite: mangio pasta (“I eat pasta”), vedo amici (“I see friends”). Before a name: Roberto, Maria, Stefano, Alice, Roma, Milano Before the demonstrative adjective questo (“this”), quello (“that”): questa casa (“this house,” questo libro (“this book”), quel ragazzo (“that guy”). Before a possessive adjective followed by a singular family noun: mia madre, mio padre, mio fratello, mia sorella. With days of the week: domenica vado in montagna (“I am going to the mountains on Sunday”).

Italian Grammar Lessons: prepositions, ‘a’ or ‘in’?

This lesson is about the different use of the prepositions ‘a’ and ‘in’ in Italian grammar. Let’s start with the preposition ‘a’, which means ‘to’ (movement) or ‘in’ if it indicates location (cities and places). Examples: Tu dai la penna a Simona. (You give the pen to Simona.) Sono a casa. (I’m at home.) Abito a Roma, ma ora sono a Venezia. (I live in Rome, but now I’m in Venice.) We generally use the preposition ‘a’ with the infinite form of the verbs and with names of cities and minor islands. Examples: Vado a mangiare fuori stasera. (I will eat out this evening.) Torno a Madrid per Natale. (I will go back to Madrid for Christmas.) As regard the preposition ‘in’, we use it with the names of continents, states, nations, regions, larger islands, and with words ending in “-eria”. Examples: In Inghilterra bevi tè tutti i giorni. (In England you drink tea every day.) Bologna si trova in Emilia-Romagna. (Bologna is in Emilia-Romagna.) Di solito compro i libri in quella libreria. (I usually buy books in that bookshop.) Here are a few of the nouns before which we use the preposition ‘in’: banca (bank) , biblioteca (library), classe (class), città (city), chiesa (church), campagna (country), piscina (pool), ufficio (office), albergo (hotel), farmacia (pharmacy) Careful! When talking about someone’s house or place of work, you use the preposition ‘da’ plus the name of the owner. Examples: Sono dal dottore. (I’m at the Doctor’s office.) Vado da Sara per il weekend. (I’m going to Sara’s place for the weekend.)

Italian Grammar Lessons: There is/are – C’è / ci sono

This lesson is about the use of “c’è / ci sono“, which would translate into English as ‘there is/are’. The word “ci” is used as a pronoun referring to previously mentioned places and things in order not to repeat them. Examples: Quando vai al supermercato? (When are you going to the supermarket?) Ci vado domani (I will go there tomorrow) Ci = al supermercato (at the supermarket) “C’è” is the short form of “ci è”, while “ci sono” is the plural form and they state the presence or existence of someone or something. Examples: C’è troppo zucchero nel mio caffè. (There is too much sugar in my coffee.) Ci sono molti negozi a Milano. (There are a lot of shops in Milan.) Ci sono molte ragioni per partire. (There are many reasons to leave.) C’è qualcuno in cucina? (Is there someone in the kitchen?) To express negation, you just need to put the particle NON before “c’è / ci sono”. Examples: Non c’è nessuno in cucina. (There isn’t anyone in the kitchen.) Non ci sono penne nell’astuccio. (There aren’t any pens in the pencil case.) Back to Italian lesson on: there is / are – c’è / ci sono

Italian Grammar Lessons: Plurals

This lesson will show you how to create the plural form of Italian nouns. It’s important to know the gender of the word (masculine or feminine) and you can usually work this out by looking at the vowel it ends with. To turn a singular word into a plural one, you usually only need to change the final vowel, though there are of course plenty of exceptions! Singular nouns ending in “-o” are usually masculine. To produce a plural you need to change this ending to “-i“, Examples: il cavallo → i cavalli (the horse – the horses) il tavolo →  i tavoli (the table – the tables) Nouns ending in “-a” are usually feminine. To create the plural form you need to change the final vowel to “-e“. Examples: la carota → le carote (the carrot – the carrots) la sedia →  le sedie (the chair – the chairs) But some nouns ending in “-a” are masculine,  in which case the plural is “-i“. Examples: il problem→ i problem(the problem – the problems) il poeta → i poet(the poet – the poets) And similarly some nouns ending in “-o” are feminine and their plural is the same as the singular form. Examples: la radio →  le radio (the radio – the radios) la foto →  le foto (the photo – the photos) Club member Ida writes: Words like ‘la radio’, ‘la foto’, ‘la moto’ or ‘la auto’ do not change in the plural because they are truncated versions of the original words ‘la radiotelefonia’, ‘la fotografia’, ‘la motocicletta’ and ‘l’automobile’. Truncated words do not change in the plural.
Instead “la mano” which is a true feminine word that ends in “o” has the regular plural “le mani” following the rules for forming the plural.
The plural form of singular nouns ending in “-ista” can be either “-i” (if masculine) or “-e” (if feminine). Examples: l’artista → gli artisti / le artiste (the artist – the artists (m) / the artists (f)) il dentista → i dentisti / le dentiste (the dentist – the dentists) Some nouns have just one form which works both for the singular and for the plural. A good example is the various nouns which end with an accented vowel. Examples: la città → le città (the city – the cities) la virtù → le virtù (the virtue – the virtues) il papà → i papà (the dad – the dads) Nouns ending in consonants (which are often borrowed ‘foreign’ words) also have identical singular and plural forms. Examples: il computer → i computer (the computer – the computers) lo yogurt → gli yogurt (the yogurt – the yogurts) There are some cases in which plural nouns have a different spelling. Some masculine substantives ending in “-co” and “-go” form their plural with “-chi” and “-ghi“. Examples: il tedesco → i tedeschi (the German – the Germans) l’albergo → gli alberghi (the hotel – the hotels) Others form the plural with “-ci” or “-gi“. Examples: l’amico → gli amici (the friend – the friends) l’archeologo → gli archeologi (the archaeologist – the archaeologists). Feminine nouns ending in “-ca” and “-ga” follow the same rule. Examples: la tasca → le tasche (the pocket – the pockets) l’alga → le alghe (the seaweed – the seaweeds)

Italian Grammar Lessons: Like – Piace/Piacciono

The verb “piacere” (to like) in Italian has an unusual construction, in the sense that the subject of the action is reversed. The meaning of “piacere” is best thought of as “to please, to be pleasing to” rather than ‘to like’. In English you ‘like’ something or doing something. In Italian it’s the object or activity that ‘pleases’ you. To construct this grammatically, we need to use indirect pronouns. For example: Mi piace la pizza (‘I like pizza’, but literally: ‘Pizza pleases me.’) Here’s the same example sentence conjugated for the different subjects: Mi piace la pizza. (‘Pizza pleases me.’) Ti piace la pizza. (‘Pizza pleases you.’) Gli piace la pasta. (‘Pizza pleases him.’) Le piace la pizza. (‘Pizza pleases her.’) Ci piace la pizza. (‘Pizza pleases us.’) Vi piace la pizza. (‘Pizza pleases you.’) Gli piace la pizza. (‘Pizza pleases them.’) A further complication is that, if the subject of the sentence is plural, you need to remember to change the verb from the third person singular (‘piace’) to the third person plural (‘piacciono’). For example: Mi piacciono i biscotti. (‘Biscuits please me.’) The negative is formed by adding ‘non’. For example: Non gli piace il cioccolato. (‘Chocolate doesn’t please him.’) Non ci piacciono le lasagne. (‘Lasagnes don’t please us.’) The verb ‘piacere’ can also be followed by another verb, which has to be in the infinitive form. For example: Mi piace leggere. (‘Reading pleases me.’) Non gli piace studiare. (‘Studying doesn’t please him.’) Ci piace mangiare al ristorante. (‘Eating at the restaurant pleases us.’)

Il presente: -are verbs

1. ABITARE : to live
Io: abito Noi: abitiamo
Tu: abiti Voi: abitate
Lui: abita Loro: abitano
2. ARRIVARE : to arrive
Io: arrivo Noi: arriviamo
Tu: arrivi Voi: arrivate
Lui: arriva Loro: arrivano
3. ASPETTARE : to wait for
Io: aspetto Noi: aspettiamo
Tu: aspetti Voi: aspettate
Lui: aspetta Loro: aspettano
4. CAMMINARE : to walk
Io: cammino Noi: camminiamo
Tu: cammini Voi: camminate
Lui: cammina Loro: camminano
5. COMINCIARE : to begin
Io: comincio Noi: cominciamo
Tu: cominci Voi: cominciate
Lui: comincia Loro: cominciano
6. CUCINARE : to cook
Io: cucino Noi: cuciniamo
Tu: cucini Voi: cucinate
Lui: cucina Loro: cucinano
7. GUARDARE : to watch
Io: guardo Noi: guardiamo
Tu: guardi Voi: guardate
Lui: guarda Loro: guardano
8. IMPARARE : to learn
Io: imparo Noi: impariamo
Tu: impari Voi: imparate
Lui: impara Loro: imparano
9. LAVORARE : to work
Io: lavoro Noi: lavoriamo
Tu: lavori Voi: lavorate
Lui: lavora Loro: lavorano
10. MANDARE : to send
Io: mando Noi: mandiamo
Tu: mandi Voi: mandate
Lui: manda Loro: mandano
11. NUOTARE : to swim
Io: nuoto Noi: nuotiamo
Tu: nuoti Voi: nuotate
Lui: nuota Loro: nuotano
12. PENSARE : to think
Io: penso Noi: pensiamo
Tu: pensi Voi: pensate
Lui: pensa Loro: pensano
13. PORTARE : to bring
Io: porto Noi: portiamo
Tu: porti Voi: portate
Lui: porta Loro: portano
14. TORNARE : to return
Io: torno Noi: torniamo
Tu: torni Voi: tornate
Lui: torna Loro: tornano

Il presente: -ere verbs

1. CADERE : to fall
Io: cado Noi: cadiamo
Tu: cadi Voi: cadete
Lui: cade Loro: cadono
2. CHIEDERE : to ask
Io: chiedo Noi: chiediamo
Tu: chiedi Voi: chiedete
Lui: chiede Loro: chiedono
3. CHIUDERE : to close
Io: chiudo Noi: chiudiamo
Tu: chiudi Voi: chiudete
Lui: chiude Loro: chiudono
4. CREDERE : to believe
Io: credo Noi: crediamo
Tu: credi Voi: credete
Lui: crede Loro: credono
5. LEGGERE : to read
Io: leggo Noi: leggiamo
Tu: leggi Voi: leggete
Lui: legge Loro: leggono
6. METTERE : to put
Io: metto Noi: mettiamo
Tu: metti Voi: mettete
Lui: mette Loro: mettono
7. PERDERE : to lose
Io: perdo Noi: perdiamo
Tu: perdi Voi: perdete
Lui: perde Loro: perdono
8. PRENDERE : to take
Io: prendo Noi: prendiamo
Tu: prendi Voi: prendete
Lui: prende Loro: prendono
9. RICEVERE : to receive
Io: ricevo Noi: riceviamo
Tu: ricevi Voi: ricevete
Lui: riceve Loro: ricevono
10. RIPETERE : to repeat
Io: ripeto Noi: ripetiamo
Tu: ripeti Voi: ripetete
Lui: ripete Loro: ripetono
11. RISPONDERE : to answer
Io: rispondo Noi: rispondiamo
Tu: rispondi Voi: rispondete
Lui: risponde Loro: rispondono
12. SCRIVERE : to write
Io: scrivo Noi: scriviamo
Tu: scrivi Voi: scrivete
Lui: scrive Loro: scrivono
13. SPENDERE : to spend (money)
Io: spendo Noi: spendiamo
Tu: spendi Voi: spendete
Lui: spende Loro: spendono
14. VEDERE : to see
Io: vedo Noi: vediamo
Tu: vedi Voi: vedete
Lui: vede Loro: vedono
15. VIVERE : to live
Io: vivo Noi: viviamo
Tu: vivi Voi: vivete
Lui: vive Loro: vivono

Il presente: -ire verbs

1. APRIRE : to open
Io: apro Noi: apriamo
Tu: apri Voi: aprite
Lui: apre Loro: aprono
2. DORMIRE : to sleep
Io: dormo Noi: dormiamo
Tu: dormi Voi: dormite
Lui: dorme Loro: dormono
3. MENTIRE : to lie
Io: mento Noi: mentiamo
Tu: menti Voi: mentite
Lui: mente Loro: mentono
4. OFFRIRE : to offer
Io: offro Noi: offriamo
Tu: offri Voi: offrite
Lui: offre Loro: offrono
5. PARTIRE : to leave
Io: parto Noi: partiamo
Tu: parti Voi: partite
Lui: parte Loro: partono
6. SEGUIRE : to follow
Io: seguo Noi: seguiamo
Tu: segui Voi: seguite
Lui: segue Loro: seguono
7. SENTIRE : to hear
Io: sento Noi: sentiamo
Tu: senti Voi: sentite
Lui: sente Loro: sentono
8. SERVIRE : to serve
Io: servo Noi: serviamo
Tu: servi Voi: servite
Lui: serve Loro: servono
9. VESTIRE : to dress
Io: vesto Noi: vestiamo
Tu: vesti Voi: vestite
Lui: veste Loro: vestono
Il presente: all verbs
1. ANDARE : to go
Io: vado Noi: andiamo
Tu: vai Voi: andate
Lui: va Loro: vanno
2. AVERE : to have
Io: ho Noi: abbiamo
Tu: hai Voi: avete
Lui: ha Loro: hanno
3. CONOSCERE : to know
Io: conosco Noi: conosciamo
Tu: conosci Voi: conoscete
Lui: conosce Loro: conoscono
4. DARE : to give
Io: do Noi: diamo
Tu: dai Voi: date
Lui: Loro: danno
5. DEDICARE : to dedicate
Io: dedico Noi: dedichiamo
Tu: dedichi Voi: dedicate
Lui: dedica Loro: dedicano
6. DIRE : to say or tell
Io: dico Noi: diciamo
Tu: dici Voi: dite
Lui: dice Loro: dicono
7. DOVERE : to must or have to
Io: devo Noi: dobbiamo
Tu: devi Voi: dovete
Lui: deve Loro: devono
8. ESSERE : to be
Io: sono Noi: siamo
Tu: sei Voi: siete
Lui: è Loro: sono
9. FARE : to make or do
Io: faccio Noi: facciamo
Tu: fai Voi: fate
Lui: fa Loro: fanno
10. INSEGNARE : to teach
Io: insegno Noi: insegniamo
Tu: insegni Voi: insegnate
Lui: insegna Loro: insegnano
11. METTERSI : to put on
Io: mi metto Noi: ci mettiamo
Tu: ti metti Voi: vi mettete
Lui: si mette Loro: si mettono
12. PERDERSI : to get lost
Io: mi perdo Noi: ci perdiamo
Tu: ti perdi Voi: vi perdete
Lui: si perde Loro: si perdono
13. POTERE : to be able
Io: posso Noi: possiamo
Tu: puoi Voi: potete
Lui: può Loro: possono
14. PRENDERE : to take
Io: prendo Noi: prendiamo
Tu: prendi Voi: prendete
Lui: prende Loro: prendono
15. PREPARARSI : to get ready
Io: mi preparo Noi: ci prepariamo
Tu: ti prepari Voi: vi preparate
Lui: si prepara Loro: si preparano
16. PROIBIRE : to forbid
Io: proibisco Noi: proibiamo
Tu: proibisci Voi: proibite
Lui: proibisce Loro: proibiscono

Manuela: Ciao Giorgia, come stai? Giorgia: Bene, grazie! E tu? Manuela: Anch’ io! Oh, ciao Veronica! Che piacere vederti! Dove vai? Veronica: Ciao Manuela! Io vado a Milano. E tu? Manuela: Anch’ io vado a Milano. Veronica: Lei è una tua amica? Manuela: Sì, studiamo insieme all’università. Veronica: Piacere, io sono Veronica! E tu come ti chiami? Giorgia: Piacere, io mi chiamo Giorgia. Di dove sei? Veronica: Io sono di Cagliari, e tu? Giorgia: Io sono di Sassari ma studio a Cagliari. E tu che cosa fai? Veronica: Anch’io sono una studentessa. Quanti anni hai? Giorgia: 20. E tu? Veronica: Io ho 21 anni.

Introductions in Italian


A: Giulia, ti presento il mio amico David. B: Piacere di conoscerti! C: Piacere mio!

A: Maria, ecco il mio nuovo vicino. B: Piacere, io sono Maria. Tu come ti chiami? C: Mi chiamo David, piacere!


A: Buonasera signora Riva, le presento il mio amico. B: Sono Giovanna, molto lieta! C: Piacere, David.

A: Scusi, è lei la dottoressa Rossi? B: Si sono io, e lei come si chiama? A: Sono Maria Ricci, piacere.

 Look at the conjugation of the following verbs:

ESSERE (to be)

AVERE (to have)
CHIAMARSI (to call yourself)

 Io sono

 Tu sei

 Lui/Lei è

 Io ho

 Tu hai

 Lui /Lei ha

 Io mi chiamo

 Tu ti chiami

 Lui/Lei si chiamaPresent Perfect (Passato Prossimo)

 How to say hello and goodbye in Italian.

Saying hello

Saying goodbye

Ciao Hi

Buongiorno Good morning

Buonasera Good evening

Salve Hello

Arrivederci Goodbye

A dopo See you later

A domani See you tomorrow

A presto See you soon

ESSERE (to be)
AVERE (to have)
VOLERE (to want)
FARE (to make)

Io sono

Tu sei

Lui/Lei è

Noi siamo

Voi siete

Loro sono

Io ho

Tu hai

Lui /Lei ha

Noi abbiamo

Voi avete

Loro hanno

Io voglio

Tu vuoi

Lui/Lei vuole

Noi vogliamo

Voi volete

Loro vogliono

Io faccio

Tu fai

Lui/Lei fa

Noi facciamo

Voi fate

Loro fanno

Saying Hello in Italian

INCONTRO TRA AMICHE – Dialogo informale SAYING HELLO TO FRIENDS – informal dialogue

A: Ciao Anna! B: Ciao Francesca, come stai? A: Molto bene grazie, e tu? B: Non c’è male, grazie.


A: Buongiorno signora Rossi! B: Buongiorno, come sta? A: Abbastanza bene, grazie. E lei? B: Così così.

Saying Goodbye in Italian


A: Ciao Monica, ci vediamo dopo! B: Ciao Tania, a più tardi!

A: Buonanotte Valentina, alla prossima volta! B: Ciao, a presto!


A: ArrivederLa professoressa! B: Arrivederci ragazzi! A domani!

Saying Hello in Italian

INCONTRO TRA AMICHE – Dialogo informale SAYING HELLO TO FRIENDS – informal dialogue

A: Ciao Anna! B: Ciao Francesca, come stai? A: Molto bene grazie, e tu? B: Non c’è male, grazie.


A: Buongiorno signora Rossi! B: Buongiorno, come sta? A: Abbastanza bene, grazie. E lei? B: Così così.

BERE (to drink)

AIUTARE (to help)
MANGIARE (to eat)

Io bevo

Tu bevi

Lui /Lei beve

Noi beviamo

Voi bevete

Loro bevono

Io aiuto

Tu aiuti

Lui /Lei aiuta

Noi aiutiamo

Voi aiutate

Loro aiutano

Io mangio

Tu mangi

Lui/Lei mangia

Noi mangiamo

Voi mangiate

Loro mangiano

4) The plural of nouns are formed in this way:


libro – libri

coltello – coltelli

albero – alberi

matita – matite

strada – strade

casa – case

Giorgia: Io vorrei qualcosa da mangiare. E voi? Manuela e Veronica: Si, anche noi! Andiamo in quel ristorante vicino!

Giorgia: Buongiorno, io vorrei un piatto di spaghetti, grazie. Cameriere: Vorrebbe altro? Giorgia:No, grazie. Manuela: Anche io vorrei un piatto di spaghetti. con il pomodoro fresco. Veronica: Per me una bistecca con insalata.

Cameriere: Qualcosa da bere? Giorgia:3 bottiglie di acqua naturale, grazie!

Veronica: Scusi, potrebbe portarci il conto? Cameriere: Voilà! In tutto 30 euro! Giorgia:Grazie e arrivederci! Cameriere: Arrivederci!

Present Perfect (Passato Prossimo)

The present perfect tense is used to express something that happened in the past, and which is completely finished (not habitual or continuous). To form this compound tense, which can translate as something happened, something has happened, or something did happen, conjugate avereor sometimes essere and add the past participle.  To form the past participle, add these endings to the appropriate stem of the infinitives:

-are -ato
-ere -uto
-ire -ito
Verbs that can take a direct object are generally conjugated with avere.  Verbs that do not take a direct object (generally verbs of movement), as well as all reflexive verbs, are conjugated with essere and their past participle must agree in gender and number with the subject. Avere uses avere as its auxiliary verb, while essere uses essere as its auxiliary verb.  Negative sentences in the present perfect tense are formed by placingnon in front of the auxiliary verb. Common adverbs of time are placed between avere/essere and the past participle. Io ho visitato Roma.  I visited Rome. Tu non hai visitato gli Stati Uniti.  You didn’t visit the United States. Abbiamo conosciuto due ragazze.  We met two girls. Maria è andata in Italia.  Maria went to Italy.  (Note the agreement of the past participle with the subject.) Ho sempre avuto paura dei cani. I’ve always been afraid of dogs. Hai già finito di studiare? Have you already finished studying? In addition, some verbs take on a different meaning in the present perfect: conoscere means to meet and sapere means to find out (or to hear). Reflexive Verbs in the Present Perfect Tense Since all reflexive verbs use essere as the auxiliary verb, the past participle must agree with the subject. The word order is reflexive pronoun + essere + past participle. Mi sono divertita. I had fun. Si è sentito male. He felt bad. Prepositions & adverbs of place
at, to a over / above sopra
in in under / below sotto
on / up su inside dentro
from, by da outside fuori
of di around intorno a
with con between tra
without senza among fra
for per near vicino a
next to accanto a far lontano da
behind dietro before prima (di)
in front of davanti a after dopo (di)
across attraverso against contro
down giù toward verso

Reflexive Verbs:

Reflexive verbs express actions performed by the subject on the subject.  These verbs are conjugated like regular verbs, but a reflexive pronoun precedes the verb form.  This pronoun

always agrees with the subject.  In the infinitive form, reflexive verbs have -si attached to them with the final e dropped.  Lavare is to wash, therefore lavarsi is to wash oneself.  (Note that some verbs are reflexive in Italian, but not in English.)

Reflexive Pronouns
mi ci
ti vi
si si

Common reflexive verbs:

to be satisfied with accontentarsi di to graduate (from college) laurearsi
to fall asleep addormentarsi to wash up lavarsi
to get up alzarsi to put on mettersi
to be bored annoiarsi to get organized organizzarsi
to get angry arrabbiarsi to make a reservation prenotarsi
to be called chiamarsi to remember to ricordarsi di
to forget to dimenticarsi di to make a mistake sbagliarsi
to graduate (from high school) diplomarsi to feel (well, bad) sentirsi (bene, male)
to have a good time divertirsi to specialize specializzarsi
to shave (the face) farsi la barba / radersi to get married sposarsi
to stop (oneself) fermarsi to wake up svegliarsi
to complain about lamentarsi di to get dressed vestirsi

Io mi lavo. I wash myself. Noi ci alziamo presto.  We get up early. Si sveglia alle sette. She wakes up at seven.

The plural reflexive pronouns (ci, vi, si) can also be used with non-reflexive verbs to indicate a reciprocal action.  These verbs are called reciprocal verbs and are expressed by the words each other in English.

to embrace abbracciarsi to run into incontrarsi
to help aiutarsi to fall in love with innamorarsi
to kiss baciarsi to greet salutarsi
to understand capirsi to write to scriversi
to meet conoscersi to phone telefonarsi
to exchange gifts farsi regali to see vedersi
to look at guardarsi

Ci scriviamo ogni settimana.  We write to each other every week. Vi vedete spesso?  Do you see each other often?

Basic Conversation:

yes si
no no
please / you’re welcome Per piacere / prego or figurati
you’re very welcome Sei veramente il benvenuto
thank you grazie
thank you very much grazie mille
thanks grazie
Excuse me! Mi scusi!


English Italian Pronunciation (Audio)
I understand. Capisco
I don’t understand Non capisco
Hello (on the phone) / I beg your pardon? Pronto
What does that mean? Cosa significa?
I don’t know. non lo so
I don’t speak Polish. Non parlo Polacco
I speak a little Polish. Parlo poco Polacco
Do you speak english? (informal) Parli Inglese?
Do you speak english? (formal) Lei parla Inglese?
Yes, I do speak english. Si, parlo inglese.
No, I don’t speak english. No, non parlo inglese

Making acquaintances

English Italian Pronunciation (Audio)
Please talk more slowly! Parla più piano perfavore!
Nice to meet you! Piacere di conoscerti!
How are you? Come stai?
Good, thank you Bene, grazie
I’m well, thanks! Sto bene, grazie!
Not bad, thanks! Non male, grazie!
very bad molto male
What’s your name? Come ti chiami?
My name is […]. mi chiamo
What’s your first name? Qual’e il tuo nome?
My first name is […] Il mio nome è
How old are you? Quanti anni hai?
I’m […] years old. Ho … anni
What are your hobbies? Quali sono i tuoi hobby?
What do you like doing? Cosa ti piace fare?
What are you doing (at the moment)? Cosa stai facendo adesso?
Where do you live? Dove abiti?
I live in […] vivo a
I’m from England Vengo dall’Inghilterra
I’m English Sono Inglese
  • Italian Grammar: “tu” and “Lei” forms

    This lesson is about the informal and formal “tu” and “lei” forms in Italian grammar, and also covers useful phrases for first meetings. In Italian you use the second person form “tu” (you) when speaking to someone you know or someone of your own age or younger, but  “Lei”  when being formal. So for example, in formal situations we’d say “Che lavoro fa?” (What job does he/she do?) rather than “Che lavoro fai?” (What job do you do?). Check out these informal / formal versions of conversations you might have on first meeting someone. INFORMAL: Ciao, come stai? [Hello, how are you?] FORMAL: Buongiorno come sta? [Good morning, how are you?] REPLY: Bene grazie [Fine thank you.] INFORMAL: Come ti chiami? [What is your name?] FORMAL: Lei come si chiama? [What is your name?] REPLY: Mi chiamo … [My name is …] / Sono … [I am … ] INFORMAL: E tu? [And you?] FORMAL: E Lei? [And you?] REPLY: Piacere. [A pleasure!] INFORMAL: Di dove sei? [Where are you from?] FORMAL: Di dove è?  [Where are you from?] REPLY: Sono …, di … [I’m (nationality), from (city)] INFORMAL: Dove vivi? [Where do you live?] FORMAL: Dove vive?  [Where do you live?] INFORMAL: Come si scrive il tuo cognome? [How do you spell your surname?] FORMAL: Come si scrive il suo cognome? [How do you spell your surname?] INFORMAL: Come si pronuncia il tuo cognome? [How do you pronounce your surname?] FORMAL: Come si pronuncia il suo cognome? [How do you pronounce your surname?] INFORMAL: Quanti anni hai? [How old are you?] FORMAL: Quanti anni ha? [How old are you?] REPLY: Ho … anni [I am … years old] INFORMAL: Qual è il tuo numero di telefono? [What is your telephone number?] FORMAL: Qual è il suo numero di telefono? [What is your telephone number?] INFORMAL: Qual è il tuo indirizzo? [What is your address?] FORMAL: Qual è il suo indirizzo? [What is your address?] INFORMAL: Che lavoro fai? [What is your job?] FORMAL: Che lavoro fa? [What is your job?] REPLY: Sono … [I am … ] INFORMAL: Ciao, alla prossima volta! [Bye, see you at the next time!] FORMAL: Arrivederla, spero di vederla presto! [Bye, see you at the next time!] REPLY: A presto! [See you soon!]

    Italian Grammar Lessons: The Past / Passato Prossimo

    This lesson will show you how to use the principle Italian past tense, the “passato prossimo”. Italian has a “near past” tense and a “remote past” tense. The latter is used mostly in narratives (novels and the like) so in normal conversation you will not normally need to choose between them. Just use the passato prossimo, as explained on this page. For English speakers, there is one point of confusion: in English, you choose between the Simple Past tense (“I studied”) and the Present Perfect tense (“I have studied”). When speaking Italian, both forms would translate as the passato prossimo, even though the passato prossimo LOOKS more like the second one (“Ho studiato” = “I have studied”??) because of the use of the auxiliary verb “avere”. It’s confusing, but the thing to remember is that when you’re talking, you use the passato prossimo 99% of the time. The “passato prossimo” is formed with the auxiliary verb essere OR avere + participio passato (past participle). Just in case you’re still vague on the conjugation of “essere” and “avere”, here they are: essere – to be io sono tu sei lui/lei è noi siamo voi siete loro sono avere – to have io ho tu hai lui/lei ha noi abbiamo voi avete loro hanno You probably don’t know the “participio passato”  (past participle) of the verbs you’ve learnt, but not to worry! You can normally form the “participio passato” from the infinitive of a verb (this only applies to “regular” verbs) by changing the ending of verb: -are → ato (mangiare-mangiato) -ere → uto (avere-avuto) -ire → ito (dormire-dormito) So when you want to talk about a past action or event, you need to use avere or essere plus the past participle.  But which one? Avere or essere? The majority of verbs use “avere”, just like in English (I have studied). For example: Paola ha dormito a lungo. Mario ha visitato un museo. Io e Marco abbiamo pranzato in un locale tipico. I ragazzi hanno mangiato una pizza. But essere is used with: – verbs of movement – verbs of changing state – reflexive verbs For example: Paola è andata al cinema. Mario è andato al cinema. Io e Maria siamo andate al cinema. I ragazzi sono andati a casa. Note that with “essere” the ending of the past participle changes to reflect the gender and singluar/plural of the subject. The final thing you need to remember is that there are regular and irregular past participle forms. Examples of regular past participle forms: andare – (essere) andato/a avere – (avere) avuto tornare – (essere) tornato/a dormire – (avere) dormito cercare – (avere) cercato montare – (avere) montato mangiare – (avere) mangiato preparare – (avere) preparato guardare – (avere) guardato Examples of irregular past participle forms: fare – (avere) fatto mettere – (avere) messo venire – (essere) venuto prendere – (avere) preso essere – (essere)stato/a leggere – (avere) letto rimanere – (essere) rimasto aprire – (avere) aperto dire – (avere) detto scegliere – (avere) scelto scrivere – (avere) scritto uscire – (essere) uscito/a vedere – (avere) visto

    Italian Grammar Lessons: Two Irregular Adjectives & Adverbs

    Two important irregular adjectives are buono – good and cattivo – bad. The comparative and superlative forms are: buono – good, migliore – better, il migliore – the best cattivo – bad, peggiore – worse, il peggiore – the worst For example: Questo è un buon libro. – This is a good book. Il mio libro è migliore del tuo. – My book is better than yours. E’ il libro migliore che ho letto. – It’s the best book I’ve read. Quel cane ha un cattivo carattere. – That dog has a bad character. Il tempo a Bologna è peggiore del tempo al sud Italia. – The weather in Bologna is worse than in the south of Italy. Questa è la peggiore pizza che ho mangiato. – This is the worst pizza I’ve eaten. The adverb forms are also irregular and confusingly similar to the adjectives: bene – well, meglio – better male – badly, peggio – worse For example: Parli l’italiano bene. – You speak Italian well. Parli l’italiano meglio del tuo amico. – You speak Italian better than your friend. Guidi male. – You drive badly. Guidi peggio di un italiano! – You drive worse than an Italian!

    Italian Grammar Lessons: the impersonal form with ‘Si’

    In this lesson you will study the impersonal form with ‘si’, which is more or less the Italian equivalent of the passive form in English. For example, in English: In Bologna people eat a lot of meat. (active form) In Bologna a lot of meat is eaten. (passive form) The same effect is achieved in Italian using the “impersonal si” and the third person singular or third person plural. You need to choose singular or plural according to the object of the verb (meat, in my example). Look at these examples: Singular A Bologna la gente mangia molta carne. A Bologna si mangia molta carne. “molta carne” – is singular so we use “mangia” Plural A Bologna la gente mangia molti gelati. A Bologna si mangiano molti gelati. “molti gelati” – is plural so we use “mangiano” Further examples: In Italia quando si mangiano gli spaghetti (plural), si usa solo la forchetta (singular). Dopo i pasti non si beve il cappuccino (singular). Il salame non si compra (singular). I vini rossi non si bevono freddi (plural). A colazione non si mangiano i salumi (plural). La vera pizza si prepara (singular) con la mozzarella. La domenica si mangia molto (singular). Il sabato si dorme a lungo.

    Italian Grammar Lessons: Adverbs

    This lesson is about what an adverb is and how most adverbs are formed in Italian grammar. An adverb is an invariable part of the sentence (that means it cannot be declined for number, gender and case) and it determines, modifies the way an action is done or specifies something about a verb, an adjective or another adverb. It usually answers to the question “How?” (“Come?” in italian). Adverbs are formed by adding the suffix “-mente” to the feminine singular form of the adjective. For example: lento → lenta → lentamente giusto → giusta → giustamente felice → felice → felicemente If the adjective ends in “-ile” or “-ale”, you simply add the suffix to the root of the adjective. For example: gentile → gentilmente (gently) servile → servilmente (slavishly) speciale → specialmente (especially) generale → generalmente (generally) It is important to note that not all the adjectives can turn into adverbs and that not all the adverbs are derived from adjectives! As said, the adverbs can modify or specify the word to which they are referred. It can be a verb: Ex. Lui parla chiaramente (He speaks clearly) Or an adjective: Il fiore è veramente bello. (The flower is really beautiful)

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