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The 100+ Most Important Italian Verbs

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Verbs are concepts in motion and are a fundamental part of every language. But how many Italian language verbs should you learn to speak the language properly? Here at ItalianPod101, we believe that with the following 100+ Italian verbs, you’ll be able to face most circumstances with ease. And don’t be scared—with our examples and definitions, you’ll be able to master this Italian verbs list quickly. It’s Italian verbs made easy with ItalianPod101! 

But first, let’s take a look at Italian verb conjugation.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Italian Table of Contents
  1. Italian Regular Verbs
  2. Italian Irregular Verbs
  3. Reflexive Verbs in Italian
  4. Italian Verb Types & Their Meanings
  5. Italian Verb Placement in a Sentence
  6. ItalianPod101: A Great Source for Your Italian Learning!

1. Italian Regular Verbs

Buildings in Florence, Italy

There are three groups of Italian regular verbs, and their conjugation makes students happy. Indeed, they’re easy to learn and always the same. 

The three regular verb groups are: 

  • Verbs in -are
  • Verbs in -ere
  • Verbs in -ire

1- Verbs in -are

Here’s a chart with the -are Italian verb conjugation, and an example of how it works with the verb portare, meaning “to bring.”

1st sg (I)2nd sg (you)3rd sg (she)1st pl (we)2nd pl (you)3rd pl (they)
Stem + oStem + iStem + aStem + iamoStem + ateStem + ano
Io portoTu portiEgli portaNoi portiamoVoi portateEssi portano

Some examples of Italian verbs in -are are: 

1.

Amare
“to love”
Amo moltissimo viaggiare.
“I love traveling very much.”

2.

Pensare
“to think”
Io lavoro e penso a te.
“I work and I think about you.”

3.

Cominciare
“to start”
Oggi cominciamo un corso di italiano.
“Today, we start an Italian course.”

4.

Incontrare
“to meet”
Il Presidente incontra il suo staff nello Studio Ovale.
“The President meets his staff in the Oval Office.”

2- Verbs in -ere

Top Verbs

And now let’s see the conjugation of -ere verbs. We’ll use temere, meaning “to fear,” as an example.

1st sg (I)2nd sg (you)3rd sg (she)1st pl (we)2nd pl (you)3rd pl (they)
Stem + oStem + iStem + eStem + iamoStem + eteStem + ono
Io temoTu temiEgli temeNoi temiamoVoi temeteEssi temono

Some examples are: 

5.

Leggere
“to read”
Al mattino leggo il giornale.
“In the morning, I read the newspaper.”

6.

Mettere
“to put,” “to wear”
Marco mette sempre lo stesso cappello.
“Marco always wears the same hat.”

7.

Ridere
“to laugh”
Valeria ride sempre, è una ragazza davvero allegra.
“Valeria always laughs; she really is a joyful girl.”

8.

Prendere
“to take,” “to get”
Di solito prendono il caffè in questo bar.
“They usually get their coffee in this cafe.”
Woman Enjoying Breakfast in Venice, Italy

3- Verbs in -ire

The -ire verbs in Italian have two conjugations:

  • Verbs in -ire (simple)

This is the simplest conjugation. Here, we use the verb partire, meaning “to leave,” as an example.

1st sg (I)1st sg (I)3rd sg (she)1st pl (we)1st pl (we)3rd pl (they)
Stem + oStem + iStem + eStem + iamoStem + iteStem + ono
Io partoTu partiEgli parteNoi partiamoVoi partiteEssi partono

Other examples are:

9.

Aprire
“to open”
Il negozio apre dalle ore 10 alle ore 18.
“The shop is open from 10 to 18.”

10.

Sentire
“to hear,” “to feel”
Sento freddo, puoi chiudere la finestra per favore?
“I feel cold, can you please close the window?”
  • Verbs in -ire (with -isc-)

This is a slightly more complex conjugation. We’ll use the verb colpire, meaning “to hit,” as an example.

1st sg (I)2nd sg (you)3rd sg (she)1st pl (we)2nd pl (you)3rd pl (they)
Stem + iscoStem + isciStem + isceStem + iamoStem + iteStem + iscono
Io colpiscoTu colpisciEgli colpisceNoi colpiamoVoi colpiteEssi colpiscono

Examples: 

11.

Capire
“to understand”
Kate capisce benissimo l’italiano.
“Kate understands Italian very well.”

12. 

Pulire
“to clean”
Mia zia pulisce la casa ogni giorno.
“My aunt cleans the house every day.”

2. Italian Irregular Verbs

More Essential Verbs

Unfortunately, many very important Italian verbs are irregular, and this means that you have to learn their conjugation one by one. But don’t worry, with our help you’ll master them like it was the most natural thing in the world. 

By far, the most important Italian irregular verbs are essere (“to be”) and avere (“to have”), which also work as Italian auxiliary verbs

13. 

Essere
“to be”
Lorenzo è un bravissimo cuoco.
“Lorenzo is a great chef.”

14. 

Avere
“to have”
Luca e Antonia hanno una casa stupenda in Toscana.
“Luca and Antonia have a wonderful house in Tuscany.”

Other important examples of irregular verbs are: 

15. 

Andare
“to go”
In Italia i bambini vanno a scuola dalle 8 alle 13.
“In Italy, children go to school from 8 to 13.”

16. 

Venire
“to come”
Se non è un problema, vengo con voi.
“If it’s not a problem, I’ll come with you.”

17.

Potere
“can,” “may”
Posso raggiungervi più tardi?
“May I join you later?”

18.

Dovere
“to have to”
Devi parlare con tua madre.
“You have to talk to your mother.”
Boats in Burano, Italy

3. Reflexive Verbs in Italian

Reflexive verbs in Italian are very common and can sometimes be hard to understand for students. This is because some of them don’t actually have a real reflexive meaning. In sentences, even those verbs that have an identical subject and object are more like expressions in Italian than actual reflexive verbs as they’re thought of in English.

An example is the verb svegliarsi, which literally means “to wake yourself up.” But it really just means “to wake up.”

Some of the most important reflexive verbs are:

19.

Divertirsi
“to have fun”
Mi sono divertito molto questa sera.
“I really had fun tonight.”

20.

Lavarsi
“to wash up”
Ti sei lavato i denti?
“Did you brush your teeth?” (literally, “Did you wash your teeth?”)

21.

Alzarsi
“to stand up”
Quando l’insegnante entra in classe, dovete alzarvi.
“When the teacher comes in the classroom, you have to stand up.”

22.

Addormentarsi
“to fall asleep”
Ieri mi sono addormentata sul divano.
“Yesterday, I fell asleep on the couch.”

4. Italian Verb Types & Their Meanings

Negative Verbs

Following are a few lists of the best Italian verbs to know as a beginner in the language. Beginning with Italian action verbs, we’ll go through a variety of verb types that we’ve categorized for your convenience. Let’s get started! 

Italian Action Verbs

23.

Arrivare
“to arrive”
I miei cugini sono arrivati ieri sera.
“My cousins arrived yesterday evening.”

24.

Stare
“to stay”
A Parigi starò a casa di un’amica.
“In Paris, I’ll stay at a friend’s house.”

25.

Fermarsi
“to stop”
Fermati qui, c’è un buon ristorante.
“Stop here, there’s a good restaurant.”

26.

Camminare
“to walk”
Amo camminare sulla spiaggia.
“I love walking on the beach.”

27.

Cercare
“to search,” “to look for”
Scusi, cerco un bancomat. Sa dove posso trovarlo?
“Excuse me, I’m looking for an ATM. Do you know where I can find it?”

28.

Trovare
“to find”
Ho trovato un buon amico.
“I’ve found a good friend.”

29.

Spostare
“to move”
Per favore, aiutami a spostare il tavolo.
“Please, help me to move the table.”

30.

Tirare
“to pull”
Tira per aprire.
“Pull to open.”

31.

Spingere
“to push”
Sto scendendo, non serve spingere!
“I’m getting off, there’s no need to push!”

32.

Correre
“to run”
Mia sorella corre ogni mattina per 10 chilometri.
“My sister runs for ten kilometers every morning.”

33.

Viaggiare
“to travel”
Viaggio almeno due volte all’anno.
“I travel at least twice a year.”

34.

Rimanere
“to remain,” “to stay”
Vorrei rimanere di più, ma non posso.
“I’d like to stay longer, but I can’t.”

35.

Tenere
“to keep,” “to hold”
Tienimi la mano.
“Hold my hand.”

36.

Trasportare
“to transport,” “to carry”
Questo camion trasporta frutta.
“This truck transports fruit.”
Couple on Vespa

Mental Verbs

37.

Volere
“to want”
Sono stanca, voglio andare a dormire.
“I’m tired, I want to go to bed.”

38.

Sapere
“to know”
So chi è stato.
“I know who did it.”

39.

Credere
“to believe”
Credo che tu abbia ragione.
“I believe you’re right.”

40.

Sperare
“to hope”
Spero che l’esame vada bene.
“I hope the test will go well.”

41.

Piacere
“to like”
Il caffè italiano mi piace molto.
“I like Italian coffee very much.”

42.

Dispiacere
“to be sorry”
Mi dispiace che tu non ti sia divertito.
“I’m sorry that you didn’t have fun.”

43.

Ricordare
“to remember,” “to remind”
Questa canzone mi ricorda la mia infanzia.
“This song reminds me of my childhood.”

44.

Dimenticare
“to forget”
Ho dimenticato le chiavi.
“I forgot the keys.”

45.

Imparare
“to learn”
Sto imparando l’italiano.
“I’m learning Italian.”

46.

Sognare
“to dream”
Sogno di visitare Venezia.
“I dream of visiting Venice.”

47.

Desiderare
“to wish”
Desidero rivederti.
“I wish to see you again.”

48.

Odiare
“to hate”
Mia figlia odia il cavolfiore.
“My daughter hates cauliflower.”

Verbs of Change

The world is full of change and nothing is to be taken for granted. Here are some useful Italian verbs to learn to talk about change!

49.

Cambiare
“to change”
Il paesaggio è davvero cambiato.
“The landscape has really changed.”

50.

Diventare
“to become”
Crescendo, sono diventata più indipendente.
“Growing up, I’ve become more independent.”

51.

Migliorare
“to improve”
Il mio italiano è migliorato nell’ultimo anno.
“My Italian has improved over the last year.”

52.

Peggiorare
“to worsen”
Il tempo è peggiorato rapidamente.
“The weather has quickly worsened.”

53.

Aumentare
“to increase”
Il mio stipendio è aumentato di 100 euro.
“My salary has increased by 100 euro.”

54.

Diminuire
“to decrease,” “to reduce”
Bisogna diminuire le spese.
“We have to reduce our expenses.”
Rome

Verbs for the Workplace

Here are some Italian verbs you must know to talk about work and different types of jobs.

55.

Lavorare
“to work”
Matteo lavora 10 ore al giorno.
“Matteo works ten hours a day.”

56.

Fare
“to make,” “to do”
Faccio spesso degli errori di ortografia.
“I often make spelling mistakes.”

57.

Finire
“to end,” “to finish”
Ho finito il nuovo libro di Elena Ferrante.
“I’ve finished Elena Ferrante’s new novel.”

58.

Iniziare
“to start,” “to begin”
Hai iniziato a fare i compiti?
“Did you start doing your homework?”

59.

Costruire
“to build”
Mio nonno ha costruito questa casa.
“My grandfather built this house.”

60.

Creare
“to create”
Leonardo ha creato un capolavoro.
“Leonardo created a masterpiece.”

61.

Cucinare
“to cook”
Mio padre ha cucinato la pasta.
“My father cooked pasta.”

62.

Mescolare
“to mix”
Mescola il latte con le uova.
“Mix the milk with the eggs.”

63.

Tagliare
“to cut”
Per favore, taglia il pane.
“Please, cut the bread.”

64.

Servire
“to serve”
Servire a temperatura ambiente.
“Serve at room temperature.”

65.

Guidare
“to drive”
Non mi piace guidare molte ore.
“I don’t like to drive for many hours.”

66.

Usare
“to use”
Posso usare la tua auto?
“Could I use your car?”

67.

Scrivere
“to write”
Gli scriverò una lettera.
“I’ll write him a letter.”

68.

Telefonare
“to phone”
Domani telefonerò all’ufficio.
“Tomorrow, I’ll phone the office.”

69.

Chiamare
“to call”
Andrea ti chiamerà più tardi.
“Andrea will call you later.”

70.

Chiedere
“to ask,” “to request”
Marco ha chiesto a Valentina di sposarlo.
“Marco asked Valentina to marry him.”

71.

Rispondere
“to answer”
Ti prego di rispondere al più presto.
“Please, answer as soon as possible.”

72.

Firmare
“to sign”
Ho appena firmato il contratto.
“I’ve just signed the contract.”

Sensory Verbs

73.

Guardare
“to watch”
Sto guardando la tv.
“I’m watching TV.”

74.

Vedere
“to see”
È così buio che non vedo nulla.
“It’s so dark that I can’t see anything.”

75.

Ascoltare
“to listen”
Roberto ascolta solo la musica metal.
“Roberto only listens to metal music.”

76.

Assaggiare
“to taste”
Voglio assaggiare questo vino.
“I want to taste this wine.”

77.

Profumare
“to smell”
La tua macchina profuma di sapone.
“Your car smells like soap.”

78.

Toccare
“to touch”
Tocca questo tessuto: è morbidissimo.
“Touch this fabric; it’s really soft.”

9- Other Italian Verbs for Beginners

79.

Parlare
“to talk,” “to speak”
Io e mia sorella parliamo ogni giorno al telefono.
“My sister and I talk everyday on the phone.”

80.

Dipingere
“to paint”
Michelangelo ha dipinto la Cappella Sistina.
“Michelangelo painted the Cappella Sistina.”

81.

Suonare
“to play (an instrument)”
Maria sa suonare il piano.
“Maria can play the piano.”

82.

Recitare
“to play (like an actor)”
Al Pacino ha recitato ne Il Padrino.
“Al Pacino played in The Godfather.”

83.

Mangiare
“to eat”
Di solito a pranzo mangio un panino.
“I usually eat a sandwich for lunch.”

84.

Bere
“to drink”
Ti andrebbe di bere qualcosa con me?
“Would you like to drink something with me?”

85.

Dormire
“to sleep”
La domenica dormo sempre fino a tardi.
“On Sundays, I always sleep until late.”

86.

Riposare
“to rest”
In vacanza non ho riposato per niente.
“On holiday, I couldn’t rest for a moment.”

87.

Vestirsi
“to get dressed”
Vestiti, dobbiamo uscire.
“Get dressed, we have to go out.”

88.

Nuotare
“to swim”
Non so nuotare.
“I can’t swim.”

89.

Sdraiarsi
“to lie”
Mi sono sdraiato per terra.
“I lay down on the ground.”

90.

Salire
“to get on,” “to get up”
Sono salito sull’ultimo autobus.
“I got on the last bus.”

91.

Scendere
“to get off”
Scusi, devo scendere alla prossima fermata.
“Excuse me, I have to get off at the next stop.”

92.

Sollevare
“to lift”
Questa macchina solleva fino a una tonnellata di peso.
“This machine lifts up to one ton of weight.”

93.

Passare
“to pass”
Passami il sale, per favore.
“Pass me the salt, please.”

94.

Inventare
“to invent”
Marconi ha inventato la radio.
“Marconi invented the radio.”

95.

Comprare
“To buy”
Hai comprato il latte?
“Did you buy the milk?”

96.

Vendere
“to sell”
Il negozio all’angolo vende borse e scarpe.
“The shop at the corner sells bags and shoes.”

97.

Pagare
“to pay”
Ho pagato 10 € per una pizza a una birra.
“I paid 10 € for a pizza and a beer.”

98.

Vincere
“to win”
La Ferrari ha vinto l’ultimo Gran Premio.
“The Ferrari won the latest Grand Prix.”

99.

Perdere
“to lose”
Ho perso il cellulare.
“I’ve lost my mobile phone.”

100.

Nascere
“to be born”
Sono nato in Francia, ma sono cresciuto in Belgio.
“I was born in France, but I grew up in Belgium.”

101.

Morire
“to die”
Nell’incidente per fortuna non è morto nessuno.
“Luckily, nobody died in the accident.”

5. Italian Verb Placement in a Sentence

As you can see from the many sentences above, in Italian, a verb usually goes after the subject and before the object (or any other complement). 

Example: 

Subject + Verb + Object

Il topo mangia il formaggio.

“The mouse eats the cheese.”

6. ItalianPod101: A Great Source for Your Italian Learning!

We hope you enjoyed learning about Italian verbs with us, and that you picked up a few new vocabulary words you can start using today! It will take lots of studying and practice, but you can memorize every word on this list over time. And once you do, why not start on another Italian basic verbs list on ItalianPod101? 

Have you already checked out our majestic 100 adjectives article, our amazing 100 nouns list, or our guide on Italian pronouns? If not, it’s time to do it! Improve your Italian with our wonderful guides and lessons, whenever and wherever you want. Download our mobile apps or follow our courses on your PC, and you’ll live the Dolce vita

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there are any Italian verbs you still want to know! We look forward to hearing from you, and will do our best to help! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Italian

Italian Pronouns: Definition, List, and Examples of Use

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Pronouns are one of the fundamental bricks in the majestic building of grammar. Basically, what they do is replace another word, allowing us to avoid repetition and making every language more agile, pleasant, and poetic. Italian pronouns are no exception. 

A pronoun in Italian can replace: 

There are many kinds of Italian pronouns, categorized by their function in a sentence. In this Italian pronouns lesson here on ItalianPod101.com, we’ll show you a list of all the most important ones, with their definitions and examples of Italian pronoun usage. It’s Italian pronouns, made easy!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Italian Table of Contents
  1. Italian personal pronouns
  2. Italian possessive pronouns
  3. Italian reflexive pronouns
  4. Italian demonstrative pronouns
  5. Italian interrogative and exclamatory pronouns
  6. Italian indefinite pronouns
  7. Italian relative pronouns
  8. ItalianPod101: Fast & Fun Italian for All

1- Italian personal pronouns

Introducing Yourself

A personal pronoun is a word that indicates who or what is involved in a sentence, without having to repeat it in full. Let’s clarify with an example in English: “My daughter is on holiday. She’s very happy.” Without pronouns, we would say: “My daughter is on holiday. My daughter is very happy.” A bit annoying, isn’t it?

Now, there are two categories of Italian personal pronouns:

  • Subject pronouns: When the replaced element is the subject of the sentence.
  • Object pronouns: When the replaced element is the object of the sentence. 

Further, there are two kinds of object pronouns.

  • Direct object pronouns: When the pronoun replaces a direct object, answering the question “Who?” or “What?”
  • Indirect object pronouns: When the pronoun replaces an indirect object, answering the question “To whom?” or “To what?”

Now, let’s see them in action in this nice and neat Italian pronouns table. 

Italian subject pronounsItalian direct object pronounsItalian indirect object pronouns
1st person singularIo (“I”)Mi (“Me”)Mi (“To me”)
2nd person singularTu (“You”)Ti (“You”)Ti (“To you”)
3rd person singularInformal: Lui, Lei (“He, She”).

Formal: Egli, Ella, Esso, Essa (“He, She, It male, It female”) *
Lo (“Him, It male”), La (“Her, It female”), L’ (“Him, Her, It” whenever the following word begins with a vowel)Gli (“To him, her, it”)
1st person pluralNoi (“We”)Ci (“Us”)Ci (“To us”)
2nd person pluralVoi (“You”)Vi (“You”)Vi (“To you”)
3rd person pluralInformal: Loro (“They”).

Formal: Essi, Esse (“They,” male and female) *
Li, Le (“Them,” male and female)Gli, Loro (“To them”)
*Used in written, formal language, like in literature or official documents.

And now, let’s dive into these Italian pronouns with examples!

Italian subject pronouns:

  • Io
    • Io vado al cinema, vuoi venire?

“I’m going to the cinema, do you want to come?”

  • Tu
    • Tu puoi andare ora.

“You can go now.”

  • Lui 
    • Lui aveva fame ed è tornato a casa.

“He was hungry and has gone home.”

  • Lei
    • Lei, Marta, è davvero una persona interessante.

“She, Marta, really is an interesting person.”

  • Noi
    • Noi andremo in vacanza fra una settimana.

“We’ll go on holiday in one week.”

“Did you watch the match yesterday?”

  • Loro
    • Loro non sono qui perché non sono stati invitati.

“They are not here because they were not invited.”

Direct object pronouns:

  • Mi
    • Ieri Marco mi ha visto ma non mi ha salutato.

“Yesterday, Marco saw me but he didn’t say hello to me.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow to confirm the deal.”

  • Lo
    • Cerco Giuliano, lo hai visto?
    • “I’m looking for Giuliano, have you seen him?”
  • La
    • Ti piace la pasta? Io la adoro.

“Do you like pasta? I love it.”

  • L’
    • Il Barolo è buonissimo, l’ho assaggiato in Piemonte. 

Barolo is very good, I’ve tasted it in Piedmont.”

  • Ci
    • Lorenzo ci ha invitati al suo matrimonio.

“Lorenzo has invited us to his wedding.”

  • Vi
    • Martedì vi porto a cena in un ristorante buonissimo.

“Tuesday, I’ll bring you to dinner in a very good restaurant.”

  • Li
    • Li ho incontrati stamattina al supermercato.

“I bumped into them this morning at the supermarket.”

  • Le
    • A: Hai tu le mie scarpe bianche? 

B: No, non le ho io.

A: “Do you have my white shoes?” 

B: “No, I don’t have them.”

Indirect object pronouns:

  • Mi
    • Ieri Andrea mi ha dato una bellissima lettera.

“Yesterday, Andrea gave me a beautiful letter.”

  • Ti
    • Ho bisogno di parlarti.

“I need to talk to you.”

  • Gli 
    • Gli ho consigliato di accettare il lavoro.

“I’ve suggested to him to accept the job.”

  • Ci
    • Roma ci piace così tanto che abbiamo deciso di vivere lì.

“We like Rome so much that we’ve decided to live there.”

  • Vi
    • Più tardi vi mando un’e-mail con i dettagli. 

“Later, I’ll send you an email with the details.”

  • Gli / Loro
    • Gli ho detto che devono partire entro domani. / Ho detto loro che devono partire entro domani.

“I’ve told them that they must leave by tomorrow.”

Two important notes: 

  • Unlike in other languages, in Italian, the use of the subject pronoun in a sentence isn’t mandatory. In fact, the subject pronoun is usually omitted, except when it’s needed to avoid ambiguity. 
  • Sono andato a letto presto, perché ero stanco.

“(I) went to bed early, because (I) was tired.”

  • In some cases, when you use an infinitive verb, you can add the object pronouns at the end of the sentence, attaching it to the infinitive verb.
  • Vieni a trovarci questa estate?

“Are you coming to visit us this summer?”

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns

2- Italian possessive pronouns

Italian possessive pronouns are identical to possessive adjectives. They replace the possessed object and must always be preceded by a definite article or a preposition + definite article. They’re conjugated according to gender and number. 

They are:

  • Mio / mia / miei / mie
    • Adoro il tuo stereo. Il mio è vecchio. 

“I love your stereo. Mine is old.”

  • Tuo / tua / tuoi / tue
    • Le mie nuove scarpe da trekking sono perfette. Come vanno le tue?

“My new trekking shoes are perfect. How are yours going?”

  • Suo / sua / suoi / sue
    • La mia valigia è stata finalmente trovata, ma della sua ancora non si sa nulla. 

“My luggage was finally found, but we still don’t know anything about his.”

  • Nostro / nostra / nostri / nostre
    • Tuo figlio adora il basket, mentre i nostri preferiscono il calcio.

“Your son loves basketball, while ours prefers football.”

  • Vostro / vostra / vostri / vostre
    • Il mio cane è un pastore tedesco, e il vostro?

“My dog is a German shepherd, and yours?”

  • Loro 
    • Il mio lavoro mi lascia molto tempo libero, mentre il loro no.

“My job gives me a lot of free time, while theirs does not.”

Italian Pronouns

3- Italian reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject of a sentence is also the object. There are a lot of very common reflexive verbs in Italian, and they can be a bit confusing. Anyway, the Italian reflexive pronouns are:

  • Mi (“Myself”)
    • Mi sto facendo la doccia.

“I’m taking a shower.”

  • Ti (“Yourself”)
    • Ti sei lavato le mani?

“Did you wash your hands?”

  • Si (“Himself, Herself, Themselves”)
    • Si è vestito in fretta ed è uscito.

“He dressed up quickly and got out.”

  • Ci (“Ourself”)
    • Io e Antonio ci amiamo molto.

“Antonio and I love each other very much.”

  • Vi (“Yourself”, plural)
    • Oggi vi siete svegliate molto presto, come mai?

“Today you got up very early, why?”

4- Italian demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are used instead of a noun to point out a specific person or thing. The most common Italian demonstrative pronouns are:

  • Questo / questa / questi / queste (“This, these”)

“This is Luca, my husband.”

  • Quello / quella / quelli / quelle (“That, those”)
    • Quelli che vedete sono i resti di un grande tempio romano.

“Those you see are the remains of a big Roman temple.”

5- Italian interrogative and exclamatory pronouns

Basic Questions

Interrogative and exclamatory pronouns are used to form questions or exclamations. In Italian, they are:

  • Chi (“Who”)
    • Chi è l’uomo con cui parla Simone?

“Who is the man Simone is talking to?”

  • Che cosa / Cosa / Che (“What”). All of these options are synonyms.
    • Cos’è successo?

“What happened?”

  • Quanto / quanta / quanti / quante (“How much” but also “So much” in exclamations)
    • Quanto mi manchi!

“I miss you so much!”

  • Quale / quali (“Which one”)
    • Tra pizza e pasta, quale preferisci?

“Between pizza and pasta, which one do you prefer?”

Pizza and Pasta

6- Italian indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are used to indicate something or someone in general. The most common Italian indefinite pronouns are:

  • Alcuno / alcuna / alcuni / alcune (“Some”)
    • A: Ti sono piaciute le opere in mostra? 

B: Alcune mi sono piaciute, ma non tutte.

A: “Did you like the artworks on display?” 

B: “Some I liked, but not all of them.”

  • Molto / molta / molti / molte (“Many, a lot”)
    • A: Hai fame? 

B: Molta!

A: “Are you hungry?” 

B: “A lot!”

  • Poco / poca / pochi / poche (“Few”)

B: No, poca.

A: “Were there many people at the concert?” 

B: “No, not much.”

  • Tanto / tanta / tanti / tante (“Many”)
    • Tanti sono venuti alla manifestazione, nonostante il freddo.

“Many went to the demonstration, despite the cold.”

  • Troppo / troppa / troppi / troppe (“Too much, too many”)
    • Troppi non sono tornati dalla guerra.

“Too many didn’t come back from the war.”

  • Tutto / tutta / tutti / tutte (“All, everyone”)
    • Siamo arrivati tutti in ritardo.

“We’ve all arrived late.”

  • Uno / una (“One”)
    • A: Hai un cellulare? 

B: Ne ho uno, ma è vecchio.

A: “Do you have a mobile phone?” 

B: “I have one, but it’s old.”

  • Qualcuno / qualcuna (“Someone, anyone”)
    • Qualcuno sa dirmi dov’è Dario?

“Could anyone tell me where Dario is?”

  • Ciascuno / ciascuna (“Everyone, each one”)
    • Ciascuno di noi ha un compito.

“Each one of us has a task.”

  • Ognuno / ognuna (“Everyone, each one”)
    • Ognuno deve fare la sua parte.

“Everyone has to do their part.”

  • Nessuno / nessuna (“No one, any”)
    • Nessuno sa perché è successo. 

“No one knows why it happened.”

  • Sono andata a cercare funghi nel bosco, ma non ne ho trovato nessuno. 

“I went looking for mushrooms in the forest, but I didn’t find any.”

Italian Indefinite Pronouns

7- Italian relative pronouns

Relative pronouns connect a sentence with a subordinate clause. The Italian relative pronouns are:

  • Che (replaces a subject or direct object)
    • La donna che sta parlando con Leo è il mio capo. 

“The woman who is talking with Leo is my boss.”

  • Chi (“The person who, the people who, whoever”)
    • Chi è stato?

“Who did it?”

  • Cui (replaces an indirect object)
    • La ragazza di cui ti ho parlato sta entrando nella stanza proprio adesso.

“The girl I told you about is entering the room right now.”

  • Il quale / la quale / i quali / le quali (same as Cui)
    • La persona per la quale lavoro si chiama Mario Rossi.

“The person I work for is called Mario Rossi.”

8. ItalianPod101: Fast & Fun Italian for All

Improve Listening

Mastering Italian pronouns is no easy feat, but with enough practice, you’ll get there! We hope you enjoyed this article and that you’re well on your way to really understanding Italian pronouns.

If there’s anything you didn’t quite understand, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments. We’ll do our best to help you out! 

Grammar is a complicated universe, but we at ItalianPod101 are here to help! Check out our lesson library and enjoy hours of videos, tons of useful articles, and practical mobile tools to learn and study whenever and wherever you want. 

Happy Italian learning! 

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Italian Word Order: From Basic to Complex Sentences

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When speaking a new language, you’ll find that many things about it are different compared to the language you’re used to. Sounds, words, grammar, everything is…foreign? Well, yes, of course. 

But maybe you haven’t yet thought about whether or not the sentence structure and word order are different, too. 

First of all, what do we mean by that? We’re talking about the basic word order, the correct sequence of all the elements that form the basic structure of a sentence.

If you compare the English and Italian sentence structure, you’ll definitely find differences that might create some confusion, especially when you get to negative sentences, questions, and complex phrases. But don’t worry about it; we’re here to help you with this simple guide. We’ll help you understand the basics of Italian word order rules, and then we’ll guide you until you’re able to perform well when creating more advanced sentences.

So, are you ready to learn about word order in Italian?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Italian Table of Contents
  1. The Basics of Italian Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object
  2. Il Buono, il Brutto e il Cattivo: Italian Word Order with Modifiers
  3. The Importance of Exercising
  4. The Famous Last Words

1. The Basics of Italian Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object

The basic Italian sentence structure, as with all Neo-Latin languages, follows the Subject Verb Object (SVO) pattern.

(And by the way, since we’ll be talking a lot about apples…what about checking out how to say the names of all kinds of fruit?)

First of all, let’s see what the single elements of this sentence mean:

  • {Eva mangia una mela.} (“Eva eats an apple.”)

Subject = It’s who/what is doing the action >> Eva mangia una mela.

Verb = It’s the action >> Eva mangia una mela.

Object = It’s the destination of the action >> Eva mangia una mela.

The sentence structure doesn’t change, even if you want to make the same sentence interrogative. In fact, in Italian, there is no S-V inversion as there is in other European languages (French and German, for example), and you don’t need to add anything to the sentence as you would do in English. 

In the case of Italian question word order, the basic sentence structure remains the same; you just need to add the interrogative tone and the question mark.

A Woman about to bite into a Green Apple

Eva, are you really going to eat that…???

See the examples:

  • {Eva mangia una mela.} (“Eva eats an apple.”)
  • {Eva mangia una mela?} (“Does Eva eat an apple?”)


  • {Studi l’italiano.} (“You study Italian.”)
  • {Studi l’italiano?} (“Do you study Italian?”)

Notice how in Italian, we generally omit the personal pronoun as a subject (io, tu, lui/lei, noi, voi, loro – “I, you, he/she, we, you, they”) unless there’s an ambiguity in the sentence, or you want to give particular emphasis to the person doing the action.

But what happens when you want to make a negative sentence? Very simple. You add the negative adverb non in front of the verb:

  • {Eva non mangia una mela.} (“Eva does not eat an apple.”)
  • {Eva non mangia una mela?} (“Doesn’t Eva eat an apple?”)


  • {Non studi l’italiano.} (“You don’t study Italian.”)
  • {Non studi l’italiano?} (“Don’t you study Italian?”)

As you can see, whether it’s affirmative or interrogative doesn’t change the structure of the sentence.

This is always the basic structure, even when the sentence becomes more complicated. For example, you could have a whole clause as a subject:

La prima donna che abita sulla terra mangia la mela. (“The first woman living on earth eats the apple.”)

Similarly, you could have a whole clause as an object:

Eva mangia quel frutto rosso o giallo o verde che chiamiamo mela. (“Eva eats that red or yellow or green fruit that we call apple.”)

2. Il Buono, il Brutto e il Cattivo: Italian Word Order with Modifiers

Improve Listening

Let’s look at the word order in Italian sentences when things get more complex. What happens to the sentence when you add, for example, an adjective that modifies the nouns (like bravo or “good”), or an adverb that modifies the verb (like sempre or “always”). These are called modifiers, as they’re used to add meaning—and therefore modify—the element they go with. 

1. Adjectives 

  • {Lo studente studia l’italiano.} (“The student studies Italian.”)

What if I want to add that we’re talking about an “American” student  (americano) studying Italian? 

  • {Lo studente americano studia l’italiano.} (“The American student studies Italian.”)

Did you see what happened? The adjective went after the noun. And this is the general rule: Italian adjectives follow the noun:

L’italiano non è una lingua (noun) difficile (adjective). (“Italian is not a difficult language.”)

Ho comprato un vestito rosso. (“I bought a red dress.”)

Sei un ragazzo simpatico! (“You are a nice boy!”)
But all rules have an exception, right? So, keep in mind that some of the most common Italian adjectives are placed before the noun. And here’s the list:

bello“beautiful”Un bel* ragazzo“A beautiful boy”
bravo“good”Una brava ragazza“A good girl”
brutto“ugly,” “bad”È un brutto giorno“It’s a bad day”
buono“good”Hai fatto un buon* lavoro.“You did a good job.”
caro“dear”Sono dei cari amici.“They are dear friends.”
cattivo“bad”Non dare il cattivo esempio.“Don’t set a bad example.”
giovane“young”Conosco un giovane attore.“I know a young actor.”
grande“big”Abbiamo una grande opportunità.“We have a great opportunity.”
lungo“long”Facciamo una lunga passeggiata.“Let’s take a long walk.”
nuovo“new”Il nuovo libro è rosso.“The new book is red.”
piccolo“small,” “little”Ho un piccolo problema.“I have a small problem.”
stesso“same”La stessa ragione“The same reason”
vecchio“old”Un vecchio albero“An old tree”
vero“true”È una vera avventura!“It’s a real adventure!”

*Bello/a and buono/a (“beautiful” and “good”), when they come before a noun, change their endings following the same rules of the definite article (bello >> il) and the indefinite article (buono >> un). Check the following examples. Do you want to know more and practice? 

an Upclose Shot of Baby’s Sleeping Face

Un bel bambino/Un bambino bello! (“A cute baby!”)

  • Il ragazzo >> il bel ragazzo 
  • Lo studente >> il bello studente
  • Un giorno >> un buon giorno
  • Uno studente >> un buono studente

But watch out! If they’re used together with an adverb, they must follow the noun, as in the general rule:

  • È un vecchio albero. (“It is an old tree.”) | È un albero molto vecchio. (“It is a very old tree.”)
  • È un brutto giorno. (“It’s a bad day.”) |  È un giorno veramente brutto . (“It’s a really bad day.”)

The same thing happens if you want to convey emphasis or express a contrast. In the following sentence, for example, the stress of the sentence is on the age of the tree, and not the tree itself:

  • Questo non è un albero vecchio, è un albero giovane! (“This is not an old tree, it is a new tree!”)

2. Adverbs

Just like adjectives, adverbs are modifiers and they appear in a sentence to slightly modify the meaning of the verb or adjective they go with. In Italian, they’re usually placed after the verb:

  • Leggo sempre il giornale. (“I always read the newspaper.”)
  • John parla bene l’italiano. (“John speaks Italian well.”)

Naturally, there are some exceptions to this rule in case of:

  • Modifying an adjective
    • È un albero molto vecchio. (“It is a very old tree.”)
  • Modifying another adverb
    •  John parla molto bene l’italiano. (“John speaks Italian very well.“)
  • The negative non, which we’ve already seen
    • Non leggo il giornale. (“I don’t read the newspaper.”)

But notice what happens if you add another negative adverb. Let’s compare English to Italian: Double negatives are grammatically incorrect in English, but in the Italian language, they’re perfectly acceptable:

  • Non leggo mai il giornale. (“I never read the newspaper.”)
  • Non leggo più il giornale. (“I no longer read the newspaper.”)
  • Non leggo quasi mai il giornale. (“I almost never read the newspaper.”)

Do you think we can add some more elements to complicate the structure a bit? Certamente! (“Of course!”) Which brings us to the other exception, when an adverb is formed with the -mente suffix (usually equivalent to the English “-ly” suffix).

Someone Looking Down at a Newspaper

I always read the newspaper. Do you?

See, for example, the case of normalmente (“generally, normally”):

  • A) Normalmente non leggo il giornale.
  • B) Non leggo normalmente il giornale.
  • C) Non leggo il giornale normalmente.

All these sentences have the same meaning (“I don’t normally read the newspaper”), although we can argue that by moving around the adverb, we end up stressing different parts of the sentence. In A), the stress is on the frequency; in B), it’s on the act of reading; in C), it’s on the newspaper. It’s a small nuance, but nevertheless is there.

3. Adverbs & Auxiliary or Modal Verbs

So far, we’ve looked at simple verbs. But what happens if a verb is composed of an auxiliary, as in the case of the passato prossimo, or with modal verbs (potere, volere, sapere, dovere – “can, will, know, must”)?

With these verbs, you normally follow the general rule. But in the presence of the following adverbs expressing time, assessment, certainty, or doubt, they can be placed in the middle, between the auxiliary and the past participle (or between the modal verb and the infinitive).

Ancora (“Yet”)Proprio  (“Really”)
Appena  (“Just”)Subito  (“Immediately”)
Finalmente  (“Finally”)Certamente  (“Surely”)
Già  (“Already”)Forse  (“Maybe”)
Mai  (“Never”)Nemmeno  (“Not even”)
Sempre  (“Always”)Probabilmente (“Probably”)
Spesso  (“Often”)Sicuramente  (“Definitely”)
  • Eva ha appena mangiato la mela… (“Eva just ate the apple…”)
  • Non ho ancora letto il giornale. (“I haven’t read the newspaper yet.”)
  • Voglio sicuramente studiare l’italiano con ItalianPod101. (“I definitely want to study Italian with ItalianPod101.”)
  • Devo proprio chiedere scusa…? (“Do I really have to apologize…?”)

4. Prepositional Phrases

In most sentences, we end up referring to “when,” “where,” and “how” the action is taking (or took) place. These sentences are the ones that explain the when, where, and how, and they’re called prepositional phrases since they’re often introduced by a preposition.

  • Studio l’italiano di sera. [when?] (“I study Italian in the evening.”)
  • Studio l’italiano a Firenze. [where?] (“I study Italian in Florence.”)
  • Studio l’italiano con ItalianPod101. [how?] (“I study Italian with ItalianPod101.”)

As you can see in the examples above, these phrases normally go at the end of the sentence, although with most of the phrases indicating the time aspect of the action (when?), you can safely move the elements around, just as you would in English:

  • Studio l’italiano di sera. [when?] (“I study Italian in the evening.”)
  • Di sera studio l’italiano. [when?] (“In the evening, I study Italian.”)
  • A pranzo non bevo mai il caffè.  [when?] (“For lunch, I never have coffee.”)
  • Non bevo mai il caffè a pranzo. [when?] (“I never have coffee for lunch.”)

But, if you’re not sure, always place them at the end of the sentence, and you’ll definitely be correct.

If you want more information on Italian prepositions, be sure to take a couple of minutes to watch the video below:

5. Personal Pronouns

Remember the first sentences we looked at?

  • {Eva mangia una mela.} (“Eva eats an apple.”)
  • {Studi l’italiano.} (“You study Italian.”)

Subject, verb, object. In that order. Well…not always. If you substitute the object with a personal pronoun, that pronoun would still be the object of the action, but it goes BEFORE the verb. Take a look:

  • {Eva la mangia in fretta.} (“Eva eats it in a hurry.”)
  • {Lo studi con ItalianPod101.} (“You study it with ItalianPod101.”)
A Personal Trainer Talking into a Megaphone

Help! I need a Personal [pronoun] Trainer!!!

The same rules apply to indirect personal pronouns, as in:

  • Gli chiedo un favore. (“I ask a favor of him.”)
  • Mi piace la pizza. (“Pizza pleases me.“= “I like pizza.”)

This is also true for the little pronouns ci (“in it,” “there”) and ne (“of it”).

  • A Roma? Ci andiamo domani. (“To Rome? We go there tomorrow.”)
  • Ha del prosciutto? Ne vorrei 100 grammi. (“Do you have ham? I would like 100 grams of it.”)

Things, however, change a little when we have these same pronouns, but the verb is an infinitive, a gerund, or an imperative. (Maybe you need a little more practice with those tenses or how they’re conjugated?

Because with these tenses, the pronoun can be placed either before or after. And in case it’s after, you need to attach it to the verb. Let’s see how:

  • {Eva mangia una mela.} (“Eva eats an apple.”)
  • {Eva la mangia in fretta.} (“Eva eats it in a hurry.”)
  • {“Eva, mangiala!} (“Eva, eat it!”)
  • {Studi l’italiano.} (“You study Italian.”)
  • {Lo studi con ItalianPod101.} (“You study it with ItalianPod101.”)
  • {Puoi studiarlo con ItalianPod101.} (“You can study it with ItalianPod101.”)
A Bunch of Women Doing Yoga at the Beach

A little patience and lots of exercise: the perfect strategy for learning a language!

3. The Importance of Exercising

Time to put everything into practice with these step-by-step exercises on Italian word order. Let’s start with a very basic sentence, and we’ll add up elements of complexity. Check the sections above in case you’re uncertain of something.

How would you translate these sentences?

  1. “Mary studies Italian.” – ________________________________________________________
  1. “She studies it with ItalianPod101.” – _____________________________________________
  1. “She studies Italian with ItalianPod101 everyday.” – __________________________________
  1. “Her friends don’t study Italian with ItalianPod101 yet.” – ______________________________
  1. “She studies Italian with ItalianPod101 everyday comfortably at home.” – _________________
  1. “Maria never forgets her Italian lessons.” – _________________________________________
  1. “Maria has probably studied Italian today.” – _____________________________________
  1. “This summer, Maria can study it in Florence.” – ______________________________________

Check your answers here:

1. Maria studia l’italiano.

2. Lo studia con ItalianPod101.com.

3. Studia l’italiano con ItalianPod101 ogni giorno.

4. I suoi amici non studiano ancora l’italiano con ItalianPod101.

5. Studia l’italiano con ItalianPod101 ogni giorno comodamente a casa.

6. Maria non dimentica mai le sue lezioni di italiano.

7. Maria ha probabilmente studiato l’Italiano oggi.

8. Quest’estate Maria può studiarlo a Firenze. 

Improve Pronunciation

4. The Famous Last Words

Now you’ve learned how to structure a sentence in Italian. Soon, with a little practice, you’ll be able to build more and more complex sentences, putting every word in the correct order. Hopefully, this guide has helped you with this mission. 

Practice is always the best strategy for improving Italian grammar, vocabulary, and communication skills. So make sure you visit ItalianPod101.com. Here you’ll find a great number of free resources, podcasts, lessons, and even mobile apps and a free PDF with practical and efficient lessons. Keep up with your good work on your Italian learning! 

In the meantime, if there’s anything in this lesson you didn’t quite understand, feel free to leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to help you out!

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Wait a Minute… Do You Know How to Tell Time in Italian?

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How often do you need to check the time every day? Telling the time is part of everyday life, so if you’re making plans for a specific time and date while traveling or studying in Italy, it’s essential that you master this conversation skill as soon as possible. 

In this article, I’ll be going over everything from how to say “hour” in Italian to asking for the time and making plans in Italian. Let’s get started.
Che ore sono? è ora di iniziare a divertirsi con ItalianPod101.com! (“What time is it? It’s time to start having fun with ItalianPod101.com!”)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Italian Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask for the Time in Italian
  2. Italian Hours
  3. Give Me a Minute…
  4. How to Divide Hours into Minutes in Italian
  5. General Time References of the Day in Italian
  6. Top Italian Time Adverbs
  7. Italian Proverbs and Sayings about Time
  8. Conclusion

1. How to Ask for the Time in Italian

Man Checking Watch

To start, let’s see the very first basic phrases you can use to ask for and say the time in Italian:

  • Che ore sono? / Che ora è? 


These literally translate to “What hours are they?” and “What hour it is?” respectively. They both mean “What time is it?”

This is the easiest way to ask the time in Italian. With this phrase, you don’t have to worry too much about using formal vs. informal speech, as adding scusi (“excuse me” – formal) or scusa (“excuse me” – informal) at the beginning of the sentence can make it more formal or informal.

  • Potrebbe/Potresti dirmi l’ora? 


This translates to “Could you (formal/informal) tell me the time?” 

This is a more complex form of asking for the time in Italian. It can be used both formally and informally as long as you change the person (2nd vs. 3rd) of the subject accordingly.

  • A che ora è…? /A che ora comincia…? 


These translate to “At what time is…” and “At what time starts …?” respectively. This is the Italian formula for asking when something (a meeting, a show, etc.) is going to start.

Did you notice that in Italian we say ore, literally meaning “hours,” when we talk about time? If you look up ora (“hour” in the singular) in an Italian dictionary, you’ll find that it means both “hour” and “now.” While the literal translation of “time” is tempo, in Italian, we use this word just in the sense of the concept of time—never to represent the passing of time on a clock. Interesting, right?

Che ore sono? Uffa*… il tempo non passa mai… (“What time is it? Geez…time never passes…”)

*Uffa is an untranslatable word that makes life so much more interesting! Depending on the context, it can be translated as “geez/gosh!”, “damn” (angry), “come on!” (impatient), “phew” (generic), or “oh, hum” (bored).

2. Italian Hours

When you say the time in Italian, it’s more common to use the twelve-hour clock, unless it’s in written official communication. In order to avoid confusion or ambiguity, you’ll often hear Italians say the time with the twelve-hour clock, adding di mattina, del pomeriggio, di sera, or di notte (“in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at night”).

Hourglass

Una vecchia clessidra (“An old hourglass”)

There’s no equivalent for “o’clock” in Italian. You simply say the time, and if you want to be very precise, you add in punto. You’ll only use this if you want to remark that it just turned exactly that time: Ci vediamo alle tre in punto! (“We meet at three o’clock (sharp)!”).

To state what time it is, you use the verb essere (“to be”), in the singular è, for midnight (mezzanotte), midday (mezzogiorno), and one o’clock (l’una). The rest of the time, you use the plural sono and the number  equivalent to the hour.
But if you want to say what time something happens, you use a/alle and the time, like this: a mezzanotte (“At midnight”), alle tre (“at three”). Remember that alle = a + le. Do you need to brush up on compound prepositions? Follow me!

È mezzanotte / A mezzanotte “It’s midnight” / “At midnight”
È l’una (di notte) / All’una (di notte) “It’s one AM” / “At one AM”
Sono le due (di notte) / Allle due (di notte) “It’s two AM” / “At two AM”
Sono le tre (di notte) / Alle tre (di notte) “It’s three AM” / “At three AM”
Sono le quattro (di notte) / Alle quattro (di notte) “It’s four AM” / “At four AM”
Sono le cinque (di mattina) / Alle cinque (di mattina) “It’s five AM” / “At five AM”
Sono le sei (di mattina) / Alle sei (di mattina) “It’s six AM” / “At six AM”
Sono le sette (di mattina) / Alle sette (di mattina) “It’s seven AM” / “At seven AM”
Sono le otto (di mattina) / Alle otto (di mattina) “It’s eight AM” / “At eight AM”
Sono le nove (di mattina) / Alle nove (di mattina) “It’s nine AM” / “At nine AM”
Sono le dieci (di mattina) / Alle dieci (di mattina) “It’s ten AM” / “At ten AM”`
Sono le undici (di mattina) / Alle undici (di mattina) “It’s eleven AM” / “At eleven AM”
È mezzogiorno / A mezzogiorno “It’s noon” / “At noon”
È l’una / All’una “It’s one PM” / “At one PM”
Sono le due (di pomeriggio) / Alle due (di pomeriggio) “It’s two PM” / “At two PM”
Sono le tre (di pomeriggio) / Alle tre (di pomeriggio) “It’s three PM” / “At three PM”
Sono le quattro (di pomeriggio) / Alle quattro (di pomeriggio) “It’s four PM” / “At four PM”
Sono le cinque (di pomeriggio) / Alle cinque (di pomeriggio) “It’s five PM” / “At five PM”
Sono le sei (di pomeriggio) / Alle sei (di pomeriggio) “It’s six PM” / “At six PM”
Sono le sette (di sera) / Alle sette (di sera) “It’s seven PM” / “At seven PM”
Sono le otto (di sera) / Alle otto (di sera) “It’s eight PM” / “At eight PM”
Sono le nove (di sera) / Alle nove (di sera) “It’s nine PM” / “At nine PM”
Sono le dieci (di sera) / Alle dieci (di sera) “It’s ten PM” / “At ten PM”
Sono le undici (di sera) / Alle undici (di sera) “It’s eleven PM” / “At eleven PM”

Naturally, it’s another matter to know how to write the time in Italian…. Here’s a hint: right now, it’s 11:33.

Impatient Boy at Table Holding Cutlery

È ora di pranzo! (“It’s lunchtime!”)

You’ll often find Italians referring to noon or one PM as l’ora di pranzo, meaning “lunchtime.” When it’s time to eat, it’s a sacred time for Italians. So, just a word of advice: avoid planning a meeting around that time unless you’re making plans for a lunch or dinner. Also, remember that the typical time for meals changes according to the region in Italy. Generally, people in the north have lunch around noon, while the more south you go, the later lunchtime (or dinnertime) is, especially in the summer. 

3. Give Me a Minute…

Time

A minute isn’t much, but we use the word all the time, both as a reference to sixty seconds and a more generic “little time.”

Kids will always tell you un minuto… cinque minuti… (“one minute… five minutes… “) when you ask them to get out of bed or clean their room, don’t they?

  • Sono le otto, alzati! “It’s eight o’clock, get up!”
  • Ho sonno… ancora cinque minuti… “I’m sleepy…five more minutes….”

It’s also the typical excuse for the chronic latecomer…

  • Ciao, sei pronto? “Hello, are you ready?”
  • Ehm…. Quasi… cinque minuti e arrivo… “Ehm…almost…five minutes and I’ll be there…”

Here are a few more useful formulas. Notice how the verb is in the imperative mood. You can practice with these phrases:

Dammi un minuto… “Give me a minute…”

Aspetta un minuto… “Wait a minute…”

The same formulas can be used with secondo, meaning “second.”

But in fact, apart from when we talk about cinque minuti or dieci minuti (“five minutes” or “ten minutes”), we rarely use the word “minute” in a sentence. See how it works in the case of 6:05 PM:

  • Che ore sono? (“What time is it?”)
  • Sono le sei e cinque. (“It’s five past six.”) 

We’ll look at this more in the following chapter.

Clock Spiral

Ore e minuti (“Hours and minutes”)

4. How to Divide Hours into Minutes in Italian

When the digital watches came around, a lot of people started telling time like robots:

  • Che ore sono? (“What time is it?”)
  • Sono le 17 e 27. (“It’s 17: 27.”)

But luckily, people soon realized it was too ugly and stopped doing that. The normal behavior now is to round up the minutes to halves, quarters, and fives. Much better!

  • mezz’ora (“half an hour”) 

Notice how in front of ora, the word mezza drops the last letter, a, and adds an apostrophe (‘), becoming mezz’ora. But whenever you need to put it after the hour, to mean “half past…” then you use the complete word, either mezzo or mezza.

  • … e mezza/mezzo  (“half past…”)

In this case, telling time in Italian is much simpler than in English. You just need to put together the hour and the half hour with the conjunction e. Notice how both mezzo and mezza are correct.

  • un quarto d’ora (“a quarter of an hour”)

Notice how here, too, we drop a letter and add an apostrophe, so that un quarto di ora becomes much nicer to hear and pronounce: un quarto d’ora.

  • e un quarto (“a quarter past …”)

To add just a quarter of an hour, you also need to put the conjunction e + un (indefinite article).

  • Just like in English, an easy way to tell time is by fractions of five minutes, as in:
  • le … e cinque (“five past …” or “… oh five”)
  • le … e dieci (“ten past …” or “… ten”)
  • le … e quindici (“fifteen past …” or “… fifteen”)

le … e venti (“twenty past …” or “… twenty”)

  • le … e venticinque (“twenty-five past …” or “… twenty-five”)
  • le … e trenta (“thirty past …” or “… thirty”)
  • le … e trentacinque (“thirty-five past …” or “… thirty-five”)
  • le … e quaranta (“forty past …” or “… forty”)
  • le … e quarantacinque (“forty-five past …” or “… forty-five”)
  • le … e cinquanta (“fifty past …” or “… fifty”)
  • le … e cinquantacinque (“fifty-five past …” or “… fifty-five”)
  • meno… 

After half past thirty-five, normally in Italian you start saying the following hour “minus” the minutes needed to get to the top of the hour. For example: 

  • 10:40 = le undici meno venti (literally “eleven minus twenty”)  
  • 11:45 = le dodici/mezzogiorno meno un quarto (“twelve/noon minus a quarter”)
  • 15:50 = le quattro meno dieci (“four minus ten”)
  • 19:55 = le otto meno cinque  (“eight minus five”)

5. General Time References of the Day in Italian

Telling the exact time, or being able to read a clock, is important. But since prehistoric times, people have talked about time by referring to the different stages of the day. So, if you want to have a more natural Italian conversation, here are the most common ways to give the general time of day in Italian.

Let’s remember that AM / PM isn’t commonly used in Italian. Instead, to avoid ambiguity or confusion, you’ll hear people mention di mattina, del pomeriggio, di sera, and di notte (“in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, at night”) after the time. These are the four basic stages of the day, but below is a more complete list of phrases using all the different parts of the day.

Sun Low Over the Horizon

Dall’alba al tramonto (“from dawn to dusk”)

Sono uscita di mattina presto.“I left early in the morning.
Faccio colazione a metà mattinata.“I have breakfast mid-morning.”
Mi sveglio sempre all’alba.“I always wake up at dawn.”
Ci vediamo a mezzogiorno (ad ora di pranzo).“See you at noon (at lunchtime).”
Ti chiamo nel primo pomeriggio.“I’ll call you in the early afternoon.”
La festa comincia nel tardo pomeriggio.“The party starts in the late afternoon.”
Com’è bella la montagna al tramonto!“How beautiful the mountain is at sunset!
Non esco mai di sera tardi.“I never go out late at night.”
È ora di cena.“It’s dinner time.”
Non si può fare rumore a notte fonda.“No noise can be made in the middle of the night.
Ho sentito un rumore nel cuore della notte.“I heard a noise in the dead of night.
È tardi: ora di dormire!“It’s late: time for bed (nap time)!”

6. Top Italian Time Adverbs

Improve Listening

Once you’ve mastered how to say the time, how to talk about all the stages of the day and night, you still need some other little words that help you indicate when something happens. When talking about time in Italian, these adverbs of time will be immensely helpful:

  • adesso/ora (“now”)


Il treno parte ora. (“The train leaves now.”)

  • al momento (“at the moment”)


Al momento non abbiamo tavoli liberi. (“At the moment, we don’t have free tables.”)

  • nel frattempo (“in the meantime”)


Nel frattempo preparo il pranzo. (“In the meantime, I’ll prepare lunch.”)

  • prima/dopo (“before/after”)


Ci vediamo prima di cena o dopo cena? (“Shall we meet before dinner or after dinner?”)

  • presto/tardi (“early/late”)


Per favore, arriva presto. Non fare tardi come al solito. (“Please, be there early. Don’t you be late as usual.”)

  • tra un po’ (“In a while”)

Pay attention to the apostrophe (‘). It’s there to indicate that it was originally a longer word (poco) that dropped the last syllable.


Ora non ho voglia. Lo faccio tra un po’. (“Now I don’t want to. I’ll do it in a while.”)

  • per molto/poco tempo (“for a long/short time”)


Per molto tempo ho creduto a Babbo Natale. (“For a long time, I believed in Santa Claus.”)

  • sempre/mai (“always/never”)
  • Vai sempre in palestra? (“Do you always go to the gym?”)
  • No, non ci vado mai. (“No, I never go.”)
  • il prima possibile (“as soon as possible”)


Ho bisogno della relazione il prima possibile. (“I need the report as soon as possible.”)

  • in qualsiasi momento (“at any time”)


Può succedere in qualsiasi momento. (“It can happen at any time.”)

  • di tanto in tanto (“from time to time”)


È bene fare una pausa di tanto in tanto. (“From time to time, it’s good to take a break.”)

7. Italian Proverbs and Sayings about Time

Time is such a universal and primordial concept that in all cultures, you’ll find many proverbs and sayings about it. Here are some of the most common proverbs and sayings about time in Italian.

Sundial
Il tempo è denaro.“Time is money.”
Il tempo vola.“Time flies.”
Chi ha tempo non aspetti tempo.“Those who have time do not wait for time.”

Meaning: Basically, it’s an invitation to act immediately without hesitation.
La notte porta consiglio.“The night brings counsel.”

Meaning: The best decisions must be made with a clear mind, better if after a long sleep.
Dare tempo al tempo.“Give time to time.”

Meaning: Allow things to fall into place by waiting for the right moment.
Il tempo è galantuomo.“Time is a gentleman.”

Meaning: Time restores the truth, repairs all wrongs, and heals everything. Therefore, we must learn to wait.
Ora di punta.“Rush hour.”

Meaning: This literally means “peak hour” because it refers to a peak in a diagram.
Fare le ore piccole.Literally “to make the small hours.”

Meaning: It means to stay up or out until very late (one, two, or three).
Non vedo l’ora (che succeda…).“I can’t wait (for something to happen).”

8. Conclusion

Basic Questions

I bet time flew while learning to tell time in Italian and more. Now you can practice telling time: make plans with your Italian friends, ask strangers for the time, or find out what time the movie starts.

But most importantly, don’t stop now! Go on and keep learning Italian with fun lessons and tons of podcasts and videos on ItalianPod101.com. We’ll help you improve quickly. 

Before you go, practice telling time in Italian by dropping us a comment with the current time in Italian! We look forward to hearing from you!

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Directions in Italian: Learn “Right” in Italian & More!



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Are you traveling through Italy? Do you need to get to the Colosseum? Are you taking art classes in Florence?

If you’re in Italy and you want to enjoy getting around and exploring new places, get ready to ask for directions in Italian with this quick and easy guide. No need for maps or GPS if you can get a little help from locals and practice your Italian in the process.

In this article, I’ll be going over direction phrases in Italian, and will teach you words like “right” in Italian and much more!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Italian

Table of Contents
  1. On the Map: Cardinal Directions in Italian
  2. On the Road: Street Directions in Italian
  3. Directions in Italian Using Landmarks
  4. Italian Phrases for Asking (Politely) for Directions
  5. Must-know Italian Phrases for Giving Directions
  6. If You Get Lost
  7. Streets, Squares, and More (Much More!)
  8. Conclusion


1. On the Map: Cardinal Directions in Italian


Whether you’re old-school and like to rely on paper maps, or you’re more into new gadgets and like to get around with GPS apps, one of the first things to learn is how to ask for compass directions in Italian when planning your trip on a map.

Map of Rome Tutte le strade portano a Roma. (“All roads lead to Rome.”)

  • Nord — “North”
  • Sud — “South”
  • Est — “East”
  • Ovest — “West”

These (and their combinations nord-est, sud-ovest, etc.) are the essential words you need to learn to find your way around a map of the country. Other than that, Italians don’t have the habit of referring to cardinal points when giving directions, and they’re mainly used to indicating the parts and areas of Italy.

When talking about directions in English, it’s very common to say things like “go north on Second Street” (prosegui a nord su Second Street). Instead, Italians almost never use directions when giving directions. Italians mostly mention the directions when describing geographical features.

    – Milano è nel nord d’Italia.
    “Milan is in the north of Italy.”

    – Napoli e Palermo sono le maggiori città del sud d’Italia.
    “Naples and Palermo are the major cities in the south of Italy.”

    – Pompei si trova a sud di Napoli.
    Pompeii is located south of Naples.”


Compass Hai perso la bussola? (Literally, “Did you lose your compass?” meaning also “Are you lost? Out of your mind?”)

In Italy, you’ll never hear someone talking about the north part of the city. Instead, almost every city can be divided into il centro storico, or “the historical center,” historically the old part of town, and la periferia or “the outskirts”/”the suburbs,” which are the newer parts of the town.

2. On the Road: Street Directions in Italian


Asking Directions

For road directions in Italian, you’ll need a series of relative indicators that will help you easily find where to go. Here are the most important ones:

a destra; a sinistra “to the right”; “to the left”
davanti; dietro “in front”; “behind”
vicino; lontano“near”; “far”
accanto a “next to”
all’angolo; dietro l’angolo “at the corner”; “around the corner”
da questo lato; dall’altro lato “on this side”; “on the other side”
a [due minuti] di distanza “it’s [two minutes] away”


Notice to say “right” in Italian we say destra, but just in the sense of left and right. If you mean “right” as in “correct,” you’ll have to say giusto. Giusto?

    A: È vicino il Duomo?
    “Is the Duomo near?”

    B: Saranno 5 minuti a piedi.
    “It’s probably a five-minute walk.”

    B: Prendi la prima a sinistra, poi la seconda a destra. Il Duomo è dietro l’angolo.
    “You turn left at the first intersection, then turn right at the second intersection. The Duomo is around the corner.”


3. Directions in Italian Using Landmarks


When you’re traveling, there are so many landmarks that you’ll go to or pass by. So it’s important to know the names of the main public buildings and of all the places of tourist interest in a particular city. When asking for directions, make sure you know the following words and phrases:

Around the City


l’aeroporto“the airport”
la stazione (dei treni, degli autobus)“the (train, bus) station”
l’accesso alla metro“the access to the subway”
la fermata dell’autobus “the bus stop”
il centro“downtown”
il centro commerciale“the shopping center”
il parco“the park”
l’albergo; l’hotel; l’ostello“the hotel”; “the hostel”
l’ospedale“the hospital”
la banca; il bancomat“the bank”; “the cash machine”
l’ufficio postale“the post office”
il parcheggio dei taxi“the taxi parking”
il museo; il teatro; il cinema“the museum”; “the theater”; “the cinema”
la chiesa“the church”
il ristorante; la trattoria; la pizzeria“the restaurant”; “the tavern”; “the pizzeria”
il bar; la gelateria“the coffee bar”; “the ice cream shop”
il supermercato; il mercato“the supermarket”; “the market”
l’edicola“the newsstand”
la farmacia“the pharmacy”
la scuola“the school”
il benzinaio; il distributore di benzina“the gas station”


Bus Stop Sign La fermata dell’autobus. (“The bus stop.”)

    – La farmacia è di fronte all’ospedale.
    “The pharmacy is in front of the hospital.”

    – Per andare al supermercato, vai sempre dritto fino al benzinaio, gira a destra, poi continua fino al secondo semaforo e infine gira a sinistra.
    “To go to the supermarket, go straight to the gas station, turn right, then continue to the second traffic light and then turn left.”


On the Street


l’incrocio“the intersection”
il semaforo (verde, rosso, giallo) [link to colors]“the traffic light” (green, red, yellow)
le strisce pedonali (le strisce)“the pedestrian crossing”
il marciapiede“the sidewalk”


    – La fermata dell’autobus è a duecento metri dal semaforo.
    “The bus stop is two-hundred meters from the traffic light.”

    – Quando arrivi all’incrocio, attraversa sulle strisce pedonali e aspettami sul marciapiede.
    “When you reach the intersection, cross on the pedestrian crossing and wait for me on the sidewalk.”


Inside a Building


il bagno“the toilet” (or bathroom)
l’ascensore“the elevator”
le scale“the stairs”
la porta; il portone; il cancello“the door”; “the main door”; “the gate”
l’entrata; l’uscita“the entry”; “the exit”
il parcheggio (la cassa per pagare il parcheggio)“the parking” (the cash desk to pay the parking)


    – Dov’è il bagno?
    “Where is the bathroom?”

    – Per favore, potrebbe indicarmi l’uscita?
    “Can you show me the exit, please?”


Bathroom Sign Scusi, dov’è il bagno? (“Excuse me, where is the bathroom?”)

4. Italian Phrases for Asking (Politely) for Directions


If you want to make sure that you’re given the best directions to the place you want to go, you might want to master a few must-know phrases that will allow you to ask politely and make a great first impression on the person you’re asking. Italians are usually very happy to help a tourist, especially a foreign one, but courtesy always goes a long way.

Scusi…


The first and most important phrase when asking directions in Italian is Scusi (scusa for informal) which literally means “may you excuse,” but basically just serves to catch the attention of the other person. (If you need a quick refresher on when we use formal/informal in Italian, check out this video.) Whenever you ask for directions, make sure you always start with that.

    – Ciao, scusa, dov’è la scuola?
    “Hi, excuse me, where is the school?”

    – Scusi, dove prendo l’autobus per il centro?
    “Excuse me, where do I take the bus downtown?”

    – Scusi, potrebbe darmi un’indicazione?
    “Excuse me, could you give me an indication?”


Did you notice that often when we ask politely, we end up using the conditional tense? So now is a very good opportunity to check out uses and conjugations, don’t you agree?

Dov’è…?


When you want to know where a certain place is, you have a few different ways of saying it:

Dov’è / dove si trova / come si va (“where it is” / “where is located” / “how do you go”). They can all be used to ask directions to a specific place.

    – Scusi, dov’è il supermercato più vicino?
    “Excuse me, where is the closest market?”

    – Scusi, dove si trova il bagno delle donne?
    “Excuse me, where is the lady’s bathroom?”

    – Come si va a Pompei?
    “How do I go to Pompeii?”


Per favore


Kindness is never too much, especially when you’re asking a favor from a stranger, so you might want to add a few “please”s with your question. And how do you say “please” in Italian? Per favore, of course. And can you guess what favore literally means? A favor? Please…

    – Scusi, potrebbe dirmi per favore come si arriva al Duomo?
    “Excuse me, can you please tell me how to get to the Duomo?”


Woman Holding a Map

Quanto dista?


Not only do you need to get to your destination, but you also need to know how far/long it is to get there. You have many different ways to ask that:

  • Quanto dista?
    “How far is it?”
    Literally: “How much it is distant?”


  • È lontano?
    “Is it far?”


  • Quanto ci vuole?
    “How long does it take?”
    Literally: “How much [time] it’s necessary to get there?”


Grazie mille!


Once you have all the information you need, make sure you know how to properly thank the nice person who helped you get where you needed to. Grazie! (“Thanks!”) is obviously the basic appreciation, but if you want to get a bit fancier, you have a few more options:

  • Grazie.
    “Thank you.”


  • Grazie mille. or Mille grazie.
    “Thank you very much.”
    Literally: “Thank you a thousand.”


  • Grazie tante. or Tante grazie.
    “Many thanks.”


  • Molto gentile.
    “Very kind.”


  • La ringrazio. / Ti ringrazio. (formal / informal)
    “Thank you.”
    Literally: “I thank you.”


5. Must-know Italian Phrases for Giving Directions


Directions

Are you familiar enough with your whereabouts that you feel confident giving directions to other people? Well done! Here’s how to give directions in Italian with a few simple phrases. And always remember the basic rule: if you know the person you’re talking to, go ahead and use the tu (2nd person – informal); otherwise, stick to Lei (3rd person – formal).

On the Street


  • vai — “go”
  • continua/prosegui — “keep going”
  • Dritto — “straight”
  • torna indietro — “go back”
  • fai un’inversione (a U) — “make a U-turn”
  • gira / svolta — “turn”
  • a destra / a sinistra — “to the right” / “to the left”


  • – Per il Colosseo, continua dritto.
    “To the Colosseum, keep going straight.”

    – La strada è interrotta, fai una inversione a U e torna indietro.
    “The street is blocked, make a U-turn and go back.”


On the Stairs


  • al ventesimo piano — “on the twentieth floor”
  • primo, secondo, ecc., ultimo piano — “first, second, etc., last floor”
  • prendere le scale — “take the stairs”
  • prendere l’ascensore — “take the elevator”
  • salire / scendere — “go up” / “go down”
  • a che piano va(i)? — “What floor?”


  • – L’ufficio postale è al secondo piano.
    “The post office is on the second floor.”

    – Di solito prendo le scale, ma oggi vado all’ultimo piano e prenderò l’ascensore.
    “I usually take the stairs, but today I will go to the top floor and will take the elevator.”


Person Pressing Elevator Button A che piano va? (“What floor?”)

To a Driver


When giving suggestions to your driver, unless he/she is a friend of yours giving you a ride, you should address the driver using the formal Lei. Here are some useful taxi directions in Italian:

  • continui — “go on”; “keep going”
  • può fermarsi? — “Can you stop?”
  • può andare più veloce? — “Can you go faster?”
  • ho fretta, sono in ritardo — “I’m in a hurry, I am late.”
  • può andare più piano? — “Can you go slower?”
  • Non ho fretta, questa non è la formula 1… — “I’m not in a hurry, this is not the Formula 1…”


  • – Può fermarsi in Piazza San Marco?
    “Could you stop in San Marco square?”

    – Devo prendere il treno, può andare più veloce?
    “I have to take the train, can you go faster?”


6. If You Get Lost


Even if you know all the vocabulary and all the must-know Italian phrases, even with maps and GPS and written-down directions, getting a little lost is common when you travel in a foreign country. So, get prepared for that possibility.

But don’t worry about it because, first of all, Italians are a generous and helping people and they’ll love to help you find your way back. And second, getting lost and just wandering around for a bit isn’t such a bad thing after all. Don’t you agree?

  • Mi sono perso/a. — “I got lost.”
  • Non trovo… — “I can’t find…”
  • Non so come arrivare… — “I don’t know how to get to…”
  • Mi potresti/potrebbe aiutare? — “Could you help me?”


  • – Dove vado? Non so come arrivare in centro…
    “Where do I go? I don’t know how to get to the center…”

    – Penso di essermi persa. Mi potrebbe aiutare ad arrivare in Via Roma?
    “I think I got lost. Could you help me to get to Roma street?”


Couple Riding on a Vespa In Vespa per i vicoli di Roma. (“Riding a Vespa through Rome narrow streets.”)

7. Streets, Squares, and More (Much More!)


Surely you won’t have any problem giving or understanding directions in English. But when people give you directions in Italy, they might use unfamiliar names to refer to places around the cities, especially the more historical ones. Here’s a useful list for you:

Via“Street”
Viale“Avenue”
Vialetto“Alley” (usually leading to a house)
VicoloVicolo
Vicolo cieco“Cul-de-sac” (also metaphorically)
Strada statale / strada provinciale“State highway” / “provincial road”
Autostrada“Highway”
Svincolo“Junction”; “exit” (on a highway)
Casello (per il pedaggio)“Toll gate”
Stazione di servizio“Service station”
Piazza“Square”
Rotonda, rotatoria“Roundabout”


In Italian, you can always use the diminutive form of a noun or an adjective to give it a slightly different meaning. And we do it all the time! So, don’t worry if you hear people telling you about vicoletti, stradine, cancelletti, portoncini, and porticine (“tiny alleys, narrow streets, mini-gates, and cute little doors”). If you still have some doubts, just check out how diminutive and other fun suffixes work.

Il centro di Napoli è pieno di vicoletti e stradine.
“Downtown Naples is full of tiny alleys and narrow streets.”

Cappuccetto Rosso vive in una casetta nel bosco.
“Little Red Riding Hood lives in a small house in the woods.”

8. Conclusion


Basic Questions

Do you better understand directions in Italian now? Can you easily find your way around Florence, the Colosseum, Torre di Pisa, and the train to Pompei?

Good job! Now just keep going straight ahead (sempre dritto) to ItalianPod101.com for more fun and useful lessons to get you exactly where you need to be with your knowledge of Italian!

Happy learning!

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Top 100+ Italian Nouns: Our Guide to Common Italian Nouns

Thumbnail When learning a new language, vocabulary is—almost—everything. That’s because when speaking with a foreigner in his or her language, people don’t usually mind if that person doesn’t talk with perfect grammar, and will understand them anyway.

But if you don’t know an important word, communicating will be a problem.

And nouns are the most important words of all. So, what are the Italian nouns you should learn while studying Italian? Check out our list here on ItalianPod101.

But first, some information on Italian nouns’ gender! Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Italian Table of Contents
  1. Italian Nouns: Masculine and Feminine
  2. The 100 Most Common Italian Nouns
  3. Learn Italian at Your Pace with ItalianPod101


1. Italian Nouns: Masculine and Feminine



Nouns 1 First things first: How many genders are there in Italian?

In the Italian language, nouns are masculine or feminine. There is no neuter gender.

For people and animals, the gender of their noun is determined by their sex. For example:

  • Il maestro / la maestra
    “the male teacher” / “the female teacher”


  • Il cavallo / la cavalla
    “the horse” / “the mare”


However, there are nouns that don’t change in masculine or feminine form. For example:

  • Insegnante
    “Teacher”


  • Autista
    “Driver”


For things, their gender is conventional. For example:

  • Il mare:
    “The sea”
    [Masculine]


  • La luna
    “The moon”
    [Feminine]


  • Il bicchiere
    “The glass”
    [Masculine]


  • La tazza
    “The cup”
    [Feminine]


In general (but there are exceptions), these types of nouns in Italian are masculine:



In Italian, feminine nouns tend to be in these categories (again, there are exceptions):

  • Fruit
  • Disciplines (such as philosophy, science, math…)
  • Continents, states, regions, cities, and islands


There are masculine and feminine nouns in Italian in many other categories. For example:

  • Plants
  • Vegetables
  • Sports
  • Body parts


Now, let’s explore the most important Italian nouns and articles you should know.

Most Common Italian Nouns

2. The 100 Most Common Italian Nouns

Nouns 2 Here are the 100+ most common Italian nouns you should learn when you start studying Italian.

1- The Most Common Italian Nouns for Appliances



Check out these Italian nouns for appliances, with their translation and an example of use:

  • Televisione — “Television” [f.]
    • La mia televisione è rotta.
      “My television is broken.”


  • Frigorifero — “Fridge” [m.]
    • Se hai fame, c’è della pasta nel frigorifero.
      “If you’re hungry, there’s pasta in the fridge.”


  • Condizionatore — “Air conditioner” [m.]
    • Ho caldo, accendiamo il condizionatore?
      “It’s hot, can we turn on the air conditioner?”


  • Lavatrice — “Washing machine” [f.]
    • Non dovresti lavare questo vestito in lavatrice.
      “You shouldn’t wash this dress in the washing machine.”


  • Microonde — “Microwave” [m.]
    • La cena è nel microonde.
      “Dinner is in the microwave.”


  • Phon — “Hairdryer” [m.]
    • D’estate non uso mai il phon.
      “I never use the hairdryer in the summer.”


  • Ventilatore — “Fan” [m.]
    • Stanotte era così caldo che ho dormito con il ventilatore acceso.
      “Tonight it was so hot that I slept with the fan on.”


  • Caldaia — “Boiler” [f.]
    • Abbiamo appena cambiato la caldaia.
      “We’ve just changed the boiler.”


  • Lavastoviglie — “Dishwasher” [f.]
    • Non potrei vivere senza lavastoviglie.
      “I couldn’t live without a dishwasher.”


  • Forno — “Oven” [m.]
    • La pizza è nel forno.
      “The pizza is in the oven.”


2- The Most Common Italian Nouns for Technology



Some very common Italian nouns for tech are:

  • Computer — “PC” [m.]
    • Ho comprato un nuovo computer.
      “I’ve bought a new PC.”


  • Computer portatile — “Laptop” [m.]
    • Questo computer portatile è molto leggero.
      “This laptop is very light.”


  • Cellulare — “Mobile phone” [m.]
    • Marco passa troppo tempo sul cellulare.
      “Marco spends too much time on his mobile phone.”


  • Cuffie — “Headphones” [f.]
    • Ho dimenticato le cuffie in palestra.
      “I forgot my headphones at the gym.”


  • Caricabatterie — “Charger” [m.]
    • Mio figlio ha perso il caricabatterie.
      “My son lost his charger.”


  • Connessione — “Connection” [f.]
    • La connessione qui è lenta.
      “The connection here is slow.”


  • Tastiera — “Keyboard” [f.]
    • Non so scrivere con la tastiera QWERTY.
      “I can’t write with a QWERTY keyboard.”


  • Schermo — “Screen” [m.]
    • Lo schermo è ad alta risoluzione.
      “It’s a high-resolution screen.”


  • Tasto — “Button”; “Key” [m.]
    • Se sei pronto a procedere, premi il tasto di controllo.
      “If you’re ready to proceed, please press the control key.”


Common Italian Nouns

3- The Most Common Italian Nouns for Transportation



Nouns 3 Here are some essential Italian nouns about transportation:

  • Aereo — “Plane” [m.]
    • L’aereo partirà da Milano Malpensa.
      “The plane will depart from Milano Malpensa.”


  • Autobus — “Bus” [m.]
    • È questo l’autobus per il Colosseo?
      “Is this the bus to the Colosseum?”


  • Auto — “Car” [f.]
    • Non amo viaggiare in auto.
      “I don’t like traveling by car.”


  • Treno — “Train” [m.]
    • Il nostro treno è in ritardo.
      “Our train is late.”


  • Stazione — “Train station” [f.]
    • Per la stazione, gira a destra.
      “At the train station, turn right.”


  • Aeroporto — “Airport” [m.]
    • Questo aeroporto è enorme.
      “This airport is huge.”


  • Fermata — “Stop” [f.]
    • Devi scendere alla prossima fermata.
      “You have to get off the bus at the next stop.”


  • Biglietto — “Ticket” [m.]
    • Il biglietto costa un euro.
      “The ticket is one euro.”


  • Incrocio — “Intersection” [m.]
    • Al prossimo incrocio, gira a sinistra.
      “At the next intersection, turn left.”


  • Semaforo — “Traffic light” [m.]
    • Fermati! Il semaforo è rosso.
      “Stop! The traffic light is red.”


4- Common Italian Nouns at the Restaurant



Now, here are some of the most basic Italian nouns you should remember at the restaurant:

  • Tavolo — “Table” [m.]
    • Vorremmo un tavolo vicino alla finestra, per favore.
      “We’d like a table next to the window, please.”


  • Forchetta — “Fork” [f.]
    • Potrei avere un’altra forchetta?
      “Could I have another fork?”


  • Coltello — “Knife” [m.]
    • Questo coltello è molto affilato.
      “This knife is very sharp.”


  • Cucchiaio — “Spoon” [m.]
    • Mi dai un cucchiaio, per favore?
      “Can you give me a spoon, please?”


  • Conto — “Bill” [m.]
    • Vorrei il conto, per favore.
      “I’d like the bill, please.”


  • Acqua — “Water” [f.]
    • Bevo solo acqua perché devo guidare.
      “I only drink water, because I have to drive.”


  • Birra — “Beer” [f.]
    • Qual è la migliore birra italiana?
      “Which is the best Italian beer?”


  • Vino — “Wine” [m.]
    • Qual è il tuo vino preferito?
      “Which is your favorite wine?”


  • Verdure — “Vegetables” [f.]
    • Vorrei un contorno di verdure.
      “I’d like some vegetables on the side.”


  • Piatto — “Plate”; “Dish” [m.]
    • Ho mangiato un enorme piatto di pasta.
      “I had a huge dish of pasta.”


  • Cameriere/a — “Waiter” [m. and f.]
    • Il cameriere è stato molto gentile.
      “The waiter was very kind.”


  • Cuoco/a — “Cook” [m. and f.]
    • Mi sarebbe piaciuto fare il cuoco.
      “I would have loved to be a cook.”


Restaurant Nouns in Italian

5- Italian School and Education Nouns



Here are some great Italian nouns to learn if you plan on schooling in Italy, or know someone who does!

  • Scuola — “School” [f.]
    • Sono andata a scuola in Inghilterra.
      “I went to school in England.”


  • Scuola elementare — “Elementary school” [f.]
    • Quella è la scuola elementare di mia figlia.
      “That is my daughter’s elementary school.”


  • Scuola media — “Secondary (middle) school” [f.]
    • La scuola media è un periodo importante per i ragazzi.
      “Secondary school is an important period for kids.”


  • Scuola superiore — “High school” [f.]
    • La mia scuola superiore era in un’altra città.
      “My high school was in another town.”


  • Liceo — This is a high school that prepares students for university, as opposed to a professional high school, preparing them for work. [m.]
    • Al liceo non ero bravo in matematica.
      “I wasn’t good at math in high school.”


  • Università — “University” [f.]
    • Ho conosciuto mia moglie all’università.
      “I met my wife at university.”


  • Insegnante — “Teacher” [m. and f.]
    • L’insegnante di inglese di Lucia è bravissima.
      “Lucia’s English teacher is very good.”


  • Studente — “Student” [m. and f.]
    • Sono molto orgoglioso dei miei studenti.
      “I’m really proud of my students.”


  • Classe — “Class” [f.]
    • Nella mia classe ci sono più ragazze che ragazzi.
      “In my class there are more girls than boys.”


  • Laurea — “Degree” [f.]
    • Ho una laurea in ingegneria meccanica ottenuta all’Università di Bologna.
      “I have a degree in mechanical engineering obtained at the University of Bologna.”


  • Diploma — “Diploma” [m.]
    • Ho preso il diploma nel 1994.
      “I got my diploma in 1994.”


6- Italian Nouns for Jobs and Occupations



Here’s an Italian nouns list for jobs and occupations, so you can better talk about your work!

  • Medico — “Doctor” [m. and f.]
    • C’è un medico?
      “Is there a doctor?”


  • Avvocato/a — “Lawyer” [m. and f.]
    • Mia figlia è un’avvocata molto brava.
      “My daughter is a very skilled lawyer.”


  • Infermiere/a — “Nurse” [m. and f.]
    • L’infermiere è di turno stamattina.
      “The nurse is on duty this morning.”


  • Capo/a — “Boss” [m. and f.]
    • Il capo è cattivo e arrogante.
      “The boss is mean and arrogant.”


  • Imprenditore / Imprenditrice — “Businessman” / “Businesswoman”
    • Mio zio è un ricco imprenditore.
      “My uncle is a wealthy businessman.”


  • Poliziotto/a — “Policeman” / “Policewoman”
    • Da bambino volevo fare il poliziotto.
      “When I was a child, I wanted to be a policeman.”


  • Vigile del fuoco — “Fireman” / “Firewoman”
    • I vigili del fuoco sono molto coraggiosi.
      “Firemen are very brave.”


  • Ingegnere — “Engineer” [m. and f.]
    • Gli ingegneri lavorano molto.
      “Engineers do a lot of work.”


  • Impiegato/a — “Clerk” [m. and f.]
    • Questa impiegata non lavora mai.
      “This clerk never works.”


  • Commesso/a — “Shop assistant” [m. and f.]
    • I commessi lavorano spesso di domenica.
      “Salesmen often work on Sundays.”


  • Professore / Professoressa — “Professor” [m. and f.]
    • Mio padre è professore di letteratura italiana.
      “My father is an Italian literature professor.”


Occupations Nouns in Italian

7- Common Italian Nouns for Family Members



Now for some examples of Italian nouns you’ll need to talk about your family:

  • Famiglia — “Family” [f.]
    • La famiglia è tutto per me.
      “Family is everything for me.”


  • Madre — “Mother” [f.]
    • Mia madre lavora come insegnante.
      “My mother works as a teacher.”


  • Padre — “Father” [m.]
    • Tuo padre è davvero simpatico.
      “Your father is really nice.”


  • Genitori — “Parents” [m.]
    • I miei genitori vivono a Roma.
      “My parents live in Rome.”


  • Marito — “Husband” [m.]
    • Sto aspettando mio marito.
      “I’m waiting for my husband.”


  • Moglie — “Wife” [f.]
    • Mia moglie ha due anni più di me.
      “My wife is two years older than me.”


  • Figlio — “Son” [m.]
    • Ho un figlio di 12 anni.
      “I have a 12-year-old son.”


  • Figlia — “Daughter” [f.]
    • Tua figlia va all’università o lavora?
      “Is your daughter studying at university or working?”


  • Nonni — “Grandparents” [m.]
    • Ho passato molto tempo con i miei nonni da bambino.
      “As a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents.”


  • Nonno — “Grandfather” [m.]
    • Mio nonno è stato un grande maestro per me.
      “My grandfather was a great teacher for me.”


  • Nonna — “Grandmother” [f.]
    • Mia nonna adora ballare.
      “My grandmother loves dancing.”


Family

8- Italian Nouns for Body Parts



Learn the most important nouns for body parts in Italian:

  • Corpo — “Body” [m.]
    • I ballerini hanno corpi slanciati.
      “Dancers have slender bodies.”


  • Occhio — “Eye” [m.]
    • Gli occhi blu sono stupendi.
      “Blue eyes are gorgeous.”


  • Orecchio — “Ear” [m.] [Strangely enough, when plural this noun becomes feminine.]
    • Le orecchie di Dumbo sono giganti.
      “Dumbo’s ears are huge.”


  • Testa — “Head” [f.]
    • Mi fa male la testa.
      “My head hurts.”


  • Spalla — “Shoulder” [f.]
    • Marta ha un tatuaggio sulla spalla sinistra.
      “Marta has a tattoo on her left shoulder.”


  • Braccio — “Arm” [m.] [When plural, it becomes feminine.]
    • Mi ha presa tra le braccia e mi sono innamorata.
      “He took me in his arms and I fell in love.”


  • Petto — “Chest” [m.]
    • Il dolore al petto può essere sintomo di infarto.
      “Chest pain could be a symptom of a heart attack.”


  • Pancia — “Stomach” [f.]
    • Ha una grande pancia rotonda.
      “He’s got a big, round stomach.”


  • Schiena — “Back” [f.]
    • Mio marito ha dei problemi alla schiena.
      “My husband has back problems.”


  • Gamba — “Leg” [f.]
    • Mi sono rotto una gamba cadendo dalle scale.
      “I broke a leg by falling from the stairs.”


9- Most Important Italian Nouns for Time



Nouns 4
  • Oggi — “Today” [m.]
    • Oggi è un giorno importante.
      “Today is an important day.”


  • Ieri — “Yesterday” [m.]
    • Ieri sono andato al cinema.
      “Yesterday I went to the cinema.”


  • Domani — “Tomorrow” [m.]
    • Laura arriverà domani mattina.
      “Laura will arrive tomorrow morning.”


  • Lunedì / martedì / mercoledì / giovedì / venerdì / sabato / domenica — “Monday” / “Tuesday” / “Wednesday” / “Thursday” / “Friday” / “Saturday” / “Sunday” [All masculine except domenica, which is feminine.]
    • Mercoledì lavoro, mentre giovedì sono di riposo.
      “On Wednesday I’m working, while on Thursday I’m off.”


  • Giorno — “Day” [m.]
    • Che giorno è oggi?
      “Which day is today?”


  • Settimana — “Week” [f.]
    • Tornerò tra una settimana.
      “I’ll be back in a week.”


  • Mese — “Month” [m.]
    • Il mese prossimo ho un esame.
      “I have a test next month.”


  • Anno — “Year” [m.]
    • Quest’anno ho viaggiato molto.
      “I’ve traveled a lot this year.”


  • Ora — “Hour” [f.]
    • Tra un’ora sarò a casa.
      “I’ll be home in an hour.”


  • Minuto — “Minute” [m.]
    • Aspetta un minuto.
      “Wait a minute.”


3. Learn Italian at Your Pace with ItalianPod101

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The Most Useful Italian Compliments and Praise Words

Thumbnail

Why is it important to study the most useful Italian compliments? Nothing makes people feel more important, appreciated, and good about themselves than compliments. By complimenting a girl, a friend, or a chef for their very good food, you set out to a good start in any relationship. Not to mention that the occasional compliment is an indispensable part of polite conversations.

First of all, let’s remember that the two most basic Italian compliments are bello/a (“beautiful,” “nice” ) and bravo/a (“good,” “able” ). We’ll see how they can be used in different ways, and how you can fare bella figura, or “make a good impression,” using these common Italian compliments and praise words.

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Table of Contents

  1. Ciao bella! Complimenting Someone’s Look
  2. Complimenti! Complimenting Someone’s Work
  3. Bravo! Complimenting Someone’s Skills
  4. Che buono! Complimenting Food
  5. Come stai bene! Generic Compliments
  6. Grazie! What to Expect After Giving Compliments
  7. Che bel sorriso! How to Flirt in Italian
  8. Sembri più giovane! Compliments on Someone’s Aging
  9. Congratulazioni! You’ve Gotten to the End…

1. Ciao bella! Complimenting Someone’s Look

Italians can be very particular about looks, and they’ll definitely notice a person’s hairstyle, tan, and clothing choices and comment about it. This can be a genuine compliment or just a way to—subtly—point out if something is off… But don’t worry. What matters is being able to graciously accept and respond to the compliments.

A Woman Kissing a Gray Kitten on the Cheek

Che bel gattino! (“What a cute little cat!” )

By far, the most common compliment in Italian is bello (“beautiful,” “nice” ), which can be used to both compliment a person’s look and to praise an object’s or animal’s appearance.

  • Sei una bella ragazza. (“You are a beautiful girl.” )
  • Sei un bel ragazzo. (“You are a handsome boy.” )
  • Hai una bella macchina! (“She has a nice car.” )
  • Puffi è un bel gattino! (“Puffi is a cute little cat.” )

Notice how the adjective bello has the particularity that its ending changes depending on how the next word starts, just like the definite article, as follows:

La ragazza >> bella ragazza
Il ragazzo >> bel ragazzo

Compliment phrases in Italian can take different forms:

  • Come sei carino/a! (“How cute you are!” )
  • Che begli occhi! (“What beautiful eyes!” )
  • Quanto sei elegante! (“How elegant you are!” )

Notice how you can start a compliment in Italian with one of these conjunctions:

  • Come (“How” )
  • Che (“What,” but literally “that” )
  • Quanto (“How,” but literally “how much” )

Now, receiving compliments is all too nice, but there also exists a whole different aspect of complimenting someone’s look. This is the—rather annoying—compliments to passing women in the street. This is, unfortunately, a practice quite common in Italy, especially in the past. Nowadays, things are slowly changing and Italian men have started to realize that random compliments from a stranger are not welcome. So, if you’re a woman visiting Italy, be prepared that you might receive some unwanted compliments on the street, and try to avoid the typical Italian cascamorto (“skirt-chaser” ).

2. Complimenti! Complimenting Someone’s Work

Cooperation and partnership in the workplace are very important. So make sure you know how to compliment a job well done, a good performance, or a brilliant idea.

A Woman Giving the Thumbs-up Sign

Ottimo lavoro! (“Great work!” )

  • Hai fatto un bel lavoro. (“You did a good job.” )
  • Che progetto ben fatto. (“What a well-made project.” )
  • Bellissima presentazione. (“Very good presentation.” )
  • Ottima idea. (“Great idea.” )
  • Complimenti. (“Congratulations.” )
  • Congratulazioni. (“Congratulations.” )

We’ve seen how the Italian word bello is used to refer to aesthetic beauty, but in this case, it can also refer to something that is good quality-wise.

As you can see, there are two different Italian compliment words to express “Congratulations,” and they’re used in different contexts:

    Complimenti is used to praise somebody who behaved well, passed an examination, or achieved some other accomplishment: Complimenti per la presentazione, è stata veramente interessante. (“Congratulations on the presentation; it was really interesting.” )

    Congratulazioni is used for promotions, marriages, or having a baby: Ho saputo che hai avuto una promozione. Congratulazioni! (“I heard you got a promotion. Congratulations!” )

3. Bravo! Complimenting Someone’s Skills

A Man in a Suit Singing into a Microphone

Bravooooooo!

Have you ever been to a concert or a play? Have you ever been to Teatro alla Scala in Milan? At the end of a performance, if the show was good, everybody stands up shouting “Bravo!” That’s a typical example of how to praise somebody for something good or well done. Bravo is a word that’s used in theaters and concert halls all over the world, but only in its masculine form, even if you’re complimenting a woman. In Italian, however, like every other adjective, bravo needs to agree in gender and number with the person (or people) you’re complimenting.

  • Brava, Maria, scrivi proprio bene! (“You are good, Maria, you write really well!” )
  • Bravo Marcello, corri molto veloce! (“You are good, Marcella, you run really fast!” )
  • Bravi bambini, siete stati molto buoni oggi! (“Good kids, you have been very good today!” )

Bravo can also be used to praise a specific activity:

Che bravo/a ____!

  • Che bravo fotografo! (“What a good photographer!” )
  • Che brava attrice! (“What a good actress!” )

You can also use bello as a way to compliment the product of an activity:

Che bello ____!

  • Che belle foto! (“What nice photos!” )
  • Che bella interpretazione! (“What a beautiful interpretation!” )

When you compliment someone in Italian, it doesn’t hurt to exaggerate a little. Here’s a list of adjectives that will increase the power of your praises:

  • Fantastico (“Fantastic” )
  • Meraviglioso (“Wonderful” )
  • Stupendo (“Superb” )
  • Eccezionale (“Awesome” )
  • Formidabile (“Fantastic” )
  • Splendido (“Beautiful” )
  • Incredibile (“Unbelievable” )

Another way of complimenting someone for doing something well—such as speaking Italian, cooking, or performing a sport—is to use the following construction:

Come ____ bene!

  • Come cucini bene! (“How well you cook!” / “What a good cook!” )
  • Come parli bene l’italiano! (“How well you speak Italian!” )
  • Come giochi bene a calcio! (“How well you play soccer!” )

4. Che buono! Complimenting Food

Italians love food. They love to make it. They love to eat it. They especially love to talk about it… So, it’s just natural that they expect to be praised when they’re cooking and to praise (or criticize) when they’re eating. Let’s look at some Italian compliments for food!

A Group of Friends Cooking and Eating Together

Mmm.. Faccio il bis! (“Mmm… I go back for seconds!” )

Here’s the survival list of food compliments in Italian:

Che buono/a! is the first and most important compliment you can say about any dish. It means “good” in a general sense, but when it comes to food, it means “tasty” or “delicious.” Feel free to use or include any of the exaggerated adjectives that were listed before!

  • Che buono! Posso assaggiare? (“So good! Can I taste it?” )
  • Il pesto genovese è delizioso. (“Genoa pesto is delicious.” )
  • La lasagna della nonna è buonissima! (“Grandma’s lasagna is very good!” )
  • La pizza fatta in casa è eccezionale! (“The homemade pizza is awesome!” )
  • Questo gelato è fantastico! (“This ice cream is fantastic!” )

However, the best compliment you can make to an Italian cook is to eat and come back for more. This is better than any praise:

  • È buonissimo! Posso averne ancora? (“It’s good! Can I have some more?” )
  • Mi piace un sacco! Faccio il bis. (“I really like it! I’ll go back for seconds.” )

An even better compliment is to ask about the ingredients and to ask for the recipe:

  • È delizioso. Mi dai la ricetta? (“It’s delicious. Can you give me the recipe?” )
  • Che piatto fantastico! Come lo prepari? (“What a fantastic dish! How do you prepare it?” )

And finally, whether you’re at a restaurant or at somebody’s house, the classic compliment for food is the good old: Complimenti al cuoco/alla cuoca! (“My compliments to the chef!” )

5. Come stai bene! Generic Compliments

Compliments

Come stai bene! is a generic compliment that you can use for many different occasions. This is because it conveys a general sense that the person you’re complimenting looks good, feels good, or has something good about him/her. It’s often followed by a question to get more details about the specific compliment:

Looks:

  • Come stai bene, sei andata dal parrucchiere? (“You look nice, did you go to the hairdresser?” )
  • Come stai bene, sei stato al mare? (“You look nice, did you go to the beach?” )

Fitness:

  • Come stai bene, stai andando in palestra? (“You look good, are you exercising?” )
  • Come stai bene, stai facendo una dieta? (“You look nice, are you on a diet?” )

Clothing:

  • Come stai bene in rosso. (“The color red suits you.” )
  • Come stai bene, è un vestito nuovo? (“You look nice, is it a new dress?” )

A Woman Posing in a Long Red Dress and High Heel Shoes

Il rosso ti sta bene. (“Red suits you.” )

When talking about clothes, most Italians are happy to be praised regarding their style. The way to do that is to make a compliment that not only praises the piece of clothing or the accessories, but also the way the person is wearing it, and how beautiful he or she looks in it. Here’s how you do that:

Come ti sta bene ____ !

  • Come ti sta bene questo cappotto! (“How good you look in this coat!” )
  • Come ti stanno bene questi occhiali! (“How good you look with these glasses!” )

And everybody loves a casual mention of elegance and style: Che eleganza! Che stile! (“What elegance! What style!” )

6. Grazie! What to Expect After Giving Compliments

Positive Feelings

In Italy, we generally like to receive compliments and to be praised. Who wouldn’t? But even so, people often respond to compliments by shying away, pretending that they don’t really deserve it, or that it’s not a big deal. But it is! Trust me…

So, while the general response to compliments is thankfulness:

  • Grazie. (“Thank you.” / “Thanks.” )
  • Grazie mille. (“Many thanks,” but literally “a thousand thanks” )
  • Che gentile! (“How kind!” )
  • Che carino! (“How nice!” )

…others prefer a somewhat shy response:

  • Ma figurati… (“Do not even mention it…” )
  • Mi fai arrossire… (“You make me blush…” )
  • Mi metti in imbarazzo… (“You embarrass me …” )

7. Che bel sorriso! How to Flirt in Italian

Of course, we couldn’t do without a chapter dedicated to romantic Italian phrases and flirting in Italian. After all, Italy is one of the most romantic places on earth, and the native country of Rodolfo Valentino, the father (or grandfather) of all Latin lovers.

A Man Smiling Awkwardly

Che bel sorriso…? (“Beautiful smile…?” )

Interesting fact: The word “flirting” (flirtare) has recently entered the Italian dictionary (it’s pronounced flertare). Of course, the compliments you use when flirting are different depending on if they’re for a man or for a woman. Also, while flirtatious compliments can get very creative and even funny, in most cases, you just need to praise the object of your desires in the most common way. The only important thing is to be sincere.

Italian compliments for a woman:

  • Come sei carina! (“How cute you are!” )
  • Come sei dolce! (“How sweet you are!” )
  • Sei una bella ragazza/donna. (“You are a beautiful girl/woman!” )
  • Che begli occhi! (“Nice eyes!” )
  • Che bel sorriso! (“Beautiful smile!” )
  • Sei molto simpatica! (“You are very nice!” )

Italian compliments for a man:

  • Sei un tipo interessante. (“You’re an interesting guy.” )
  • Come sei divertente! (“You are funny!” / “You make me laugh!” )
  • Che belle mani! (“You have beautiful hands!” )
  • Che muscoli! (“What muscles!” )
  • Che bel sorriso! (“Beautiful smile!” )
  • Sei molto simpatica! (“You are very nice!” )

8. Sembri più giovane! Compliments on Someone’s Aging

Are you about to go and meet a friend’s sweet grandma? In that case, when talking to the nonna (or other elderly member of the family), remember that talking about age isn’t exactly a taboo. It’s just a topic to be treated with delicate care. And there’s always a subtle way to make compliments on somebody’s age and to avoid embarrassing missteps.

An Elderly Woman Smiling

75? Li porti benissimo! (“You don’t look at all 75!” )

Whenever the topic of age comes up in conversation, you’re “supposed” to praise the person for not showing their age. There are many ways to do that, and the person you’re complimenting will be grateful to hear any of them:

  • Sembri più giovane. (“You look younger.” )
  • Li porti bene/benissimo. (Lit. “You wear them very well,” means “You don’t look your age”. )
  • Ti davo dieci anni di meno! (“I would give you ten years less.” )
  • Non li dimostri per niente! (“You don’t show them at all!” )

9. Congratulazioni! You’ve Gotten to the End…

You deserve to be praised for all the hard work you’re putting into learning Italian. Now you can take advantage of all the great resources you can find at ItalianPod101. Grammar lessons, vocabulary lists, and language practice. Everything you need to keep improving your Italian skills!

Practice is always the best strategy to improve your Italian grammar, vocabulary, and communication skills. So make sure you visit ItalianPod101. Here, you’ll find a great number of free resources, podcasts, lessons, and even mobile apps, and a FREE PDF with practical and efficient lessons. Keep up your good work on your Italian learning!

In the meantime, if there’s anything in this lesson you didn’t quite understand, feel free to leave us a comment and we’ll do our best to help you out! What’s your favorite Italian compliment?

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M or F? A Quick Guide to Italian Gender Rules

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Why is it important to study Italian gender rules? Unlike in English, gender in Italian is the first characteristic of every noun. In Italian, everything has a gender, and you need to know which gender it is to use a noun with the correct article, adjective, or pronoun. When you search for a word in an Italian dictionary, you’ll always find the gender next to it (m/f).

You won’t find a neutral gender for Italian names, but from day one of your Italian class, you’ll start hearing that everything has to “agree.” This means that all parts of the phrase have to be in accordance with the word gender (and number).

So, here we go with a simple grammar guide about the gender of nouns in Italian.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is Word Gender?
  2. How to Make a Good Guess on the Gender of a Word
  3. How to Memorize the Gender of Italian Nouns
  4. Gender Agreement for Articles and Adjectives
  5. Irregulars and Weird Exceptions
  6. Names with Totally Different M./F. Equivalents
  7. Conclusion

1. What is Word Gender?

The Symbols for Male and Female

Femminile o Maschile? (Feminine or Masculine?)

In Italian, there are two gender categories: Femminile (“Feminine” ) and Maschile (“Masculine” ). This means that there is no neutral gender.

This might sound a bit strange, but in Italian, objects such as chairs (la sedia, f.) and tables (il tavolo, m.), animals such as lions (il leone, m.) and tigers (la tigre, f.), feelings such as doubt (il dubbio, m.) and happiness (la felicità, f.) have a m/f gender, and you need to memorize which word is what gender. The best way to do this is to practice repeating the noun together with the right article; the article always shows you clearly what the gender of the word is.

Some words, such as the names of animals, have feminine/masculine equivalents that sometimes have a different form, like mucca/toro (“cow/bull” ) or gallina/gallo (“hen/rooster” ). These are mostly farm or pet animals. Other wild animals have an assigned gender in the Italian language (by whom, I ask myself…?),such as una tigre (“a tiger,” f.) and un rinoceronte (“a rhinoceros,” m.). If you want to make a word feminine, you’ll have to add femmina or maschio (“female” or “male” ) next to it. For example, un rinoceronte femmina (“a female rhinoceros” ).

A Rhino and Her Child

Un rinoceronte femmina. (“A female rhinoceros.” )

This is also the case for professions. If there’s no feminine equivalent, you should add donna (“woman” ) after the name of the profession to solve any ambiguity: un ingegnere donna (“a woman engineer” ).

2. How to Make a Good Guess on the Gender of a Word

Besides looking up the gender in the Italian dictionary, there are basic gender rules in Italian to follow to understand if a word is feminine or masculine. The easiest clue is to check the ending of the word as, generally, words ending in -o (plural ending in -i) are masculine while words ending in -a (plural ending in -e) are feminine.

  • Questo libro (m) ha una bella copertina (f).
    “This book has a nice cover.”
  • La mia casa (f) è bella e comoda.
    “My house is nice and comfortable.”

That sounds pretty straightforward, but things get a bit more complicated because there are a bunch of words ending in -e that could be either gender. Don’t worry, there are a few Italian language gender rules, but you’ll just need to memorize the words that don’t fit these rules. It’s hard work at the beginning, but soon you’ll get the hang of it.

  • Il nostro è un amore (m.) infinito.
    “Ours is an infinite love.”
  • Ho trovato la tua lezione (f.) molto utile.
    “I found the lesson very useful.”

3. How to Memorize the Gender of Italian Nouns

Now you have the main rule (-o is masculine and -a is feminine), but what you really need is some tips to quickly know and memorize the gender of other Italian words. Here’s a list of endings that have a certain consistency and will help you determine the gender:

  • Are feminine:
    • All names ending in -ione (stazione; stagione; opinione) (“station”; “season”; “opinion” ).

      A Milano c’è una stazione molto bella. (“Milan has a beautiful train station.” )
      L’estate è la stagione più calda. (“Summer is the hottest season.” )

    • Names ending in -tà or -tù (città; felicità; virtù; gioventù) (“city”; “happiness”; “virtue”; “youth” ).

      Roma è la città eterna. (“Rome is the eternal city.” )
      Hai visto il film ‘La meglio gioven?’ (“Did you see the movie The Best of Youth?” )

    • Most names ending in -i in the singular (crisi; sintesi) (“crisis”; “synthesis” ).

      Hai fatto una sintesi molto chiara. (“You did a very clear synthesis.” )
      La crisi di governo è prossima. (“The government crisis is close.” )

    • Most names of fruit (banana; pera; mela) (“banana”; “pear”; “apple” ).

      Questa mela è dolcissima. (“This apple is very sweet.” )

    • Names of the sciences and other abstract notions (chimica; fisica; giustizia; pace) (“chemistry”; “physics”; “justice”; “peace” ).

      La matematica è bellissima! (“Math is beautiful!” )

      A Graffiti Peace Sign

      La pace è femminile! 😉 (“Peace is feminine!” ) 😉

  • Are masculine:
    • All names ending in -ore (calore; attore; professore; ecc.) (“heat”; “actor”; “professor”; “etc.” ). Notice how nouns of professions ending in -tore are made feminine with the -trice ending, as in attore >> attrice (“actor >> actress” ).

      Oggi c’è un calore intenso. (“Today there is an intense heat.” )
      Hai incontrato il mio professore? (“Did you meet my professor?” )

    • Most names of trees (melo; pero) (“apple tree”; pear tree” ). While in English, to make the name of a fruit tree, you have to add “tree,” in Italian you just switch the gender of fruit from feminine to masculine…rather convenient, right?

      Maria è caduta dal pero. (“Maria fell off the pear tree.” )

      Fun fact: Did you know that cadere dal pero is an idiomatic expression meaning that you were oblivious of something? Maybe this is because pear trees are rather tall and common in Italy; to be on top of it means that you’re less in contact with reality…

      Bunches of Pears

      Cadere dal pero (“To fall from the pear tree” ) really means “to have no idea.”

    • Greek origin names ending in -ma (problema; sistema; teorema) (“problem”; “system”; “theorem” ).

      Questo problema è molto serio. (“This problem is very serious.” )
      Non ho mai capito il teorema di Pitagora. (“I have never understood Pythagoras Theorem.” )

      Notice how, even if they end in -a in the singular, the plural of these names in -ma of Greek origin have a masculine regular plural in -i (il problema >> i problemi).

    • All names of foreign origin ending in a consonant (bar; sport) (“bar”; “sport” ).

      Il mio sport preferito è la pallacanestro. (“My favorite sport is basketball.” )
      Questo è il bar dove servono il caffè migliore della città. (“This is the bar where they serve the best coffee in town.” )

    • Names of (most) professions ending in -ta (poeta; pilota; astronauta). Note that some of them become feminine using the -essa ending, as in poetessa while others don’t change, such as la pilota or la giovane astronauta).

      Il più grande poeta Italiano è Dante. (“Dante is the greatest Italian poet.” )

    • Names of months and days (except for domenica (f) = “Sunday”).

      È stato il dicembre più caldo del secolo! (“It was the hottest December of the century!” )

    • All numbers (except for numbers indicating hours).

      Il tre è il numero perfetto. (“Three is the perfect number.” )
      Il 99% degli Italiani adora la pizza! (“99% of Italians love pizza!” )

Are you ready for a little practice? Can you tell the Italian grammar gender of the nouns listed in this video?

4. Gender Agreement for Articles and Adjectives

Let’s talk about the dreaded concordanza (“the agreement” ). First things first, in Italian, most nouns need to be introduced by the article (determinate or indeterminate) and they have to agree in gender (and number) with the noun.

So, in order to memorize the gender of the words (besides the few Italian noun gender rules mentioned above), the best way is to memorize article + noun as a unique entity. The article always tells you clearly what the gender is.

    la lezione (f.) (“the lesson” )
    il fiore (m.) (“the flower” )

Here’s a little reminder of the way m./f. definite and indefinite articles change their form according to phonetic rules:

Determinate Masculine Article (the)
Sing. Pl.
il i This is the regular form and is more commonly used.
lo gli This form is used in front of nouns starting with specific letters:

  • S+consonant, z, x, y, gn, and ps
    • Lo studente >> gli studenti (“the student” >> “the students” )
  • Vowel (where lo >>l’)
    • L’italiano >> gli italiani (“the Italian” >> “the Italians” )

Determinate Feminine Article (the)
Sing. Pl.
la le Same as for the masculine, in front of a vowel, the article la >> l’:

  • L’italiana >> le italiane (“the Italian” >> “the Italians” )
  • La casa >> le case (“the house” >> “the houses” )

Indeterminate Masculine Article (a/an)
un This is the more commonly used form in front of a consonant or a vowel:

  • Un bambino (“a kid” )
  • Un italiano (“an Italian” )
uno This form is used in front of nouns starting with S+consonant, z, x, y, gn, and ps:

  • Uno studente (“a student” )

Indeterminate Feminine Article (a/an)
una In front of a vowel, the article una >> un’:

  • Un’italiana (“an Italian” )
  • Una casa (“a house” )

So, we were talking about the agreement: all variable parts of the sentence have to agree with the gender (m./f.) and the number (sing./pl.) of the noun. Variable parts are:

    – Articles (definite/indefinite)
    – Adjectives
    – Possessive adjectives (my; yours)
    – Demonstrative adjectives (this; that)
    – Indefinite adjectives (some)
    – Pronouns (him; her; it)
    – Past participle

Let’s analyze a sentence like this one, where the main noun is masculine (bambino = “kid” ):

Il mio bambino (m) é andato a scuola. (“My kid went to school.” )

Article + possessive + noun + (verb) + past participle; they all agree to the masculine form, except for the object (a scuola).

Or let’s take this one:

Nessuna pizza (f) è buona come questa. (“No pizza is as tasty as this one.” )

Indefinite + noun + (verb) + adjective + demonstrative; they all agree to the feminine form, except the verb.

Notice how the verbs don’t have to agree with the gender in Italian. But you do have to ensure that the past participle, which is part of the passato prossimo (“present perfect” ), agrees when it’s conjugated with the essere (“to be” ) auxiliary verb. But this will be part of another lesson coming up shortly about Italian conjugations on ItalianPod101.com!

Finally, one of the main consequences of all these Italian grammatical gender rules is that when you speak or write in Italian, you first have to think of the gender of the main noun, and then you can form the sentence accordingly.

5. Irregulars and Weird Exceptions

As usual, when it comes to syntax and grammar, there are exceptions. In particular, you might find nouns that look masculine because they end in -o but are feminine. These feminine -o nouns are often shortened words, such as:

  • la radio (“radio” )      is short for radiotrasmettitrice
  • la foto (“photo” )       is short for fotografia
  • la moto (“bike” )       is short for motocicletta
  • l’auto (“car” )            is short for automobile

Couple of People Riding 
around on a Vespa

È una moto? No, è una Vespa! (“It’s a motorcycle? No, it’s a Vespa!” )

Similar, but opposite, is the case of il cinema (short for cinematografo.)

A little different is the case of la mano (“hand” ) because it’s not the shortened version of anything.

Then there are names, mainly of professions, that have the same ending of -ista or -a, and can be either masculine or feminine. And this is a typical situation where you have to rely on the article, agreement, or purely the context, to figure out the gender.

Ending in -ista: il/la turista (“the tourist” ); il/la dentista (“the dentist” ); il/la giornalista (“the journalist” ).

    La turista è contenta. (“The tourist is happy.” )
    Questo giornalista sportivo scrive per la Repubblica. (“This sports’ journalist writes for la Repubblica.” )

Ending in -a: il/la collega (“the colleague” ); lo/la psichiatra (“the psychiatrist” ).

    Il mio collega mangia sempre in ufficio. (“My colleague always eats in the office.” )
    È un bravo psichiatra. (“He is a good psychiatrist.” )

Notice how in both cases, the plural of these nouns in -ista/-a ends in -e for feminine and in -i for masculine:

  • La turista          >> Le turiste
  • Il turista            >> I turisti
  • La collega        >> Le colleghe
  • Il collega          >> I colleghi

Then there’s the most bizarre of all cases: when a noun changes gender according to the number, that is, if it’s singular or plural. There are not—luckily—too many of those, but they are very common words:

Singular is masculine Plural is feminine
L’uovo Le uova “The egg/s”
Il dito Le dita “The finger/s”
Il braccio Le braccia “The arm/s”
Il paio Le paia “The pair/s”
Il riso Le risa “The laugh/s”
L’osso Le ossa “The bone/s”
Il lenzuolo Le lenzuola “The sheet/s”
Il muro Le mura “The walls”

6. Names with Totally Different M./F. Equivalents

Some names form their feminine counterpart from a very different root. We’ve already seen the case of pet/farm animals. Besides those, most of the other names belong to the relatives‘ category. See the examples below:

m f m f
fratello sorella “brother” “sister”
padre madre “father” “mother”
uomo donna “man” “woman”
marito moglie “husband” “wife”
genero nuora “son-in-law” “daughter-in-law”
dio dea “god” “goddess”

7. Conclusion

Italian gender rules can be a bit complicated, so you’ll need to learn a few tricks and practice, practice, practice. Do you want to know more? Do you want to practice with podcasts, lesson materials, and videos? Check out ItalianPod101.com for more, and keep up the good work!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if Italian gender rules are similar or different from those in your own language (or if your language has them at all!). We look forward to hearing from you!

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Loud and Creative: A Guide to Getting Angry in Italian

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Italians are known for expressing their emotions and for being passionate, a little loud, and definitely creative. So, it’s no surprise that when Italians get angry—and they do get angry a lot—they will have a passionate, loud, and creative way to express their feelings.

We know that angry people tend to express themselves with profanities and insults, but we’ll avoid parolacce (“curse words” ) and will give you instead a totally acceptable list of common Italian angry phrases and expressions useful for any occasion. Let’s start with learning how to say “angry” in the Italian language.

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Table of Contents

  1. Sono arrabbiato! (“I am angry!” )
  2. Angry Orders
  3. Angry Warnings in Italian
  4. Angry Questions and Blames in Italian
  5. Getting Emotional in Italian
  6. Saying it with Animals
  7. Culture: A Gesture is Worth a Thousand (Angry) Words
  8. Calmati! (“Calm Down!” ) A Brief Guide on How to Relax in Italian
  9. Don’t Make Me Come Over There and Teach You a Lesson!

1. Sono arrabbiato! (“I am angry!” )

The Italian word for “anger” is rabbia, from which comes the adjective arrabbiato (“angry” ). But let’s say that you’re really angry, but you don’t want to use any profanity. You can use the expression Sono arrabbiato nero! (“I am black angry!” ) when you’re soooo angry that you become black in the face.

There are other Italian words for “angry,” though. For example, you can use the phrase Sono incavolato, which literally refers to the cavolo (“cabbage” ), but is just a “clean” alternative to a curse word that also starts with Sono inc…(beep!).

You’ll hear these “clean” versions of parolacce (“swear words” ) all the time, from children and youngsters who don’t want to get in trouble with the adults to people in formal situations where profanities and curse words wouldn’t be appropriate. You’ll often hear an angry Italian guy (or lady) using these words, and you’ll see that they can often be really funny.

Negative Verbs

2. Angry Orders

Most of the time, we get angry because someone else is doing something annoying and they won’t stop when we ask them to.

A- Shut up!

This is the most widely used angry order. You say it to those chiacchieroni (“blabberers” ) who never stay quiet.

  • Zitto! This is the most common way to say it, and is the short version of Stai zitto! (“Be quiet!” ).
  • Taci! This is the imperative form of the verb tacere. Of course, if you’re giving the order to a crowd of loud people, you’ll change the verb to tacete!
  • Chiudi il becco! This is an older way of saying the same thing, but it’s still evergreen. Literally, it means “shut your beak” and is one of the angry Italian insults that give someone an animal characteristic. And we’ll see that there are many more examples of phrases like this throughout the article.

B- Stop!

There are so many things that make us angry…and often, we just need a generic order to stop whatever thing is driving us mad. And angry Italians have the perfect word for it:

  • Basta! It literally means “enough,” and you can use it by itself or with a noun:

    Basta ridere! (“Enough/Stop laughing!” )
    Basta con tutta questa confusione! (“Enough/Stop with all this mess!” )

  • Finiscila! This phrase literally means “end it,” as finisci is the imperative form of the verb finire (“to end” / “to finish” ). The pronoun la stands for whatever thing (cosa) is annoying us.
  • Smettila! This phrase is constructed exactly like the previous one, with the verb smettere (“to quit” ).
  • Dacci un taglio! This is another colorful way to tell somebody to cut it off (literally: “give it a cut” ).

Basta! (“Stop” )

C- Leave me alone!

When there’s loud people around you doing things they’re not supposed to do, the only thing you want is to be left alone, or as angry Italians say it:

  • Lasciami in pace! Literally, it means “let me in peace,” and it makes it very clear to steer away and give the speaker some peace of mind.
  • Togliti/Levati dai piedi! This angry phrase literally means “get out of my feet,” and it perfectly depicts a situation where somebody is constantly around you, literally “at your feet,” that you want to get rid of.
  • Vattene! It literally means “go away from this place” and it’s the imperative form of the verb andarsene (a reflexive + ne pronoun combination). In the plural form, it becomes Andatevene! And if you’re really arrabbiato nero (“madly angry” ) you can add a few unpleasant places where you want to send them to. For this, check the next paragraph.

D- Go to hell!

When everything else fails, it’s time to send the person bothering you really, really, really far away. Maybe even into another realm…

  • Vai all’inferno! (“Go to hell!” ) Not a very nice thing to say to anybody, but if you’ve been bad, that’s where you deserve to go, after all…
  • Vai al diavolo! (“Go to the devil!” ) This is another variation of the phrase above.
  • Vai a quel paese! This one literally means “go to that village!” It means that you order the person you’re angry with to go to an unidentified, faraway place.

Angry Man Pointing Finger at Someone

Vai all’inferno! (“Go to hell!” )

Did you notice that most of the examples above, since they’re orders, have the verb in the imperative form? You might want to review the imperative, especially if you want to know how to say angry phrases in Italian.

3. Angry Warnings in Italian

It’s such a cliché…but you don’t need to watch many mobster movies to know that angry Italians can be very intimidating, without even raising their voice! It’s true that sometimes just a mean look is enough to make you stop what you’re doing. But if you also add the right angry Italian phrases, you can be sure to achieve your intent.

  • Non mi fare incavolare/incacchiare! (“Do not make me angry!” ) Here we are again with these euphemisms (an expression substituting another that’s considered too vulgar, in this case).
  • Mi stai facendo perdere la pazienza! (“You are making me lose my patience!” ) This is what happens when you can’t take it anymore.
  • Non me lo fare ripetere due volte/un’altra volta! (“Don’t make me repeat it twice/once more!” )
  • Questa è l’ultima volta che te lo dico! (“This is the last time that I tell you!” ) This is just a variation of the angry phrase above.
  • Uomo avvisato, mezzo salvato! This common Italian motto literally means “Warned man is half saved,” and it’s the equivalent to the English “Forewarned is forearmed!” But with the right angry intonation, rather than a bit of advice, it becomes a warning that it’s the last chance to stay out of trouble.
  • Questa è la goccia che fa traboccare il vaso! And since we’re talking about mottos, another common way to warn people that you’re mighty angry is the image of “the drop that makes the vase overflow,” which is the equivalent of the English “the straw that broke the camel’s back!” And you know that when the thing that’s overflowing is anger, you better run and take cover!
  • Attento a come parli! This is literally translated as “Be careful how you talk,” which really means “Watch your mouth!”

Negative Feelings

4. Angry Questions and Blames in Italian

Questioning somebody’s behavior and actions are the first step you take when you’re angry. Here’s a list of angry questions and expressions in Italian for you to practice when you’ve lost your cool:

  • Ma che dici? (“What are you talking about?” ) This angry expression often goes together with a specific gesture that we’ll see in the following chapters. Or do you already know it?
  • Ma che diavolo/cavolo/cacchio dici/fai? (What the hell are you saying/doing?” ) This is just an angrier variation of the previous sentence, used with words that substitute the c… (beep!) curse word.
  • Chi ti credi di essere? (“Who do you think you are?” ) This phrase comes in handy when you want to rub in somebody’s face that they’re inferior to you. Variations of this are:
    • Non sai con chi stai parlando… (“You don’t know who you are talking to…” )
    • Non sai con chi hai a che fare…. (“You don’t know with whom you are dealing…” )
  • Sei pazzo? Sei scemo? (“Are you crazy? Are you dumb?” ) Nothing gives more pleasure—when you’re angry—than to question somebody’s sanity or intelligence. This is also often accompanied by a specific gesture. See more about this below.
  • Hai fatto casino! (“You messed up!” ) The word casino has various meanings (none of which is a small house, by the way). One of them is “brothel” and another is “confusion” or “mess,” which is probably a slang word derived from the first one. Casino (and its derivatives casinista, incasinato, etc.) used to be considered a curse word in the past, but nowadays it’s so common that you can safely say it. Even in front of somebody’s nonna (“grandmother” ).
  • Non sono fatti tuoi! (“It’s none of your business!” ) Notice how fatti (“facts” ) can have, in this context, the same meaning as “affairs” or “business.” You can also use the same expression to say “Mind your own business!” with the phrase Fatti i fatti tuoi! Notice how, in Italian, you don’t “mind” your business, but rather you “do” your business. And fatti is the imperative form (second person singular) of the verb fare (“to do” ).

Common Feelings

5. Getting Emotional in Italian

Let’s face it. We all get angry. And one thing that definitely helps to cope with anger, is to make sure your emotions are known. Here’s how you can show your disappointment, anger, impatience, and the whole range of angry feelings in Italian. And don’t forget that it’s also very important to know how to say sorry!

  • Non ne posso più! (“I can’t stand/take it anymore!” ) This is a rather bizarre construction, to say that you can’t stand something, as it’s only formed by the verb potere (“can,” “being able to” ) and the ne pronoun (“of it,” “about it” ). It is perfect, though, as a generic Italian expression of frustration.

    Non ne posso più… ho bisogno di un mese di ferie!
    “I can’t take it anymore…I need a month-long vacation!”

  • Non ti sopporto più! (“I can’t stand you anymore!” ) This is the perfect angry phrase if you want to break up with your Italian boyfriend/girlfriend. But it’s also an alternative (or possible addition) to the phrase above when you want to specify what you can’t stand:

    Non ti sopporto più! Me ne vado.
    “I can’t stand you anymore! I’m leaving.”

  • Ne ho piene le tasche! (“I’ve had it!” ) Literally, it means “I have my pockets full of that,” but “pockets” is really just a euphemism for male testicles. Another very common way Italians refer to being sick and tired of someone or something is the expression Rompere le scatole (“Break the boxes” ), where you already guessed what scatole stands for in this case.

    Basta con tutto questo casino! Mi avete rotto le scatole!
    “Enough with all this mess! I’ve had it with you!”

    Ne ho piene le tasche di tutto questo casino!
    “I’ve had enough of all this mess!”

  • Che schifo! (“How/That’s disgusting!” ) This is one of the most common Italian phrases when angry, and it’s a very encompassing word that Italians use all the time to express a range of negative emotions. It’s the perfect expression if you don’t like a dish (although it’s not polite at all for the cook, and you might have to face an angry Italian woman), if you see something bad, dirty, or smelly, or for anything else you dislike. It can also be used as a verb: mi fa schifo (“it disgusts me” ), a reflexive verb that can be considered the opposite of mi piace (“I like it” ).

    Prima mi piaceva ma adesso mi fa schifo!
    “I used to like it, but now it disgusts me!”

Girl Who Thinks Lima Beans Are Disgusting

Che schifo! (“Disgusting!” )

  • Che stress! (“What a stress!” ) “Stress” isn’t an Italian word, but it’s been so commonly used for many years that it’s officially entered the Italian dictionary. So have its derivatives stressare, stressarsi, and stressato (“to stress someone, to get stressed, stressed” ).

    Domani ho gli esami: che stress!
    “Tomorrow I have exams: what a stress!”

  • Che nervi! Literally, this can be translated as “What nerves!” Nervi is a synonym for “anger,” so as to mean “I am so angry!” A variation of this is Che nervoso!
  • Che palle! This is my personal favorite and, although it’s a bit more vulgar than the other examples, it’s mostly accepted nowadays. Palle (“balls” ) is still another word for testicles, but it also conveys other meanings, such as boredom, annoyance, or intolerance:

    Questo film è noioso e dura tre ore. Che palle!
    “This movie is boring and it lasts three hours. What a bore!”

    Parli troppo! Che palle!
    “You talk too much! What a nuisance!”

For many other ways to talk about your emotions, check out this catalog of negative emotions. Learn how to say that you’re sad in Italian and much more!

Complaints

6. Saying it with Animals

Maybe it’s due to the Italian agricultural background, or maybe it comes from our ancient ancestors, but the fact is that angry words in Italian culture are often animal comparisons. Here are just a few examples of animal insults in the Italian language:

  • Siete un branco di pecore! (“You are a herd of sheep!” ) This angry phrase is intended to insult people who have no will of their own and blindly follow orders. Pecoroni (“big sheep” ) has the same meaning.
  • Essere un maiale/porco (“To be a pig” ) This is an insult generally addressed to males, and it means “to be dirty, lewd, obscene.” The word porco (“pig” ) is also used in some generic expressions of anger: porco mondo! (“cursed world!” ) and porca miseria! (“cursed misery!” ).
  • Essere un asino/ciuccio/somaro (“To be a donkey” ) Asino/ciuccio/somaro are three synonyms for the same animal: the donkey, which is considered to be very ignorant, especially when referred to in a school setting. It’s not by chance that in the famous book, Pinocchio and the other kids that always skipped school turned into donkeys, remember?
  • Essere un verme (“To be a worm” ) For some reason, this little invertebrate has become used as an insult against a cowardly, vile, and morally repugnant person.
  • Figlio di un cane! (“Son of a dog!” ) Although the dog is most people’s favorite pet and is considered to be our best friend, in Roman times, Christians used to call people of different religious beliefs who betrayed them “dogs.” From those times comes this angry insult, which means “You are a traitor!”

7. Culture: A Gesture is Worth a Thousand (Angry) Words

Italians are famous for gesticulating a lot to emphasize what they’re saying. In angry situations, looks, hands, arms, and the entirety of body language help stress the extent of our feelings. Here’s what you need to know to use gestures instead of angry Italian words.

  • Ma che dici? (“What are you talking about?” ) When you want to question someone’s intelligence, there’s no better way than to put your fingertips together and move your hand back and forth a couple of times.
  • Sei pazzo! (“You are nuts!” ) To question someone’s sanity, you just need to touch your temple with your forefinger and tap on it a few times (or turn the finger clockwise).
  • Me ne frego! (“Who cares?” ) This angry expression shows absolute indifference to a situation. It’s made with the reflexive verb fregarsene (combined with the pronoun ne). Not an easy construction, but Chissenefrega…? (the impersonal way to say “Who cares?” ) will be much easier once you can say the same with a gesture. Just rub your fingers under your chin while looking at the person in front of you with indifference and contempt.
  • Ti faccio un mazzo così! (“I’ll kick your butt!” ) Alas, sometimes you’re so angry that all communication fails and you need to take action! Or at least threaten to take action. Or even better, you just make this gesture threatening to take action. Just make an L with your thumbs and forefingers with both hands and form a circle. But be careful, as this gesture is rude and aggressive. But it also means “you are very lucky” because, for some reason, in Italian, butts are synonymous with luck…
  • Mi fai incavolare! (“You drive me nuts!” ) By now, you should know everything about the use of this cabbage euphemism. What you probably don’t know is that you can say the same thing just by biting your upper and/or your lower lip.
  • Cornuto! (“Cuckold!” ) It literally means “with horns” and it’s the worst insult that will make any Italian man very angry (especially in the South), as it means that their partner is being unfaithful. So, you might actually not want to use it with that meaning. On the other hand, it’s often used as a generic insult, and it’s not uncommon to see people in traffic waving their fists with the index and little finger raised as to imitate the horns of a bull. Take, for example, the iconic scene from the movie Il Sorpasso.

8. Calmati! (“Calm Down!” ) A Brief Guide on How to Relax in Italian

Using Italian phrases when angry is perfect for getting your point across to fellow Italian speakers. But one of the most important things to remember about being angry is that right after, we need to calm down and find our cool again.

Italians are masters in this art. Here are a few suggestions on what to do when you’re angry.

  • Canta che ti passa! (“Sing and it will go away!” ) This is a very old Italian motto and it reflects the concept that Italians love music and singing. And there’s nothing better than singing a song to regain your good mood.
  • Fatti due passi. (Literally, “make two steps,” meaning to take a walk.) When you walk, you stimulate your brain to release endorphins—a neurochemical that makes you feel instantly better. It helps overcome stress and pain, and it can even make you feel euphoric.
  • Fai un bel respiro! (“Take a deep breath!” ) A well-known remedy for overcoming anger is to breathe deeply a couple of times and let the oxygen do its thing as a natural tranquilizer. This is especially useful if you use it as a method before saying or doing something that you might regret…
  • L’arte di chiedere scusa. (“The art of saying sorry.” ) Last, but definitely not least, the best thing to do after having burst in anger at somebody is to say you’re sorry. And mean it. Here’s how to say sorry in Italian:
    • Scusa. (“Sorry.” ) Notice how, in Italian, scusa means both “sorry” and “excuse me.”
    • Scusami. (“Forgive me.” )
    • Ti chiedo scusa/perdono. (“I ask for your forgiveness.” )
    • Perdonami. (“Forgive me.” )
    • Ti prometto che non lo faccio più. (“I promise I won’t do it again.” )

9. Don’t Make Me Come Over There and Teach You a Lesson!

Sorry, I got carried away with all these Italian angry phrases, and I just meant an Italian lesson… 😉 But really, in this guide we gave you all the tools you need to express your feelings, even if they’re angry feelings.

Did you like learning about angry expressions in Italian? Then drop us a comment below and let us know (but no parolacce, please!).

Keep exploring all of your emotions by diving deep into ItalianPod101.com, where you’ll be able to find videos, audio recordings, and all the answers to your questions related to Italian grammar and vocabulary.

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Happy Italian learning!

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