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Italian Words for Intermediate-Level Learners

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Mastering Italian is an ongoing process and a wonderful journey, but you’re definitely on the right track! Once you have secured the basics, it’s time to move on and tackle more complex grammar structures and vocabulary words.

The topic of this guide is Italian words for intermediate learners, and you’ll find a great variety of nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, conjunctions, and more! We’ve included everything you need to improve your comprehension and to take part in more advanced conversations, watch movies without subtitles, or read books and magazines without a dictionary.

While this list is by no means complete, we recommend you begin practicing these intermediate Italian words right away. Remember that you can find more lessons and exercises on ItalianPod101.com—create your free lifetime account today to gain full access to our study materials.

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Italian Table of Contents
  1. Let’s Start with the Numbers
  2. Nouns
  3. Pronouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Adverbs
  7. Prepositions
  8. Conjunctions
  9. Conclusion

1. Let’s Start with the Numbers

3… 2… 1… Via! (“Go!”) 

The first set of intermediate words we’ll look at are the higher numbers. The first ten are quite easy—you just need to memorize them!


The Numbers 1-5 in Block Form

Diamo i numeri? (“Shall we give the numbers?”)

1 – From 11 to 20

The numbers from 11 to 20 are extremely useful when talking about the ages of your amici adolescenti (“teenage friends”), small prices, or the time.

11Undici
12Dodici
13Tredici
14Quattordici
15Quindici
16Sedici
17Diciassette
18Diciotto
19Diciannove
20Venti

There are a couple of things we should point out regarding the Italian numbers from 11 to 19. 

1. They are formed by combining the word dici (a word meaning “ten”) and the unit number. But, as you probably noticed, dici looks a bit different from dieci (as there’s an “e” missing in there). Furthermore, it’s positioned after the units until the number se-dici (16), but before the units for the numbers 17, 18, and 19.

2. Notice also how we double the consonant in diciassette (17) and diciannove (19).

2 – Counting Up to 100

20Venti
30Trenta
40Quaranta
50Cinquanta
60Sessanta
70Settanta
80Ottanta
90Novanta
100Cento

While the numbers up to twenty can be a bit tricky, counting up to cento (100) in Italian is fairly easy. Just put together the decine (“tens”) and the units: ventuno, ventidue, ventitre, ventiquattro (21, 22, 23, 24), and so on. They all follow the same pattern.

3 – To 1,000 and Beyond

Now, the big numbers—the ones you need to talk about large amounts of money—are really straightforward. You just have to remember that they form one word (no hyphen, no space) and that we use a period (.) rather than a comma (,) to write numbers from 1,000 onward: 1,234 = 1.234.

200Duecento
300Trecento
(…)
900Novecento
1,000Mille
2,000Duemila
10,000Diecimila
100,000Centomila
1,000,000 Un milione

If you want to check out more examples, read our full Italian numbers guide on ItalianPod101.com.

2. Nouns

In Italian, nouns are called sostantivi (that is, “substantive”). 

Nouns have a fundamental function in communication. They allow us to name people, things, places, concepts, actions, feelings, ideas, and anything else we might want to refer to while speaking or writing. In short, nouns define everything that exists or that we can imagine, and therefore constitute an essential element of any sentence. 

In Italian, each noun can be masculine or feminine and singular or plural. And don’t forget that they have to “agree” with other parts of speech in the sentence, such as articles or adjectives.

Let’s now see some intermediate Italian vocabulary words you can use at school, in the workplace, or in your spare time.


1 – Exercise

La corsaRunning
In Italy, you might hear people saying faccio footing, which sounds English—but it’s not! This is one of the many Itanglish words that have been misused over the years.

Attività fisicaExercise
In Italian, there is no single word for general exercise, and we often think of it as andare in palestra (“to go to the gym.”)

What do we call the different kinds of sports in Italian? Let us know in the comments which sport is your favorite (in Italian, of course). 

Note that the verb used for practicing sports could be either giocare (“to play”) or fare (“to do”), depending on the sport in question. But which is which? Here we go:

Calcio
Pallacanestro
Pallavolo
Pallanuoto
Tennis
Soccer
Basketball
Volleyball
Water Polo
Tennis
For all of these sports, we use the verb giocare (“to play”).

Da piccola giocavo a pallacanestro. 
“When I was a kid, I played basketball.”

Nuoto
Ginnastica
Atletica
Ciclismo
Sci
Swimming
Gymnastics
Track and field
Cycling
Skiing
For these sports, on the other hand, we use fare (“to do”).

Ho fatto atletica per tanti anni. 
“I practiced track and field for many years.”

Un giocoA game

Una partitaA match

Il punteggioThe score

La vittoriaThe victory

Un infortunioAn injury

A Man being Lazy and Flipping through Channels on the TV

E tu, che sport fai oggi? (“And you, what sport are you doing today?”)

2 – The Workplace

Un lavoroA job

La pausa caffèThe coffee break
Are you wondering why this is the second item on the list? Not only because coffee is soooo important for Italians, but also because the coffee break is the perfect moment for a creative, informal meeting among colleghi (“colleagues”).

Un colloquio (di lavoro)An interview

Una riunioneA meeting

La sala riunioniThe meeting room

L’ufficioThe office

La scrivaniaThe desk

La sediaThe chair

La mensaThe cafeteria

3 – At School

La classe / L’aulaThe classroom
Lo zaino / Lo zainettoThe backpack
La pennaThe pen
La matitaThe pencil
Il libro di testoThe textbook
Il quadernoThe notebook
Il bancoThe desk
La cattedraThe teacher’s desk
La lavagnaThe blackboard
Il dizionarioThe dictionary
Il righelloThe ruler
L’astuccioThe pencil case

4 – Arts, Crafts, and Hobbies

Il disegnoThe drawing
Il dipintoThe painting
La sculturaThe sculpture
La composizioneThe composition
L’orchestraThe orchestra
La chitarraThe guitar
Il violinoThe violin
La danzaThe dance
La coreografiaThe choreography
L’artigianatoThe crafts

A Man Chiseling to Make a Sculpture

Mani esperte (“Expert hands”)

5 – At the Doctor’s

Il dottore / La dottoressaThe doctor
Il dentistaThe dentist
L’ospedaleThe hospital
La medicinaThe medicine
La curaThe cure
Il mal di testaThe headache
Il mal di dentiThe toothache
Il mal di stomacoThe stomachache
Le pilloleThe pills
Il cerottoThe band-aid
L’ambulanzaThe ambulance
Il vaccinoThe vaccine

3. Pronouns

Pronouns are fundamental when it comes to advancing your speaking skills and reaching an intermediate level of Italian. They help you avoid repeating the names of things and people over and over again. 

There are many kinds of pronouns. Let’s start with the basics: personal pronouns.

As a beginner, you probably learned the personal subject pronouns (io, tu, lei, etc.). Now, to expand your intermediate Italian vocabulary, you’ll need to tackle the stressed, unstressed, direct, indirect, and reflexive personal pronouns. Here we go.

1 – Stressed Pronouns

Complement pronouns can be used in both stressed (forti) and unstressed (deboli) forms. The form you choose basically depends on how much emphasis you want to place on the pronoun. Let’s see a few examples. 

You need to use the strong form of the complement pronoun when you want to give greater importance to the subject or to the complement. They’re generally placed after the verb. 

For example:

Penso a te. → (stressed: “It is you I am thinking of.”)
Ti penso. → (unstressed: “I think of you.”)

Chiami me? → (stressed: “Is it really me you are calling?”)
Mi chiami? → (unstressed: “Do/can you call me?”)

And you always need a stressed form when you use the pronoun together with a preposition (di, a, da, con, etc.).

Vado con loro. (“I go with them.”)
Non mi ricordo di te… (“I don’t remember you…”)

A Woman Who Is Stressed Out at Work

Are you a stressed or an unstressed…pronoun?

PersonItalian pronounEnglish
1st person sg.meme
2nd person sg.teyou
3rd person sg.lui / leihe / him / she / her
1st person pl.noius
2nd person pl.voiyou
3rd person pl.lorothem

2 – Direct, Indirect, and Reflexive Personal P
ronouns

If you don’t need to put particular emphasis on the person or thing you’re talking about, you’ll use an unstressed personal pronoun. In Italian, unstressed pronouns can be direct or indirect.

Direct pronouns replace direct object complements. In simpler terms, they answer the question “Who?” or “What?”

Chiamo Sara. (“I call Sara.”) → I call who? Sara. → La chiamo. (“I call her.”)
Mangio un gelato. (“I eat an ice cream.”) → I eat what? An ice cream. → Lo mangio. (“I eat it.”)

Indirect pronouns replace indirect object complements, and they answer the question “To whom?” or “To what?”

Telefono a Carlos. (“I make a call to Carlos.”) → To whom? To Carlos. → Gli telefono. (“I make a call to him.”)
Scrivo alla mia amica. (“I write to my friend.”) → To whom? To my friend. → Le scrivo. (“I write to her.”)

Reflexive pronouns are those that go with reflexive verbs [see verb section], and we use them when the object of a sentence is also its subject. It allows the action to fall upon the subject.

Mi alzo e mi lavo la faccia. (“I get [myself] up and I wash my face.”)

There is no equivalent in English, but the same idea is rendered by using “my, myself,” etc.

Notice how all of these pronouns are the same across the three types (direct, indirect, reflexive) except for the third person. This change takes place to distinguish between masculine and feminine forms. 

PersonDirect pronounsIndirect pronounsReflexive pronouns
1st sg. [m, f]mimimi
2nd sg. [m, f]tititi
3rd sg. [m]lo glisi
3rd sg. [f]lalesi
1st pl. [m, f]cicici
2nd pl. [m, f]vivivi
3rd pl. [m]liglisi
3rd pl. [f]leglisi

3 – Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns, like all pronouns, are used to replace the name of someone or something. Generally, they’re used to join sentences that have an element in common. 

Mio fratello viene a trovarmi. + Mio fratello studia a Roma. 
→ Mio fratello, che studia a Roma, viene a trovarmi.

(“My brother comes to visit me.” + “My brother studies in Rome.”)
→ (“My brother, who studies in Rome, comes to visit me.”)

Or:

Ti ho parlato di mio fratello. + Mio fratello studia a Roma. 
→ Mio fratello, di cui ti ho parlato, studia a Roma.

(“I told you about my brother.” + “My brother studies in Rome.”)
→ (“My brother, whom I told you about, studies in Rome.”)

che (“that” / “which” / “who”)This is the easiest relative pronoun, as you can use it for almost anything, provided that there is no preposition.
il quale (“that” / “which” / “who”)Compared to the one above, il quale is a bit more sophisticated and complex. It must be used with the article and agree with other words in the sentence. 

Mio fratello, il quale studia a Roma, arriva domani.
“My brother, who studies in Rome, arrives tomorrow.”
cui  (“that” / “which” / “who” / “where”)This relative pronoun is used together with a preposition:

La città in cui vivo. (“The city where I live.”)
L’amico a cui hai scritto. (The friend you wrote to.”)
Sei la ragione per cui vivo. (“You’re the reason why I live.”)

4 – Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns indicate, in an imprecise and generic way, the quantity of a thing or the identity of a person.

Some of them can also function as indefinite adjectives (if they precede the noun) and indefinite pronouns (if they replace the noun). Others are only used as indefinite pronouns.

Qualcuno (“Someone”)Qualcuno ha capito? (“Did someone understand?”)
Nessuno (“Nobody”)Nessuno ha capito! (“Nobody understood!”)
Ognuno (“Each one” / “Everyone”)Ognuno fa quello che può. (“Everyone does what they can.”)
Niente (“Nothing”)Non ho capito niente… (“I understood nothing…”)
Qualcosa (“Something”)Forse ho capito qualcosa. (“Maybe I understood something.”)
Un tale / Un tizio (“Somebody”)Ieri ho incontrato un tale… (“Yesterday I met somebody…”)
We often use the expression tizio, caio, e sempronio to talk about generic people—those we don’t really know or who don’t mean much to us. For some reason, these three names were chosen in Ancient Rome to represent a Mr. Nobody…


4. Verbs

At the beginner level, you learned a number of basic action words that allowed you to get your point across. These words may have been quite useful at first, but as your speaking and writing skills improve, you should start picking up some intermediate Italian verbs. Knowing these will help you sound more like a native speaker and give you the means to better express yourself. 

1 – Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs indicate that the subject of a sentence performed an action on itself. This type of verb is always used with reflexive pronouns [see previous section]. They’re extremely common in Italian, which means they’ll make an excellent addition to your intermediate Italian vocabulary.

A Guy Looking at Himself in the Mirror

Guardarsi allo specchio (“Look in the mirror”)

AnnoiarsiTo get bored
ArrabbiarsiTo get angry
DivertirsiTo have fun
ImpegnarsiTo engage
InnamorarsiTo fall in love
LamentarsiTo complain
PettinarsiTo comb (one’s hair)
PreoccuparsiTo worry
TruccarsiTo put on makeup
RilassarsiTo chill out
SedersiTo sit
SposarsiTo get married
SvegliarsiTo wake up
VergognarsiTo be ashamed
VestirsiTo get dressed

2 – Verbs and Prepositions

Some verbs use simple and complex prepositions (preposizioni articolate) before the noun or the infinitive that follows them. But which preposition do we use? Di, da, a…? Unfortunately, there is no precise rule, and the only way to learn them is by heart. 

Here’s a list of the most common verb-preposition pairs you’ll need to add to your intermediate vocabulary.

Pensare aTo think to
Minacciare diTo threaten to
Fingere diTo pretend to
Dubitare diTo doubt of
Finire diTo finish to
Evitare diTo avoid to
Cominciare aTo start to
Abituarsi aTo get used to
Aiutare aTo help to
Andare aTo go to
Continuare aTo keep on
Imparare aTo learn to
Mettersi aTo start to
Provare aTo try to

5. Adjectives

Adjectives are the perfect instruments to improve the way you express ideas. The more, the better. Here, we’ll just concentrate on possessive adjectives as well as comparatives and superlatives. 


1 – Possessives

Possessive adjectives in Italian are always preceded by an article, except when they’re followed by terms indicating a singular family member: mio fratello (“my brother”), tua sorella (“your sister”), etc. 

They need to agree in gender and number with the noun, and their form doesn’t change even when they’re turned into pronouns.

A Family Eating a Large Meal Outside

La mia famiglia (“My family”)

Italian PossessivesAdjectivePronoun
il mio / la mia / i miei / le miemymine
il tuo / la tua/ i tuoi / le tueyouryours
il suo / la sua/ i suoi / le suehis / herhis / her
il nostro / la nostra/ i nostri / le nostreourours
il vostro / la vostra/ i vostri / le vostreyouryours
il loro / la loro  / i loro / le lorotheirtheirs

2 – Comparatives & Superlatives

In Italian, comparatives and superlatives are normally formed with più or meno (“more” or “less”) and the adjective. However, there are also some irregular forms that come directly from the Latin model.

MiglioreBetter
OttimoGreat / Best
MaggioreBigger / Greater
MinoreMinor / Less
SuperioreSuperior / Higher
UlterioreFurther
PeggioreWorse
PessimoBad / Worst
InferioreInferior / Lower

6. Adverbs

Like with adjectives, you could get away with very few adverbs as a beginner, but you’ll need to learn some more as you level up. They’re not only great for showing style and sophistication in writing, but also for helping the audience picture how something is done when you’re having a conversation.

1 – When

GiàAlready
A lungoA long time / Long
AdessoNow
AncoraAgain
FinalmenteAt last
AlloraThen

2 – How Often 

A volteSometimes
RaramenteRarely
SolitamenteUsually
GeneralmenteGenerally / Usually
SempreAll the time
MaiNever

3 – Where 

Da nessuna parteNowhere
Da qualche parteSomewhere
AltroveSomewhere else
SuUp / Above
GiùDown / Below
SopraOver / On
SottoUnder / Below
LontanoFar
VicinoClose

A Guy in a Dark Coat being Secretive

Facciamolo…silenziosamente. (“Let’s do it…quietly.”)

4 – How 

SilenziosamenteSoftly / Quietly
Lentamente / PianoSlowly
RapidamenteFast / Quickly / Shortly
Con calma / PianoCalmly / Quietly
FacilmenteEasily
FortunatamenteLuckily
SemplicementeSimply / Just

5 – How Much 

PiuttostoRather
AbbastanzaEnough
SpecialmenteEspecially
QuasiAlmost
QuantoHow much / How many
TalmenteSo / So much / So many
CircaAbout / Approximately

Take note of how many adverbs are formed by the [adjective + mente] pattern (rara-mente, general-mente, lenta-mente). Why don’t you give it a try? You can create a great number of adverbs to build upon your intermediate vocabulary! Or, you can find many more adverbs in our guide to the top 100 most useful Italian adverbs on ItalianPod101.com.

7. Prepositions

You don’t need too many prepositions, but they’re still vital when it comes to articulating your speech and structuring your sentences. They mark the relationships and links between people, objects, places, and moments.

1 – Time

PrimaBefore / Prior

DopoAfter / Then / Once

FraIn / Within
Fra (which also means “between” or “among”) is used to talk about a period of time after which something will occur, as in:

Vado in vacanza fra una settimana. (“I go on holiday in a week.”)

The opposite is expressed with fa (“ago”):

Siamo arrivati una settimana fa. (“We arrived a week ago.”)

DaSince
The preposition da (which also has many other meanings, such as “at,” “from,” etc.) is used to talk about how long (since) something has been happening.

Vivo a Roma dal 2019. (“I’ve been living in Rome since 2019.”)

2 – Space

AccantoNext to / Beside

A destraTo the right

A sinistraTo the left

DaAt
Da is used to mean “at someone’s place or office.” For example:

Dormo da un amico. (“I sleep at my friend’s house.”) 
Vado dal medico. (“I go to the doctor.”)

DavantiIn front of / Ahead

DietroBehind

SottoUnder

SopraOver / On

8. Conjunctions

Conjunctions allow you to connect two (or more) words, clauses, or sentences together. They can also be used to clarify the relationship between one sentence and the next. They’re very cool because, by using conjunctions, you’re able to build more sophisticated phrases. 

You may have learned the most basic conjunctions already (e, o, se, perché, ma), so we’ll just focus on the slightly more advanced ones here. 

A Vegetarian Soup with Bread

Né carne, né pesce… sono vegetariana! (“Neither meat nor fish… I’m a vegetarian!”)

Né…né (“Nor” / “Neither…nor” / “Either…or”)

  • Non mangio né carne né pesce. (“I eat neither meat nor fish.”)

Quindi (“Therefore” / “So”)

  • Sono stanca quindi vado a letto. (“I’m tired, so I’m going to bed.”)

Altrimenti (“Otherwise”)

  • Studia, altrimenti mi arrabbio! (“Study; otherwise, I’ll get angry!”)

Poiché (“Since” / “As”)

  • Poiché insisti, accetto il tuo invito. (“Since you insist, I accept your invitation.”)

Sebbene (“Although”)

  • Sebbene sia stanca, continuo a scrivere. (“Although I am tired, I continue to write.”)

→ Note how some conjunctions (sebbene, a meno che, così che, qualora) need to use the subjunctive.

Invece di (“Instead of”)

  • Invece di uscire, abbiamo visto un film a casa. (“Instead of going out, we saw a movie at home.”)

Mentre (“While”) 

  • Mentre ero al parco, ho incontrato un amico. (“While I was in the park, I met a friend.”)

9. Conclusion

In this guide, you’ve learned many of the best Italian words for intermediate learners. Did we forget any important words or categories you’d like to know about?

If you want more, remember that ItalianPod101 offers a great variety of vocabulary lists with audio recordings and other free resources to help you continue improving! 

Remember that you can also use our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, to get personal 1-on-1 coaching with your own private teacher who can help you practice intermediate words and more. Your teacher can give you assignments and personalized exercises, record audio samples to help with your pronunciation, and review all of your work to help you learn more efficiently.

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