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Lesson Transcript

Hi!
Welcome to Introduction to Italian.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Marika.
In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of Italian grammar.
Word Order
"Word Order" refers to the order in which words are structured to form a sentence in a given language.
Consider the English sentence "I ate an apple." But first, let's remove the article "an" here for simplicity, so we're just left with "I ate apple."
The basic Word Order for English is subject, verb, object, or SVO for short.
If we break down the English sentence "I ate apple", we can see that the subject "I" is presented first, followed by the verb "ate", and then finally the object "apple" is positioned last.
This is the basic word order for sentences in English.
Now let's compare that same sentence, "I ate an apple.", in Italian.
Io ho mangiato una mela.
Like before, let's remove the article to keep it simple, so we're just left with the words.
una
Io ho mangiato mela v
If we break down the Italian sentence, we get the subject Io meaning "I", then comes the verb ho mangiato meaning "ate", and finally we have the object mela meaning "apple".
The basic word order for Italian then, is SVO. It's the same as English!
This means that you can convert an English sentence into Italian, simply by replacing the English words with Italian words, and you'll still be understood.
Italian word order, however, is much more flexible than English.
If we swapped the subject and object around, we'd get "apple ate I" in English, which changes the meaning of the sentence completely.
In Italian, however, the core meaning of the sentence does not change. It'd still essentially be "I ate apple".
mela ho mangiato io.
As you can see, the word order of Italian is quite flexible.
Null-Subject Language
More often than not, if you wanted to say "I ate an apple." in Italian, you would not say...
Io ho mangiato una mela.
Instead, you would more likely say "ate an apple" in Italian...
Ho mangiato una mela.
This is because Italian is a 'null-subject' language, where the word for the pronoun is omitted because it is already implied.
This is because all of the information can be derived from the way the verb is conjugated in the sentence.
For example, the verb aprire means "to open". When you conjugate it, it changes according to the subject.
Hai aperto la scatola. Means (you) opened the box.
Hanno aperto la scatola. Means (they) opened the box.
Let's take a look at another example.
tornare means "to return".
Siamo tornati a casa in treno. Means (We) returned home by train.
Sono tornata a casa in treno. Means (I) returned home by train.
Can you see how the subject changes based on the way the verb is conjugated in the sentence?
OK. Let's move on.
How to Form Negative Sentences in Italian
Negating a sentence in Italian is incredibly simple! All you have to do is to put the word non in front of the verb!
Let's go back to the original example "I ate an apple". The verb here is "ate", or... ho mangiato in Italian.
Ho mangiato una mela. (I ate an apple)
To make this sentence negative, simply add non before the verb, ho mangiato.
Non ho mangiato una mela. (I didn't eat an apple)
If "Carla ate an apple", it would be...
Carla ha mangiato una mela. (Carla ate an apple)
Adding non before the verb would make it negative.
Carla non ha mangiato una mela. (Carla didn't eat an apple)
Siamo tornati a casa in treno. (We returned home by train)
Non siamo tornati a casa in treno. (We didn't return home by train)
You can create any negative sentence in Italian, simply by adding non before the verb!
How to Form Questions in Italian
Asking a question in Italian is even easier than making it negative. All you have to do is simply raise the pitch at the end of a sentence to turn it into a question.
Hai aperto la scatola. (You opened the box.)
Hai aperto la scatola? (Did you open the box?)
No rearranging of words is needed!
Hai aperto la scatola. (You opened the box.)
Hai aperto la scatola? (Did you open the box?)
You can create any basic yes/no questions in Italian this way.
If you want to be a little more specific, simply add the question word in front of the question. For example...
perchรฉ, means "why"
Perchรฉ hai aperto la scatola? (Why did you open the box?)
quando, means "when"
Quando hai aperto la scatola? (When did you open the box?)
and come, means "how"
Come hai aperto la scatola? (How did you open the box?)
Now you know how to create questions in Italian!
Well done! OK. Let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that Italian sentences can be formed using a subject, verb, object, or "SVO" word order.
Italian tends to omit the subject, if that subject is a pronoun.
You make a sentence negative by adding non before the verb.
To turn a sentence into a question, simply raise your pitch at the end.
And if you want to be more specific, just add a question word at the beginning of the question.
We've covered only the very basics of Italian grammar. If you're interested in learning more, check out our "Italian in 3 minutes" video series. In that course, we teach you useful phrases while covering the fundamentals of Italian grammar, and each lesson is only 3 minutes long!
In the next lesson, we'll introduce you to the basics of Italian writing.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!
Bye~!

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ItalianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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We've covered only the very *basics* of Italian grammar. If you have any questions, leave a comment!

ItalianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 10:57 PM
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Hi Francia,

thanks for your question.

The correct sentence would be:

Perchรฉ non SONO tornati a casa in treno?


"Tornare" is an intransitive verb of movement, so it needs "to be" as the auxiliary in compound tenses, as explained in this video, too: https://www.italianpod101.com/lesson/absolute-beginner-questions-answered-by-marika-10-choosing-the-right-auxiliary-verb-essere-or-avere/?lp=141


I hope this helps!


Valentina

Team ItalianPod101.com

Francia
Sunday at 05:26 AM
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Ciao, I have question. I am applying my knowledge so, little bit confuse..

So, If I ask: Why thy didn't return home by train?

in Italian: Proche non hanno tornati a casa in treno? .. is that correct??

ItalianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 07:10 PM
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Ciao Barbara,


There's no on hold option per se as of now, however, you can add the lesson to your favourites so that you can review it later by clicking on the heart button (Add to My Favourites button) which is the first round-shaped button next to the Mark Complete button when viewed from your desktop.


Hope this helps!


A presto,

Levente

Team ItalianPod101.com

Barbara
Monday at 10:43 AM
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How can you put the lesson on hold?

ItalianPod101.com
Wednesday at 08:31 PM
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Hello Peter,


Thank you for posting.


You can check out our "3-Minute Italian" series here:

https://www.italianpod101.com/lesson-library/3-minute-italian-greetings-and-useful-phrases/


Should you need extra help with grammar, please check out our grammar banks:

https://www.italianpod101.com/italian-grammar/


Hope this helps! In case of any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Sincerely,

Cristiane

Team ItalianPod101.com

Peter
Tuesday at 10:09 PM
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Hi

where do I find the 3 minute lessons on grammar that you mention in this lesson

ItalianPod101.com
Wednesday at 03:23 AM
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Hello Horacio,

thanks for your question! The first thing you should notice is we removed the article to better see Subject Object and Verb. So you're right, you'll never hear anybody say "mela ho mangiato io" (just as you'd never hear "I ate apple"). Now, the complete sentence with this particular order (O+V+S) would be: Una mela ho mangiato io. Without any context, it might seem an odd sentence. But look at this example:

You're at a restaurant with a friend. He orders a pizza, a dessert and a coffee, but you only order an apple. When you see the bill is 50 Euros, you exclaim: Una mela ho mangiato io! By saying the object first, youโ€™re putting emphasis on it. Itโ€™s like saying โ€œAn apple is all I ate.โ€ I hope this makes sense, despite the absurd example!

Valentina

Team ItalianPod101.com

Horacio
Monday at 10:08 AM
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Hello! Can you colaborate more on this:

My background, i have lived 2 years in Italy long time ago! but I neverd heard of

Mela ho mangiato io. So I want to see real examples or where in italianpod101 you talk futher about this? Coz I never noticed that when I was speaking italian in Italy, so maybe because I never study the language grammar, so That is why I am using ITalianpod101 in other to improve and Started from the basics!


So Please help to understand this concept when is used.. I know for sure that in German and Russian they do it because of the cases but in Italian most people I think i Speak SVO



ItalianPod101.com
Monday at 11:58 PM
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Hi FlouBsy,


Thank you for studying with us!


Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.๐Ÿ‘


Sincerely,

Cristiane

Team ItalianPod101.com

FlouBsy
Monday at 06:04 AM
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Grazie ^_^