Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! How I Feel…

Kathryn for
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2017?

I believe that “commonly used phrases” are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time.

If we learn how to incorporate “commonly used phrases” when we speak Italian, we will be able to express ourselves more easily and quickly. We will be on our way to building complex sentences and speaking more like we do in our native language!

This post is the 7th in a series that originates in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. Our group has had a chance to use these phrases.  Now I am posting them on this blog for everyone to try!  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!  just click HERE.

Another of our “commonly used phrases,” that will help us talk more easily is
 “How I feel..”
We will discuss the Italian expressions for our everyday experiences and how they make us feel, leading into
“How you feel…” and “How she/he feels…” 

 See below for how this works.

As we all master these phrases, so will you. Try my method and let me know how it works. What sentences will you create with these phrases?

Please reply. I’d love to hear from you! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material was adapted from the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books  Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                       found on and Learn Travel

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel


How I Feel …

in Italian

The present tense form for “I feel…” is rendered in Italian with the reflexive verb  sentirsi,  and is, “Io mi sento…” But, of course, we always leave out the Italian subject pronoun, so the phrase that Italians use is conversation is just, “Mi sento…”

To complete the phrase, just add how you are feeling after the verb!  The most common way to use this verb in conversation is to say, “Mi sento bene!” which means, “I feel well!” (Notice Italians do not say, “I feel good,” which is actually grammatically incorrect, although we say this in English all of the time.)

If we remember how to use our reflexive verbs, we know that if we want to ask someone how they are feeling, we can simply say, “Ti senti bene?”  “Are you feeling well?”

To have a conversation with one person about another person’s health, we can use the same phrase to relay a fact or to ask a question: “Si sente bene.”  “He/she is feeling well.” “Si sente bene?”“Is he/she feeling well?” 

(Io) Mi sento bene. I feel well.
(Tu) Ti senti bene. Do you feel well?
(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene. She/he feels well.
(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene. Does she/he feel well?

We  had fun in our Conversational Italian! group  “discussing” how we all felt after I posted our talking point one week in September.  Below is a list of adjectives you can use to describe how you are feeling.  Remember that male speakers must use the “o” ending and female speakers the “a” ending for these adjectives.  If the adjective ends in an “e,” the ending does not need to be changed, of course.

bene well
contento(a) / felice happy 
male badly, unwell
nervoso(a) nervous
triste sad

Notice, also, that both “contento(a)” and “felice” mean “happy” in Italian.  But when an Italian wants to describe a happy feeling they have, the word chosen is usually “contento(a).”  Contento also translates into the English word, “content.” The phrase, “Contento lui!” translates as, “Whatever makes him happy!” 

Even when wishing someone “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy New Year,” (two holidays that are right around the corner once again, it seems) felice is again not the word of choice.  In these cases the English words “merry” and “happy” are replaced with the word “buon.”  Italians wish each other “Buon Natale!” and “Buon anno nuovo!” in conversation, but usually reserve, “Felice anno nuovo!” for a written greeting.


Speaking about feelings… we commonly talk about a person’s state of mind or personality traits. “Lei è… /Lui è… “  means, “He is…/She is… “

Of course, we can also describe our own state of mind with, “(Io) sono… for  “I am…” or directly tell someone how we think they are with “Tu sei…”  for “You are…”

Below are two lists of adjectives that describe some good personality traits, and other personality traits that are considered… not as good.

Adjectives of Personality – Postive

bravo(a) upright/talented intelligente intelligent/smart
buono(a) good saggio(a) wise


raffinato(a) refined
felice happy dolce sweet
allegro(a) cheerful carino(a) pretty/cute
gentile nice/kind/polite  diverso(a) different
piacevole agreeable  speciale special
simpatico(a) likeable/friendly
onesto(a) honest  emotionato(a)  excited
sincero(a) sincere  emotivo(a)

I find it interesting that here in America, we are always “excited” about things – what we are about to do, an event we will attend – while in Italy, the word that translates into, “excited or thrilled” is “emotionato(a).”  These types of words, which sound like they should have similar meanings in each language, but do not, are often called, “false friends.” Although the Italian word emotionato sounds to the English speaker like “emotional,” the Italian adjectives for emotional are actually, “emotivo(a),” or “emozionale.”  


Adjectives of Personality – Negative

cattivo(a) bad/mean stupido(a) stupid
triste sad sciocco(a) silly
arrabiato(a) angry pazzo(a) crazy
scortese rude matto(a) crazy
crudele cruel brutto(a) ugly
antipatico(a) disagreeable/nasty noioso(a) boring
falso(a) dishonest/fake seccante annoying
pigro(a) lazy fastidioso annoying
bugiardo(a) liar vigliacco(a) coward


Finally, the word “bravo” is worth a few words of explanation.  The word “bravo” has many connotations, which include, “upright/good, talented, kind, well-behaved, brave, or courageous.”  When one wants to recognize another for a special talent, competency, or a job “well-done“bravo(a)” is the word to choose. To say that a person is a “brava persona” is to give a compliment to another of the highest sort.  (Remember, persona is always a feminine noun, so this phrase applies to both men and women.)

And, remember that bravo must be changed to match the gender of whom you are complimenting.  For instance, anyone who attends the opera will no doubt hear “Bravo!” above the applause at the conclusion of the show as a way to show appreciation for the performance.  Keep in mind, though, that “Bravo!” refers only to a single male performer!  To compliment a female performer, one would yell, “Brava!”  For the entire ensemble, “Bravi!” is appropriate.

Remember these phrases, and I guarantee you will use them every day!


"Just the Verbs" from Conversational Italian for Travelers books
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs”


   Available on and Learn Travel

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