Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! How to express possession in Italian

Burano in Venice, Italy and Everyday Italian phrases
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently in 2023?

 I have been trying to help you with this goal by posting a new blog every month in the series “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” In these blogs, I discuss how Italians use their language on a daily basis and in so doing help you to “think in Italian.” 

To speak fluently in another language, it is important to know how to describe possession — this refers not only to the things we own but also to our interpersonal relationships. Did you know that to describe possession one must use a special set of adjectives, which are called the possessive adjectives?  In English, we simply put a possessive adjective (my, your, his/hers, etc.) before a noun under discussion. English possessive adjectives refer to the person or persons who “own” something or have a special relationship to someone. The word placement is the same in Italian; the possessive adjectives are placed before the noun. However, the Italian use of possessive adjectives requires a different way of thinking, since Italians match the gender and number of the possessive adjective to the object or person referred to! Even more interestingly, the Italian use of the definite article to form the possessive adjective can yield clues to an individual’s interpersonal relationships.

There is also the stressed form of possessive adjectives, which flip this sentence order in both English and Italian, and are put after the noun in order to emphasize the idea of possession!

We started to talk different categories of Italian adjectives in our last blog _____________________, and covered adjectives of nationality, color, and personality. This blog will focus on the common use of possessive adjectives  in Italian and their variations in order to express relationships with family and friends.

If we learn how to use Italian possessive adjectives  in the proper way, we will truly sound like a native Italian!

This post is the 68th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE

Many “commonly used phrases”
in Italian use

 possessive adjectives

to describe ownership and interpersonal relationships.
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.

The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar * 

                       found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

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

****************************************

Italian Possessive Adjectives
for Things

Possessive adjectives allow one to describe ownership.  As we have already learned in our last blog  __________________, Italian adjectives change their endings to match the gender and number of the noun they modify. For Italian possessive adjectives, this change holds true, and therefore will depend on what is being possessed.

Note the difference from English; the English possessive adjectives (my, your, our, their) refer to the person who is the “owner” of the thing under discussion. But in Italian, although the adjective itself describes the owner,  the ending of the possessive adjective is linked to the object possessed — its masculine or feminine ending and how many of each are referred to!  In effect, we can have a masculine owner of a feminine object and the possessive adjective used will have a feminine ending, or vice versa.  We must really think in Italian when we use Italian possessive adjectives!

Italian possessive adjectives are placed before the person, place, or thing they modify, just like in English. The Italian definite article, which is required before an Italian noun, is often included as part of the Italian possessive adjective. In this case, all three — definite article, possessive adjective, and noun — will agree in gender and number!

The table below lists the singular and plural possessive adjectives. Of course, there are four possessive adjectives to cover all situations that might occur in gender or number for any given noun.  Notice from the table below that the masculine possessive adjectives end in -o/-i and the feminine possessive adjectives end in –a/-e, except for the third person plural form, loro, which is invariable. Since loro is invariable, it cannot be used without its definite article.

Italian Singular
Possessive Adjectives
  Italian Plural
Possessive Adjectives
mio / mia my miei / mie
tuo / tua your (familiar) singular  tuoi / tue
suo* / sua* your (polite)* singular

his, her, its

suoi* / sue*

 

     
nostro / nostra  our  nostri / nostre  
vostro / vostra your (familiar) plural  vostri / vostre
loro their  loro

*For “polite your”, when writing, simply capitalize, as in, “il Suo amico” or “la Sua amica.”

Although the grammar for Italian possessive adjectives appears complicated at first, the matching endings flow easily when spoken and give Italian its beautiful musical cadence. In fact, in our last blog about Italian adjectives, several examples used possessive adjectives with their correct endings because they fit so easily into the sentences we were creating. Let’s take a look:

Anna è una ragazza europea; viene dalla Francia. Abita in compagna e d’estate e dalla sua casa può vedere i fiori gialli, viola, e lilla.

Ann is a European girl; she is from France. She lives in the country, and during the summer from her house she can see yellow, violet, and light purple flowers.

Mio nonno Carmelo è un uomo italiano ma gli piace molto la sua casa in America. Lui ha dipinto la sua casa blu, come il mare italiano.
My grandfather Carl is an Italian man but he really likes his house in America. He painted his house blue, like the sea around Italy.

In both examples above, the Italian word casa was modified by “la sua” — to signify “hers”  in the first case and “his” in the second case.  Even though the two subjects’ gender is different the examples, the possessive adjective remains the same, since the ending is linked to the noun that follows. At this point, we won’t discuss combining “da” with “la,” as in the first example, since that is the topic for another blog!

Below are some simple sentences with examples of matching possessive adjectives and nouns. Remember that nouns that end in -e are designated as either masculine or feminine in Italian. If one is not sure, just check the definite article, which will be true to the gender of the noun! Notice again that the word order for nouns and adjectives in the English translation may differ from the Italian sentence.

Mi piace la mia macchina rossa.
I like my red car.

Questo è il tuo libro.
This is your book

I nostri lavoratori sono bravi artigani.
Our workers are talented artisans.

Il loro cibo italiano è il migliore!
Their Italian food is the best!

It should be noted that the Italian definite article can be omitted if the speaker wants to emphasize ownership of a particular thing when using the verb essere.  For instance, if the speaker in our first example wanted to stress his ownership of a car,  he would simply say, “È mia, for, “(It) is mine,” and omit the definite article la and the word macchina. In English, we use mine instead of my, ours instead of our and yours instead of your after the verb “to be” in a similar way.  This is called the stressed form of the possessive adjective.

Finally, the expression “a casa mia,” with the possessive adjective placed alone, after the noun, is common and means “at/to my house.”  The other possessive forms can be used as well with this phrase, as ina casa tua” (at your house) or “a casa sua” (at his/her house).  And, it can always be, “colpa mia” for “my fault.”

*************************************************

Italian Possessive Adjectives
for Family Members – Singular

Possessive adjectives are also used to talk about relationships between family members and friends in every language. In fact, the Italian use of the definite article to form the possessive adjective can yield clues to an individual’s interpersonal relationships.

For instance, when referring to a family member in the singular, the Italian possessive adjective is used alone, without it’s definite article. Of course husband, wife, mother, father, sister and brother do not need a definite article when you mention them in conversation or in writing. This holds true for the extended family as well.

Two examples from our last blog, which refer to the speaker’s cousin and grandfather:

Ti presento Caterina, mia cugina americana.
Let me introduce you to Kathryn, my American cousin.

Mio nonno Carmelo è un uomo italiano ma gli piace molto la sua casa in America.
My grandfather Carl is an Italian man but he really likes his house in America.

Following this line of thinking, when speaking of anyone “outside” the family, from a close friend to an acquaintance one barely knows, the Italian definite article is included with the Italian possessive adjective!

Oggi ho comprato un regalo per Francesca, la mia amica del cuore.
Today I bought a present for my dear friend Frances.

La mia conoscente Anna sarà alla festa stasera.
My acquaintance Ann will be at the party tonight.

How about that boyfriend or girlfriend? Or someone who is even closer to you — your fiancé or fiancée? Always use il mio fidanzato or la mia fidanzata for a boyfriend/fiancé or girlfriend/fiancée. Italian dictates that you must use the definite article since these individuals are not yet officially a part of the family! Of course, your ex-husband or ex-wife is demoted to definite article use as well, as they have left the confines of the family; la mia ex moglie and il mio ex marito is Italian for my ex-wife and my ex-husband.

In America, many people are as close to their pets as they are to their other family members. Although Italians may be as attached to their pets as Americans,  if a cat or a dog is a part of the family, Italians use the definite article when speaking about them, as in il mio gato or il mio cane.  The endings of the nouns that refer to animals are not usually changed to match their gender.  But, if it is important to emphasize that a pet is female, you can say, “la mia gata” (female cat) or “la mia cagnolina” (female dog).*

Finally, when one uses the Italian word famiglia to speak about “my family,” the definite article is required by convention. Notice also that the noun family is used in the singular, although by definition it refers to a group of people (otherwise known as a “collective noun”).  The Italian verb used with the subject “family” will be in the third person singular as a result.

La mia famiglia viene dall’Italia.
My family comes from/ is from Rome.

*In this case, one cannot simply add the letter a to the end of cagno to create the female counterpart of this noun; a simple a ending would create a word that today is used to refer to a woman in a vulgar way. The “lina” ending is added instead.

*************************************************

Italian Possessive Adjectives
for Family Members – Plural

Although the Italian definite article takes on a particular importance in denoting family relationships in the singular, this is not the case in the plural. Instead, when speaking of more than one family member,  the definite article must be always be used, just as with a friend or acquaintance.

For instance:

I nostri amicisono arrivati.
Our friends (They) have arrived.
I nostri cugini sono arrivati.
Our cousins (They) have arrived.

In the above cases, notice that the past participle arrivati also has an i ending. If you need a refresher on how to create the passato prossimo in Italian, please refer to our blog: ___________________.

Below are two summary tables for the possessive adjectives used to refer to close members of the family, one for the female members and one for the male members. Both singular and plural possessive adjectives have been included to emphasize use of the definite article in the plural.

La mia Famiglia FemminileFemale Members of My Family

Italian Singular   Italian Plural
Possessive Adjectives   Possessive Adjectives
mia madre my mother  
mia mamma my mom  
mia sorella my sister(s) le mie sorelle
mia nonna my grandmother(s) le mie nonne
mia zia my aunt(s) le mie zie
mia figlia my daughter(s) le mie figlie
mia cugina my female cousin(s) le mie cugine

La mia famiglia Maschile Male Members of My Family

Italian Singular   Italian Plural
Possessive Adjectives   Possessive Adjectives
mio padre my father  
mio papà* my dad  
mio fratello my brother(s) i miei fratelli
mio nonno my grandfather(s) i miei nonni
mio zio my uncle(s) i miei zii
mio figlio my son(s) i miei figli
mio cugino my cousin(s) i miei cugini

* Papà, with the accent over the final a, means “dad” and is pronounced differently from papa, without the accent, and means the “pope” of the Catholic church.

Practice using Italian possessive adjectives when talking about
family and friends
and I guarantee you will use them every day!

Advertisement

Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! How to Use the Preposition “Da” in Italian

Colorful homes on a block in Burano with a garden and a park bench out front
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Have you been trying to speak Italian more easily and confidently in 2022?

I will try to help you with this goal by posting a new blog every month in the series “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” With these blogs, I discuss how Italians use their language on a daily basis and in so doing help you to “think in Italian.” 

To speak fluently in another language, it is important to know how to introduce an object, or to describe direction, location or time. We do this naturally in our own language with prepositions — short words like of, to, at/in/from, and by. All languages use prepositions but the choice of preposition in a given situation will differ from one language to another. This is the case for English and Italian; English and Italian often use prepositions in a different way. Also, in some situations Italian sentence structure may require a preposition where English does not!

Let’s continue our series about Italian prepositions with the essential Italian preposition “da.” The Italian preposition “da” can be translated into the English prepositions from” and “by.Da serves as an essential link between Italian nouns, is used in Italian phrases that describe time in a complex way, and is also integral to many common expressions. If we learn how to use the Italian preposition “da,” we will truly sound like a native Italian!

This post is the 62nd in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE

Many “commonly used phrases”
in Italian use

  the preposition “da”

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.

The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar * 

                       found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

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

****************************************

 Use “Da” to Say
Where You are From

Let’s continue our series about Italian prepositions with the essential Italian preposition “da.” The Italian preposition “da” can be translated into the English prepositions from” and “by.Da serves as an essential link between Italian nouns, is used in Italian phrases that describe time in a complex way, and is also integral to many common expressions. If we learn how to use the Italian preposition “da,” we will truly sound like a native Italian!

One of the most frequent questions asked during polite conversation is, “Where are you from?” We learned how to use the preposition di to ask and answer this question in an earlier blog in this series, “How to Express ‘Di’ in Italian.”   You will remember that phrases with the preposition di are used to inquire about one’s place of birth, with the understanding that this place is often the same town the person is still living in. The examples from our previous blog:

Di dov’è Lei? Where are you (polite) from?
Di dove sei? Where are you (familiar) from?
Sono di Chicago. (I) am from Chicago.

The second way to ask, “Where are you from?” in Italian uses the preposition da and the formula below:

Da + dove + venire from + where + to come

The phrase created with the preposition da uses the action verb venire and may come up in conversation when someone is visiting or has moved to a new place. The reply will most often use the io form of venire, which is vengo (I come) and da (from), followed by a city, town, region/state, or country.  Once again, the question may be asked politely or in a familiar way.

Da dove viene? Where are you (polite) from?
Da dove vieni? Where are you (familiar) from?
Vengo da Chicago. (I) am from Chicago.

Remember that when speaking of a region, state, or country, the Italian definite article (il, lo, la, l’, gli. le) must be used. The preposition da is then combined with the definite article to make dal, dallo, dalla, dall’, dagli or dalle, which all mean “from the.” (Note: not all definite articles and combinations have been listed here, and the rules for combining the Italian definite articles are beyond the scope of this blog, but can be found in Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammnar” book.) For now, just look up and remember the correct way to describe the region, state, or country in which you are living.

If you are from the United States of America, the most common reply when conversing in Italian is even easier — “Sono americano!” for males. Of course, following the usual gender rules, females will have to say, “Sono americana.” Another possible reply, Vengo dall’America,” is grammatically correct but probably sounds a bit awkward to the Italian ear. Vengo dagli Stati Uniti,” would be considered a better choice if one wants to precisely state their origin in North America rather than South America. 

Those of Italian descent may want to mention their family’s origin in Italy and therefore that they are “italo-americano(a).”  This comment can be prefaced with the sentence, “La mia famiglia viene dall’Italia,” in this case conjugating venire according to the third person singular used for the collective noun famiglia.

Some examples:

Sono americano.
Sono americana.
(I) am American. (male speaker)
(I) am American. (female speaker)
Sono italo-americano.
Sono italo-americana.
La mia famiglia viene dall’Italia.
(I) am Italian-American. (male speaker)
(I) am Italian-American. (female speaker)
My family comes from (originates in) Italy. 
Vengo dagli Stati Uniti. (I) come from the United States.
Vengo dall’Illinois. (I) come from Illinois.
Vengo dalla California. (I) come from California.
Vengo dal New Jersey. (I) come from New Jersey.

Vengo dalle (isole dell’) Hawaii. 

(I) come from (the islands of) Hawaii.

By the way, have you noticed that nationalities are not capitalized in Italian, although the names of countries are?

 


 

Use “Da” or “A” to Describe
Visiting an Office or Home

We have just seen that the verb venire requires the preposition da to describe where an individual “comes from,” or lives, in the first section of this blog. This idea can be expanded to include people one visits during daily life.

Da is also used to describe going to visit a person if that person is associated with a particular place. For instance, the dentist, doctor, and lawyer are professionals who hold consultations in an office. Therefore, the verb andare is followed by [da + definite article + professional].

Odio andare dal dentista!
I hate going to the dentist!

Domani devo andare dal dottore.
Tomorrow I have to go to the doctor.

Vado dall’avvocato spesso per discutere sui problemi del mio divorzio.
I go to the lawyer often to discuss the problems of my divorce.

 

Two examples regarding one’s home:

To work from home is “lavorare da casa.”
To “drop in for a minute/few minutes” is “passare un attimo da casa.”

A causa di COVID, io devo lavorare da casa questa settimana.
Due to COVID, I have to work from home this morning.

Domani, passo un attmo da casa.
Tomorrow, I (will) drop in for a few minutes.

 

However, when someone is to be visited in their home, use a casa. This construction also works for family, friends or acquaintances you plan to visit at their home. Remember that “to go to visit a person” is “andare a trovare una persona” and “to come to visit a person” is “venire a trovare una persona.” Visitare is only used when one visits a place.  See below for how this works:

Oggi, vado a trovare mia mamma a casa sua.
Today, I will go to visit my mother at her house.

Pietro, posso andare a trovarti a casa tua?
Peter, can I visit you at your house?

Certo! Puoi venire a trovarmi a casa mia Domenica!
Certainly! You can come to visit me at my house Sunday.

 


 

Expressing Purpose with “Da”

In Italian, unlike in English, two nouns cannot be linked together in a phrase without a preposition to clarify their relationship.  Take the English word “sunglasses,” for instance.  The noun “sun” in this case acts as an adjective that modifies the noun “glasses.” In English, we think nothing of stringing nouns together to create new words that give a descriptive name to a particular entity. But in Italian, this is never the case.  When one noun is used as an adjective to describe the purpose of another, the two nouns must be linked by the preposition da.  It makes sense, then, that the Italian translation of the English sunglasses is occhiali da sole! 

Listed below are a few Italian noun combinations that are used to give a descriptive name to things like common household items, rooms in a home, clothing, and clocks. This construction is also used frequently in Italian to describe different types of tickets or cards, beach items, and items that have to do with sports. Most of the items listed below, but not all, use da to connect two nouns, as will be discussed below. The original noun has been listed along with its modifications for some of the items.  Some of these descriptive names are written as one word in English, while others are written as two separate words. How many more examples can you think of? 

 

spazzolino da denti toothbrush
crema da barbara shaving cream
   
piatto plate
piattino da dessert dessert plate
   
bicchiere glass for drinking
bicchiere da vino wine glass
bicciere per l’acqua water glass
   
cucchiaio spoon
cucchiaio da minestra soup spoon
cucchiaio da caffè coffee spoon
   
fork forchetta
forchetta da tavola dinner fork
forchettone per insalata salad fork
forchetta da dolce dessert fork
   
coltello knife
coltello da tavola dinner knife
coltello da scalco carving knife

 

camera da letto

bedroom

sala da pranzo

dining room

 

vestito

dress

vestito da sera

evening dress

vestito da sposa

wedding dress

   

camicia

shirt

camicia da notte

nightgown

camicia da uomo

man’s shirt

   

orologio

watch

orologio da polso

wrist watch

orologio a pendolo

grandfather clock

 

scarpe shoes
scarpe da ginnastica
scarpe da corsa
sneakers
running shoes
scarpa da neve snow shoes
scarponi da trekking hiking boots
scarponi da sci ski boots

tuta da sci

ski suit

 

biglietto

ticket/note/paper money

biglietto da visita

business card

biglietto di auguri
di compleanno

birthday card

   

carta d’imbarco

boarding pass (plane)

carta d’identità

identification card

carta di credtio/debito

credit/debit card

carte da gioco

playing cards

 

occhiali da sole

sunglasses

costume da bagno

bathing suit

telo da spiaggia

beach towel

ombrellone da spiaggia

beach umbrella

   

barca a vela

sail boat

   

giacca da sci

ski jacket

pantaloni da sci

ski pants

bastoncini da sci

ski poles

 

campo

field

campo da calcio/
tennis/golf/basket

soccer field/
tennis/golf
basketball field

pallone da calcio

soccer ball

pallone da rugby

soccer/rugby ball

racchetta da tennis

tennis racket

mazza da golf

golf club

mazza da baseball

baseball bat

 

Macchina da corsa

race car

Pista da corsa

 race track

Cavallo da corsa

race horse

 

Did you notice the use of prepositions other than da to link nouns in the list above? The Italian name for a dessert fork is forchettone per insalata and for a water glass is a bicchiere per l’acqua. In these two cases, the Italian preposition per, which means for, is used to create a name that describes the purpose of these items.

In the previous blog, “How to Express ‘Di’ in Italian,”  we discussed briefly how to use di with camicia di seta and castello di sabbia.  It was noted that some of Italian noun combinations must be linked with di if the descriptive term represents what the main item is made of. We have several additional  examples for when di is used to link a descriptive noun with another noun in the lists above.

The Italian name for grandfather clock, orologio a pendolo, is a name that describes the means by which the clock functions. The pendulum swings in order to keep time. Therefore, the preposition a is used to link pendolo to orologio, since Italian uses the preposition a to describe what makes something run.  And a sailboat is a “boat that runs on the wind” — barca a vela. Remember from our blog in this series “Italian Preposition ‘A’ or ‘In’? that the preposition a is used to describe how other, more common items function, such as by battery, by solar energy, etc.

To summarize…

Italian is a very precise language,
and the Italian use of prepositions
is a paramount example of this precision!

 


 

Use the Italian “Da” 
in Reference to Time 

When Italians reference a point in time, several prepositions may be used, including da, which in this case means “from” or “since.”  

In a previous blog in this series, “How to Use ‘Di’ in Italian, we discussed that the preposition di is used to refer to the general time of day with the phrases di mattina, di pomeriggio, di sera, and di notte.

We also mentioned in the same blog that both di and in are used to refer to the seasons: d’estate, d’inverno, in primavera, in autunno.

The Italian prepositions a and in also have a role to play when describing units of time, which was discussed in another blog in this series, Italian Preposition ‘A’ or ‘In’?” .  When referring to the month a particular event takes place, either a or in can be used. The Italian a or in replaces te English in. Also, the prepositionis used to refer to a precise time with the formula  [alle + time] which corresponds to the English [at +time].

 

In contrast to the prepositions di and a,
which are linked to a distinct period of time,

da is used to make generalizations about time
as it relates to one’s life experiences.

Da is a more difficult Italian preposition for the English speaker to learn how to use than di or a because its meaning of “from” or “since” makes reference to a period of time that started in the past and continues in the present. Although the idea behind these phrases is “from or “since,” the English translation most commonly uses the preposition “for” to start these phrases. But the real difficulty comes in the choice of verbs; the Italian choice is to link da with present tense verbs for a period of time that refers back to the past and does not translate directly into English!

 

Let’s go through this Italian way of thinking step by step…

Phrases that use da in reference to a period of time can be non-specific, such as, “da anni” (for years), da molti anni” (for many years), or mention an exact period of time, such as “da uno, due, tre… settimane, mese, anni… etc.” These phrases translate into English as “for many years,” or “for one, two, three weeks months, years, etc.,” although in Italian they really mean, “Since/From many years ago and continuing into the present…”

[Da + period of time] can begin an Italian sentence, or be placed in the middle or the end, along with the phrase that describes what has been happening during this time.  Since the action linked to these phrases is considered ongoing, Italian uses the present tense for all phrases in the sentence. English, instead uses the continuous past tense for the phrase that describes the beginning of the action that extends into the present and the present tense for the main action.

In the examples below, the phrase with da has been underlined, the present tense verbs are green, and the past tense verbs are brown. Notice how sperare is linked to another verb with di and riuscire with a, as discussed in previous blogs.

Studio l’italiano da tanti anni  , ma non riesco  a capire i film italiani molto bene.
I have been studying Italian for many years, but I can’t understand Italian films very well.
[Note: Verb tenses in Italian and English differ.]

Da tre settimane non fumo e spero di riuscire a smettere completamente.
I haven’t been smoking for three weeks and I hope to be able to stop completely.
[Note: Verb tenses in Italian and English differ.]

 

 If you need a refresher on how to use any of these prepositions in reference to time, you can also review our Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook or the Just the Verbs” and Just the Grammar” reference books. 

 


 

Use the Italian “da quanto” 
in Reference to Time

The  adjective “quanto,” which means “how much” or “how many” is commonly used to refer to a period of time, and is always preceded by da, as in the formula;

Da + quanto + tempo for + how much + time

The formula [da + quanto + tempo] can be used to ask a question about “how much time” an activity has been taking. Or, the noun tempo (time) can be replaced with a unit of time, such as days, months, or years. As in the preceding section, use of da in this formula implies that the action has started in the past and is still going on in the present. Therefore, whenever a question is asked regarding “how much time” with “da quanto tempo,” Italian uses a present tense verb for all phrases in the sentence.  English, instead, uses the continuous past tense. 

See examples below from a dialogue taken from the Conversational Italian for Travelers story, “Caterina Travels to Italy” and note the different ways Italian and English express this idea of time.

Elena asks:
Da quanto tempo
stai viaggiando in Italia?

For how much time (how long) have you been traveling in Italy?
[Note: Verb tenses in Italian and English differ.]

Caterina replies:
Sto viaggiando in Italia da un mese.
I have been traveling in Italy for a month.
[Note: Verb tenses in Italian and English differ.]

 

The same rules described above for “da quanto tempo” apply to the phrase “da quando,” which means, “since when.” To answer the question “Since when?” for “Since… ” use [da + the specific date] and remember to combine da with the definite article il when stating the date.

Example: In order to say the date in Italian, one must say, “Il sedici agosto.” Therefore, the translation for, “since the 16th of August” is “dal sedici agosto.”  Again, from the dialogue from “Caterina Travels to Italy”:

Elena asks:
Da quando sei a Stresa?

Since when have you been staying in Stresa?
[Note: Verb tenses in Italian and English differ.]

Caterina replies:
Sono a Stresa dal sedici agosto
I have been staying in Stresa since August 16th.
[Note: Verb tenses in Italian and English differ.]

 


 

Use the Italian preposition “Per” 
for a Completed Action

In contrast to the use of the preposition da in reference to time, the use of the preposition per is straightforward. Per means for and is used with the passato prossimo form of the past tense to describe a past action that has been completed. The description of time may be general, such as “for many years,” or specific, the same as with da. The past tense verbs are again brown in the examples below.

Ho vissuto per molti anni a Roma.
I lived for many years in Rome.

Ieri ho lavorato in casa per tre ore.
Yesterday, I worked at home for three hours.

 


 

Use the Italian Prepositions “Per, Fra, Tra”
for Future Events

Per can replace the English preposition by when describing a task that must be completed in the future.

Marco, dobbiamo finire questo progetto per domani!
Mark, we must finish this project by tomorrow!

 

To describe other actions that will take place in the future, Italian uses either fra or tra. These two prepositions are interchangeable, although native Italian speakers may intuitively favor one preposition over the other to keep the language flowing smoothly. The English translation will be the preposition in. Remember that the present tense often substitutes for the near future in Italian, so the future tense is not a requirement when using fra or tra.

Il treno parte fra cinque minuti.
The train will leave/leaves in 5 minutes.

Andrò in Italia fra un mese.
I will go to Italy in one month.

 


 

General Uses for “Da”

1. Use the preposition da to express an attribute of a person, to say he or she is acting in a certain way or like a character. 

In some cases, the preposition da substitutes for a longer introductory phrase.  For instance, the common phrase “da giovane” means, “as a child,” and it is understood to mean that general period of time “when I was young.” This also works for other Italian descriptors of the phrases of life, such as da bambino(a), da ragazzo(a), da piccolo(a) or da adulto(a), da grande (grown up).

To say someone is “acting like…” use da.  A common characteristic combined with da is stupido, as in “da stupido” for when one is “acting like a stupid person.” 

If a man is living well, he is living as “da gran signore,” or like royalty or like God or da re, like a king.

If one dresses like a particular character in a fable, book or movie, or is pretending to be a professional, they can be referred to with da, such as da Pinocchio, da Cenerentola (Cinderella), da cowboy, or da dottore.

 Another personal attribute connected with da is matti, for crazy, as in the exclamation, “Roba da matti!” which loosely translated means, “Stuff for crazy people!” and refers to a crazy or unbelievable situation. 

“Da morire” when used alone or in a sentence describing someone or something is an expression that describes a feeling of extreme liking, similar to the English expression, “It’s to die for!”  Or, this expression can be used to take a negative feeling to the extreme, as in, “Sono annioato(a) da morire!” for “I am bored to death!”

 

Some examples:

Da giovane, ho vissuto in campagna.
When I was young, I lived in the countryside.

Non comportarti da stupido!
Don’t act like an idiot!

Per lo spettacolo, Maria si veste da Cenerentola.
For the show, Mary is dressed as Cinderella.

Ti è piaciuto quel film? Si, da morire!
Did you like that film? Yes, It was to die for!

 

2. To describe the cause of an action or feeling. Some common examples might include why you are tired, hot, cold, or nervous. Da translates into from and [da + definite article] translates into “from the.”

 

Sono stanco morto dal lavoro.
I am dead tired from work.

Ho sudato dal caldo inferno durante tutto agosto.
I sweated from the infernal heat during all of August.

Sono nervosa dal pensiero che forse tu non tornerai mai.
I am nervous from the thought that maybe you will not ever return.

 

But be careful to use the preposition di to connect one verb to another to express feelings that are related to an action — not da!  The many phrases that take di as the connecting preposition were discussed in the first blog in this series.  The idea in the first example above can also be stated as follows:

Sono stanco morto di lavorare questa settimana.
I am dead tired from working this week.

 

3. To describe the distance from one place to another, use da, which translates as from.
To describe distance in general or numerical terms, or when giving the directions from a compass, use the preposition a.  The preposition a is used in English when describing distance in general terms, but not before a number or for directions from a compass (north, south, east, west, etc.)

L’ufficio postatale è a pochi isolati da casa mia.
The post office is a few blocks from my house.

La scuola si trova a cinque chilometri da Roma centrale.
The school is five kilometers from central Rome.

Canada è a nord degli Stati Uniti.
Canada is north of the United States.

 


Common Expressions with “Da”

  1. Other important phrases that refer to time:

da allora

since then

da allora in poi

from then on
from that time
thenceforth

da ora in poi

from now on

da quel momento

da quel momento in poi

since that moment

from that moment on

 

da qui in poi

from here on
henceforth

da domani

starting tomorrow

da subito

starting now
immediately

da sempre

always

da un pezzo

since a while ago
for a while now

2. Phrases that begin with “C’è… da” for “There is…”

C’è poco da dire.

There’s not much to say about it.

C’è poco da fare.

There’s not much one can do about it.

C’è poco da stare allegri.

 There’s little to rejoice about.

3. Miscellaneous phrases with da:

 

da niente

of little or no importance

da quattro soldi

cheap

da zero

from scratch

da favola

like a fairy tale

da sogno

like a dream/very nice/wonderful 

vacanza da sogno

dream vacation

da incubo

nightmarish/very unpleasant

dare da mangiare

to feed

dare da mangiare al cane

to feed the dog

tempo da ladri

bad weather

tempo da lupi

bad weather

da solo/ da sola

to be all alone, by yourself

va da sé

it goes without saying

vita da cane

a dog’s life

Remember how to use
the Italian preposition “da” in conversation
and I guarantee you will use the Italian “da” every day!

Conversational Italian for Travelers books are shown side by side, standing up with "Just the Verbs" on the left and "Just the Grammar" on the right
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books: Available on  amazon.com  and Learn Travel Italian.com
The cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers "Just the Important Phrases" book is viewed on a smartphone
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” book downloaded onto a cell phone from www.learntravelitalian.com

Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – Let’s talk about… Making reservations in Italian

Colorful homes on a block in Burano with a garden and a park bench out front

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD for Conversational Italian for Travelers books

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently in 2022?

I hope you are on your way to meet this goal! I will try to help you by posting a new blog every month in the series “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” With these blogs, I describe how Italians use their language on a daily basis and in so doing  help you to “think in Italian.” 

As of this writing, it is easier to travel to Europe than it has been for the last two years. But of course, even if travel becomes restricted again, it is never to early to start to learn Italian travel phrases. In fact, the earlier the better! So for this blog I focus on Italian phrases for making reservations at a restaurant or hotel in Italy.

Prior to beginning the lesson for this blog, I acknowledge that in the larger cities of Italy it is not usually necessary to make reservations completely in Italian; the Italian staff usually speak basic English and often the languages of their European neighbors, French, Spanish or German.  Also, of course, most times reservations can now be made over the internet on one’s computer or smart phone, without any human interaction at all! But I’ve found that a few phrases in Italian are always warmly welcomed by Italian servers and hotel receptionists, even in the larger cities, and can serve to put the traveler at ease in their new surroundings. In the smaller  Italian towns, basic Italian expressions can still be essential when relating one’s needs in family-run restaurants and hotels.

In short, if we learn the few phrases needed when making reservations in Italian, we will feel more comfortable during our stay in the “bel paese.” 

This post is the 57th  in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE.

Many “commonly used phrases”
describe

  making reservations in Italian

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.

The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                       found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

**************************************

Let’s Talk About… Making Reservations in Italian

La prenotazione means “the reservation.” The Italian verbs prenotare and riservare translate into English as: “to make/book a reservation.”  The use of these Italian verbs varies with the situation.

Most commonly, when asking to make a reservation at a restaurant or a hotel, Italians use the noun prenotazione with the verb fare and “make a reservation,” which is “fare una prenotazione.”

It is customary to start a request with either vorrei (I would like) or desidero (I desire/want/wish). Notice that vorrei is the conditional form of volere (to want). It is also possible to use the first person present tense form volgio (I want) but vorrei is considered more polite and is the preferred conjugation to use. The phrase “ho bisogno di” for “I need” is yet another way to introduce any request made in Italian.

Some example sentences to get us started making a reservation:

Vorrei fare una prenotazione. I would like to make a reservation.
Desidero fare una prenotazione. I desire/want/wish to make a reservation.
Ho bisogno di fare una prenotazione. I need to make a reservation.

Once we have stated our desire to make a reservation, three important pieces of information will need to be relayed to the receptionist: the number of people, the date and the time.

Generally, the receptionist will ask: “Per quante persone?” “For how many people?” 

For a restaurant reservation, it will be important to state how many adults (adulti) as well as how many children (bambini) will be dining. A simple answer for a family of two adults and two children would be: “Due adulti e due bambini.” The receptionist may ask if a child seat (una sedia speciale) is needed. A table will be chosen next to other families dining in the restaurant; this ensures that adults who are without children and want a more intimate dinner will not be disturbed.  

An interesting note about children and Italian culture: a child is considered a bambino or bambina (baby/ child) in Italy until about 14, when he or she can then be called a ragazzo or ragazza (young man/young woman). The appellation ragazzo(a) lasts into the 20s. The usual Italian masculine and feminine  endings need to be applied to these nouns; the “o” ending signifies a male child and the “a” ending a female child. For the plural, the usual “i” ending is used for a group of all males or a mixed group and “e” for an all female group.

Remember also that the Italian number “one” changes when modifying a noun. So a family may have un bambino or una bambina. 

To make a reservation in an Italian restaurant, it is not necessary to differentiate the bambini from the ragazzi. But Italian hotels do differentiate between children of different ages when booking a room. Most Italian hotels have a room rate that will vary depending on the number of adults who occupy the room. Families traveling with children between the ages of 12-14 (and even up to16 years of age) may be able to receive a family discount (uno sconto famiglia). 

In short, it is helpful to memorize the correct Italian for the children in your family when making reservations at a restaurant and hotel to be comfortable and to be sure you are not overpaying for accommodations!

Some variations on the simple conversation we have created so far:

Vorrei fare una prenotazione. I would like to make a reservation.
Per quante persone? For how many people?
Un‘adulto/Due adulti  One adult/Two adults 
Un bambino/Una bambina
Un ragazzo/ Una ragazza
One baby or young child (male/female)
One young man/ One young woman
Due bambini/ Due bambine Two children (group of males or males+females/
group of all females)
Due ragazzi/ Due ragazze Two boys or [1 boy + 1 girl]/ Two girls

By the way, if you need to cancel a reservation, use the same sentence structure as when you have made the reservation. However, use the verb annullare, and say, “Vorrei annullare una prenotazione,” for “I would like to cancel a reservation.”

Or, if a reservation needs to be changed, use the verb cambiare, as in, “Vorrei cambiare una prenotazione.”


Stating the date in Italian:

To state the date and time of a reservation, we will need to know how to say numbers in Italian up to 31 (assuming reservation is in the present year). If you still need to learn how to count in Italian, purchase my Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook or download the PDF for tips on how to remember Italian numbers into the billions.

Below is the sentence structure needed to state the date.

definite article + number + di +month

This is actually a lot easier than it may look! Below are a few examples. You will notice that in English we say, “January second,” for “January 2,” while in Italian the phrasing and word order reads: “the two of January.”

The exception to the above rule is the first day of the month. In this case, the word primo, which means first, must always be used, instead of uno (one).

When writing the date, remember the order of the day and the month are reversed in Italy (as in Europe): dd/mm/yyyy. The days of the week and the months of the year are not capitalized in Italian.

Oggi è il due di gennaio. Today is January 2.
Domani è il tre di gennaio. Tomorrow is January 3.
Dopodomani è il quattro di gennaio. The day after tomorrow is January 4.
Oggi è il primo di agosto. Today is August 1.

Finally, in everyday conversation, to say, “On Mondays…” referring to something that happens every Monday, just use the definite article il (the) at the beginning of the sentence for all the masculine weekdays ending in ì and la for the feminine Sunday (domenica).

Il lunedì vado al lavoro. / La domenica vado in chiesa.
On Mondays, I go to work. / On Sundays, I go to church.


Stating the time when making a reservation in Italian:

Expressions used to tell time in Italian are given below up to 12 o’clock. For a more detailed explanation of the Italian sentence structure used when telling time, purchase my Conversational Italian for Travelers  textbook or download the PDF.  Note: there is no “o’clock” in Italian. Simply state the hour “it is” for one o’clock or the  number of hours “there are” from two o’clock onward. You will need to learn Italian numbers up to 24 to understand the time tables for Italian trains, buses and airlines, which are given in “military time” with the 24 hour clock. Italian museums and theaters also operate based on the 24 hour clock.

È l’una.                                    (It is)              one. (1 o’clock)

Sono le due.                           (They are)      two. (2 o’clock)

Sono le tre.                            (They are)      three. (3 o’clock)

Sono le quattro.                    (They are)      four. (4 o’clock)

Sono le cinque.                      (They are)      five. (5 o’clock)

Sono le sei.                             (They are)      six. (6 o’clock)

Sono le sette.                         (They are)      seven. (7 o’clock)

Sono le otto.                          (They are)      eight. (8 o’clock)

Sono le nove.                         (They are)      nine. (9 o’clock)

Sono le dieci.                         (They are)      ten. (10 o’clock)

Sono le undici.                       (They are)      eleven. (11 o’clock)

Sono le dodici.                       (They are)      twelve. (12 o’clock)

One can emphasize the time of day, such as morning, afternoon, evening, or night, by adding the following expressions after the numerical time: di mattina, di pomeriggio, di sera, or di notte, as below.

1,00 (AM)                           È l’una di mattina.                 It is one in the morning.

1,00 (PM)                            È l’una di pomeriggio.          It is one in the afternoon.

6,00 (PM)                           Sono le sei di sera.                It is six in the evening.

10,00 (PM)                          Sono le dieci di notte.          It is ten at night.

When the receptionist at a restaurant asks what hour you wish to dine, the question will usually be phrased as such:
A che ora…?                                       (At) what time…?

The response to the question will also use the word at, which will be attached to the definite article (the).  Use (l’) for one o’clock and (le) for all other hours to agree with the number of hours in the answer.

A mezzogiorno                                  At noon

A mezzanotte                                    At midnight

All’una.                                               At one o’clock.

Alle sette.                                           At seven o’clock.

All’una e cinque.                               At 1:05 AM.

Alle sette e mezzo.                            At 7:30 AM.


Making a Reservation in Italian: Restaurants and Hotels

Now that we know an introductory sentence and how to tell the receptionist at a restaurant or hotel the date and time of our appointment, we can summarize this information in the short conversation below:

Vorrei fare una prenotazione. I would like to make a reservation.
Per quante persone? For how many people?
Quattro.
Due adulti e due bambini.
Four.
Two adults and two children.
Data e ora/orario? Date and time?
Ristorante:
Il cinque di giugno alle otto di sera.
Restaurant:
July 5th at 8 PM.
Hotel:
Dal cinque al sette di giugno.
Hotel:
From the 5th through the 7th of June. 

Restaurants in Italy normally open for dinner at 7 PM and most Italians go out to eat at 8 PM or later. After making a reservation, when one enters the restaurant, all the information the receptionist needs to know can be conveyed in two easy lines:

Buona sera.
Good evening.

Abbiamo una prenotazione per quattro persone alle otto di sera. 
We have a reservation for four people for 8 PM.

In colloquial Italian, it is also considered correct to say:
Abbiamo una prenotazione per quattro persone per le otto di sera. 
We have a reservation for four people for 8 PM.

For just one person, the following is fine:
Ho una prenotazione alle otto/ per le otto.
I have a reservation for 8 PM

Additional requests may need to be made for hotel reservations.  When asking a question of the receptionist, use the “you all” form of avere, which is avete, since you are asking the representative of the hotel if they have what you need. The receptionist will answer in the noi form, and mention “we have” or “we don’t have” what you are requesting.

Example:

Avete una camera singola?
Do you all have a room with a single bed?

Mi dispiace, non abbiamo una camera singola disponibile. 
I’m sorry, we don’t have a room with a single bed available. 

Siamo al completo/ tutti prenotati stasera.
We are full/completely booked tonight.

Below is a list of vocabulary that includes the type of Italian hotel (l’albergo) you may want to choose and the type of room (la stanza) you may need. A few hotel amenities one might ask about when making a reservation are also included.

Almost all hotels in Italy provide breakfast for their guests gratis (free), so it is not usually necessary to ask if la prima colazione (breakfast) is included in the fee for the room. However, it can be helpful to check the internet for images of the dining room and the food served (along with the types of rooms available) prior to making reservations at a hotel. Italian hotels offer a wide range of morning meals — from a simple continental breakfast of coffee, juice and a pastry, to a large buffet with specialty breads and pastries, eggs, cereal, yogurt, lunch meat and cheeses to choose from.

And just in case things are not quite what you expected during your stay at an Italian hotel, you can always ask for l’albergatore or l’albergatrice (hotel manager, masculine and feminine). If you need help choosing where to make dinner reservations, call la reception (reception/front desk) or visit il concierge (the concierge).

l’albergo hotel
la pensione
il bed and breakfast
boarding house
bed and breakfast
l’ostello (della gioventù) youth hostel
il pernottamento overnight stay
la pensione completa room and board (includes three meals a day)
la mezza pensione room, breakfast, and one meal (half board)
la camera/la stanza room
la camera singola room with a single bed
la camera matrimoniale room with a double bed
le camere adiacenti adjacent rooms
il letto bed
il letto supplementare additional bed
la culla crib
servizio in camera room service
la piscina swimming pool
la sauna sauna
la vasca idromassaggio Jacuzzi*
il campo da golf golf course
il campo da tennis tennis court

*Italian-American history: Jacuzzi Brothers was a company founded in 1915 by seven Italian-American brothers with the surname Jacuzzi, whose family origins were in Casarsa della Delizia in Northern Italy. They initially developed propellers for the military and experimented with the manufacture of aircraft. In 1956, the company developed a pump that could be submerged under water to provide hydrotherapy.  Candido Jacuzzi, third generation in the family, invented the whirlpool bath using the company’s hydrotherapy pump to treat his young son’s rheumatoid arthritis. The Jacuzzi tubs we know today were trademarked in 1968.


Making a Reservation in Italian: Train or Theater

Remember that reservations for the train or theater in Italy are made using the military, or 24 hour clock. Once  you have made a reservation, here are a few tips on how to proceed when arriving at your destination:

When boarding a train or entering a theater with a ticket that has a reserved seat, one would have “un biglietto con la prenotazione” or “a ticket with the reservation.”

To say you are checking your seat, use the phrase, “Controllo il biglietto con la prenotazione,” for “I am checking the ticket with the reservation.”

However, the actual seat on a train or theater is referred to as “reserved” as in, “Il posto è riservato.” The seat or room has been booked, and no one else can use it. If someone else has made a prenotazione before you, your request might be denied due to un posto riservato.

Remember to use the verbs cambiare and annullare to change or cancel a reservation, as mentioned in the very first section!

Remember that making reservations in Italian
can enhance your experience every day while visiting Italy!

For “All the Italian you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy,” click on the links below to purchase my Conversational Italian for Travelers books – Kathryn Occhipinti

Conversational Italian for Travelers books are shown side by side, standing up with "Just the Verbs" on the left and "Just the Grammar" on the right
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books: Available on  amazon.com  and Learn Travel Italian.com

The cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers "Just the Important Phrases" book is viewed on a smartphone
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” book downloaded onto a cell phone from www.learntravelitalian.com

Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! Let’s Talk About… Dating in Italian

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD for Conversational Italian for Travelers books

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently in 2022?

Why not set a goal to learn Italian, starting today, for the year 2022? I will try to help you with this goal by posting a new blog every month in the series “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” With these blogs, I describe how Italians use their language on a daily basis and in so doing  help you to “think in Italian.” 

February is the month we in America celebrate Valentines Day, a holiday that originated in Italy and is still popular there today, as described in last years’ February blog “How to Say… ‘I feel’ on Valentines Day with Sentirsi.” Since the Italian phrases that describe a romantic relationship are not usually listed in textbooks, I’ve focused on Italian novels and movies to learn how Italians talk about falling in love. Once I discover a phrase about dating or romance, I check with my native Italian friends and instructors for authenticity and to verify how the phrase is used today.

I’ve managed to piece together the following information about how Italians talk about dating and romantic relationships in this blog, some of which is reprinted from my blog for advanced students of Italian: Italian Subjunctive (Part 4): Italian Hypothetical Phrases of Love.   After reading this introductory blog, you may want to check out the dialogue I have created in Italian Hypothetical Phrases of Love, where these phrases are put to use!

If we learn a few phrases to describe dating in Italian, we will be able to talk to others about the person who has become the “special someone” in our life!

This post is the 53rd  in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE.

Many “commonly used phrases”
in Italian describe

  Dating in Italian

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.

The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                       found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

**************************************

Let’s Talk About… Dating in Italian

Today in America, we “date,” “go out on a date,” or refer to two people who are “dating,” from the first romantic encounter until they become married. After marriage, a couple can still go out on “date nights.” But be careful when translating American romantic experiences into Italian! The English verb “to date” as used in America today to refer to a romantic relationship does not have a literal translation in Italian.

Of course, “to court” a woman was common in past centuries, and the Italian language still reflects this. When a man tries to show he is interested in a woman, the phrase “fare la corte a…” is used from the verb corteggiare or “to court.” For instance, “Marco fa la corte a Maria,” is translated literally as “Mark is courting Maria,” with the connotation that he is “pursuing” her or trying to “win” her love.

The verb corteggiare can also be used figuratively, between any two adults, to describe when one is trying to cajole, flatter, or entice another, usually to “convince” them to do something. “Marco corteggia il proprietario alla festa perché vuole un aumento di stipendio.” “Mark flattered the owner at the party because he wanted an increase in his salary.”

There is a verb still in use in Italy today that refers to a man seducing, or “winning over,” a woman: “conquistare… ” such as, “Marco ha conquistato Maria.” If Maria lets herself be “won over” or “captivated” by Marco, she can use the phrase, “Mi lascio conquestare da Marco.”

*********************

In today’s vernacular, if one wants to allude to the fact that they are dating, or “seeing” someone special in the Italian language, the following phrases can be used:

“Mi vedo con un ragazzo.”
“Mi vedo con una ragazza.”
“I’m seeing a boy.”
“I am seeing a girl.”
“Esco con un ragazzo.”
“Esco con una ragazza.”
“I’m going out with a boy.”
“I’m going out with a girl.”
“Il ragazzo con cui ho/avevo appuntamento/date.”
“La ragazza con cui ho/avevo appuntamento/date.”
“The boy with whom I have/had an appointment/date.”
“The boy with whom I have/had an appointment/date.”

It should be noted that ragazzo and ragazza also translate into boyfriend and girlfriend. To let another know you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, simply say, “Ho un ragazzo,” or “Ho una ragazza.” 

Also, you’ll notice that from the above translations that the Italian noun appuntamento does double duty, since it  corresponds to both appointment and date. In English, the word appointment is generally used to refer to a business meeting or a formal meeting in general, often between people who do not know each other well. The noun “date” can be used to describe a general meeting between friends, and is always used when one wants to imply a romantic interest.

Italian can be used to refer to regular romantic “get togethers” before marriage with the phrase “to go out with someone”“uscire con qualcuno.”  “Io esco con Marco ogni sabato sera,” means, “I go out with Mark every Saturday night,” and implies, “I go out on a (romantic) date with Mark every Friday night.” 

The Italian verb “frequentarsi,” which means “to spend time with each other” can also be used to describe a special relationship. Frequentarsi can also be translated as “to see each other” or “to date each other” in the romantic sense or simply to “to hang out with” friends. The non reflexive form, frequentare, means “to frequent” or “to visit” a certain place.

Some examples of how to use the Italian verbs that describe a special relationship are listed in the table below. Remember that ci and si in these examples stand for “each other.” For a refresher on how to use reciprocal reflexive verbs, visit our blog in this series called Italian Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs.

Marco e io ci frenquentiamo. Mark and I are spending time with each other. (romantically)
Mark and I are seeing each other (romantically)
Mark and I are dating each other.
Noi ci frequentiamo il sabato sera. We are seeing each other/dating every Saturday night.
   
Marco e Maria si fequentano. Mark and Maria are dating each other.
Loro si frequentano ogni venderdì sera. Mark and Maria see each other/
going out on a date every Friday night.
Marco frequenta il Ristorante Paolo il sabato. Mark frequents/goes to Ristorante Paolo on Saturday nights.
Marco si frequenta con i suoi amici in piazza quando non ha niente da fare. Mark hangs out with his friends in the piazza when he doesn’t have anything to do.
Marco si fequenta con Maria spesso. Mark often hangs out with Maria. (as friends)
   
Marco e i suoi amici frequentano il Ristorante Paolo. Mark and his friends hang out at Ristorante Paolo.
Loro si frequentano ogni vender sera. They see each other every Friday night. (as friends)

Finally, to express a close romantic relationship in Italian, we can use the word “rapporto.” Any relationship in general is considered a “relazione.” But be careful, as an “affair” outside of marriage is also a “relazione,” whereas “affari” refers to more general personal and business “affairs.”

 

*********************

 

Now that we have learned the Italian needed to talk about dating, let’s review how to say, “I love you” to that special someone on Valentines Day.

“Ti voglio bene” is an old Italian expression that is still used for both platonic and romantic love. The meaning of this phrase is not easily translated into English, but it is used often in Italy to express one’s feeling of  closeness to another. This expression has its origin in the Italian phrasal verb “volere bene (a qualcuno).” “Ti voglio bene” can been translated as, “I care for you” or,”I wish you well,” but really, it is the way Italians tell others that they love them.

The expression “ti voglio bene” can be used between family members and friends, as well as a boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and a wife. Watch some older Italian movies, and you will hear this expression often!

Mi voui bene? Do you care for/about me?
Ti voglio bene. I care for/about you.

 

The verb amare, which means “to love” is reserved for romantic love — that one true love held between a couple who are dating, fiancée and fiancé, or wife and husband. Remember the simple expressions with amare in the table below to use with someone special this Valentines Day!

Mi ami? Do you love me?
Ti amo. I love you.
Ti amo per sempre. I will always love you.

If you learn to talk about dating in Italian
and how to use the verb amare 
you will really have learned to think in Italian!

 

Buona Festa del San Valentino!

Conversational Italian for Travelers books are shown side by side, standing up with "Just the Verbs" on the left and "Just the Grammar" on the right
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books: Available on  amazon.com  and Learn Travel Italian.com
The cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers "Just the Important Phrases" book is viewed on a smartphone
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” book downloaded onto a cell phone from www.learntravelitalian.com

 

Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! — The many uses of the Italian verb “Tenere”

Colorful homes on a block in Burano with a garden and a park bench out front
Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2021? 

Many Italian verbs have a similar use to those in English, which simplifies translation from one language to the other. However, many times the meaning of an Italian verb will vary  from the usual English connotation.  And in many situations, the same verb can have several different meanings in both languages, depending on the context. Tenere (along with its reflexive form tenersi, and the pronominal verb tenerci) is one of those verbs that is used in many ways in Italian and is important to “keep in mind” if one wants to use it correctly.

As I’ve said before, 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 use the Italian verb tenere, we will be able to communicate just as we do in our native language!

This post is the 50th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE

Many “commonly used phrases” in conversation

use the Italian verb
tenere.

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.

The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                       found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

************************************************

Let’s Talk About…

The Many Uses of the  Italian Verb

Tenere

The Italian verb tenere has a wide range of meanings and its use lends a bit of sophistication to one’s Italian. It is important to “keep in mind” the nuances of the verb tenere to create sentences as we would in our native language.

The Italian verb tenere is most often translated into English as “to hold” or “to keep.”  It can be used in a simple way, to describe holding an object or holding another’s hand. As in English, the verb tenere can also mean “to hold,” with reference to capacity, as in how many objects or people can occupy or be contained in a certain space or place. The word “hold” in English can also take on the connotation of “to support” something (as a column holds up a roof) or someone (as a fan supports his team). So it is with tenere, which can mean “to support.”

Tenere is an important verb to use when dining at an Italian restaurant to tell someone to “keep the change.” 

When the verb tenere is combined with the phrase “conto di,”  it takes on different shades of meaning. [Tenere + conto di] is used to describe the concepts of keeping something in mind, keeping track of something, or being aware of something. The phrase can also have the connotation of considering or taking to heart important issues.

Combining the verb tenere with conto che,as in [tenere + conto che],  adds yet another nuance to the original ideas of “to keep” or “to hold,” and is used to convey the idea of to consider. [Tenere in conto + noun] means to consider something.

Tenersi, the reflexive form of tenere, is also often used in the important everyday phrase “keep/stay in contact” and is a nice way to end a conversation or an email with a friend. Tenersi is often used when giving another instructions to hang/hold onto something or abide by/follow certain rules and regulations. If your emotions get the best of you and you can’t keep from laughing or crying, then use [tenersi + da] to get this point across!

There are many common Italian expressions that combine tenere with the preposition “a.” A few of these expressions will be listed in example sentences below.

When the verb tenere is combined with the preposition “a” and an adverb or adjective, as in [tenere +a +molto] the meaning changes once again. [Tenere + a] means to care about someone or something. You might think of using tenere in this way as being similar to the English phrase “to hold someone dear.” Consider also that the adjective tenero(a) is used to describe the following characteristics: tender, sensitive, or warm. For full emphasis, the pronominal verb tenerci followed by “a” [tenerci + a] can be used to stress the importance of something. A description of pronominal verbs and their uses is beyond the scope of this blog, but rest assured, if you add the pronoun “ci” before “tengo a,” you are telling someone that something is important to you!

Finally, in some important Italian phrases, tenere can be used interchangeably with the verb avere, and take on the meaning of “to have.”* Using tenere in this manner is a subtle way to emphasize that you are “keeping” or “holding close” the thing that you have.


Let’s talk about how to conjugate tenere in the present, past, and future tenses before using it in some example sentences. 

Present tense: tenere is an irregular -ere verb in the present tense, since it has an irregular stem in all forms but the noi and voi forms. The present tense conjugation is below. The irregular stem is in brown:

io

tengo

tu

tieni

Lei,lei,lui

tiene

noi

teniamo

voi

 tenete

loro

tengono

Past tense: When used in the passato prossimo to describe a single event, avere is the helping verb and the past participle is tenuto

Tenere is regular in the imperfetto past tense (tenevo, tenevi, teneva, tenevamo, tenevate, tenevano).

Future tense: Tenere is irregular in the future tense due to it’s irregular stem. 

io

terrò

tu

terrai

Lei,lei,lui

terrà

noi

terremo

voi

 terrete

loro

terranno


 

1. Use tenere to describe the simple act of holding something or holding someone’s hand.

  • Tenere can also be used to refer to the capacity of something, or “how much” a certain thing or a place can hold.
  • Tenere can mean “to support” something or somebody.
Tieni stretto questo biglietto; tienilo in mano; non lasciarlo!
Hold this ticket tightly; hold it in your hand; don’t lose it!
 
Mi piace tenere la mano del mio fidanzato quando camminiamo in piazza.
I like to hold my fiance’s hand when we take a walk in the piazza.

    L’Allianz Stadium a Torino tiene 41,507 spettatori.*
    The Allianz Stadium in Turin holds 41,507 spectators.
     
    Ho raccolto tutti i fiori che posso tenere in una mano!
    I have collected all the flowers that I can hold in one hand!

    Vengo da Turino. Tengo per la Juve / Tifo per la Juve. **
    I am from Turin. I support/root for the Juventus soccer team.
     
    Le mure sono molto vecchie. Grazie di Dio le colanne tiene il tetto!
    The walls are very old. Thank goodness the columns support the roof!

    * Regarding the use of tenere with  the meaning of “to have/to own/to possess”: the verb tenere is used mostly in the south of Italy, while in the north they would simply use the verb avere (example: Lo stadio ha 41,507 spettatori.).

    **Regarding the use of tenere to describe support for a sports team: “tengo per” is used in the south of Italy. “Tifo per” is used in the north.

    2. Use tenere to mean “to keep” — the simple act of keeping something in a place. 

    • In a restaurant, a common phrase spoken by the customer to the waiter in both English and Italian is, “Keep the change!” In Italian, the polite command (subjunctive) form of tenere is used for this phrase, often with the addition of the Italian word pure which serves to encourage the server to keep the tip. Use of the subjunctive is beyond the scope of this blog. Just memorize this simple phrase, which should come up often!
      Tengo gli attrezzi per cucinare di là.
      I keep the cooking utensils over there.
       
      Tenga pure il resto!
      Keep the change, please!

      3. Use [tenere + conto di] with the figurative meanings listed below. 

      • to keep something in mind
        • [tenere a mente] also means “to keep something in mind”
      • to keep track of something
      • to consider (See also #4, listed below)
        • [tenere in conto + noun] and [tenere conto che] also mean “to consider”
        • “non tenere in sufficiente considerazione a…”  means
          not to give sufficient consideration to…
      • to take to heart
      Ho dovuto tenere conto di tutte le regole che tu mi hai detto al lavoro.
      I have to keep in mind all the rules you told me at work. 
       
      Tieni conto dei clienti e dagli quello che vogliono!
      Keep track of the clients and give them what they want!

       

      Terrò conto del fatto che il gruppo ha lavorato molto quando gli darò gli incentivi.

       I will consider that the group has worked hard when I give them the bonuses.

      Mi raccomando, tieni conto di quello che io ho detto!
      I insist/demand/ (that you) take to heart what I have said!
       
      Ho tenuto conto di tutto che tu hai detto. E sono d’accordo!
      I’ve considered all that you have said. And I agree!

       

      4. Use [tenere + conto che] or  [tenere in conto + noun]

      for “to consider.”

      • “non tenere in sufficiente considerazione a…”  means
        not to give sufficient consideration to
      • [tenere conto di] can also mean “to consider” (See #3).
      Devo tenere conto che ci sono molte opinioni in questo gruppo prima di prendere una decisione.
      I have to consider that there are many opinions in this group before making a decision.
       
      Devo tenere in conto anche le altre regole.
      I must also consider the other rules.

       

      5. Use the reflexive verb tenersi to ask someone to “keep/stay” in touch or give a command to “follow/abide by” a rule.

      •  Other translations of tenersi include “hang onto” and “hold onto”.
      • [Tenersi + da] can also be used to express the phrase “to keep from…” doing something, such as laughing or crying. In this case, tenere is often combined with the verb riuscire, which means “to manage to,” and further emphasizes the effort one has put into trying to “keep from” doing something.  To learn more about how to use the verb riuscire, visit another blog in this series: “The Many Uses of the Italian Verb “Ruscire.”
      Teniamoci in contatto!
      Let’s keep in touch (with each other)!
       
      Ragazzi, tenetevi al regolamento o non vincerete la partita!
      Boys, follow the rules or you all will not win the game!

       

      Tieniti il tuo cappello; è molto ventoso oggi!
      Hang onto your hat; it’s very windy today!
       
      Tieniti alla ringhiera bambini!
      Hold onto the handrail, children!

       

      Questo film è molto triste. Non riesco a tenermi dal piangere.
      This film is very sad. I can’t manage to keep from crying.
       
      Quello attore era molto divertente. Non riuscivo a tenermi dal ridere.
      That actor was very funny. I couldn’t keep from laughing.

       

      6. Common Italian phrases with [tenere + a] 

      Tenere a bada              =  Tieni a bada i tuoi animali domestici.
      To keep under control =  Keep your pets under control.
       
      Tenere a cavezza                                  = Marco tiene a cavezza i suoi figli.      
      To keep someone under one’s thumb =Mark keeps his children under his thumb.

       

       

      Tenere a freno              =  La famiglia di Anna tiene a freno tutte le ragazze.
      To keep a tight rein on = Ann’s family keeps a tight rein on all the girls.
      To hold back          
       
      Tenere a battesimo                       = Anna teneva a battesimo la sua nipote.
                                                                                                                                
      To sponsor a child at baptism       = Ann sponsored her niece at the baptism.                                               
      To be a godfather or godmother     Ann became her niece’s godmother.

       

       

      Tenere a distanza       =  Maria tiene a distanza da Marco perché non le piace.
      To keep at a distance =  Maria stays away from Mark because she doesn’t like him.
      Tenere a balia                           = Marco teneva a balia questo lavoro
                                                            perché lui è pagato a ore.                                                                      
      To drag out                               = Mark dragged out this job                                              
      To take longer than necessary     because he was paid by the hour.

       

       

      Tenere a pane e acqua                =Marco tiene a pane e acqua Maria oggi.
      To punish somebody                   =Marco punished Maria today.
      (lit. to keep somebody on bread and water)
       
      Tenere a pigione          = Caterina tiene a pigione la sua casa in campagna ai suoi cugini.      
      To have as tenants       =Kathy is renting her house in the country to her cousins.
      To rent 

       

       

      Tenere aggiornata                         = Marco tiene aggiornato Maria sulle notizie ogni giorno.
      To keep somebody updated         =Marco keeps Maria updated on the news every day.
      To keep somebody posted/in the loop about something
       
      Tenere all’oscuro di                                                 = Marco teneva all’oscuro Anna dalla notizia.   
      To keep somebody in the dark about something  =Mark kept Ann in the dark about the news.

       

      Tenere alto il morale                                      = Marco ha tenuto alto il morale della sua squadra anche
                                                                                 se stavano perdendo
      To lift up someone’s spirits                            = Mark lifted up the spirits of his team even when they were losing.
       
      Tenere alta la bandiera                                  = Teniamo alta la bandiera della nostra città.
      To honor your homeland or city              =      We honor/bring honor to our city.
      (lit. to hang the flag high)            

       

       

      7. Use [tenere + a + adverb/adjective] or [tenerci + a] to describe caring about something very much 

      • Remember another way to talk about platonic love and caring among family members and friends is to use the verb volerci, with the phrase, “Ti voglio bene.” For a review of the many ways to express one’s feelings of love, visit our blog in this series: “How to Talk About Relationships and Love in Italian.”
      • [Tenerci + a] can also be used in an introductory phrase when the speaker wants to emphasize the importance of what they will talk about or what they have done. Therefore, this phrase is often followed by the verb dire or fare.
      La mamma tiene molto ai suoi bambini.
      The mother cares very much for her children.
       
      La mamma ci tiene a loro.
      The mother cares very much for them.

       

       

      Ci tieni a me?
      Do you care about me?
       
      Si! Ci tengo a te! 
      Yes! I care about you! 

       

      Ci tengo a dire che studiare la cultura è l’unico modo di capire un altra lingua.
      It’s important to me to say that studying the culture is the only way to understand another language.
       
      Ci tengo a fare la cosa giusta. 
      It’s important to me to do the right thing.

       

       

      8. Use the tenere in place of avere for certain expressions. 

      Avere famiglia / tenere famiglia    = Ho/Tengo una famiglia con tre figli a Roma.
      To have a family                              =I have a family with three children in Rome.
       
      Avere sotto il braccio / tenere sotto il bracchio  =Ho/Tengo il pane sotto il braccio e cammino a casa.
      To carry underarm                                                 =I carry the bread underarm and walk home.

      Avere in serbo / tenere in serbo    =Ho/Tengo una speciale bottiglia di vino per te.
      To set something aside                  =I have set aside a special bottle of wine for you.
       
      Avere in serbo / Tenere in serbo                                 =Ho/Tengo una sorpresa per te!
      To have something in store for someone (figurative) =I have a surpise for you!


      Remember how to use the Italian verbs tenere, tenersi, and tenerci in conversation 
      and I guarantee you will use these verbs every day!

      Conversational Italian for Travelers books are shown side by side, standing up with "Just the Verbs" on the left and "Just the Grammar" on the right
      Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books: Available on  amazon.com  and Learn Travel Italian.com
      The cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers "Just the Important Phrases" book is viewed on a smartphone
      Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” book downloaded onto a cell phone from www.learntravelitalian.com

      Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! How to Say, “I miss you…” with Mancare

      Colorful homes on a block in Burano with a garden and a park bench out front
      Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
      1Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

      Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2021? 

      Then one verb you will need to learn how to use is mancare (to miss). This is the verb Italians use when they have not been able to visit a loved one. Of course it is important to be able to tell those we care about that we miss them!

      In this blog, we will discuss how to use the verb Italian mancare, which part of a group of Italian verbs that always take an indirect object pronoun and therefore “work” differently from your typical Italian verb.  

      Previously, we have spoken about piacere (to like), the prototype for this unique group of Italian verbs in our blog “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day: Piacere, How Italians Say, “I like it!.” We have also covered another verb of this type, servire (to need) in our blog “How to Say, “I need…” in Italian: Mi serve…”

      After this blog, we can add mancare to our list of important Italian verbs discussed that only take indirect object pronouns. Piacere, servire, and mancare all work in the same way, but we will go over once again how to conjugate and translate a verb of this type.

      Note: in our very last blog, we made a list of verbs of communication and giving that take an indirect object pronoun when referring to a person. These verbs are in a different group than piacere, servire, and mancare, since they take a direct object pronoun when referring to things, but are a very important group to understand as well!

      As I’ve said before, 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 use the Italian verb mancare, we will be able to communicate just as we do in our native language!

      This post is the 48th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE

      Many “commonly used phrases” in conversation

      use the Italian verb
      Mancare

      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.

      The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                             found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

      ************************************************

      Overview of Italian Verbs

      that take

      Indirect Object Pronouns

      A short review of Italian verbs that take indirect object pronouns:

      In our very last blog, we made a list of verbs of communication and giving that take indirect object pronouns when referring to a person.

      Previously, we have spoken about piacere (to like), the prototype for verbs that always take indirect object pronouns, in our blog “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day: Piacere, How Italians Say, “I like it!”  We have also talked about another Italian verb that uses only indirect object pronouns, the verb servire (to need), in our blog “How to Say, “I need…” in Italian: Mi serve…”

      After this blog, we can add mancare to our list of important verbs that only take indirect object pronouns. All three of these verbs work in the same way, but we will go over once again how to conjugate and translate a verb of this type with mancare. Full disclosure: there are other Italian verbs that only take indefinite articles, along with the three already mentioned! Below is a short list of the most important Italian verbs that only take indefinite articles.

      Piacere

      to like

      Servire

      to need

      Mancare

      to miss

      Mancare

      to miss

      Mancare

      to miss

      Mancare

      to miss

      A short review of the Italian indirect object pronouns and their meanings:*

      mi

      to me

      ti

      to you (familiar)

      Le

      to you (polite)

      le

      to her

      gli

      to him

         

      ci

      to us

      vi

      to you all

      gli

      to them

      *Of course, mi, ti, ci, and vi do double duty as direct object pronouns. Also, with reflexive verbs mi stands for “myself” and ti stands for “yourself, etc.

      ******************************

      How to Say, “I miss you!”

      with Mancare

      The Italian verb mancare has many meanings: to miss/to lose/to lack/to be lacking/to omit/to fail. Perhaps the most common way mancare is used is to convey the idea of “to miss someone,” so it is important to learn the conjugation and sentence structure for this verb for everyday conversation.

      To start off, you should know that the sentence structure used for mancare is the same as for the verb piacere, the prototype for Italian verbs that only take an indirect object pronoun. You should also realize that this group of Italian verbs works differently from its English counterparts. Therefore, the English translation will not match the Italian word for word. The idea will remain the same, however.

      In English, we say the subject of the sentence misses someone using the person who is missed as a direct object. Example: I (subject) miss (verb) John (direct object).

      In Italian,  however, there are two significant differences from the English way of thinking.  Below are English and Italian sentence structures with examples that have identical meanings. We will change the Italian sentences into the most commonly used Italian structure with an indirect object pronoun step by step, in order to aid in understanding how both languages can say the same thing in a different way. For these examples, the English translation is given in the Italian way of thinking, and is in parentheses. Notice the color coding that follows throughout the examples: subject in brown, verb in green, direct object pronoun in blue, and indirect and stressed object pronouns in red.

      First, let’s look at the English way of thinking. The subject is the person talking and the direct object is who they miss:  

      English: [subject: person missing someone+ mancare conjugated to reflect subject + direct object: person missed]

                    I         +     miss      +      John.

      Now, let’s turn this English idea around to make an Italian sentence. To Italians, the person who is being missed is the subject of the sentence.  With this logic in mind, the person missing someone must be expressed by a stressed object pronoun or an indirect object pronoun. The sentence with a stressed object pronoun:

      Italian:  [subject: person missed +  mancare conjugated to reflect subject + stressed object pronoun: person missing someone]

                  Giovanni   +    manca    +    a me.
                  
      (John           is missing          to me.)

      Although our Italian example above is grammatically correct, those conversing in Italian most commonly use an indirect object pronoun instead of the stressed pronoun,* and place the indirect object pronoun pronoun before the verb.

      Italian:  [indirect object pronoun: person missing someone mancare conjugated to reflect subject + subject: person missed]

                  Mi        +         manca      +    Giovanni.
                  
      (To me             is missing           John).

      To make matters more confusing to the English speaker, the subject of the sentence — which in this case is Giovanni — can be left out entirely as long as the person who is being discussed is known from the context. But, in most cases the subject is then added to the end of the sentence for clarification.

      *The stressed pronoun is handy to use for emphasis, as its name suggests.

      ******************************

      Below is the present tense conjugation of mancare. Notice that the tu and noi forms have irregular spelling to keep the hard “c” sound that we hear when we pronounce the infinitive verb. These are marked with an asterisk.

      Mancare = To Be Missing (To)

      io

      manco

      I am missing (to…)

      tu

      manchi*

      you (fam.) are missing (to…)

      Lei

      lei/lui

      manca

      you (polite) are missing (to…)

      she/he/it is missing (to…)

       

       

       

      noi

      manchiamo*

      we are missing (to…)

      voi

      mancate

      you all are missing (to…)

      loro

      mancano

      they are missing (to…)

      The sentences below give some common examples of how to use the verb mancare in the present tense. To aid the English speaker in understanding this Italian way of thinking, the Italian subject pronouns are included in parentheses. But remember that Italian subject pronouns are usually left out of a sentence, unless needed for clarification. Also, the word-for-word Italian to English translation is given in parentheses, with the correct English translation in the third column in bold black.

      If the idea behind how to use mancare seems too complicated at first, just memorize the first four examples, as you will likely use these the most!

      Example Sentences with Mancare 

      (Tu) Mi manchi.

      (You are missing to me.)

      I miss you.

      (Lei/Lui) Mi manca.

      (She/he is missing to me.)

      I miss her/him.

       

      (Io) Ti manco?

      (Am I missing to you?)

      (Do you) miss me?

      (Lei/Lui) Ti manca?

      (Is she/he missing to you?)

      (Do you) miss her/him?

       

      (Io) Gli manco.

      (I am missing to him.)

      He misses me.

      (Io) Le manco.

      (I am missing to her.)

      She misses me.

      (Tu) Gli manchi.

      (You are missing to him.)

      He misses you.

      (Tu) Le manchi.

      (You are missing to her.)

      She misses you.

      Gli manca (Maria).

      (Maria is missing to him.)

      He misses Maria.

      Le manca (Maria).

      (Maria is missing to her.)

      She misses Maria.

      Gli manca (Paolo).

      (Paul is missing to him.)

      He misses Paul.

      Le manca (Paolo).

      (Paul is missing to her.)

      She misses Paul.

      ******************************

      Mancare is often used in the past tense. Consider the phrase “I missed you!” This implies that a definite period of absence has passed, and now the individuals are finally together and are able to talk about their feelings. The past tense of mancare is regular in the passato prossimo and takes essere. This is the past tense form for mancare that is most commonly used during conversation.

      See below for the passato prossimo conjugation of mancare:

      Singular forms: sono sei, è, + mancato(a)

      Plural forms: siamo, siete sono + mancati(e)

      The imperfetto form of mancare is regular as well, and is used most often for narration. Remember when telling a story about something that has happened without mentioning a specific period of time to use the imperfetto past tense.  If you need a refresher on when to use the passato prossimo and imperfetto, refer to our previous blogs about the Italian past tense.  In the case of mancare, the reference is often to a nonspecific amount of time that people missed each other in the past. 

      See below for the imperfetto conjugation of mancare:

      Singular forms: mancavo, mancavi, mancava

      Plural forms: mancavamo, mancavate, mancavano

      Find four common examples below of how to use the verb mancare, in past tense, with the passato prossimo. As in the examples for the present tense, the subject pronouns are included in parentheses, but remember that they are usually often left out of a sentence unless needed for clarification. Also, the direct Italian to English translation is given in parentheses, with the correct English translation in the third column in bold black. How many more examples can you think of?

       

      (Tu) Mi sei mancato(a).

      (You were missing to me.)

      I missed you.

      (Lei/Lui) Mi è mancato(a).

      (She/he was missing to me.)

      I missed her/him.

       

      (Io) Ti sono mancto(a)?

      (Was I missing to you?)

      (Did you) miss me?

      (Lei/Lui) Ti è mancato(a)?

      (Was she/he missing to her/him?)

      (Did you) miss her/him?

      Remember how to use the Italian verb
      mancare in Italian
      when missing someone dear to you!


      Conversational Italian for Travelers books are shown side by side, standing up with "Just the Verbs" on the left and "Just the Grammar" on the right
      Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books: Available on  amazon.com  and Learn Travel Italian.com
      The cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers "Just the Important Phrases" book is viewed on a smartphone
      Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” book downloaded onto a cell phone from www.learntravelitalian.com

      Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!-The many uses of the Italian verb “Riuscire”

      Colorful homes on a block in Burano with a garden and a park bench out front
      Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
      Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

      Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2021? 

      Many Italian verbs have a similar use to those in English, which simplifies translation from one language to the other. However, many times the use of an Italian verb will vary  from the usual English connotation.  And in many situations, the same verb can have many different meanings in both languages, depending on the context. Riuscire, the  Italian verb that is commonly followed by “a” to mean “to be able to do something” is one of those verbs that is used in many ways in Italian and is important to “manage to learn” if one wants to use it correctly.

      As I’ve said before, 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 use the Italian verb riuscire, we will be able to communicate just as we do in our native language!

      This post is the 46th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE

      Many “commonly used phrases” in conversation

      use the Italian verb
      riuscire.

      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.

      The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                             found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

      ************************************************

      Let’s Talk About…

      The Many Uses of the  Italian Verb

      Riuscire

      The Italian verb riuscire has a wide range of meanings and its use lends a bit of sophistication to one’s Italian phrases. It is important to “manage to learn” the nuances of the verb riuscire in order to create sentences as we would in our native language.

      The Italian verb riuscire, when linked by the conjunction a to another verb, is translated into English as “to be able to” or “to manage to.”  The meaning is similar to potere, with an important exception: riuscire lends an undertone of personal effort on the speaker’s part. Hence the translation into English as “to manage to.”  In the negative sense, the use of riuscire a  implies that despite maximal work beforehand, it was not possible to make something happen.

      In short, the use of  riuscire is in a way more sophisticated than the use of poterePotere is used to make a simple statement about whether something is possible, without stating if the issue is under one’s control or not. There is no reason given or backstory implied with the verb potere. Specifically, with potere, there is no reference as to the ability of a person to make something happen.  Riuscire is commonly used in Italy, even by children, when they want to include a personal emphasis in their statement.

      Riuscire a can also mean “to turn out” or “to come out.”  When something has turned out well, the veb riuscire is commonly followed by the phrase “alla perfezione.” 

      When riuscire is conjugated and followed by [bene + verb], riuscire takes on the meaning of  “to be good at” something. Riuscire can also be used when describing that one is successful at something.

      In two situations, when riuscire is followed by the adjectives simpatico/antipatico or difficile/facile, the meaning changes again, to: “to seem” or “to come across as.” This is a colloquial use of riuscire.

      Finally, riuscire can be used to mean “to succeed” and also as [ri + uscire] to mean “to go out again.”


      Let’s talk about how to conjugate riuscire in the present, past, and future tenses before using it in some example sentences. 

      Present tense: riuscire is an irregular -isco verb in the present tense. The present tense conjugation is below:

      io

      riesco

      tu

       riesci

      Lei,lei,lui

      riesce

      noi

      riusciamo

      voi

       riuscite

      loro

      riescono

      Past tense: When used in the passato prossimo to describe a single event, essere is the helping verb and the past participle is riuscito. And, of course, remember our usual rule for past participles: if you are female, or your subject is a group of people, make sure to change the past participle riuscito to riuscita, riusciti, or riuscite!

      Riuscire is regular in the imperfetto past tense (riuscivo, riuscivi, riusciva, riuscivamo, riuscivate, riuscivano).

      Future tense: Riuscire is regular in the future tense (riuscirò, riuscirai, riuscirà, riusciremo, riuscirete, riusciranno).

      Finally, an important grammar rule: use indirect object pronouns (le = to her /gli = to him/ gli = to them) with riuscire. 


      1. Use [riuscire a + action verb] to describe “being able to do” something

      • Notice that when linking the verb riuscire with a action verb, the preposition ais required.
      • Common daily phrases link riuscire a with trovare, prendere, or fare to describe if one has been able to find, get, or do something.
      • Note that a substitute verb for riuscire a would be potere, which also means “to be able to,” although riuscire a  is often used to emphasize one’s efforts beforehand (as described above). Potere, on the other hand, is used to make a simple statements regarding whether something is or is not possible, without taking into account if a situation is under one’s control or not.
      “Ho guardato in tutta la casa. Ma non riesco a trovare il mio telefonino da nessuna parte!”
      “I’ve looked all over the house. But I can’t find my telephone anywhere!” 
       
      “Sei riuscito a prendere un appuntamento con il dottore?”
      “Have you been able to get an appointment with the doctor?”

         

        2.  Use [riuscire a + action verb] to describe “managing to do” something

        • Use riuscire a with the meaning of “to manage to do” something, often in the past tense. As in our examples in #1, the use of riuscire emphasizes that the speaker has been struggling beforehand, and is the verb used to communicate that one has or has not “managed to” get something done.
        • Riuscire a can also be used with the future tense to emphasize one’s willingness to “manage to” get something done.
        • Riuscire a can be used in place of farcela, which means, “to make it,” but can also mean “to manage to” or “to succeed.”
        “Sono riuscito a trovare i documenti necessario per la riunione di domani.”
        “I managed to find the necessary documents for the meeting tomorrow.” 
         
        “Sono riuscito a fare la spesa per la cena stasera dopo il lavoro.”
        “I managed to go grocery shopping for dinner tonight after work.”

        “Non sono riuscito a parlare con Maria alla festa ieri; lei era molto occupata.”
        “I didn’t manage to talk with Maria at the party yesterday; she was very busy.”
         
        “Sei riuscito a finire ancora il progetto? È passato già un mese!”
        “You haven’t managed to finish the project yet? It’s been a month already!”

         

        “Ho molto da fare la settimana prossima, ma riuscirò a venire a trovarti!”
        “I have a lot to do next week, but I will manage to visit you!”
         
        “Nostro figlio riuscirà a risparmiare i soldi per una macchina nuova.
        Anzi, dovrà riuscire; non gli diamo una lira!”
        “Our son will manage to save money for a new car.
        Actually, he will have to manage; we will not give him a cent!”

         

        “Marco sta male stamattina. Non ce la farà ad andare a scuola oggi.”
        “Mark is not feeling well this morning. He will not make it to school today.” 
         
        “Marco sta male stamatina. Non riesce ad andare a scuola oggi.
        “Mark does not feel well this morning. He cannot manage to go to school today.”

         

        3. Use riuscire to describe how something has “turned out.”

        “A mia nonna riesce alla perfezione la pasta al forno ogni volta.”
        “My grandmother turns out perfect baked pasta every time.” 
         
        “Molte persone sono riuscite a venire alla la festa ieri sera.”
        “Many people turned out for the party last night.”

         

         

        4. Use [riuscire + bene] to describe if someone is “good at” something

        • The verb riuscire is followed directly by bene when using the verb to describe what someone is “good at.” An alternative method would be to use bravo(a) + a to describe that a person is very talented or knowledgeable in their field.
        • When using riuscire,  the verb that describes exactly what a person’s special talent is can be placed at the end of the sentence in it’s infinitive form.
        • Or, the action verb describing what someone is “good at” can start the sentence and riuscire can be placed at the end. With this sentence structure, “a” should be placed before a name, to signify “to + name.” An indirect object pronoun should be placed before the verb risucire if an individuals’ name is not mentioned.
        “Maria riesce bene a cucinare.  Ma lei non riesce bene a far cuocere il pane.”
        “Maria is good at cooking. But she is not good at baking bread.”
         
        “Cucinare a Maria riesce bene.  Ma cuocere il pane non le riesce bene.”
        “Maria is good at cooking. But she is not good at baking bread.”

         

        5. Use riuscire to describe being successful at something.

        “La mia mostra è riuscita. Ho venduto dieci dipinti!”
        “My show was a success. I sold ten paintings!”
         
        “Giovanni è un bravo atleta; lui riesce in ogni sport che prova.”
        “John is a talented athlete; he is successful at every sport he tries.”

         

        6. Use riuscire with the adjectives simpatico/antipatico or difficile/facile colloquially to describe how someone or something “seems” or “comes across.”

         

        “Maria mi è riuscito simpatico.”  / “Giorgio mi è riuscito antipatico.”
        “Mary seems nice to me.”           / “George comes across as nasty to me.”
         
        “Mi riesce facile immaginare di vivere in Italia.”  /  “Mi riesce difficile immaginare di vivere senza te.”
        “It seems easy for me to imagine living in Italy.” / “It seems difficult for me to imagine living without you.”

        7. Use the riuscire to describe “going out” again. 

        • There are many Italian verbs that begin with “ri” to signify repetition of an action. Of note: ripetere  means to repeat
        • Ri + uscire can mean “to go out again.” Therefore, the words “di nuovo” or “ancora” are not necessary.
        • Riuscire is not used in the sense of “going out” on a date, which instead in Italian is simply, “Ho un appuntamento con…” for “I have an appointment/date with…”
        “Devo riuscire di casa per sprigare commissioni.”
        “I have to go out of the house again to run errands.”
         
        “Sono appena tornato da fare la spesa ma ho dimenticato il vino per cena stasera.
        Devo risucire e comprarlo subito!”
        “I just returned from grocery shopping but forgot the wine for dinner tonight.
        I have to go out again and buy it right away!”


        Remember how to use the Italian verb riuscire in conversation 
        and I guarantee you will use this verb every day!

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

           Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

        Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – Getting from polite to familiar in Italian with “Dare del tu!”

        Burano in Venice, Italy and Everyday Italian phrases
        Kathryn Occhipinti, MD
        Kathryn Occhipinti, MD for Conversational Italian for Travelers books

        Ciao a tutti! We are on our way to speaking Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2021!

        When visiting another country, it is important to understand how to be polite. If one wants to “fare una bella figura” in Italy, that is, “make a good impression,” it is important to know a few polite words in Italian. For those staying in Italy for an extended visit or settling in Italy permanently, it is equally as important to know how to express one’s feelings friendship.

        Italian has a special way to bridge the gap linguistically from between two people who start out as acquaintances and become friends. A simple phrase is relayed from one person to the other: “Dare del tu.” If accepted, is a true sign of friendship!

        As I’ve said before, 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 build on the “commonly used phrase”  “Dare del tu,” which is Italian for, “Let’s be friends and use the familiar form with each other,” we will be able to communicate the closeness we feel with a friend, just as we do in our native language!

        This post is the 45th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE

        The “commonly used phrase” in Italian

        Dare del tu?
        is used to ask,
        Let’s be friends and use the familiar form with each other!

        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.

        The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                               found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

        ************************************************

        Let’s Talk About…

        Getting from Polite to Familiar in Italian with
        Dare del Tu

        Italian has three subject pronouns with three different verb conjugations in the present tense for conversing with  acquaintances and friends.  Reflexive verbs include a reflexive pronoun as well. This is less complicated than it may seem at first.

        Let’s look at the conjugation table for chiamarsi, the reflexive verb that means “to be named,” or “to call oneself.” This verb is one of the first verbs an Italian student learns to conjugate and contains all the elements to understand polite and familiar verb tenses. A refresher, from our Conversational Italian for Travelers book, “Just the Important Phrases” is given in the section below. 

         

        How do we conjugate an Italian verb into the polite or familiar form?

        First, let’s conjugate chiamarsi the way we would any other –are  verb. Chiamarsi (to call oneself/to be named) will have the same stem and endings as chiamare (to call someone — directly, or on the phone).  The stem for both chiamare and chiamarsi is chiam. Add the -are endings to the stem chiam to form the new verbs below.  The stress will fall on the second syllable for our first three forms and the loro form. The stressed syllable has been underlined in the table.

        Chiamare – to call someone

        io

        chiamo

        I call

        tu

        chiami

        you (familiar) call

        Lei

        lei/lui

        chiama

        you (polite) call

        she/he calls

         

         

         

        noi

        chiamiamo

        we call

        voi

        chiamate

        you all call

        loro

        chiamano

        they call

        To complete the conjugation of chiamarsi, add a reflexive pronoun before each conjugated verb.  Notice that in English the reflexive pronoun goes after the verb, so this may take a little getting used to.

         

        Chiamarsi to be called, as in a name/to name oneself 

        io

        mi

        chiamo

        I call myself

        tu

        ti

        chiami

        you (familiar) call yourself

        Lei/lei/lui

        si

        chiama

        you (polite)/she/he calls
        yourself, herself, himself, itself

         

         

         

         

        noi

        ci

        chiamiamo

        we call ourselves

        voi

        vi

        chiamate

        you all call yourselves

        loro

        si

        chiamano

        they call themselves


         

        How do we use an Italian verb in the polite form?

        From the translations in both tables in the last section, we see the the “Lei” form is called the polite form of the verb; this means one addresses someone they have not met before as “you” with “Lei” and the polite verb conjugation. In the case of chiamarsi, one would ask, “Come si chiama?” “What is your name?” in a polite way during introductions.

        As with all social conventions, there are rules to follow regarding when one should be polite to another.

         

        The polite form Lei is used between adults when they first meet
        and to show respect for others.

        Using the Lei form of Italian shows that one is a educated person who follows proper social norms.

        Lei is especially important to show respect when addressing someone who is older than the speaker or who is in an important  social position, such as a boss at work, a professional such as a teacher, doctor, or lawyer, or a government official. When professionals and government officials who are not friends speak with each other, Lei is also required. 

        The easiest way to train your ear to listen to the polite form is to watch an Italian TV series where the characters are shown in their place of work. In the popular series “Commissario Montalbano” or  “Detective Montalbano” the detective always replies to his superior, the “Questore,” or “Chief of Police,” with the Lei form and usually speaks calmly, with a measured tone. But when the same detective is talking to the policemen that work for him, he uses the tu form and colors his sentences with any number of colloquial exclamations.

        An important note about being polite in Italy: remember that children are never addressed with Lei! Even a child that you meet for the first time.

        The question comes up, then, when one is “adult” enough to be addressed with the Lei form. This, of course, will vary, but the other person should have attained at least the age of the speaker. Also, keep in mind that in Italy children are called bambini, which we translate into English as “babies” until about 12 years of age and then are ragazzi, or “girls and boys,” until long after the teenage years! 

        If both speakers have reached the age of 21, is probably safe to start using the Lei, although, in this case the situation should also be considered.

        Younger people tend to be informal with each other in social gatherings, and sometimes even at work! While I was visiting Italy, my older Italian friend once politely reprimanded a 20-something shopkeeper for using the tu form with customers by asking the shopkeeper to revert back to using Lei. (See the last section of this blog for how this is done.)

        Keeping all of the above in mind, when entering a shop, it is polite to say, “Buon giorno,” and most shopkeepers will politely greet those entering with a “Buon giorno,” in return and continue the conversation by speaking to the customer with the Lei form. Therefore, it is useful for the Italian student to recognize the polite verb endings for the present tense -are, -ere, and -ire verbs that will be used, which are: (-a, -e, -e).

        It will be appreciated if the traveler also speaks to the shopkeeper in the Lei form, but understood if the traveler replies in the tu, or familiar form, given the difficulty of this concept for the non-native speaker. The tu form for all present tense verbs has a single ending, of course, which is “-i.”

        A common polite line the shopkeeper may ask the customer after the usual greeting is, “Posso aiutarla?” for “How may I help you?” If you as a customer don’t need anything in particular, but would like to “just look around,” you can answer politely with “No, grazie, Sto solo dando un’occhiata.”

        To learn more about shopping in Italy, visit our blog “Quanto costa?” For more phrases you need to know when conversing at an Italian shop, check out our pocket travel book Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” or download Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” into your phone at www.learntravelitalian.com.

         


         

        How do we use an Italian verb in the familiar form?

        From the translations in both tables in the first section, we see the the “tu” form is called the familiar form of the verb; this means that one addresses people they know well, such as family members or friends with the tu form. As we mentioned in the last section, children are always addressed with tu.

        Someone the speaker has just met, who is the same age as the speaker and they feel a friendly connection with can also be addressed as  “you” with “tu” and the familiar verb conjugation.  In the case of chiamarsi, one would ask, “Come ti chiami?” “What is your name?” in a familiar way during introductions.

        As with all social conventions, there are rules as to when one should be familiar with another.

         

        The familiar form tu is used between family members, friends,
        and anyone the speaker has met who is their same age or younger
        to whom they feel a friendly connection.

        Using the tu form of Italian shows a warmth for an individual the speaker feels close to.

        So, in what situation would someone use chiamarsi to ask another’s name in the tu form? This statement seems like a contradiction; if I am using the tu form, I must already know this person, right? So, then why would I be asking their name? As  mentioned before, the tu form is always used with children, even if you’ve just met a child. So to ask a child’s name, use, “Come ti chiami?” If you ask the child’s name with the formal Lei, you will seem overly polite and may elicit a chuckle from the parent or even the child themself! 

        The expression “Come ti chiami?” is also helpful between adults. In the adult world, we may meet someone superficially as part of a group on a routine basis, such as in a required business meeting or in the classroom. So when two people know each other superficially, but have not been formally introduced, one may ask another directly, “Come ti chiami?” This assumes, of course, that the two individuals have the same position in the group and are of similar age and feel a connection due to their shared experience.

        According to Italian convention, to use the familiar tu with someone you have not officially met is a sign that you feel yourself better than them or that you simply don’t care about being polite. The movie, “The Nights of Caibiria,” by Federico Fellini, is a study in this type of personality. In the beginning of the film, a “famous movie star” character consistently addresses others with the tu form when he is out for the evening visiting night clubs in Rome. After he uses the tu form, others respond with the Lei.  When interacting on a personal level with a women he meets that night, he uses the familiar tu form from their first conversation; she knows that he is famous and does not reprimand him. The self-centered, “famous actor” drives this woman to another night club in Rome before he brings her to his home, and, after several hours finally asks her, “Come ti chiami?” 

        However, the traveler who is not Italian and has limited knowledge of the Italian language, any attempt to speak Italian is usually appreciated. It is not normally taken as a sign of disrespect if the traveler replies in the more easily remembered tu familiar form.

         


         

        Are there other ways to be polite and familiar in Italian?

        Also important to remember are the polite and familiar ways to say “hello” and ” good bye” in Italian. For instance, the Italian word “Ciao!” is now commonly used in America with acquaintances. But Italians only use this expression among close friends, and it is good to remember this social convention when one is a visitor to Italy.

        The correct translation of “ciao” is “hi” or “bye,” and not “hello” or “good bye.” This translation shows how informal this Italian expression really is! So when entering a shop keeper’s store, it is proper to say a polite, “Buon giorno!” for “Good day!” and when leaving, “Arrivederci!”  for “Good bye!” and not simply, “Ciao!” When Detective Montalbano speaks with the chief of police on the telephone, and the conversation ends, he uses the ultra formal, “Arrivederla.”

        Below is a table reproduced from the book Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases,” with the many (but not all) expressions of meeting and greeting that are used in Italy today. 

        Buon giorno.*             Good morning.  (lit. Good day.)         used all day into evening

        Buona sera.*               Good evening.                                     early night–time greeting

        Buona notte.*             Good night.                                         used when leaving/bedtime

        Buona giornata.          (Have a) good day.                             to wish someone a nice (entire) day

        Ciao!                          Hi!/Bye!                                                 informal greeting family/friends

        Salve.                         Hello._________________________________both familiar and polite

        Ci vediamo!                (Until) we see each other (again)!      for family or for a friend you

                                                                                                       hope to see again soon

        Arrivederci.                 Good bye.                                           familiar polite

        Arriverla.                     Good bye.                                           polite, with respect

        ArrivederLa.                Good bye.                                           formal written form

         

        Come va?                    How (is it) go(ing)?                             a slang greeting used often

        Ciao bella!/Ciao bello! Hey, beautiful girl!/Hey handsome!   for someone you know (well)

        A dopo!                       (See you) later!                                   good-bye between friends

        A più tardi!                 (See you) later!                                   good-bye between friends

        A presto!                    (See you) soon!                                   good-bye between friends

         

        *Can be written as one word: buongiorno, buonasera, buonanotte.


         

        How do I change from the polite to the familiar in Italian?

        Since Italian has created a situation where two people can be polite (to show respect for each other) or familiar (to show caring between family and friends), there is also a need for phrases that will take people from a polite relationship to a familiar one.

        The verb dare, which means “to give,” is used in important expressions that allow the change to be made from a formal conversation, using the polite verb form for “you” (the Lei form), to a familiar conversation, using the familiar verb form of “you” (the tu form).

        Imagine, for instance, that a conversation starts up at a gathering between two people who are of the same age and have just met.  At some point in the conversation, one will say to the other, “Diamoci del tu,” which does not have a good literal translation, but roughly means, “Let’s use the familiar form of you (the tu form) with each other and address each other familiarly.” The reflexive pronoun ci is added to the end of the verb diamo in order to refer to each other.  This is a familiar way to ask the question, and assumes a level of comfort that the feeling of familiarity will be reciprocated. 

        An even more familiar way to ask the same question is to use the command familiar form of this phrase, which is, “Dammi del tu!” for “Give me the tu!”  The use of this phrase emphasizes the closeness that the speaker already feels toward the other individual just in the way the question is asked, as familiar command phrases are normally only used between family and close friends.

        There are other ways to make this request.  If the person making the request wants to continue in the polite way of speaking when the request is being made, and switch only after consent is given, he or she could use the verb potere and the very useful phrase of politeness we have come across many times before in the Conversational Italian for Travelers books: “Mi può…”  In this case, the phrase would be, “Mi può dare del tu,” for You can use the familiar form of “you” with me.”

        Or, perhaps one is speaking to an older individual and is not sure the feeling of familiarity will be reciprocated.  They can use the same phrase in a question form, as in, “Le posso dare del tu?” which means, “Can I use the familiar form of ‘you’ with you?” Or, alternatively, “Possiamo darci del tu?” for “Can we use the familiar form with each other?”

        Finally, as noted earlier in this blog, Italians use the polite form of “you” in conversation as a way of showing respect to older individuals, professionals, or those in government.  Between Italians, then, a situation may arise where someone of importance might feel another individual is not showing proper respect or has become too familiar with them by their use of the familiar tu in conversation.  In this case, a conversation may start in the familiar, but revert to the polite at the request of a superior with the polite command, “Mi dia del Lei!” which means, “Use the polite form of “you” with me!

        The many ways to ask someone to have a friendly conversation with you are summarized below.

        “Diamoci del tu.” ___________________________________________ informal request 

        “Dammi del tu!”____________________________________________ informal command

        “Mi può dare del tu.” _______________________________________ polite request

        “Le posso dare del tu?” ____________________________________ polite question

        “Possiamo darci del tu?” ___________________________________polite question

         

        If you feel that someone is being too friendly or acting familiar in a formal situation, you can say:

        “Mi dia del Lei!” ____________________________________________ polite command

         

        If you’ve tried to switch from polite to familiar with friends you’ve made
        in Italy, leave a comment describing your
        method and let us know how it worked! 


        Remember how ask, “Can we speak in the familiar with each other?” in Italian with 
        “Dare del tu?” and I guarantee
        you will use this phrase every day!

         

        Conversational Italian for Travelers books are shown side by side, standing up with "Just the Verbs" on the left and "Just the Grammar" on the right
        Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books: Available on  amazon.com  and Learn Travel Italian.com

         

        The cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers "Just the Important Phrases" book is viewed on a smartphone
        Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” book downloaded onto a cell phone from www.learntravelitalian.com

         

        Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – Let’s Talk About… How Much Does it Cost? “Quanto Costa?”

        Burano in Venice, Italy and Everyday Italian phrases
        Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
        Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

        Ciao a tutti! We are on our way to speaking Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2021!

        When visiting another country (and I am sure travelers will one day be able to visit Italy again), it is important to understand the ins and outs of making a purchase. Whether you are dining at a restaurant, visiting an important historical site, or purchasing a souvenir of your trip, knowing a few  words in Italian is always helpful to understand the cost. And if you like to barter, you can pepper your English with a few friendly Italian phrases to help the deal go through!

        As I’ve said before, 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 build on the “commonly used phrase”  “Quanto costa,” which is Italian for “How much does it cost?” we will be able to communicate what we want to purchase, just as we do in our native language!

        This post is the 43rd in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE

        Many “commonly used phrases” in Italian

        are used to ask
        Quanto costa?
        How much does it cost?

        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.

        The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                               found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

        ************************************************

        Let’s Talk About…

        How Much Does it Cost?
        Quanto Costa?

        When visiting another country (and I am sure travelers will one day be able to visit Italy again), it is important to understand the ins and outs of making a purchase. Whether you are dining at a restaurant, visiting an important historical site, or purchasing a souvenir of your trip, knowing a few  words in Italian is always helpful to understand the cost. And if you like to barter, you can pepper your English with a few friendly Italian phrases to help the deal go through!

        How do I use the verb costare?

        In order to ask how much something costs in Italian, we will first need to conjugate the verb costare, which sounds very much like its English counterpart “to cost.” Costare is a regular -are verb, so the verb conjugation  should be easy to remember. When making purchases, the third person singular “it costs,” which is “costa,” and the third person plural “they cost,” which is “costano,” are the two forms of this verb necessary to know.

        Since we leave out the word “it” in conversational Italian, we simply need to put the word for “how much,” which is “quanto,” before costa or costano. This gives us the short sentences, “Quanto costa?” and “Quanto costano?” Remember that there is no need to insert the words “do” or “does” into your phrase when asking a question in Italian, although these words are necessary in English.

        Let’s see how this works.

        First off, it is polite to say, “Buon giorno!” to the shopkeeper when entering a shop in Italy. The shopkeeper will most likely be standing behind a counter near the doorway, and you will receive a polite “Buon giorno!” in return. Also, most shops in Italy have an unspoken rule — or sometimes an actual sign by the merchandise that says, “Non toccare, per favore” — requesting that customers do not handle fragile items themselves.

        If you would like to have a closer look at an item, you can start by asking the shopkeeper, “Posso?” for “May I…” and point to the item you would like to pick up.

        If you are in a shop in Florence, and see a lovely handmade wallet in a display case, if want to know the price, you can simply say, “Quanto costa?” for “How much does it cost?” 

        And if you want to purchase several silk scarves to bring home to your friends, you can ask,  “Quanto costano?” for “How much do they cost?”  

        Quanto costa?

        How much (does) (it) cost?

        Quanto costano?

        How much (do) (they) cost?

        When asking a shopkeeper in Italy how much something costs, the easiest thing to do is to point to the item or items and use the simple sentences above. Most Italian shops are small and the salespeople are usually helpful and accommodating, regardless of one’s knowledge of Italian. But it is also easy to add the Italian word for the item you are interested in at the end of these sentences. Notice the verbs costa and costano are highlighted in green to emphasize how the verb costare will change depending on the  number of items under consideration.

        Quanto costa il portafoglio?

        How much (does) the wallet cost?

        Quanto costano le sciarpe?

        How much (do) the scarves cost?

        As a substitute for the name of the item, you can also point and use the adjective “this” for one item near you or “that” for another item further away. The adjectives “these/those” are used for more than one item. Remember to change the endings of “questo” (this) and quello” (that) to reflect the gender of the item you want to purchase!

        In the table below that the adjectives questo and quello are in blue, with their endings highlighted in red to match the endings of the nouns each corresponds to. If you need a more in-depth explanation of how to use the adjectives questo and quello, you will find this in the Conversational Italian for Travelers book “Just the Grammar.”

        Quanto costa questo? (portafoglio)

        How much (does) this cost?

        Quanto costa questa? (sciarpa)

        How much does this cost?

        Quanto costano questi? (portafogli)

        How much do these (wallets) cost?

        Quanto costano queste? (sciarpe)

        How much (do) these (scarves) cost?

         

        ******************************

        How do I spot a sale in Italy?

        Leather goods Florence

        If you visit Italy at the end of June, and certainly in July and August, shops that sell clothing and accessories will be preparing for the fall season by putting their current items on sale. Large signs appear in shop windows, that say, “In Saldo” or “Saldi” and often list the percentage reduction, such as 25%, 50% or even 75%.  Some additional words and phrases you may see in shop windows are given in the table below. 

        in vendita/ in saldo, saldi on sale/ on sale for a reduced price
        in svendita  in a closeout sale
        sconto/ scontato  discount/ discounted
        a prezzo basso at low/ lowered price

         

        Italian dresses for sale
        Shop window in Rome with Italian dresses for sale up to 50% off.

        ******************************

        How do I barter in Italian?

        The price of most smaller purchases in Italian shops is not negotiable, especially when the owner is not on site. But, many of the owners of the leather and jewelry shops in Florence actually expect you to barter with them! Bartering is also expected by many artisans that sell their work in the piazzas of Italy.  Learn some of the phrases below. It may be fun to try out your bartering skills when Italy opens its doors to the world again!

        Start a conversation with a shopkeeper by asking:

        Quanto costa… How much is…
        (literally: How much costs…)

        Of course, the listed price will be:

        troppo caro too expensive
        costoso expensive, costly
        proprio costoso really expensive
        Costa un occhio della testa! Costs an arm and a leg!
        (lit. Costs an eye out of the head!)

        And here we go with bartering… 

        Quanto costa? How much (does it) cost?
        Venti euro. (It costs) 20 euro.
        Troppo caro! Facciamo quindici euro! (That is) too expensive! Let’s make it 15 euros!
        Non è in saldo… ma, diciannove va bene. (It) is not on sale… but 19 is good.
        No, è costoso! Può andar bene diciassette? No, (it) is expensive! Perhaps 17?
        Diciotto. Non posso fare più sconto! 18. (I) can’t discount it any more! (lit. I can’t make it (any) more discounted!)
        Va bene! Very well!/Agreed.

        If you’ve tried bartering in Italy, leave a comment describing your method and let us know how it worked! 


        Remember how ask, How much does it cost?” in Italian with 
        “Quanto costa?” and I guarantee
        you will use this phrase every day!

        Conversational Italian for Travelers books are shown side by side, standing up with "Just the Verbs" on the left and "Just the Grammar" on the right
        Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books

           Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

        Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – Let’s Talk About… TV and the Movies in Italian

        Burano in Venice, Italy and Everyday Italian phrases

        Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
        Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

        Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2020? 

        One of the most common topics people discuss is what they have watched lately on their TV. But whether the discussion is about a made-for-TV series or a classic movie, the conversation usually revolves around the same topics: our likes and dislikes, intriguing points in the plot, and, of course, those fabulous actors. These common topics lead to common phrases we can learn in Italian to talk to our Italian friends!

        As I’ve said before, 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 talk about the weather in Italian we will be able to communicate just as we do in our native language!

        What TV series have you watched lately?  On what site? were you thrilled, bored, or was it just an OK experience?  Or maybe you have just streamed (or put in your own DVD for the umpteenth time) a favorite classic movie.  Why is this movie your favorite?  What about the characters attracts you to this movie time and time again?

        This post is the 38th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group.  If you’d like to read the earlier posts in the series, “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day!” just click HERE

        Many “commonly used phrases” in Italian

        are used to talk about
        TV and movies in Italian.

        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.

        The basics of the Italian language are introduced in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                               found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

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

        ************************************************

        Let’s Talk About…

        TV and the Movies in Italian

        How do I say, “TV show” and “movies” in Italian?

        The programs we watch on a television set (il televisore) or on a screen (lo schermo) are referred to most commonly in both English and Italian as “TV.” The pronunciation, of course, is different in each language. In Italian, the abbreviation “TV” is pronounced as an Italian would pronounce the letters “t” and “v,” which sounds like “tee-vooh.” Notice from the table below that there is an Italian word for TV programs in general (la televisione), and therefore the Italian abbreviation TV is feminine as well, and takes the feminine definite article la, as in la TV.

        TV La TV / La televisione
        Cable TV La TV via cavo
        Satellite TV La TV sattelitare
        RAI-TV Italian state television
        (Radio-Televisione Italiana)
        Television set Il televisore
        TV or computer screen Lo schermo
        TV show Un programma 
        Un programma televisivo
        TV series Una serie TV/Due Serie
        Un telefilm
        Episode Una puntata
        Situation Comedy Una serie TV sitcom
        Una commedia
        Comedy show Un programma comico

        Back in the day, Italians used to refer to a movie as “una pellicola,” but that word is no longer in common usage. Nowadays, Italians most often refer to a movie with the American word “film.” For instance, Voleva la pena il film?” means, “Was it worth it to watch the movie?”

        Movies in general are either “i film,” with the borrowed English word preceded by the plural masculine definite article “i” in Italian, or “il cinema,” which is a collective masculine noun. 

        The usual Italian verbs for to watch (guardare) and to see (vedere) describe the act of watching a screen to see a TV show or movie.

        Movie theater  Il cinema
        Film studio Lo studio cinematografico
        Movie Il film (La pellicola)
        Movies I film / Il cinema
        to capture an image for a film filmare / riprendere / girare
        to be recorded essere filmato
        to watch a movie guardare un film
        to watch a movie vedere un film

        ******************************

        Using piacere to say we like a TV show or movie

        In Italian, a few simple sentences will suffice to say if we liked what we saw — or not.  You may recall that Italians use the irregular verb piacere to convey the idea that they like something. For a refresher on how this verb works, please refer to past blogs, “Piacere — How Italians Say, ‘I like it!”  and “Piacere: How Italians Say, ‘I liked it!’

        The most important thing to remember is that the conjugation of piacere
        will have to agree with the number of things that are being liked. 

        So, when speaking in the present tense, if one thing is liked, simply use the third person singular conjugation piace.

        If many things are liked in the present, use the plural third person, which is piacciono.

        For the past tense, we can use the passato prossimo third person singular forms è piacuto and è piaciuta for the one-time event when we liked something.

        If many things are liked, the third person plural forms sono piaciuti for the masculine plural and sono piaciute for the feminine plural are used.

        Then put the indirect object pronoun mi before the verb to make the simple sentence: “To me, this is pleasing!” Or, as we would say in English, “I like/liked this!”  

        To ask a friend if they like or liked something, put ti before the verb, for: “Is/was this pleasing to you?” Or, as we would say in English, “Do/Did you like this?”

        If, for some reason, you do NOT like what you have watched, just start your Italian sentence with the word non.

        What we might say about our favorite TV show or movie that we like:

        Mi piace questo film. I like this movie.
        Mi è piaciuto questo film. I liked this movie.
        Mi piace molto questo film. I really like this movie.
        Mi è piaciuto molto questo film. I really liked this movie.
        Ti piace questo film? Do you like this movie?
        Ti è piaciuto questo film? Did you like this movie?

        What we might say about our favorite TV show or movie that we did NOT like: 

        Non mi piace questo film. I don’t like this movie.
        Non mi è piaciuto questo film. I didn’t like this movie.
        Mi piace molto questo film. I really don’t like this movie.
        Mi è piaciuto molto questo film. I really didn’t like this movie.
        Ti piace questo film? Don’t you like this movie?
        Ti è piaciuto questo film? Didn’t you like this movie?

        ******************************

        Using common expressions to say we like a TV show or movie

        Of course, there are many common expressions that go beyond the simple, “I like it,” or “I don’t like it.” In English, for instance, we might say, “It was cool,” or “It was out of this world.” It seems like new English expressions are invented almost every day for how we feel about things! So, it should come as no surprise that Italians have also created expressions for feelings that go deeper than simply liking.  Let’s discuss a few that you may hear when carrying on a conversation with your Italian friends.

        To get a conversation started, you can use the phrases, “Vale la pena?” for “Is it worth it?”  “Voleva la pena il film?” means, “Was the film worth it?” as mentioned earlier.

        In the table below are some answers that you might hear from a native Italian who has enjoyed a film. Try them out and surprise your Italian friends!

        Mi piace un sacco! I like it a lot! (lit. a sack full)
        Mi è piaciuto un sacco! I liked it a lot!
        È  stato bello! It was great!
        È / È stato meraviglioso! It is / was wonderful!
        È / È stato stupendo! It is / was amazing / cool!
        È / È stato  fantastico! It is / was fantastic / cool!
        È / È stato fico / figo! It is / was cool!
        È /  È stato fichissimo / fighissimo! It is / was the coolest!
        È / È stato da paura! It is / was cool!
        È / È stato  il meglio! It is / was the best!
        È il migliore film che io abbia mai visto. It is the best film that I have ever seen.

        Some common movie genres

        Action Film d’azione
        Adventure story Storia d’avventura
        Costume drama (historical TV show with costumes) Sceneggiato in costume
        Costume drama (historical film with costumes) Film in costume
        Comedy Film comico / commedia
        Comedy drama Commedia drammatica
        Dark comedy Commedia nera
        High comedy Commedia sofisticata / da intenditori
        Low comedy (bawdy) Commedia popolare
        Slapstick comedy Farsa / Pagliacciata*
        Musical comedy Commedia musicale
        Romantic comedy Commedia romantica
        Documentary Un documentario
        Drama Storia drammatica
        Drama movie Film drammatico / Dramma
        Detective movie Un poliziesco / Un giallo**
        Film noir (thriller genre) Film noir
        Foreign Film Film straniero
        Horror  Film horror / Film dell’orrore
        Mystery Un giallo**
        Science Fiction / Sci-fi Film di fantascienza
        Psychological thriller Thriller psicologico
        Thriller (suspense film) Thriller / Giallo
        Western Film Western

        *Reference to the opera Pagliacci, whose main character is a clown that performs slapstick humor with puppets.

        **Mystery books and films are referred to by the color giallo, which is derived from the yellow cover all mystery books were given in the past.

        ******************************

        Using common expressions to say what we prefer

        The verb preferire means “to prefer,” which is a regular -isc conjugated -ire verb.“I prefer…” is “Io preferisco…” To ask a question of someone else, say, “Tu preferisci…?”

        If you want to say you prefer one movie genre over another, just use the adjective preferito. This also works for your favorite movie, TV show, color, etc. Just make sure to change the ending of preferito (a,i,e) to reflect what it is you are describing, whether masculine or feminine, singular or plural.

        Here are examples from the dialogue below:

        È il tipo di film che io preferisco.
        It’s the type of film that I prefer.

        Non per me.  Il mio film preferito è un buon giallo.
        Not for me. My favorite movie is a good mystery movie.

        If you want to say, “I liked (film) better than…” use the sentence construction:

        “Mi piace… (film)  più di + definite article… (film).  

        Ma mi piace La Vita è Bella più del Commissario Montalbano.
        I like La Vita è Bella more than Detective Montalbano.

        Another way to make a comparison between films is to say:
        “This film is much better than…”

        “Questo film è molto meglio di + definite article…”

        Questo film è molto meglio del Commissario Montalbano, sono sicuro!
        This film is much better than Detective Montalbano, I am sure.

        Finally, to mention who has written or directed a movie, use the conjunction “di” to mean “by.”

        ******************************

        Below is a simple dialogue between two friends, Maria and Anna, talking about their favorite movie and TV show.  There are, of course, many variations.  Think about your favorite movie and create phrases describe your own feelings in Italian!

        Maria:  Ieri sera, ho guardato il film, La Vita è Bella, di Roberto Benigni.
        Last night, I watched the movie, “Life is Beautiful,” by Roberto Benigni.
        Anna: Ne è valsa la pena?
        Was it worth it?
        Maria: Si, vale la pena.
        Mi è piaciuto molto questo film!
        Yes, it is worth it.
        I really liked this film!
        Anna: È una storia drammatica?
        Is it a drama?
        Maria: Si, è una storia drammatica, ma la prima parte è anche un po’ comica.
        Yes, it is a drama, but the first part is also a bit funny.
        Anna: Ah, una commedia drammatica.
        I see, a comedy drama.
        Maria: È il tipo di film che io preferisco.
        It’s the type of film that I prefer.
        Anna: Non per me.
        Il mio film preferito è un buon giallo.
        Not for me.
        My favorite movie is a good mystery movie.
        Commissario Montalbano è figo.
        Detective Montalbano is cool.
        Maria: Boh. Ho visto molte puntate del Commissario Montalbano sul TV.
        Well. I have seen many episodes of Detective Montalbano on TV.
        Ma mi piace La Vita è Bella più del Commissario Montalbano.
          I like La Vita è Bella more than Detective Montalbano.
           
          Questo film è molto meglio del Commissario Montalbano, sono sicuro!
        This film is much better than Detective Montalbano, I am sure.
        Anna: Allora, devo guardare La Vita è Bella un giorno.
        Well, then, I will have to watch La Vita è Bella one day.

        Remember how to talk about TV and the Movies in Italian and I guarantee
        you will use these phrases every day!

        Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
        Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

           Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com