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 49th 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


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Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books: Available on  amazon.com  and Learn Travel Italian.com
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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 47th 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 – “As Far as I know” with Sapere in the Subjunctive Mood

    Burano in Venice, Italy and Everyday Italian phrases

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

    Buon giorno a tutti! Today we will discuss how to use sapere in the common subjunctive mood form “sappia” for those uncertain times in our lives. 

    As I’ve said before in this blog series, 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 what we may know in Italian with the verb  sappia, the singular subjunctive mood of  sapere, we will be able to communicate with the same complexity as we do in our native language!

    This post is the 44th 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

    start with “As far as I know…” 

    and use the subjunctive form of the verb sapere,
    which is s
    appia  

    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 this verb?

    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.

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

    Sappia — Subjunctive Mood of Sapere 

    As we’ve seen in a previous blog about the verb sapere,it is important to understand how to conjugate sapere in the present tense if one wants to describe what he or she knows. Sapere in the present tense is a verb of certainty; when one uses the Italian verb sapere, they do so to describe a fact or something they believe to be true.  

    But there are times when one may not be certain he or she is talking about a fact. In order to convey different shades of meaning, Italian uses the subjunctive mood. And to convey uncertainty about what one knows in the present, it is necessary to use the present subjunctive (presente congiuntivo) of sapere.

    Sapere is an irregular verb. However, the presente congiuntivo is easier to conjugate than the present tense, as the first three persons of the presente congiuntivo are identical — all three are the commonly used form sappia.”

    Also, to make remembering the presente congiuntivo easy, note that the noi form is “sappiamo,” which is the same as the present tense!

    In English,  the translation for the presente congiuntivo of sapere is the same as the simple present tense. Today’s spoken and written English uses the subjunctive mood sparingly, most often for hypothetical phrases — statements we make when we wish for something that we know cannot be. Therefore, when Italian requires the presente congiuntivo, English defaults to the simple present tense. See the table below for the full conjugation of sapere. 

    SaperePresente Congiuntivo

    io

    sappia

    I know

    tu

    sappia

    you (familiar) know

    Lei 

     

    lei/lui

    sappia

    you (polite) know

     

    she/he knows

     

     

     

    noi

    sappiamo

    we know

    voi

    sappiate

    you all know

    loro

    sappiano

    they know

     

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

    Let’s start our discussion of how to use the verb sapere with some common conversational phrases in the present and past tenses. Then we can go on to describe some situations in which it is necessary to use the sapere in the Italian subjunctive mood.

    Some common phrases that use sapere in the present and past tenses:

    So…/Sai…

    I know…/You know…

    Come sai…/Come sa…

    As you know… (familiar/polite)

    Come sapete…

    As you all know…

    Non si sa mai!

    One never knows!

    Non lo so.

    I don’t know.

    Non lo sapevo.

    I didn’t know.


    It is clear from the above phrases that a fact is being relayed; one either knows or does not know something. With the  phrases that need to be completed, like, “So…,” “Sai…,” “Come sai..,”  or “Come sa..,” since there is no uncertainty involved, a verb in the simple present or past tense can be used to complete the sentence. 

    An example of one friend talking to another is given below, with an introductory phrase that uses sapere in the present tense, and a fact relayed in the following phrase:

    • Come sai, Francesca è partita per Roma ieri.
      As you know, Frances left for Rome yesterday.

    Now, let’s imagine that someone has asked our speaker if they know whether Frances has departed for Rome. And in this case, the speaker does not know if Frances has left prior to their conversation. An Italian in this situation could answer, “Non lo so,” for a simple, “I don’t know.”  But to be a bit more dramatic, there is also the option of answering this question with an exclamation, “Chi lo sa!which means, “Who knows?” 

    To really sound Italian, one can say, “Chissà!” which is a commonly used Italian exclamation that also means, “Who knows?” and  likely evolved from the simple sentence above using sapere.

    Here is our first example again, except this time let’s answer our question about Francesca with our exclamations that use sapere in the present tense.

    • Francesca è partita per Roma ieri?   Chi lo sa!
      Frances left for Rome yesterday?   Who knows?
    • Francesca è partita per Roma ieri?   Chissà!
      Frances left for Rome yesterday?   Who knows?

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

     

    So, when does the subjunctive mood come into play? Going back to our original question about whether Frances has left for Rome: in some cases, this question might not have a simple “yes or no” answer. And this is when it is necessary to use the subjunctive mood!

    For instance, when answering the question, “Has Frances left for Rome?” the speaker may be fairly certain that Frances has already left. But maybe some detail is bothering him or her. Perhaps the speaker hasn’t seen Frances leave, but knows that Frances always keeps her appointments. The phrases “per quanto ne so” and “per quanto ne sappia,” both mean “as far as I know,” or “to my knowledge,” and are useful if one is feeling a bit unsure of themselves or the situation under discussion. 

    When to use each phrase?  In many English translations, “per quanto ne so” and “per quanto ne sappia,” are interchangeable; but in Italian these two phrases do have different shades of meaning.

    “Per quanto ne so” implies some certainty in one’s knowledge, similar to the  English phrase, “I’m pretty sure.” 

    “Per quanto ne sappia” leans more toward uncertainty, such as, “I’m not really sure, but I think so.”

    Below is our example again, with the subjunctive verb sappia used in the response to the original question asking whether Frances has left for Rome.

    • Francesca è partita per Roma?   
      Has Frances left for Rome?   
    • Per quanto ne sappia, Francesca è gia partita per Roma.
      As far as I know — I’m not really sure, but I think so — Frances has already left for Rome.

    The phrase “per quanto ne sappia” can be shortened to: “che io sappia,” which also means, “as far as I know.” In fact, this shortened phrase is the most common form used in conversation.

    • Che io sappia, Francesca è gia partita per Roma.
      As far as I know, Frances has already left for Rome.

    Other phrases along with “per quanto ne sappia” that mean “as far as” or “for what” or “to what” are: a quanto, per quel che, and a quel che. These introductory phrases are used in the same manner as per quanto, although per quanto is the most common phrase of this group used in conversational Italian.

    But… be careful! “A quanto pare” means “apparently” and does not use the subjunctive mood! Because, in this case, the introductory phrase implies certainty, it should be followed with a verb in the simple present or past tense.

    • Francesca è partita per Roma? 
      Has Frances left for Rome? 
    • Le sue valigie non sono più qui. A quanto pare, Francesca è gia partita per Roma stamattina.
      Her suitcases are no longer here. Apparently, Frances has already left for Rome this morning.

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

     

    Another useful phrase for when one is feeling uncertain about something is “non che io sappia,” which means “not that I know” or “not that I am aware of,” and is usually followed by the conjunctions “ma” or “pero,” which both mean “but.” So, in effect, this introductory phrase when connected by “but” is a bit of a contradiction; it is a signal that one probably does know something about the situation after all!

    • Francesca è partita per Roma? 
      Has Frances left for Rome? 
    • Non che io sappia con certezza, ma le sue valigie non sono più qui.
      Not that I know for certain, but her suitcases are no longer here.

    Remember how to use sappia, the Italian subjunctive mood of sapere in conversation 
    and I guarantee you will use this verb every day!

     

    Cell phone with the cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers "Just the Grammar" downloaded
    Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just Grammar” and “Just the Verbs” books are now available to download on your cell phone. No APP needed! Purchase the rights today from our website at: http://www.learntravelitalian.com.

    Books available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

    Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! The many uses of the Italian Verb “Prendere”

    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? 

    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. Prendere, the  Italian verb that most commonly means “to take” is one of those verbs that is used in many ways in Italian and is important to “take seriously” 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 prendere, we will be able to communicate just as we do in our native language!

    This post is the 39th 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
    prendere.

    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

    Prendere

    Prendere  most commonly means “to take,” but can also be translated as “to bring,” “to pick up,” “to get,” or “to buy/acquire.”  The past participle preso can also be used to describe liking someone or something a lot. This use stretches the meaning of prendere a bit, but there is a similar expression in English — being “taken with” someone — that also expresses the same idea.  In its reflexive form, prendersi is used to convey how a person can  “catch/come down with” an illness.

    When you are able to visit Italy, use prendere when ordering food in a restaurant to really sound like a native! Prendere is also commonly used by Italians in reference to earning money, taking medicine, or being “overtaken” by an emotional or physical condition. Finally, the Italian expressions for “to tease” and “to sunbathe” use prendere. As you can see, this verb is used in many ways in Italian! 

    The present tense, familiar imperative (command) tense, and future tenses of prendere have a regular conjugation, and are used frequently in daily conversation.

    Prendere is also commonly used in the past tense in order to describe what we “took,” “brought,” “picked up,” “got,” or “caught.” 

    To describe a one-time event that occurred in the past with prendere, we will most often use the helping verb avere (to have) with the irregular past participle preso.

    For conversation, we will focus on the io and tu forms. We can begin a statement with the io form, such as,“Ho preso….” for “I took…” We can ask questions with the tu form by simply stating, “Hai preso…?”

    In the expressions that describe the subject “liking,” or “being taken with” a person or a thing, essere (to be) is used as verb that links the subject with the past participle preso. 

    The  passato prossimo for the reflexive verb prendersi needs the helping verb essere, as do all reflexive Italian verbs.  Remember to leave out the subject pronoun io when you want to say, “Mi sono preso un raffredore ieri.” (I caught a cold yesterday.)

    And, of course, when using essere as the helping verb with prendere, 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 preso to presa, presi, or prese!

    Examples follow below for the many ways to use the Italian verb prendere:

    1. Use prendere to describe the act of  “taking,” “bringing” or “picking up” something

    • In order to direct someone to take something and put it in a different place, use prendere. This includes when the object is on the ground or resting on another object, and you must literally “pick it up” from that place.
    • When directing someone to take something in Italian, it is important to use the command form of prendere, which has the same “i” ending as the tu form in the present tense. (To use the familiar command form, just use the present tense subjunctive mood ending.  The familiar command form will not be used in our examples, but more information can be found at Italian Subjunctive (Part 7): Italian Subjunctive Commands). 
    • Remember that for events in the recent future, Italians use the present tense.  To emphasize that something will happen for sure in the recent future or well into the future, use the future tense.
    • Notice that in the past tense we must use avere as the helping verb with the irregular past participle preso to describe what we “took,” “brought,” or “picked up.”
    “Prendi quella roba che nessuno vuole e mettila lì!”
    “Take that stuff that no one wants and put it there!”
     
    “Prendi il vino a tavola per cena!” (Porta il vino a tavola.)
    “Take/Bring the wine to the table for dinner!”

    “Quando faccio la spesa domani, prendo la tua macchina. Non voglio camminare con troppi bagagli pesanti.
    “When I go grocery shopping tomorrow, I (will take) your car.  I don’t want to walk with so many heavy bags.
     
    Prenderò tante cose da portare alla famiglia quando viaggerò in America tra cinque anni.
    I will take many things to bring to the family when I travel to America in 5 years.
    “Prendi il piatto che tu hai lasciato cadere per terra!
    “Pick up the plate that you let drop on the floor!”
     
    “Prendo tutta la spazzatura nella tua stanza e la butto via domani.”
    ” I will pick up all the garbage in your room and throw it out tomorrow.”

    “Hai preso il vino da portare alla nonna per la cena?”
    “Did you take the wine to bring to grandma for dinner ieri?”
     
    “Si, ho preso una buona bottiglia di vino specialmente per la nonna ieri sera.”
    “Yes, I took/brought a nice bottle of wine especially for grandma last night.”

     

    2. Use prendere to describe “picking up” someone

    • Use prendere with the verb passare when you want to “pass by” and “pick someone up.” As we’ve already seen in our blog about passare, these two verbs are combined to make the important every day expression “passare a prendere,” which means “to pick (someone) up.” The reference now-a-days is usually to driving in a car, but the same expression could be used when taking someone on a walk.
    • In the examples given below, the pronouns ti and mi are given in red to demonstrate that they are attached to the end of prendere.
    “Passerò/Passo a prenderti alle otto.”
    “I will (pass by and) pick you up at 8 AM.” 
     
    Grazie! Passa a prendermi alle otto! Sto aspettando!
    Thanks!  Pick me up at eight.  I (will be) waiting!

    Side note: if you want to ask someone to “pick you up” from a particular place, venire is used with prendere:

    “Può venire alla stazione a prendermi?”
    “Can you (polite) come to the station and get me?”

     

    3. Use prendere when describing what food you would like to order/eat

    “Prendo un piatto di spaghetti per il primo piatto.”
    “I will take (have) a plate of spaghetti for the first course.
     
    “Stammatina prendo un buon caffè prima di andare al lavoro.”
    “This morning I will take (have) a good (cup of) coffee before going to work.”

    “Dai, prendi l’ultima fetta di pane!”
    “Come on, take the last slice of bread!”
     
    “Che cosa vuole prendere per dolce, signore?”
    “What would you like to have (take) for dessert, sir?”

     

    4. Use prendere to describe the act of taking medicine

    “Devo prendere una pillola ogni mattina per l’ipertenzione .”

    “I have to take one pill every morning for hypertension.”

    5. Use prendere to describe buying, acquiring or earning something

    “Ho preso un chilo di mele ieri dal fruttivendolo in piazza.”
    “I bought a kilogram of apples yesterday from the fruit vendor in the piazza.”
     
    Lui ha preso la casa per pochi soldi la settimana scorsa.
    He aqcuired (bought) the house for very little money last week.
    Ho preso cinquanta euro al lavoro iera sera.”
    “I earned 50 euros at work last night.”
     
    Lui non ha preso molti soldi l’anno scorsa a vendere le scarpe.
    He did not earn much money last year selling shoes.

     

    6. Use the past participle preso with these expressions to describe liking something or someone a lot. 

    • The phrase “Sono preso da…” is similar to the phrase “Sono innamorato di…” and conveys the ideas of “I really like/I’m in love with…” 
    • Other Italian expressions that describe the different ways we can like someone are: “Sono cotto di…” ” I have a crush on…” and “Sono colpito da…” “I am impressed with..”
    • Notice that some of these phrases take the conjunction da, while others use the conjunction di.
    • To form the past tense for these phrases, we must add the past participle of essere, which is stato, and change the ending of stato to (a,i,e) as necessary to reflect the gender and number of the subject.
    “Sono preso(a) da questo libro.”
    “I  like this book a lot.”  (I am really taken with this book.)
     
    “Sono preso(a) da te.”
    “I like you a lot!”  (“I am really taken by you!”)

     

    “Sono stato(a) preso da questo libro.”
    “I  liked this book a lot.”  (I was really taken with this book.)
     
    “Sono stato(a) preso da te.”
    “I liked you a lot!”  (“I was really taken by you!”)
    “Io e Anna  siamo presi molto l’uno dall’altra.”
    “Ann and I (we)  like each other very much.”
     
    Anna e Michele non sono presi molto l’uno dall’altra.
    Ann and Michael (they) don’t like each other very much.

    Side note: if you want to describe how someone or something has so enthralled or dazzled you, in effect “blinding you” literally or figuratively (abbiagliarsi) so that you make a mistake, use the expression prendere un abbaglio.

    “Ha preso un abbaglio.
    “I made a mistake.”

     

    7. Use prendersi to describe getting sick, as in “catching a cold,” or “coming down with” an illness

    • Remember the Italian use of reflexive verbs to indicate “to get” in English.  If you would like to review this topic, check out our blog How to Say “To Get” in Italian.
    “Mi sono preso un brutto raffredore improvvisamente.”
    “I caught a bad cold all of a sudden.”
     
    “Mi sono preso l’influenza ieri.”
    “I came down with the flu yesterday.”

     

     

    8. Use prendere to describe “being overtaken” by an emotion or sickness, and prendersela when offended/angered

    “Sono stato preso(a) da un grand tristezza  quando ho incontrato il mio amore perduto.”
    “I was overtaken by a great sadness when I met my lost love again.
     
    Me la sono presa con te ieri sera durante la riunone!
    I was offended by you last night during the meeting!

     

     

    9. Two more common phrases that use prendere 

    Prendere in giro = to make fun of, to tease

    Mio fratello maggiore mi prende sempre in giro.
    My big brother is always teasing me.

    Non mi prendere in giro! (negative command)
    Don’t make fun of me!

    Prendere il sole = to sunbathe

    Oggi prendo il sole sulla spiaggia per tutta la mattina.
    Today I will sunbathe on the beach all morning.

    Remember how to use the Italian verb prendere 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

    Valentine Phrases in Italian for Your Special Someone

    Bouquet of white roses along the bottom and heart shaped pattern of red roses along the top of the bouquet.

    www.learntravelitalian.com
    Kathryn Occhipinti, MD for http://www.learntravelitalian.com  It’s easy… if you know the right Italian phrases!

    It’s easy to say, “I love you!” in a romantic way in Italian.  When you are with your special someone this Valentines Day, just remember two little Italian words: “Ti amo!” But, of course, there is so much more to love and romance than just saying a few special words!

    That’s why I’ve included a special section in my pocket travel book, Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases,” entitled “Making Friends.”

    For Valentine’s Day this year, I’ve reprinted some of the phrases from my “Making Friends” section this blog. In the Conversational Italian for Travelers book, I’ve included some typical Italian phrases to use if you’ve decided to stay awhile in Italy and want to approach someone to get to know them better. Or maybe you know an Italian or Italian-American here in the states, and both of you realize how romantic the Italian language can be! In this slim Italian phrase book are some tongue-in-cheek, humorous phrases, some phrases one might say in return if they are interested… and other phrases one might say in return if they are not! We will stick to the positive phrases for this blog for Valentines Day.

    Also, I am including in this blog a few new phrases I have just learned from the You Tube Italian personality Anna on the channel Your Italian Circle.  Her video, “How to talk about LOVE in Italian – AMORE in ITALIANO” mentions how to use the verb of romantic love, amore, and the other important phrase for one’s love of family and friends, “Ti voglio bene.”  I’ve covered these topics last year in my blog: “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day — How to say, ‘I love you!’ in Italian.”  Click on the link to my if you like, and then listen to Anna’s clear Italian to practice saying these phrases yourself at the end of this blog.

    After reading this blog, please reply and mention your favorite romantic Italian phrase. 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.

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

    “Making Friends” in Italian*

    So, now you are in Italy, and have decided to stay for awhile.  You may meet someone you want to get to know better.  What to say to them to “break the ice”?  Or, maybe you are just trying to enjoy a coffee, and someone introduces themselves.  What to say if you are interested?  Here are some well-known pick-up lines translated into Italian (some just for fun and others more serious), and some replies – if you are interested – or not!

    Let’s get to know one another:

    Scusa… Excuse me… (familiar)
    Credo che ci siamo già visiti prima? Haven’t we seen (already met) each other before?
    …da qualche parte? …around here?
    Penso di conoscerti già. I think that I’ve met you before.
    Hai degli occhi molto belli! You have beautiful eyes.
    Tu hai il viso della Madonna. You have a beautiful face.
    (lit. the face of Mother Mary)
    Che cosa fai… What are you doing…
    …per il resto della tua vita? …for the rest of your life?

     

    Or, a little less flowery:

    È libero questo posto? Is this seat free?
    Ti dispiace se mi siedo qui? Would you mind if I sit here?
    Posso sedermi con te? May I sit with you?
    Ti piace questo posto? Do you like this place?
    Ti stai divertendo? Are you enjoying yourself?
    Con chi sei? Who are you with?
    Sono da sola(o). I am alone. (female/male)
    Sono con un’amica/un amico. I am with a friend. (female friend/male friend)
    Sto aspettando qualcuno. I am waiting for someone.
    Sei sposata(o)? Are you married? (to female/male)
    Sei single?** Are you single?
    Sei divorziata(o)? Are you divorced? (to female/male)
    Cosa prendi? What are you having?
    Posso offrirti qualcosa da bere? May I offer (to) you something to drink?
    Vuoi qualcosa da bere? Do you want something to drink?
    Vuoi qualcosa da mangiare? Do you want something to eat?
    Vuoi fare una passeggiata? Do you want to go for a walk?

    **Although the English word single is commonly used in Italian conversation, the Italian words for single are nubile for a woman and celibe for a man, and these words are used on official Italian forms.

     


     

    Let’s get together…  (This is a good time to memorize those Italian prepositions!)

    Perché non ci vediamo?     Let’s get together.
                                                       (lit. Why don’t we get together/see each other?)
    Posso avere il tuo…                          May I have your….
                numero di telefono?                           telephone number?
                indirizzo email?***                             email address?
    Hai tempo domani?                          Do you have time tomorrow?
    Posso rivederti domani?                 May I see you again tomorrow?
    Sei libera(o) domani,          Are you free (to female/male) tomorrow,
                domani sera,                                        tomorrow night,
                la settimana prossima?                    next week?
    Vuoi andare al ristorante Do you want to go to a restaurant?
                al bar?                                                   a (coffee) bar?
                al caffé?                                                a cafe?
                in pizzeria?                                         a pizzeria?
    Posso invitarla/ti a cena?     May I invite you (pol.)/(fam.) to dinner?
    Ti piacerebbe/Vuoi…              Would you like to/Do you want to…
               andare in piazza?                                 go to the piazza?
               andare al cinema?                                go to the movies?
               andare al concerto?                             go to the concert?
               andare allo spettacolo  ?                    go to the show (performance)?
               andare a ballare?                                  go dancing?

    ***To  learn say your email address in Italian, visit our blog Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day — Let’s talk about email in Italian. 


     

    According to Anna from the You Tube Channel Your Italian Circle, a familiar way an Italian might ask someone out is with the phrase “Ti va.”  The use of this expression probably derives from the familiar slang phrase, “Come va?” “How’s it going?” and the answer, “Va bene,” for “It’s going well.” The extension of these simple Italian phrases of  greeting into other facets of  life is a good example of how language is always changing and evolving into something new!

    So, to ask someone you know if you can get them something, just use:

    Ti va + noun (thing) = Do you want…

    Expanding on one of our examples above:

    Ti va qualcosa da bere? Do you want something to drink?
    Ti va un appertivo? Do you want a cocktail?
    Ti va un caffè? Do you want a coffee?

     

    To ask someone if they want to do something, just use:

    Ti va + di + verb (action) = Do you want to…

    Expanding on one of our examples above:

    Vuoi andare al ristorante? Do you want to go to a restaurant?
    Ti va di andare al ristorante? Do you want to go to the restaurant?
    Ti va di andare al cinema? Do you want to go to the movies?

     


     

    And if the answer to any of the questions above is… yes! 

    Penso di si. I think so.
    Si, sono libera(o)…. Yes, I am free (female/male).
    È stato molto gentile a invitarmi. It was very nice (of you polite) to invite me.
    È molto gentile. That is very nice (of you polite).
    Che bell’idea! What a wonderful idea!
    Che bello! How nice!
    Mi piacerebbe molto. I would like (it) very much.
    Volentieri! I’d love to! (lit. certainly, gladly)

    If you want to hear many of these phrases in action, just click on Anna’s video “How to talk about LOVE in Italian – AMORE in ITALIANO” from Your Italian Circle.

    Buon divertimento e Buon San Valentino! 

     


     

    *Some of this material has been reprinted from our Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases pocket travel book. Learn more phrases by purchasing your own handy book of phrases today!

     Available on amazon.com or Learn Travel Italian.com

     

    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.

     Purchase at amazon.com or Learn Travel Italian.com

     

    Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – Italian Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs

    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 2019? Well, now more than half the year has passed, and I’m sure you have made a few Italian friends and would like to talk about your relationships with “each other.”

    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 say “each other” in Italian, a “commonly used phrase” in English that is expressed with  Italian reciprocal reflexive verbs, we will be able to talk about common feelings and experiences — just as we do in our native language!

    With a little Italian reciprocal reflexive verb  practice, soon we will be able to say “each other” in Italian in order to fully interact with our friends and describe what is happening around us.

    This post is the 25th 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”
    that describe our interactions with “each other”
    use

      Italian reciprocal reflexive verbs

    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.

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

    How to Say “Each Other”

    Italian Reciprocal Reflexive Verbs

     

    Reciprocal reflexive verbs are used in the special situation when two or more people perform the same action together; this will make all people involved the subject of the action.

    To express this type of situation in English we simply add the phrase “each other” after the verb that describes the action. Italians employ the -si ending, as with regular reflexive verbs that describe actions that revert back to the speaker.

    Listed below are verbs that commonly use the reciprocal reflexive form:

    abbracciarsi to hug each other
    aiutarsi to help each other
    amarsi to love each other
    baciarsi to kiss each other
    chiamarsi to call each other
    conoscersi to get to know each other
    fidanzarsi to become engaged
    guardarsi to look at each other
    incontrarsi to meet each other
    (planned meeting)
    odiarsi to hate each other
    parlarsi to speak to each other
    salutarsi to greet each other
    scriversi to write each other
    sposarsi to marry each other
    telefonarsi to call each other
    trovarsi to meet each other
    vedersi to see each other

    A quick glance at this list reveals two things: (1) many of these reflexive verbs have non-reflexive forms with similar meanings, such as amare (to love), parlare (to talk), scrivere (to write), and vedere (to see); (2) many of these reflexive verbs are also used as simple reflexive verbs, such as fidanzarsi (to get married), and sposarsi (to get married).

    The verb chiamare and its reflexive form chiamarsi are also interesting. Chiamare alone means “to call,” as in to yell over to someone (or to make a telephone call, now that technology allows us to do this) but chiamarsi in its simple reflexive form has a different meaning: “to call oneself a name.” Of course, every Italian student quickly learns the first conjugation of the verb chiamarsi as part of their initiation into the Italian language with the phrase,Mi chiamo…” for the English phrase “My name is…”  So chiamarsi does  “double duty” as a simple and a reciprocal reflexive verb, with different meanings depending on the context.

    In short, reflexive verbs add shades of meaning to the Italian language in a simple, yet brilliant way.

     

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

    How do we actually use Italian reciprocal reflexive verbs in conversation?

    Let’s give this a try with the two most commonly used persons in spoken Italian, the first person plural noi and the third person plural loro forms.

    If the speaker is involved in the action with someone else—we are doing the action—conjugate the verb in the sentence using the first person plural noi form and put its reflexive pronoun ci before the  conjugated verb.

    If the speaker is talking about a group of other people—they are doing the action—conjugate the verb in the sentence using the third person plural loro form and put its reflexive pronoun si before the conjugated verb.

    As we have learned in our previous blogs, the subject pronouns are almost always omitted  when conversing in Italian, and this “rule” applies to sentences that use reciprocal reflexive verbs.  But the subject pronouns have been included in parentheses in our Italian examples in the table below, just to make it immediately clear who is the subject. With time, we should not need this hint, at least for the noi form, with its easily recognizable -iamo verb ending, which is the same for all verbs in the present tense!

    Also, notice that in Italian the immediate future is expressed by the present tense, while in English, we tend to use the future tense for every future activity.  It is easy in English to speak in the future tense, since all we have to do is place the word “will” in front of the verb. Since the word “will” is not actually included in the Italian sentences given as examples, and we are not conjugating in the Italian future tense, the word “will” is given in parentheses in our English translations in the table below.

     

    If we try to think a little bit in Italian, and translate the Italian ideas into the English we would ordinarily use, we will find that it is really not that difficult to understand Italian reciprocal reflexive verbs!

     

    Io e Francesca ci vogliamo bene. Frances and I care for each other very much.
       
    (Noi) Ci sposiamo oggi. We (will) marry each other today.
    (Noi) Ci scriviamo ogni giorno. We write each other every day.
    (Noi) Ci vediamo al teatro. We (will) see each other at the theater.
    (Noi) Ci vogliamo bene. We love each other very much.

     

    Caterina e zia Rosa si salutano. Kathy and Aunt Rose greet each other.
    Michele e Francesca si vogliono bene. Michael and Frances care for each other very much.
       
    (Loro) Si vogliono bene. They care for each other very much.
    (Loro) Si incontrano. They meet each other.
    (Loro) Si chiamano ogni giorno. They call (telephone) each other every day.

     

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

    Let’s try this in the past tense. Remember, of course, that all reflexive verbs take essere in the passato prossimo past tense, and that the past participle ending must change in gender and number when using essere as a helping verb.

     

    Io e Francesca ci siamo voluti bene. Frances and I cared for each other very much.
       
    (Noi) Ci siamo sposati oggi. We married each other today.
    (Noi) Ci siamo scritti ogni giorno. We wrote each other every day.
    (Noi) Ci siamo visti al teatro. We saw each other at the theater.
    (Noi) Ci siamo voluti bene. We loved each other very much.

     

    Caterina e zia Rosa si sono salutate. Kathy and Aunt Rose greeted each other.
    Michele e Francesca si sono voluti bene. Michael and Frances cared for each other very much.
    (Loro) Si sono voluti bene. They cared for each other very much.
    (Loro) Si sono incontrati. They met each other.
    (Loro) Si sono chiamati ogni giorno. They  called each other (on the telephone) every day.

     

    There are, of course, many more occasions for the use of reciprocal reflexive verbs than those I have just listed.  How many more an you think of?

     

    Remember how to the Italian reciprocal reflexive verbs and I guarantee you will use then every day!

    Conversational Italian for Travelers: “Just the Verbs”

       Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

     

    Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – How We Dress 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 2019? Well, now more than half the year has passed, and I’m sure you are trying to talk about your every day activities with family and friends!  One of the most common topics of conversation in any language is about clothes and how we dress.

    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 speak Italian, we will be able to tell others how we dress and make “small talk” about how well others are dressed — part of “fare la bella figura” (looking fabulous) in Italian — just as we do in our native language!

    In Italian we need to learn how to use three important verbs and we are all set to talk about what we are wearing—vestirsi, mettersi, and indossare. 

    This post is the 24th 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” that describe what we are doing

    are about
      “Putting on clothing…” or  “What we are wearing…”

     If I want to describe what we are wearing in Italian,

    we must learn how to use the Italian verbs
    Vestirsi, Mettersi, and Indossare

    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.

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


    What We Are Wearing in Italian


    Vestirsi, Mettersi, Portare and Indossare

    In Italian we need to learn how to use three important verbs and we are all set to talk about what we are wearing—vestirsi, mettersi, and indossare.  If we learn how to use these verbs properly, we will be able to tell others how we dress and make “small talk” about how well others are dressed — part of “fare la bella figura” ( looking good or making a good impression) in Italian — just as we do in our native language!

    Vestirsi

    Let’s start with the Italian verb “vestirsi,” which carries the general meaning of “to get dressed.” To use this verb, just conjugate it as you would any other reflexive verb to make a simple sentence.

    We need to remember that for reflexive verbs, the subject pronoun of the sentence, (io, tu, Lei/lei/lui, noi, voi, loro), must be in the same person as the reflexive pronouns (mi, ti, si, ci, vi, si).

    This sounds simple enough.  But, we also have to remember that the sentence structure in conversational Italian does not generally include the subject pronoun; the subject pronoun is understood from the verb ending, which will be unique for each speaker in the present tense.  So, for conversational Italian—even for reflexive verbs— the subject pronoun is left out of the sentence.  In our example table using reflexive verbs, the Italian subject pronoun will be given in parentheses for teaching purposes only.

    In English, we do not convey this idea with a reflexive pronoun.  So the reflexive pronoun included in the Italian sentence will be given in parentheses in the English translation.

     

    (Io) Mi vesto. I get (myself) dressed.
    (Tu) Ti vesti. You get (yourself) dressed.
    (Lei/Lui) Si veste. You (polite) get (yourself)…
    She/He gets (herself, himself)… dressed.

     

    (Noi) Ci vestiamo. We get (ourselves) dressed.
    (Voi) Vi vestite. You all get (yourselves) dressed.
    (Loro) Si vestono. They get (themselves) dressed.

     

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

    Mettersi 

    When talking about putting on a particular article of clothing, such as a dress or suit (vestito)* for instance,  we must learn to use yet another Italian reflexive verb— mettersi, which means to put on oneself. 

    Here is how it works:

    Mettersi can be used to convey three different types of English sentences: I put on the dress,” “I put on my dress,” and “I put my dress on.” The reflexive pronoun mi (myself) is placed before the conjugated form of mettersi, as usual, and the article of clothing to be put on is then placed after the verb. The subject pronoun is omitted, as usual. So the final translation for “I put on the/my dress” is, “Mi metto il vestito.” 

    If this all sounds complicated, just remember the simple phrase “mi metto” and replace il vestito with the article of clothing of your choice and you will be able to describe getting dressed with any article of clothing!

    To describe action in the tu (you) form, just conjugate mettersi normally and then add the article of clothing, as in “ti metti.” For the lei/lui (she/he) form, use “si mette,” and so on.

    (Io) Mi metto il vestito. I put on the dress./I put the dress on./I put on my dress.
    (Tu) Ti metti l’anello. You put on the ring.
    (Lei/lui) Si mette le scarpe. She/he puts on shoes.

    *A note: Don’t confuse the verb vestire with the noun vestito, which means dress and also suit (pants and jacket or skirt and jacket).  These words are similar but have different meanings!  Also,  it should be mentioned that the plural noun, vestiti, means clothing.(Other words for suit that can be used for both sexes are abito and completo.)

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

    Portare

    In order to say I am wearing…”  or I take the size…”  the verb portare, which is not reflexive, is usually used in the  simple present tense. You no doubt remember that portare is also commonly used to mean to bring”  or to carry.” 

    Porto il mio vestito preferito. I am wearing my favorite dress.
    Porto la (taglia) quarantotto. I take size 48.

     

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

    Past Tense Verb Choices

    When speaking in the past tense, portare can also be used to say, I wore…” But perhaps because portare is used so commonly with its other meaning of to bring”  in the present tense, in order to describe what they have worn in the past, most Italians prefer to revert to mettersi and use its (irregular) past participle messo

    Remember to use the helping verb essere for the passato prossimo past tense form with the reflexive verb mettersi.  And, of course the last vowel of the past participle must agree in gender with the person wearing the clothing (see the red vowels), since we are using essere as the helping verb. The table below shows how this all works:

    (Io) Mi sono messo un completo.
    (Io) Mi sono messa una gonna.
    I wore a suit. (masculine)
    I wore a skirt. (feminine)
    Ho portato una gonna. I wore a skirt.

     

     

    Another way to describe how someone was dressed is to use the imperfetto past tense of essere  with the descriptive past participle vestito(a,i,e).   This type of phrase can be used to make generalizations, as well as to refer to a specific article of clothing.  When being specific, the preposition con (with) is used in these phrases, as in the examples below.

    Era vestito con un abito grigio. He was dressed in a gray suit.
    Era vestita con una gonna blu. She was dressed in a blue skirt.
    Eravamo vestiti tutti in rosso per la festa. We were dressed all in red for the party.

     

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

    Indossare

    The verb indossare also means “to wear” and “to put on.”  This verb is used in exactly the same way as portare or mettersi.  To the Italian ear, however, the verb indossare is said to have a more elegant sound than portare or mettersi, and perhaps this is why indossare is more common in written Italian than in conversation.

    Just like the other two verbs that have the same meaning, indossare must always be followed by the article of clothing that the person is wearing.

    Caterina indossa un abito rosso. Kathryn is wearing a red dress.
    La signora indossava un cappotto molto elegante. The lady was wearing a very elegant coat.

     

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

    Finally, when something fits perfectly on you or another, to really fit into Italian society, use the common expression calzare a pennello.”  Calzature refers to the art of making shoes, or “footwear,” so this Italian saying is the equivalent of  the English saying, It fits you like a glove” or It fits you to a T.”

     

    Mi calza a pennello! It fits me perfectly!
    Ti calza a pennello! It fits you perfectly!
    Gli/Le calza a pennello! It fits (on) him/her perfectly!

     

    Remember how to the Italian verbs vestirsi, mettersi, portare and indossare when talking about clothing and I guarantee you will use the every day!

    Conversational Italian for Travelers: “Just the Verbs”

       Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

     

    Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – How to Say “Get” 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 2019? Well, now half the year has passed and  I know you will have to get ready for even more complex Italian in the future!

    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 speak Italian, we will be able to form descriptive sentences about what we have to get done, or what we have got to do during the course of a regular day — just as we do in our native language!

    The concept of  little verb “get” is rendered differently in Italian than in English, and this is a bit tricky to get used to at first.  Instead of inserting a verb that is the equivalent of “get” into a sentence, Italians instead use the precise verb that describes exactly what it is they must “get” to do. The chosen Italian verb is often in the reflexive form, as we often refer to ourselves when we use the verb “get.”  So, we must “get ourselves ready” for this concept by remembering our Italian reflexive verbs!

    Luckily, Italian reflexive verb conjugation is not difficult and once the concept is mastered that Italian renders the concept of “get” with a reflexive verb when we describe our own actions, telling others  that we “get” this idea should come easily!

    This post is the 23rd 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” that describe what we are doing

    during the course of an ordinary day

    use the words
      “Get…” or  “Got…”

     If I want to describe our day in Italian we must learn to use
    Reflexive Verbs.

    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.

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

    How to Say “Get” in Italian

    with

    Italian Reflexive Verbs

    At first glance, it seems easy to say “to get” in Italian.  The verb prendere translates as “to get.”  But, the verb prendere actually has the specific meaning of “to procure something.” 

    In English conversation, which is typically less formal than written English,  the verb to get is used in many more ways and conveys many more meanings than the verb prendere does in Italian.  We English speakers rely on our basic understanding of what is going on in any given conversation to come up with the meaning of the verb to get. Instead, in both written and conversational Italian, the use of the verb to get is more specific than it is in English.

    Many Italian verbs are used to translate the different meanings behind the English verb to get. Here are a few Italian verbs lifted from the Italian — English dictionary Word Reference (www.wordreference.com) as examples: ricevere (to receive/get something), portare (bring/get something), arrivare (arrive/get somewhere), capire and comprendere (understand something).

    Just to make things a little more complicated… in an ordinary conversation, we all often  describe what we have “got” to do.  And, when we refer to activities of daily living in Italian, this means that the verb refers back to ourselves.  And therefore… the Italian verb that we use must be reflexive.

    I’ll try to get you  to see how this works by first listing some common Italian reflexive verbs that translate as “to get” in Italian.  Take a look at the table below:

    alzarsi to get up
    annoiarsi to get bored
    arrabbiarsi to get angry
    bagnarsi to get wet
    to take a bath
    laurearsi to get a university degree
    to graduate
    mettersi
    mettersi qualcuno nei guai
    to put on clothing
    to get (oneself) in trouble
    preoccuparsi to get worried
    to worry
    prepararsi (per) to get ready (for)
    riprendersi to get better
     to recover
    spogliarsi to get undressed
    sposarsi to get married
    vestirsi
    svestirsi
    to get dressed
    to get undressed

     

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

    Below are some example sentences taken from what we all do in a normal day, many of which use the reflexive verbs from the previous table. The Italian subject pronoun “io,” meaning “I” is included in the Italian examples, although io is almost always omitted with reflexive verbs (as in most general conversation). Parentheses have been used in the Italian sentences as a reminder of this fact.

    In the same way, parentheses are used in the English translation to indicate Italian reflexive pronouns that are not necessary in English. But, hopefully it will be useful to learn to think in Italian before translating into correct English.

    Also remember that the simple present tense in Italian can have several different meanings in English.  The simple phrase“Io vado,” for instance, can be translated as: “I go,” “I am going” or “I do go.”

    Now, I think we understand enough about how Italian works that we are ready to get going with our examples!

     

    Getting up in the morning:

    (Io) Mi sveglio. I wake up. (lit. I wake myself up.)
    (Io) Mi alzo. I get up. (lit. I get myself up.)
    (Io) Mi alzo presto. I get (myself) up early.
    (Io) Mi alzo alle sei. I get (myself) up at 6 AM.
    (Io) Mi alzo tardi domani. I am going to get (myself) up
    late tomorrow.

     

    Getting ready to go out for the day:

    (Io) Mi faccio il bagno.
    (Io) Mi faccio una doccia.
    I take a bath. (lit. I make myself the bath.)
    I take a shower. (lit. I make myself a shower)
    (Io) Mi lavo. I wash myself.
    (Io) Mi asciugo. I dry myself off.
    (Io) Mi pettino. I comb (myself) my hair.
    (Io) Mi preparo per il lavoro. I get (myself) ready for (the) work.
    (Io) Mi vesto. I get (myself) dressed.
    (Io) Mi metto i vestiti. I put on (myself) the clothes.
    (Io) Mi trucco. I put on (myself) makeup.
    (Io) Mi metto la giacca e le scarpe. I put on (myself) the jacket and the shoes.
    (Io) Mi sento molto bene! I feel very well!
    Vado al lavoro./ Vado a lavorare. I go to work.

     

    At the end of the day:   

    Torno a casa. I return home.
    (Io) Mi tolgo la giacca. I take off (myself) the jacket.
    Preparo la cena per la famiglia. I make the dinner for the family.
    Alle nove (io) mi svesto. At nine I get (myself) undressed.
    (Io) Mi tolgo le scarpe. I take off (myself) my shoes.
    (Io) Mi metto il pigiama e le ciabatte. I put on (myself) (the) pajamas and slippers.
    (Io) Mi rilasso. I relax (myself).
    (Io) Mi riposo. I rest (myself).
    (Io) Mi addormento. I fall (myself) asleep.

     

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

    Three more important examples are listed below.  The first example is interesting because one might be tempted to translate the phrase — incorrectly of course — “I have decided to marry myself!” But, now that we know that an important function of Italian reflexive verbs is to render the idea “to get,” the sentence structure in Italian for “Ho deciso di sposarmi,” makes perfect sense.  Notice that the reflexive pronoun mi is attached to the end of the infinitive verb sposarsi.

    The second examples are about “getting in trouble.”  These are phrases that are good to know but hopefully they will not have to be used on a daily basis!

    Ho deciso di sposarmi. I have decided to get married.
       
    Non metterti nei guai! Don’t get (put) yourself in trouble!
    Mi sono messo nei guai. I got (put) myself in trouble.

     

    Remember how to use Italian reflexive verbs when talking about things you have ” to get”  and I guarantee you will use the every day!

     

    Conversational Italian for Travelers: “Just the Verbs”

       Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

    Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! You Make Me… “Fare Causativo”

    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 2019? Well, now almost half the year has passed and  I hope my blogs have made you reach your goal so far this year!

    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 speak Italian, we will be able to form descriptive sentences about what other people make us do  or how other people make us feel – just as we do in our native language!

    Check out some popular American songs to see how often this concept comes up in language.  Catchy tunes like, “You Make Me Feel Brand New,”  sung by the Stylistics, or “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Women,” sung by Aretha Franklin are two examples that come to mind, although there are many more.  Read below and you will see what I mean.

    This post is the 22nd 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” start with the words
      “You make me…” or  “I make you…”

     If I want to use the English causative verb “make,”
    in Italian I must use
    the
     Fare Causativo

    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.

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

    Expressing the  English  Causative Verb

    “Make”
    with the Italian “Fare Causativo”

    The verb “make” is called a “causative verb,” and is one of the three true causative verbs in English, which are: let, have, and make.

    English speakers use the verb “make” to describe how someone has made them do  something or how someone has made them feel.  In other words, in this type of situation, the subject of the sentence is the instigator that will make the stated action take place for someone else.

    I’ll try to make you see how this works using some example sentences in English conversation before we move on to Italian.  In English, we can say, “You are making me cry!” or “He makes me feel so special!”  In a less dramatic situation, we can form a question such as, “Are you making me go to school today?” or a statement such as, “She makes me go to school.”

    In each case, the subject of the sentence is the instigator of the action that takes place, and therefore the verb “make” must be conjugated to match this person or persons.*

    The sentence structure in English is simple:

     Make (conjugated) + Direct Object + Infinitive Verb
    (+ optional adverb or indirect object)

    The Italian verb fare means “to do” or “to make,” and is the Italian causative verb to use in this situation,  also known as the “fare causativo.” The sentence structure in Italian is the same as for English, except that for Italian (as usual) the direct object should be placed before the conjugated form of the verb fare. 

    Direct Object + Fare (conjugated) + Infinitive Verb
    (+ optional adverb or indirect object)

    This is easy enough in English when we break down the example sentences:

    You are making + me + cry.

    He makes + me + feel (+ so special)!

    She makes + me + go (+ to school).

    A few pointers about Italian, and then we will try our example sentences.

    First, let’s take a look at how subject pronoun use differs in Italian and English.  Remember that the subject pronoun (I, you, he/she, we, you all, they)  is usually left out of the sentence in Italian.  The verb ending in Italian will signal who the subject is.

    So, to say, “You make…” instead of, “Tu fai…” say simply, “Fai…”  

    For the Italian third person singular, a simple,“Fa…” may be fine for “He makes…” and “She makes…” since the individuals involved in the conversation usually know who is being referred to. But, if a speaker wants to clarify or to emphasize exactly who is the subject under discussion, the Italian subject pronoun can be used, and the phrase becomes “Lui fa…” or “Lei fa…”  

    Second, it is OK to just use the simple Italian present tense to render the same meaning as the English present progressive tense (the “-ing” tense). Some phrases just sound better to the English speaker in the present progressive tense, and we tend to use this tense a lot.  But in Italian, the present progressive tense is used more sparingly, mostly to emphasize that something is happening exactly at the moment of conversation. So instead of the usual English phrase, “You are making…” an equivalent Italian phrase will usually be, “You make…” Just remember that the simple present tense in Italian can have several different meanings in English, such as: “You make…”  You are making…”  and “You do make…”

    Finally, the direct object pronouns mi, ti, lo, la, ci, vi, li, le will go before the Italian verb, as usual.

    Now, let’s to render our example sentences in Italian:

    You are making + me + cry.
    (Tu)  Mifai + piangere.

    He makes + me + feel (+ so special).
    (Lui)  Mifa + sentire (+ così speciale).

    She makes + me + go (+ to school).
    (Lei)  Mi + fa + andare (+ a scuola)

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

    We can keep on going with our first example sentence using the fare causativo if we want to, and use all of the conjugations of fare, depending on who is making us do what!

    Let’s see how this works in the table below, with our conjugated verb fare in green and our direct object in red.  If a subject pronoun is used, it is also in green to match the conjugation of fare. Really, once you remember this “Italian formula” it is easy to describe who is making you do something!

          Mi fai piangere. You make me cry.
    You are making me cry.
    Lui mi fa piangere. He makes me cry.
    He is making me cry.
    Lei mi fa piangere. She makes me cry.
    She is making me cry.
          Mi fate piangere. You all make me cry.
    You all are making me cry.
          Mi fanno piangere. They make me cry.
    They are making me cry.

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

    Should we try to use the fare causativo in the past tense?  Why not?  It’s easy!  And our formula works for any Italian tense, by the way!

    Check out the table below. Remember the different uses  for the passato prossimo and imperfetto past tenses! For a refresher, check out Chapters 10-14  in our Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs” book! 

           Mi hai fatto piangere ieri.
           Mi facevi piangere.
    You made me cry yesterday.
    You used to make me cry.
    Lui mi ha fatto piangere ieri.
    Lui mi faceva piangere.
    He made me cry yesterday.
    He used to make me cry.
    Lei mi ha fatto piangere ieri.
    Lei mi faceva piangere
    She made me cry yesterday.
    She used to make me cry.
          Mi  avete fatto piangere ieri.
          Mi  facevate piangere.
    You all made me cry yesterday.
    You used to make me cry.
          Mi  hanno fatto piangere ieri.
          Mi  facevano piangere.
    They made me cry yesterday.
    They used to make me cry.

    One more important past tense sentence to remember is:

    Mi ha fatto piacere vederti                             It’s made me very happy to see you!

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

    Now let’s try  to describe what we are making someone else do for us using the fare causativo.  Changing our formula to do this is simple! Now “I” will be the instigator of the action, so we must keep the verb fare in the io form, which is faccio, and change the direct object pronoun to describe who we are making do something!

     

          Ti  faccio piangere. I make you cry.
    I am making you cry.
           La faccio piangere. I make her cry.
    I am making her cry.
          Vi   faccio piangere. I make you all cry.
    I am making you all cry.
          Le   faccio piangere. I make them cry. (all female group)
    I am making them cry.

    *In English, we conjugate present tense verbs so infrequently that we may not even realize what we are doing! The only ending that changes for a regular present tense verb in English is the third person singular. And in the case of “to make” the only change is to add an “s” at the end of the verb.  That is why we English speakers rely so much on our subject pronouns.  Here are the conjugations for the verb “to make” in English, so you will see what I mean:

    I make,  You make, She/He makes, We make, You all make, They make.

    I, You, She, He, We, You all, They… are making.

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

    Remember how to use the Fare Causativo and I guarantee you will use this formula every day!

     

    Conversational Italian for Travelers: “Just the Verbs”

       Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

    Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! “Let me…” and “Let’s!” Lasciare and Fare

    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 2019? Well, it is now April and  I hope my blogs have helped to let you reach your goal so far this year!

    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 speak Italian, we will be able to use the causative verb “let” just as we do in our native language! Read below and you will see what I mean.

    This post is the 21st 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” start with the phrase
     “Let me…” or “Let’s…”

     If we want someone to let us do something in Italian we must use the verbs Lasciare or Fare

    And if we want to encourage someone else to do something, we must use
    a verb in the noi command form 

    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.

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

    Expressing the  English  Causative Verb

    “Let”

    in Italian Conversation 

    The verb “let” is called a “causative verb,” and is one of the three true causative verbs in English, which are: let, have, and make.

    English speakers use the verb “let” to direct someone to do something.  In other words, with the verb “let,” the subject of the sentence is relying on or needs someone else to “cause” the action that will take place.

    Let’s try some example sentences in English conversation to help us understand this concept before we move on to Italian.  In English, we might say, “Let/Leave me alone!” or “Let me think!”  In a less dramatic situation, we can form a question such as, “Will you let me use the car today?”  or a statement such as, “She let her son drive the car today.”  In each case, the subject is not actually completing the action – someone else is.

    The sentence structure in English is simple:

    Let + object + verb (+ optional descriptive phrase)

    At first glance, it may seem like the Italian verb lasciare would provide a good substitute for the English causative verb let.  And, in many common Italian phrases, lasciare is indeed used as a substitute for “let” to express the ideas of: to permit, to allow, to let go, or to leave. 

    Listed below are some common Italian expressions that take lasciare.   You will  notice that when lasciare is used in a causative situation,  the ending is often in the informal command form. The object pronouns (lo = him, la = her) will therefore be attached to the end of the conjugated verb and are shown in red in the table for clarity.  And remember, to command someone not to do something, use the Italian verb in its infinitive form! 

     

    Lascialo venire a casa mia oggi! Let him come to my house today!
    Non lasciare che la passi liscia! Don’t let him get away with it! (colloquial)
    Lascia perdere!

    Lascia stare!
    Let it go!  Don’t think about it anymore!
    Forget about it!

    It was nothing! Don’t mention it!
    Forget about it!
    Lascialo stare! / Lasciala stare! Let him be! / Let her be!
    Leave him alone!  / Leave her alone!
    Non lasciare andare i tuoi sogni! Don’t let go of your dreams!
    Lascia andare tua sorella al cinema!
    Mi ha lasciato andare.
    Let your sister go to the movies!
    He let me go.
    Lasciami andare!
    Lascia
    mi solo(a)! / Lasciami!
    Let me go!
    Leave me alone! / Leave me!

     

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

    As a side note, the verbs lasciare (to leave) and  lasciarsi (to leave each other) come into play when we describe a romantic break up between a couple.

    L’ha lasciato e ora quella storia (d’amore) è finita. 
    She left him and now that (love) story is over.

    Below is an example sentence two people might use talk about a couple that has “broken up” or two people who have “left each other” in the Italian way of thinking.

    Loro si sono lasciati. They have broken up.

    If you are one of the two people in the relationship and want to talk about “breaking up”:

    Ci lasciamo stasera. We (will) break up/are breaking up tonight.
    Non ci lasciamo, ma… We are not breaking up but..
    Ci sono lasciati il mese scorso. We broke up last month.

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

    Getting back to our original topic…

    How else can we express the causative verb “let” in Italian?  As it turns out, there are many other ways!  But to finish this blog, we will focus two of the most common ways …

    Command Form Fammi for “Let Me…”

    The familiar command form of fare, which is the verb fa, can be combined with the direct object pronoun mi (me) in order to create the English phrase that means, “Let me…” 

    When attaching a direct object to the familiar command verb fa, the first letter of the direct object is doubled. This holds true for mi, ti, lo, la, ci, and vi.  So, in order to say, “Let me…” the word to use is “Fammi…”

    Perhaps the most commonly heard phrase of this type is Fammi pensare…” for “Let me think…” when someone wants to create a pause in the conversation rather than responding right away. You may remember that this phrase has come up in already in our previous blogs about pensare.  A few more common phrases that use this sentence structure are listed below.  Listen carefully to Italian movies or read Italian books and I am sure you will come up with many other situations to use “Fammi…”

    Fammi pensare… Let me think…
    Fammi vedere… Let me see… / Let me have a look…
    Fammi sapere! Let me know!
    Fammi  fare questa cosa!
    Fammelo fare!*
    Let me make/do this (thing)!
    Let me make/do it!

    *Note that when combining fammi + lo, the letter i in fammi must change to an e, since we are combining pronouns: mi +lo = me lo.

     

    Command Form Noi  for “Let’s”

    Now, let’s finish by learning how to say “let’s” or “let us” in Italian.  As it turns out, the easy-to-remember command form for the noi conjugation of Italian verbs is used to express the meaning of “let’s.” The -iamo ending of the command form is identical to the present tense ending, and is an easy ending that even the beginning student of Italian should know!

    One of the most commonly heard verbs in Italian-American families is “Andiamo!” for “Let’s go!”  Therefore, when we encourage our family or friends to go somewhere in Italian, we are simply using the command form of the present tense!

    So to encourage a group of people to do something simply say,  “Facciamolo!” or “Facciamola!” for “Let’s do it!”   

    Or, maybe you would like a group to quiet down and listen to a song on the radio or a show on TV.  You might say, “Ascoltiamo!” for  “Let’s listen!” 

    Or, maybe you are not sure something will really happen and you want to say, “Vediamo! for “Let’s see!”

    How many more situations can you think of to use the noi command form?

    Remember the many ways to say “Let me” and “Let’s” with Lasciare and Fare and I guarantee you will use these phrases  every day!

     

     

    Conversational Italian for Travelers: “Just the Verbs”

       Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com