Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! What I Said…

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

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

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

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

This post will be the first in a series that will originate in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. After our group has had a chance to use these phrases, I will post them on this blog for everyone to try.

Our very first “commonly used phrases,” that will help us talk more easily will focus  on, “What I said…”
leading into “I said to you, to her, to him… etc. See below for how this works.

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

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

This material and more on this topic are available in the Conversational Italian for Travelers pocket phrase book, “Just the Important Phrases,”   on and Learn Travel

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


What I Said…

in Italian

The past tense for “I said,” a one-time event, uses the passato prossimo past tense form, which is “ho detto.” This Italian past tense verb also translates into the less commonly used English form “I have said.” * 

Because the phrase “I said” is frequently used in everyday conversation, we should commit the Italian verb “ho detto” to memory. We can then “build” on this simple, easy-to-remember verb to help us remember other more complex phrases. Memorize one phrase and the others should be easy to remember as well. Soon all of these phrases will just roll off your tongue! See the table below for how this works.

Ho detto I said
Ti ho detto I said… to you/I told you
Gli ho detto I said… to him/I told him
Le ho detto I said… to her/I told her

 To complete the sentences above, use “che if the next phrase has a different subject: This rule will be used again and again in Italian. Here are some sentences:

Ho detto,“si.” I said, “yes.”
Ho detto che il film era bello. I said… that the film was good.
Ti ho detto che il film era bello. I told you… that the film was good.
Gli ho detto che il film era bello. I told him… that the film was good.
Le ho detto che il film era bello. I told her… that the film was good.

Finally, I would say that the phrase I use most often regarding what someone said to someone else and the phrase that actually started this thread in my mind is:

Mi ha detto… He said to me…/He told me
  She said to me…/She told me
  You (polite) said to me…/You told me

Remember this last phrase and I guarantee you will use it every day!

*{For those who like grammar, this passato prossimo verb is derived from:
 avere (to have) + the past participle of the action verb dire (to say).}

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

Available on and Learn Travel