Posts

useful italian phrases

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Dating

useful italian phrases

Navigating through the complex world of dating is hard enough, let alone trying to do it in a foreign country. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some useful Italian phrases and tips for dating…

You’ve tried Italian cuisine, explored every inch of the Vatican, and survived your first Italian conversation. Is dating an Italian next on your bucket list?

Perhaps you’re planning on studying abroad in Italy, or you’re simply mesmerized by the sophisticated allure of Italians. Whatever the case, dating in Italy is quite different from your local dating scene back home.

Below are some useful Italian phrases and tips for dating so you can navigate the Italian dating world con gusto. But first, let’s go over some Italian dating tips:

Helpful Tips for Dating Italians

While they’re aren’t any hard and fast rules to dating Italians–as every individual is different–there are some things to keep in mind as you play the field. Below are some helpful tips for both men and women:

  • Italians are a very fashionable bunch. If you want to attract a date, be sure to dress appropriately at all times. Torn, revealing, or heavily worn clothing are a big no-no.
  • Ladies, don’t be too showy. Italian men are drawn to women who are elegant, funny, and intelligent. Bottom line, be your charming self!
  • Italians are often outgoing and expressive. Don’t be alarmed if your date gets enthusiastic, as he or she is just expressing his or her emotions.
  • Family is very important to Italians. Be respectful of that and show an interest in getting to know and learning about your significant other’s family members.

Useful Italian Phrases for Dating

What’s the key to a successful relationship? Communication. To make sure that you can successfully communicate with your date, brush up on your Italian language with these useful Italian phrases:

Below are some useful Italian phrases for sparking up a conversation with someone who peaks your interest:

  • Posso offrirti qualcosa? (Can I buy you a drink?)
  • Come stai? (How are you?)
  • Posso unirmi a te? (Can I join you?)

If you like the person you meet, you might continue to see each other. Here are some words associated with dating:

  • farsi delle storie (to see each other)
  • uscire (to go out on a date, but it can also be used in a more general context of leaving the house to go out somewhere)
  • accompagnarsi (to go with, accompany)

Italians enjoy doing various activities with the person they’re dating. For example, you might find yourself doing any one of the activities below:

  • fare una passeggiata (taking a walk)
  • andare al cinema (going to the movies)
  • cucinare insieme (cooking together)

Once you start seeing someone, you might want to clarify your relationship. The following words will help you to explain the status of your relationship:

  • il mio ragazzo/la mia ragazza (my boyfriend/my girlfriend)
  • il mio fidanzato/la mia fidanzata (my fiancé/my fiancée)
  • il mio amante/la mia amante (my lover [male/female])
  • innamorarsi (to fall in love [with each other])
  • divertirsi (to have fun)
  • relazione, rapporto (relationship)

As you fall more in love with the person you’re dating, you may want to use more affectionate names for them. There are many possibilities when it comes to affectionate terms for your partner, but here is a sampling of some of the most typical:

  • amore (love)
  • tesoro (honey or literally meaning ‘treasure’)
  • cucciolo (my pet or literally meaning ‘puppy’)

Learn more romantic Italian phrases here!

The better you are at speaking Italian and understanding the customs of Italy, the easier you’ll find it to date in Italy. Dating an Italian can be a fascinating, fun, and unique experience. Who knows, you may just find eternal love (amore eterno)!f

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

italian grammar

10+ Fun Italian Grammar and Vocabulary Games for Kids

italian grammar

Learning Italian grammar and vocabulary can be difficult for kids. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some games parents and teachers can play to help engage kids in learning Italian…

For kids, learning Italian can be a great adventure, filled with exciting new discoveries. As your child explores the joy of learning Italian, you can aid him or her by playing fun Italian grammar and vocabulary games.

These games are chock-full of fun activities so that learning Italian can become less painless and more fun! Below are 10+ Italian grammar and vocabulary games that will make a big difference in your child’s learning.

1. Rhymes and Tongue Twisters

These fun and imaginative verbal adventures will help your child to think of Italian as a playful and colorful exploration, not to mention build a strong Italian vocabulary and understanding of syntax and grammar.

You can trade off reciting lines of a rhyme, have a tongue twister competition, or read a fable before bedtime. Before you know it, learning Italian will be just another fun part of the day.

2. Memory Games

Using index cards, write out some Italian vocabulary words. Try choosing a theme (for example, colors or animals). Then, create a matching card with a related vocabulary word.

Lay them all out with the words face-down and have your child try to select the pairs. Recalling where each word is located will help the vocabulary word stick in your child’s mind.

3. Make Assuming Sentences

This game is similar to MadLibs, as you provide all the parts of a sentence and then allow your child to choose words to form a unique sentence.

Here’s how to do it: Write out all of the pronouns (io, tu, lui, lei, Lei, noi, voi, loro), a selection of verbs (volare, ridere, sorridere, pensare, andare), and some nouns (il gatto, il cane, l’albero, il poliziotto, l’Italia, etc.)

Keep each category of words in its own pile. Your child can select a pronoun, verb and possibly a noun to form a sentence. For example, “Io volo con il gatto” (I fly with the cat).

You can help your child to form grammatically correct sentences by providing prepositions (con, sopra, sotto) when needed. The sillier the sentence, the better!

4. Sing in Italian

Download, purchase, or stream some simple songs in Italian in which you and your child can sing along. For example, you can search for Christmas carols or lullabies.

Encourage your child to sing along, or to sing from memory when you have free time in the car, while walking, or some other time. Sing along together, or help your child as needed to remember the lyrics.

5. Charades

Charades is a really fun game and there are so many opportunities to tailor it to your child’s needs. First, write out a selection of verbs, nouns or phrases to act out.

Once you’ve formed two teams, start by having the first team draw a verb, noun, and phrase to act out while the other team guesses. This can be as simple as two teams — you and your child — or can involve other children and family members.

6. I Spy

This game is an excellent option when you’re on the go or exploring a new place. It will encourage your child to view and describe his or her surroundings in Italian.

You can give your child a prompt of “Io vedo…” (“I see…”) and then let him or her choose an item to identify in Italian. For example, “Io vedo una nuvola grande e bianca.” (I see a big, white cloud).

7. Describe an Imaginary Friend

If your child has an imaginary friend, ask him or her to describe him or her to you in Italian. For example, “Luisa è simpatica, alta e bionda. Le piace nuotare e saltare la corda.” (Luisa is friendly, tall and blond. She likes to swim and jump rope.).

This helps to build useful Italian vocabulary. You can also ask your child to talk to his or her imaginary friend in Italian! This is a playful way to show your child that Italian can be spoken anywhere and anytime.

8. Italian in the Kitchen

If you’re busy cooking in the kitchen, why not get your child involved? Go online to find a recipe in Italian to use. As you cook, have your child read the recipe and then ask him or her to name the ingredients as they go in the pot to be cooked.

You can also ask your child to retrieve ingredients with the Italian name (for example, farina, latte, pane), and describe the colors and size (“Com’è il pomodoro?” “What’s the tomato like?”). This is also a great Italian culture activity, as cooking and eating together as a family is a common tradition in Italy.

9. Identify Characteristics

Gather up some old magazines or newspapers laying around the house. Cut out pictures of objects and people from those magazines, and have your child describe the particular scene in Italian.

Encourage your child to use color, specific characteristics, and numbers to practice adjectives, quantity and more!

10. Give Commands

Designate a piece of clothing or a certain item, such as a hat or a scarf. Whenever someone is wearing that particular item, he or she is responsible for issuing commands to the other people in the group.

For example, the person wearing the item could say the following: “Gira a la destra; dimmi un piccolo racconto; chiamami ‘Alessandro’ quando mi parli” (“Turn to the right; tell me a short story; call me Alessandro when you speak to me”).

This game is meant to be silly and encourage children to practice commands in a fun and memorable way. The roles reverse whenever the person with the item issues a command that the other person chooses not to obey, or doesn’t obey.

11. Ask Questions

Ask your child any question in Italian. You can find a set of questions in your child’s Italian textbook or online. If your child  answers the question with the proper Italian grammar, he or she can then ask you a question.

The game can be played with just the two of you, or with other children. This is another exercise that can be silly and amusing, while simultaneously reinforcing interrogative words, grammar, and vocabulary.

Learning Italian doesn’t have to be boring. Make learning enjoyable for your child by playing games with him or her in between his or her lessons.

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

italian grammar

5 Most Difficult Italian Grammar Rules Made Simple

italian grammar

Are you ready for a lesson in Italian grammar? Below, Italian teacher Liz T. breaks down the five most difficult Italian grammar rules…

Learning Italian can be difficult, not to mention overwhelming for new students. Many students are afraid of tackling Italian grammar, as it can be complex and confusing at first.

If you take the time to learn Italian grammar, however, you’re much more likely to understand what you’re actually saying, hearing, reading, and writing.

Below, we break down the five most difficult Italian grammar rules to make it easier for you to understand.

1. Nouns and Adjectives

We categorize nouns and adjectives as either masculine and feminine. Typically, nouns ending in -o are masculine, while nouns ending in -a are feminine. See examples below.

  • Feminine: “Donna” (woman)
  • Masculine: “Uomo” (man)

If the noun ends in -i that means it’s masculine, but plural and nouns ending in -e are feminine, but plural. See examples below.

  • Masculine: “Bambini” (children)
  • Feminine: “Ragazze” (girls)

2. Singular vs. Plural

Knowing how to create singular and plural nouns can be difficult. While there are a few tricks to remembering the rules, it’s really all about memorizing the endings. See examples below.

Nouns ending in singular -o switch to plural -i

  • Amico” is changed to “Amici” (Friend, Friends)

Nouns ending in singular -a switch to plural -e

  • Torta” is changed to “Torte” (Cake, Cakes)

Nouns ending in singular -ca switch to -che

  • Mucca” is changed to “Mucche” (Cow, Cows)

Nouns ending in singular -e switch to -i

  • Professore” is changed to “Professori” (Professor, Professors)

3. Introducing “The” Definite Articles (Singular)

Singular:

There are two main forms of the definite article in the singular, il (masculine) and la (feminine) and two alternate forms. l’ for any noun starting with a vowel, and –lo, for any masculine noun starting with s- plus a consonant, p-s, or -z. See examples below:

Masculine singular

  • Example: “Il gatto” (the cat)

Feminine singular

  •  Example: “La gatta” (the cat)

Masculine noun starting with a vowel

  • Example: “L’uomo” (the man)

Feminine noun starting with a vowel

  • Example: “L’amica” (the friend)

Masculine noun starting with a -s plus a consonant

  • Example: “Lo Zio” (the uncle)

Plural:

Le is used to describe plural feminine

  • Le Ragazze” replaces La or L’.

I is used to describe plural masculine

  • I Ragazzi” replaces il.

Gli is used to describe plural masculine

  • Gli Zii” replaces Lo or L’.

4. Indefinite Articles “A, An” Describing Nouns

Masculine nouns use “Un” before a vowel or consonant.

  • Example: “Un libro” (a book)

Masculine nouns use “Uno” before consonant beginning with -s, -z, -gn, -ps etc.

  • Example: “Uno specchio” (a mirror)

Feminine nouns use “Una” before consonant.

  • Example: “Una donna” (a woman)

Feminine nouns use “Un” before vowel

  • Example: “Un’attrice” (a actress)

5. Italian Pronouns to Use When Describing People

According to Italian grammar, there are singular pronouns and plural pronouns. Below is a table that will help you better memorize the singular and plural pronouns:

Italian Pronouns

To gain a better understanding of the Italian language, it’s important to master these five grammar rules. Use flash cards, write them down, put them in a song, use visuals, anything that will help you memorize them.

Here are some additional Italian grammar articles that can help supplement your studies:

Photo by Phil Roeder

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, music and Italian lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance and has a graduate certificate in arts administration from New York University. Learn more about Liz here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

italian grammar

Italian Grammar: Mastering the Informal and Formal ‘You’

italian grammar

When it comes to Italian grammar, understanding the informal and formal ‘you’ can be very difficult. Below, Italian teacher Giulio G. shares some tips and tricks on how master this common Italian grammar conundrum…

In the Italian language, there are three ways to say ‘you’; tu (informal) Lei (formal) and Voi (plural)For beginner Italian students, it can be difficult to determine the correct form when speaking. After all, there’s only one ‘you’ in the English language.

Nonetheless, it’s important that you choose the correct form when conversing with others. This is especially important when you’re in formal settings; for example, when you’re first meeting someone, speaking with an older person, or addressing a person with higher rank or authority.

Below is an Italian lesson on mastering the informal and formal ‘you’:

Tu (Informal)

Typically, tu is used in everyday conversation. For example, you would use tu when talking to someone your own age or younger.

You may also use tu when speaking to someone that you know well, such as a friend or a family member. See examples below:

  • Scusami, sai dov’è la stazione? (You are asking for directions to a person you already know)
  • Claudia, vuoi venire a cena a casa nostra? (Claudia is a friend of yours)
  • Non capisco questo esercizio. Me lo puoi spiegare (You are asking a friend of yours to explain an exercise to you)

Lei (Formal)

Lei is used in a more formal setting. For example, when a person addresses someone with whom he or she has a professional relationship, such as a colleague or professor.

It’s also used when a person starts a conversation with someone with whom he or she does not have any previous relationship. See examples below:

  • Mi scusi, sa dov’è la stazione? (You are asking for directions to a complete stranger)
  • Dottor Rossi, vuole venire a cena a casa nostra? (Dottor Rossi can be your boss, an elderly person, or an important figure)
  • Non capisco questo esercizio me lo può spiegare? (You are asking your professor for help)

Oftentimes, once you get to know an Italian they will ask you, “Possiamo darci del tu?“, which means they would like switch to the tu form now that they’re more comfortable with you.

Voi (Plural)

In the past, voi was often used as a formal way of addressing someone and showing respect; for example government officials or the Pope.

Oftentimes, children would use it to address their elders. See examples below:

  • Padre, oggi indossate una così bella cravatta. (Father, you are wearing such a beautiful tie today.)
  • Grandma, are you going to the Mass? (Grandma, are you gong to the Mass?)
  • Vostra eminenza, potreste incontrarmi? Ho bisogno di un consiglio. (Your Eminence, could you meet me? I need advice.)

Voi, however, is no longer really used in normal social situations. Nonetheless, it’s important to be familiar with how to use it just in case.

Learning the Italian grammar rules for the informal and formal ‘you’ isn’t easy. However, working with your Italian teacher and practicing on your own is a good way to master this pesky Italian grammar rule.

Giulio GPost Author: Giulio Giannetti
Giulio G. teaches in-person Italian lessons in New York City. He is originally from Florence, Italy and is currently a student at the University of Florence for Languages and Intercultural Relations. He has been teaching lessons since 2009. Learn more about Giulio here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

 

italian slang words

15 Italian Slang Words and Phrases You’ve Gotta Know

Do you want to learn how to speak Italian like a true native? Below, Italian teacher Liz T. shares 15 common Italian slang words and phrases to help you communicate better in Italian…

In the United States, there are hundreds of slang words and phrases people use to communicate with one another. For example, phrases like “I’m beat,” “chill out,” and “epic fail” are commonly used in conversation.

Like Americans, native Italians use slang words and phrases to quickly communicate their emotions and actions. Although they might not be grammatically correct, theses words and phrases are commonly used to explain all types of situations in everyday life.

Below are some of my favorite Italian slang words and phrases. Practice these words with your Italian teacher or friends and you’ll soon be speaking like a true native!

1. Mettersi insieme

The equivalent of the American phrase “to tie the knot,” “mettersi insieme” means to begin a serious relationship with someone.

2. Mollare qualcuno

Ouch! Italians use this phrase when dumping their significant other. It’s roughly translated to mean “letting go” or “releasing someone free.”

3. Essere nelle nuvole

Italians use this phrase to describe someone who has his or her head in the clouds or someone who’s constantly daydreaming.

4. Ricco sfondato

This Italian slang phrase is used to describe someone who’s rich. The phrase literally means “rolling in money.”

5. Veloce come un razzo

Similar to the American phrase,”fast as lightning,” “veloce come un razzo” means something or someone is as fast as a rocket.

6. Amore a prima vista

Was it “love at first sight,” or as they say in Italy “amore a prima vista,” when you met your Italian crush while visiting abroad?

7. Alito puzzolente

Ew! You may need to use this Italian slang phrase to notify someone who has “bad breath.”

8. Guastafesta

What we know in America as a “Debbie downer,” the Italian slang word, “Gusastafesta,” is someone who’s a spoiler or someone who ruins the party.

9. Basta, Basta

When your friend is annoying you, shout “basta, basta” as this means “enough is enough.”

10. I Malano miau!

Are you shocked about what happened on last night’s episode of Game of Thrones? Use this phrase to express shock or amazement.

11. Non fai scumbari

When your Italian grandmother won’t stop embarrassing you, simply say “Non fai scumbari” or “Stop embarrassing me/don’t embarrass me.”

12. Pizzolino

This Italian slang word means “afternoon nap,” which are very common in Italy.

13. Gufare

If you or someone else is experiencing bad luck, use the Italian slang word, “gufare.”

14. Dai!

Similar to the American saying “Come on,” “Dai” is used when you want someone to tag along or do something. It can also be used to say “stop it.”

15. Boh

The equivalent of the American phrase “I dunno,” “Boh” is a quick way to say if you’re being indecisive.

I hope you have enjoyed learning these Italian slang words. If you want to make sure that your using these Italian slang words appropriately, you can practice speaking with a native or your Italian teacher.

The more you use these Italian slang words and phrases in conversation, the better you will become at speaking Italian.

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, music and Italian lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance and has a graduate certificate in arts administration from New York University. Learn more about Liz here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

 

italian grammar

Italian Grammar Rules: How to Form Singular and Plural Nouns

italian grammar

Mastering Italian grammar can be difficult. Nonetheless, it’s important if you want to become proficient in the Italian language. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some tips and tricks on how to form singular and plural nouns…

In Italian, it’s important to understand how to form singular and plural nouns. After all, nouns are a cornerstone of the Italian language—or any language for that matter.

Luckily, this Italian grammar rule is easy to master as it follows a certain pattern. Once you learn this recognizable pattern, you’ll be able to express more exponentially in Italian. Let’s get started!

Identifying the Gender of a Noun

Regardless of number, each noun has a gender: masculine or feminine. It’s important that you understand how to recognize whether a noun is feminine or masculine.

Once you know whether a noun is feminine or masculine in the singular, you can make changes to the ending to pluralize.

If a noun is feminine, it generally ends in –a in the singular and if it is masculine, it generally ends in –o in the singular. See examples below:

  • Feminine: la mela
  • Masculine:  il ragazzo

However, there are some nouns that end in –e, which can be feminine or masculine. See examples below:

  • Masculine: il ristorante
  • Feminine: la notte

Pluralizing the Noun

The most basic way to pluralize singular nouns is as follows:

Nouns ending in –o, the ending changes to –i in the plural. See example below:

  • Singular: il libro
  • Plural:  i libri

Nouns ending in –a, the ending changes to –e in the plural. See example below:

  • Singular: la bambina
  • Plural: le bambine

Nouns ending in –ca change to –che in the plural. See example below:

  • Singular: l’amica
  • Plural: le amiche

Nouns ending in –e change to –i in the plural. See example below:

  • Singular: lo studente
  • Plural: gli studenti

Exceptions to the Rule

There are several exceptions to the rules listed above:

For the nouns that end in –io, the -i is generally not repeated in the ending. An exception to this are words like lo zio, which becomes gli zii. See example below:

  • Singular: il negozio
  • Plural:  i negozi not i negozii

There are certain feminine nouns ending in –a that change to –i in the plural. See example below:

  • Singular: l’ala
  • Plural: le ali.

There are certain masculine nouns ending in –a that change ending to –i in the plural, along with nouns ending in –o and –e, which can be masculine or feminine. See examples below:

  • Singular: il problema
  • Plural: i problemi
  • Singular: la mano
  • Plural: le mani

There are also nouns ending in –a that can be both masculine and feminine. Dentista, for example, can be accompanied by the masculine or feminine article; la dentista or il dentista.

In these cases, the masculine noun changes to –i in the plural and the feminine noun changes to –e in the plural. See example below:

  • Masculine Plural: i dentisti
  • Feminine Plural: le dentiste

Nouns that end in –ca and –ga have a hard sound that needs to be preserved in the plural. To do so, the plural forms add an -h, but are otherwise normal in their pluralization. These nouns can be either feminine or masculine. Here is an example of each:

  • Singular: la barca
  • Plural: le barche
  • Singular: lo stratega
  • Plural: gli strateghi

The same addition of the ‘h’ in the plural also applies to nouns ending in –go and in –co. Some nouns ending in –co, however, don’t include ‘h’ in the plural (l’amico à gli amici).

  • Singular: il dialogo
  • Plural:i dialoghi
  • Singular: il pacco
  • Plural: i pacchi

Lastly, another type of noun with a spelling change are those that end in –cia or –gia. If the –i in this ending is unstressed in the singular, it drops the –i in the plural. However, if the –i is stressed, it is retained in the plural.

  • Singular:la mancia
  • Plural: le mance
  • Singular: la farmacia
  • Plural: le farmacie

Abbreviated Nouns

In Italian grammar, there are other types of nouns that are abbreviated, which are shortened to make them easier to write and say. La foto, for example, which is short for la fotografia.

With these nouns, they retain the same ending in the plural shortened forms (le foto). Similarly, nouns that end with an accented vowel or a consonant don’t change in the plural, either. See examples below:

  • Singular: il caffé
  • Plural: i caffé
  • Singular:  il film
  • Plural: i film

An important part of understanding nouns is also understanding what articles accompany them, including definite and indefinite articles. You can read more about articles in this blog post.

While there are many exceptions to nouns, the basic rules of how to form singular and plural nouns will take you quite far. As you work with your Italian tutor, you can learn the exceptions through practice, listening, and repetition. Before you know it, you will naturally form singular and plural nouns perfectly!

Photo by llmicrofono Ogglono

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

useful italian phrases

La Famiglia: Useful Italian Phrases and Words for Family

useful italian phrases

Family plays a big role in the Italian culture. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some useful Italian phrases and words for describing family.

Italians are all about la famiglia or family. In fact, it’s common for family members to gather for weekly dinners and multiple family members to live under the same roof or neighborhood.

As you continue to learn the Italian language and culture, you’ll start to understand the importance of family. And soon you’ll be asked to describe your family dynamic to others.

Review the useful Italian phrases and words below, so you’ll be able to hold an Italian conversation about your family.

First, let’s learn the various different members of the family. Notice that the article changes depending on the gender of the noun.

Next up, a common question when learning about someone’s family is who’s the oldest and who’s the youngest. Below are some useful Italian phrases and words to correctly answer this question.

  • maggiore or più grande (the oldest)
  • minore or più piccolo (the youngest)
  • di mezzo (the middle)

Below are some additional useful Italian phrases and words that will come in handy as your family grows.

  • il marito (husband)
  • la moglie (wife)
  • il fidanzato (fiancé)
  • la fidanzata (fiancée)
  • il cognato (brother-in-law)
  • la cognata (sister-in-law)
  • il suocero (father-in-law)
  • la suocera (mother-in-law)

If you need to describe your marital status, you can use the following terms.

  • sposato/a (married)
  • nubile (single)
  • dicorziato/a (divorced)
  • separato/a (separated)
  • vedovo/a (widowed)

Important Italian Grammar Tips

When having an Italian conversation about your family there are some important grammar tips you must keep in mind. For example, i parenti in Italian means relatives, not parents.

It’s a false cognate that’s often misused by second language speakers. The correct word for parents is i genitori. A more casual way to refer to your parents is to say ‘i miei’ (literally meaning mine).

When referring to a single member of the family, don’t use the definite article. For instance, tua sorella is correct; and la tua sorella is incorrect. If there is more than one member, you should use the definite article as you would normally. For example, le tue sorelle.

This rule, however, becomes null if the single family member you are referring to is modified in some way (for example, with an adjective, a prefix, suffix or if the possessive is loro). In these cases, use the definite article. See examples below:

  • il mio caro cugino (cugino is modified by the adjective caro)
  • la mia bisnonna (nonna is modified with the prefix –bis)
  • il mio fratellino (fratello is modified with the suffix -ino)
  • la loro sorella (sorella is used with the possessive loro)

One additional fine point of the definite article concerns affectionate terms for family members. When using terms such as mamma and papà, if you use the article (i.e. la mia mamma / il mio papa) it possesses an additional affectionate meaning. Whereas if you use it without the article (mia mamma / mio papà) it simply expresses the relationship as your mom or dad.

Try It Out Yourself

Now that you know several useful Italian phrases and words for family, try to develop a sentence using the vocabulary above. Use the example below to help get you started.

“La mia famiglia è molto grande. Mia madre ha sette fratelli, e ho molti cugini. Non ho sorelle, ma ho due fratelli minori. I miei genitori sono sposati da 1979. Adesso ho anche due cognate. Non ho ancora nipoti.”

(My family is very large. My mother has seven siblings, and I have lots of cousins. I don’t have sisters, but I have two younger brothers. My parents have been married since 1979. Now I also have two sister-in-laws. I still don’t have nephews or nieces.)

With these useful Italian phrases and words, you should be well-equipped to describe your family in Italian. Keep working with your Italian tutor on these useful Italian words and phrases for family so that when the topic comes up, you’ll be ready!


nadiaBPost Author:
 Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

quiz to see where you should live

Quiz: What Country Were You Meant to Live In?

Do you ever get the feeling that you don’t REALLY belong in the land of big macs and slurpees?

Sure, you love living in the land of opportunity and there are things in the U.S. that you couldn’t imagine living without.

That being said, you’re ready for a change.

Don’t worry, there’s a country that perfectly matches your personality—no matter how quirky or eccentric you are. Take this fun and easy quiz to see where you should live.

[playbuzz-item url=”//www.playbuzz.com/takelessons12/what-country-were-you-meant-to-live-in” info=”true” shares=”true” comments=”false” recommend=”false” margin-top=”720″]

Before you pack your bags and board a plane to Italy, France, or Japan make sure you renew your passport and take some language lessons! These lessons will come in handy when you’re exploring your new country and meeting the locals.

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

italian vocabulary

Italian Vocabulary: Learn the Animal Kingdom

italian vocabulary

Is your child an animal lover? Below, Italian teacher Liz T. teaches a vocabulary lesson on how to name the different types of animals in Italian…

Is your child just starting to learn Italian? Keeping a child’s attention while teaching him or her a new language can be difficult. Keep your child engaged by having him or her learn Italian vocabulary words for something he or she loves–animals!

Below are various Italian vocabulary words for the most common animals as well as ways to use these vocabulary words in a sentence. As a helpful note, the following Italian vocabulary words are in the singular form. If you want to change it to plural, don’t forget to look whether it’s masculine or feminine.

Practice the sentences below so your child will be able to hold a conversation with another person about his or her favorite household pets.
  • Ho (insert number here) animali. (I have X number of pets.)
  • Io sono allergico a… (I am allergic to…)
  • Ho una piccolo lucertola. (I have a small lizard.)
  • Ho perso il mio cane. (I lost my dog.)
  • E’ questo gatto in vendita? (Is that cat for sale?)
  • Abbiamo una cucciolata di gattini. (We have a litter of kittens.)

Help your child memorize the following phrases before your next trip to the local zoo!
  • Andiamo allo zoo! (Let’s go to the zoo!)
  • L’elefante è grande. (The elephant is big.)
  • Quella scimmia è malizioso. (That monkey is mischievous.)
  • Il mio animale preferito è… (My favorite animal is…)
  • Non mi piace questo animale… (I don’t like this animal…)
  • Quanto alto è che giraffa? (How tall is that giraffe?)

  • La mucca mangia l’erba. (The cow eats grass.)
  • Animali da fattoria sono cosi carini. (Farm animals are so cute.)
  • Il cavallo fa un suono come questo… (The horse makes a sound like this…)
  • I polli sono cova le uova. ( The chickens are hatching their eggs.)
  • Mi piace andare a cavallo. ( I like to rise horses.)
  • I maiali cattivo odore. ( The pigs smell bad.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning Italian and practicing these animal names and phrases. For a great exercise, bring your child to the closest zoo or farm and have him or her practice naming the different animals in Italian.

For more Italian vocabulary words and useful phrases, ask your Italian teacher. He or she will be able to help you feel more comfortable speaking, writing, reading, and listening about topics such as animals.

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, music and Italian lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance and has a graduate certificate in arts administration from New York University. Learn more about Liz here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign Up

useful italian phrases

Getting Down to Business: Useful Italian Phrases and Etiquette Tips for Doing Business

useful italian phrases

Close the deal on your next Italian business trip with this lesson from Italian teacher Nadia B. on useful Italian phrases and etiquette tips for doing business…

Are you planning on doing business in Italy? It’s important that you learn Italian—even just a little—before your trip, as you want to interact with constituents in a professional and polite manner.

In this article, we’ll explore various useful Italian phrases and words you can use to ensure your meetings go off without a hitch. But before we jump into learning Italian, below are some helpful etiquette tips.

Italian Business Etiquette Tips

When it comes to doing business, Italy and the U.S. are fairly similar; however, there are some cultural differences. Use the tips below to ensure that you’re well prepared for your meeting.

  • Be on time: Contrary to popular belief, Italians take punctuality for business meetings very seriously. Make sure your on time for meetings and leave yourself enough time to get to your destination if you’re not familiar with the area.
  • Gift giving: Only after you’ve established a trusted relationship with your Italian constituents is it appropriate to give a small gift. Proper gifts include liquors, delicacies, or crafts from your native country.
  • Dress Code: Italians are as serious about their fashion as they are their food. Make sure, therefore, that you dress to impress. Men typically wear high-quality, tailored suits, while women opt for a feminine skirt suit or dress.
  • Greetings: Greet the group by saying “Buongiorno” (good morning) or “Buonasera”’ (good afternoon/evening) and shake each individual’s hand. Typically, older people and women will be introduced first.
  • Titles: When meeting someone for the first time, address the person with his or her appropriate title followed by his or her last name. For example, “Dottore” and “Dottoressa” for individuals holding a university degree, “Avvocato” for a lawyer, “Ingegnere” for an engineer, and “Architetto” for an architect.

Useful Italian Phrases for Business

Perhaps the most important concept to learn in Italian is the use of the formal ‘you’. While in English, there’s only one way to address a person, in Italian there’s a formal (“Lei”) and an informal (“tu”) option.

In most business situations, you’ll want to use “Lei” since it’s more formal and a sign of respect. However, if you find yourself among colleagues of a similar age in a more casual situation, it may be more appropriate to use “tu”.

Here are some other useful Italian phrases for initial introductions and greetings, as well as some helpful networking phrases.

  • Buongiorno, come sta/stai? (Hello, how are you [formal/informal]?)
  • Piacere. (Nice to meet you.)
  • Come si chiama/ti chiami? (What is your name (formal/informal)?)
  • Sono ___.” (My name is ___.)
  • Per quale società lavora/i? (For what company do you [formal/informal] work?)
  • M’interesserebbe sapere più del suo/tuo lavoro.” (I would be interested to learn more about your [formal/informal] work.)
  • Posso avere il suo/tuo recapito?” (Can I have your [formal/informal] contact information?)
  • Se vuole/vuoi, mi piacerebbe incontrarci per un caffè. (If you [formal/informal] like, I’d like to meet you for a coffee.)

When you’re really getting down to business, you might need the following Italian phrases.

  • Quanto costerebbe questo progetto? (How much would this project cost?)
  • Quanti articoli vorrebbe/vorresti? (How many items would you [formal/informal] want?)
  • Quando potrebbe essere realizzato? (When could it be completed?)
  • Possiamo usare l’inglese per communicare? (Can we use English to communicate?)

Lastly, here are some useful Italian vocabulary words that might come in handy.

  • “la riunione” (meeting)
  • “l’agenda” (agenda)
  • “la presentazione” (presentation)
  • “il verbale” (report)
  • “la tassa” (tax)
  • “il salario” (salary)
  • “gli affari” (business [in the general sense])
  • “l’azienda/l’impresa” (company)
  • “l’impiego/il lavoro” (occupation)
  • “il negozio” (shop/store)
  • “il/la cliente” (client)
  • “il pranzo di lavoro” (working lunch)
  • “il biglietto da visita” (business card)
  • “i contatti” (contacts)

With these useful Italian phrases and etiquette tips above, you’ll be able to smoothly navigate throughout the world of business in Italy.

nadiaB
Post Author:
 Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource