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This page contains information about:: Italian Present Tense, Plural, Italian Definite and Indefinite Articles, Numbers, Italian Alphabet, and some Italian Expressions.


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Level I

Lesson1: Italian Present Tense, Plural, Articles, Italian Numbers, Alphabet

Lesson2: Italian Irregular Verbs, Italian Reflexive Verbs

Lesson3: Italian Past Participle, Comparative, Superlative, Demonstrative Pronouns

Lesson4: Italian Past Tense, Present Perfect, Interrogative, Possessive, Pronouns

Lesson5: Italian Prepositions, Model Verbs, Italian Future Tense

Lesson6: Italian Adjectives, Negation, Past Perfect in Italian

Lesson7: Italian Gerund Imperative and Adverbs

Level II

Lesson1: Italian Past Tense, Imperfetto, Perfect, and Remote Past

Lesson2: Conditional, Italian Idioms and Proverbs

Lesson3: Subjunctive, More Italian Idioms, Proverbs, and Essential Dictionary

Lesson4: Italian Conjunctions, Italian Ci and Ne, and More Italian Vocabulary

Lesson5: Surviving in Italy, Eating, Drinking in Italy. More Italian Words To Know.

Lesson6: Getting Around Italy Transport, Italian Trains, Buses, and Traffic

Lesson7: Italian False Friends, Wrong Italian Words in English

Italian Expressions

Emergency in Italy

Hotel, Museum, Guided Tour, Shopping

Sentence Quiz

How to Learn a Language


Italian Lesson 1

Level 2 Lesson 1: Italian Past Tense, Imperfetto, Perfect, and Remote Past

The most common way of expressing the past tense in Italian is with the "passato prossimo" (present perfect), composed of an auxiliary verb (avere or essere) and the past participle. It is the verb tense most commonly used when referring to the past in spoken Italian. The following are perfectly correct and used expressions using the "passato prossimo":

Ieri ho mangiato una bistecca con patate (Literally: Yesterday I have eaten a steak with potatoes)

La settimana scorsa siamo andati in spiaggia (Literally: Last week we have gone to the beach)

Dove siete stati tutta la notte? (Literally: Where have you been all night?)

Cosa hai fatto questo pomeriggio? (Literally: What have you done this afternoon?)

However, there are other two tenses used to express actions which took place in the past: the "imperfetto" and the "passato remoto".

Imperfetto

The "imperfetto" is typically used to express:

- Continuous or habitual actions in the past: "Quando ero in Italia andavo al ristorante tutti i venerdì" (When I was in Italy I went to the restaurant every Friday). If the action is not habitual in the past, we would use the past perfect: "Quando sono stato in Italia l'anno scorso, sono andato al ristorante tre volte" (When I have gone to Italy last year, I have been to the restaurant three times)

- Descriptions in the past: "Negli anni '50 Venezia aveva una popolazione di 150.000 abitanti" (In the '50s Venice had a population of 150,000 inhabitants).

- Physical, mental or emotional state in the past: "Da bambino avevo paura del buio" (When I was a child I was afraid of the dark).

The "imperfetto" is quite regular and is built by stripping the infinite of the verb of the suffix -re and adding the "imperfetto" suffixes, as follows:

Mangiare

Avere

Finire

Mangia-vo

Ave-vo

Fini-vo

Mangia-vi

Ave-vi

Fini-vi

Mangia-va

Ave-va

Fini-va

Mangia-vamo

Ave-vamo

Fini-vamo

Mangia-vate

Ave-vate

Fini-vate

Mangia-vano

Ave-vano

Fini-vano

The verb "essere" is irregular and needs to be learnt by heart:

Essere

Ero

Eri

Era

Eravamo

Eravate

Erano

Passato remoto

The "passato remoto" is used to express events or actions in a distant past, for which there is a perceived "remoteness" and no perceived connection with the present. It is rarely used in spoken Italian, while it is very common in written form, especially in newspapers, novels and essays. In some Italian regions, such as Tuscany and most of southern Italy, it is used also in normal conversation, substituting the past perfect.

The regular verbs are conjugated as follows:

Mangiare

Ricevere

Finire

Mangi-ai

Ricev-ei

Fin-ii

Mangi-asti

Ricev-esti

Fin-isti

Mangi-ò

Ricev-è

Fin-ì

Mangi-ammo

Ricev-emmo

Fin-immo

Mangi-aste

Ricev-este

Fin-iste

Mangi-arono

Ricev-erono

Fin-irono

Many of the verbs ending in -ere also have alternative forms that are acceptable:

Ricevere

Ricev-etti

Ricev-esti

Ricev-ette

Ricev-emmo

Ricev-este

Ricev-ettero

The auxiliary verbs "essere" and "avere" are irregular:

Essere

Avere

Fui

Ebbi

Fosti

Avesti

Fu

Ebbe

Fummo

Avemmo

Foste

Aveste

Furono

Ebbero

Many other verbs are irregular in the "passato remoto":

Vincere

Piangere

Ridere

Scegliere

Volere

Bere

Vinsi

Piansi

Risi

Scelsi

Volli

Bevvi

Vincesti

Piangesti

Ridesti

Scegliesti

Volesti

Bevesti

Vinse

Pianse

Rise

Scelse

Volle

Bevve

Vincemmo

Piangemmo

Ridemmo

Scegliemmo

Volemmo

Bevemmo

Vinceste

Piangeste

Rideste

Sceglieste

Voleste

Beveste

Vinsero

Piansero

Risero

Scelsero

Vollero

Bevvero

ITALIAN PROVERBS AND IDIOMS - PART 1

As many other languages, Italian is abundant in idioms and proverbs which would not make any sense in English if translated literally. Here are some of those most common and most likely to be heard in a normal conversation:

A chi lo dici!

Tell me that!

A tutti i costi

At any cost - No matter what

Affare fatto

It's a deal

Alla buon'ora!

It was about time

Altro che!

Of course; you can bet your life!

Bell'affare!

That's really good! (ironic)

Bella roba!

Very nice (ironic)

Pigliar due piccioni con una fava

Get two birds with one stone

Sbagliando s'impara

Practice makes perfect

Chi dorme non piglia pesci

The early bird catches the worm

Tutto è bene quel che finisce bene

All’s well that ends well

La fortuna aiuta gli audaci

Fortune favours the brave

La necessità aguzza l’ingegno

Necessity is the mother of invention

AN ESSENTIAL DICTIONARY OF ITALIAN - PART 1

To have a functional use of a language and be able to use it in everyday situation you need to know around 1000 words. This number is considered to represent about 85% of all conversations, so it is a good idea to learn them.

Tips: this is one of many exercises that can help in learning new words:

- Write the words on blank business card: the Italian word on one side and the English translation on the other.

- Pick a small number of cards, according to the time available every day for this exercise (perhaps 10 or 20 is a good quantity)

- Try to memorize the Italian words.

- After a few minutes pick up the same cards and look at the English side.

- Try to remember the Italian translation. Put aside all cards you remember correctly.

- Put back into the main deck the cards you don't remember.

- The following day pick the same number of cards from the main deck. They will contain some of the cards you didn't remember the previous day and some new cards.

- Repeat the procedure every day.

- Once a week go through the cards you remembered. If you have forgotten some, put them back into the main deck, so you can try to memorize them again.

You can adjust the number of cards you try to remember according to your memory, time available each day for the exercise, and speed at which you want to learn the essential vocabulary!

a

To

abbandonare

To abandon

abbastanza

Enough

abitare

To live, to inhabit

abito (substantive)

Dress, clothing

accadere

To happen

accanto

Near

accendere

To turn on, to ignite

accettare

To accept

accogliere

To welcome

accompagnare

To accompany

accordo

Agreement (note: the expression "D'accordo" means "Agreed", "Ok", "I agree")

accorgersi

To notice

acqua

Water

addirittura

Even

adesso

Now

affare

Business

affatto

Not at all

affermare

To affirm, to state

affrontare

To face

aggiungere

To add

aiutare

To help

aiuto

Help

albergo

Hotel

albero

Tree

allontanare

To send away, to distance oneself

allora

Then, so

almeno

At least

alto

Tall

altro

Other

alzare

To lift, to rise

amare

To love

ambiente

Environment

americano

American

amico

Friend

ammazzare

To kill

Ammettere

To admit

amore

Love

ampio

Wide, large

anche

Also

ancora

Again, yet, still

andare

To go

angolo

Corner

anima

Soul

animale

Animal

anno

Year

annunciare

To announce

antico

Ancient, antique

anzi

On the contrary

apparire

To appear

appartenere

To belong

appena

Just, as soon as

appoggiare

To lean

appunto

Indeed

aprire

To open

argomento

Subject, topic

aria

Air

arma

Weapon

armare

To arm

arrestare

To arrest, to stop

arrivare

To arrive

arte

Art

articolo

Article

ascoltare

To listen

aspettare

To wait

aspetto

Appearance

assai

Very much

assicurare

To assure, to ensure, to insure

assistere

To assist

assoluto

Absolute

assumere

To assume, to hire

attaccare

To attack

atteggiamento

Attitude

attendere

To wait

attento

Careful

attenzione

Attention

attesa

Wait

attimo

Moment

attività

Activity

atto

Act

attore

Actor

attorno

Around

attraversare

To cross

attuale

Current

aumentare

To increase

automobile

Automobile, car

autore

Author

autorità

Authority

avanti

Forward

avanzare

To go forward, to advance

avere

To have

avvenire

To happen

avvertire

To warn

avvicinare

To come near

avvocato

Lawyer

azione

Action

azzurro

Light blue

baciare

To kiss

badare

To take care of

bagno

Bathroom

bambina

Child (feminine)

bambino

Child (masculine)

base

Base, basis

basso

Short

bastare

To be enough, to suffice

battaglia

Battle

battere

To beat

bellezza

Beauty

bello

Beautiful

bene

Good, well

bere

To drink

bestia

Beast

bianco

White

biondo

Blonde

bisognare

To need

bisogno

Need

bocca

Mouth

bosco

Forest

braccio

Arm

bravo

Good

breve

Brief, short

bruciare

To burn

brutto

Ugly

buio

Dark

buono

Good

buttare

To throw away

cadere

To fall

caffè

Coffee

calcio

Football (soccer)

caldo

Hot, warm

cambiare

To change

camera

Room

camminare

To walk

campagna

Countryside

campo

Field

cane

Dog

cantare

To sing

capace

Capable, skilled, able

capello

Hair (single hair)

capire

To understand

capitare

To happen

capo

Chief, boss

cappello

Hat

carattere

Character

caratteristico

Characteristic

carne

Meat

 

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