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500 Core Italian Words for Everyday Conversations (Top 500 Most Used Italian Words)


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What if you could understand Italian conversations by only learning 500 of the most used Italian words?

The Italian language is made up of hundreds of thousands of words — while it is hard to pin down a specific number, some linguists have estimated it to be between 160,000 and 260,000!

For us Italian learners, a number like this one is daunting. How is someone supposed to learn 260,000 words in a foreign language?

But don’t worry! Italians themselves generally use only around 7,000 of these words throughout their lifetimes, and usually only about 1,000 in their daily routine. So who said that with 500 words and some enthusiasm, you couldn’t understand what’s going on in conversations? Even better, you’d be able to participate in them!

In this post, I’m going to introduce you to 500 of the most important Italian words to know if you want to make your Italian learning more effective.

These 500 words are based on frequency of use. That means they’re the most frequently used words in Italian, and the words you’re most likely to come across if you’re listening to or reading Italian or having a conversation in Italian.

It goes without saying that the most important Italian words you should learn depend on your interests and the reasons that push you to learn Italian, for which creating your own script is a good idea.

But it’s also vital to have a strong base of Italian words that you know.

Use this post as a guideline and feel free to include as many listed Italian words as you want in your personalized list!

The 100 Most Used Italian Nouns (+ 20 More Nouns You Need to Know)

Along with verbs (which I’ll come to in a moment), nouns are the most important words to learn in a foreign language. Saying “eat” or “apple” if you are hungry will make your point come across much better than saying “this” or “red”. You might not make Italian teachers proud, but at least you’ll get to fill your stomach.

The most used Italian word is arguably cosa, which translates in many ways in English — including “what”, “thing”, and “matter” — depending on its inflection, grammatical function, or the overall context of the sentence.

Examples:

  • Dammi la cosa rossa. – “Give me the red thing.” In this sentence, cosa is a feminine, singular noun translated as “thing”.
  • Cosa vuoi? – “What do you want?” Here, cosa is the pronoun “what”.
  • Me ne ha parlato coso. – “What’s-his-name told me about it.” Even if it is highly informal and somewhat disdainful, you can use coso to replace a man’s name when you don’t remember it.
  • Spiegami come funziona questo coso. – “Teach me how this thing works.” Coso as a masculine, singular noun also means “thing”, however, it is much more informal than cosa. Being able to differentiate between when to use coso or cosa is mainly a matter of practice. In the meantime, try to avoid coso as much as possible.
  • Hai troppe cose. – “You have too many things.” Cose can mean both “things” and “matters”, and in this sentence, it’s the former.
  • In Eros Ramazzotti’s song Cose Della Vita, cose means “matters”, so the full title translates as “Matters of Life”.

Knowing these are only a few ways to use cosa/o/e in a conversation, you can understand why it comes first in the list of most frequently used Italian nouns. By learning it, you would be able to vaguely say at least half of what you want. But let’s put jokes aside: even if it is tempting to handle a whole language with only a word, it’s not very realistic.

Here are the 99 nouns that pop up the most frequently in Italian conversations besides cosa. I also included some words that do not figure among the most frequently used Italian words in lists, but which are important to learn nonetheless.

The 10 Most Used Italian Nouns Related to Places (+ An Additional One)

  • casa – “house” or ”home”
  • paese – “country” or “town”
  • mondo – “world”
  • città – “city”
  • strada – “road”
  • piazza – “square”
  • sala – “room”
  • ufficio – “office”
  • zona – “zone”
  • isola – “island”

Additional word: posto – “place”

The 10 Most Used Italian Nouns Related to Time (+ Four Bonus Words)

  • anno – “year”
  • giorno – “day”
  • volta – “time” in the sense of “occasion”
  • tempo – “time”
  • ora – “hour”
  • momento – “moment”
  • notte – “night”
  • sera – “evening”
  • mese – “month”
  • periodo – “period” or “interval”

Additional words:

  • ieri – “yesterday”
  • oggi – “today”
  • domani – “tomorrow”
  • minuto – “minute”

The 11 Most Used Italian Nouns Related to People (+ An Additional One)

  • uomo – “man”
  • donna – “woman”
  • signore/a – “sir”/“madam” or “man”/“woman”. Signore with a capital ‘s’ is used as another way to say “Dio” (“God”).
  • padre – “father”
  • figlio/a – “son”/“daughter”
  • persona – “person”
  • gente – “people”
  • amico/a – “friend”
  • famiglia – “family”
  • nemico/a – “enemy”
  • sorella – “sister”

Additional word: madre – “mother”

The 10 Most Used Italian Nouns Related to Nature (+ Two Bonus Words)

  • acqua – “water”
  • aria – “air”
  • mare – “sea”
  • luce – “light”
  • sole – “sun”
  • albero – “tree”
  • fiore – “flower”
  • natura – “nature”
  • fuoco – “fire”
  • campagna – “(the) country”

Additional words:

  • terra – “land” or “ground”, “Earth” when it is written with a capital “T”.
  • vento – “wind”

The 8 Most Used Italian Nouns Related to Anatomy (+ Three Bonus Words)

  • vita – “life”
  • mano – “hand”
  • occhio – “eye”
  • parte – “part”
  • voce – “voice”
  • piede – “foot”
  • testa – “head”
  • mente – “mind”

Additional words:

  • bocca – “mouth”
  • gamba – “leg”
  • braccio – “arm”

50 Other Frequently Used Italian Nouns (+ Ten Additional Italian Nouns)

  • modo – “manner” or “way”
  • parola – “word”
  • punto – “dot”, “period”, or “moment”
  • lavoro – “job” or “work”
  • stato – “state”
  • caso – “case” or “coincidence”
  • guerra – “war”
  • nome – “name”
  • fatto – “fact”
  • amore – “love”
  • storia – “story” or “history”, occasionally “lies”, “fuss”, and “business” in informal conversations
  • forza – “strength”
  • ragione – “reason”
  • via – “street” or “road”
  • capo – “boss” or “head”
  • specie – “species” or “kind”
  • governo – “government”
  • senso – “sense”
  • opera – “work” or “opera”
  • prodotto – “product”
  • festa – “party”
  • gioco – “game”
  • prova – “test” or “trial”
  • misura – “measure”
  • posizione – “position”
  • successo – “success”
  • vista – “sight”
  • libertà – “freedom”
  • risultato – “result”
  • importanza – “importance”
  • dubbio – “doubt”
  • ricerca – “research”
  • figura – “figure” or “image”
  • questione – “matter” or “issue”
  • pena – “pain”, “sentence”, or “pity”
  • motivo – “motive”
  • esperienza – “experience”
  • ricordo – “memory” or “souvenir”
  • politica – “politics”
  • processo – “process”
  • vino – “wine”
  • porta – “door”
  • sud – “south”
  • sogno – “dream”
  • cane – “dog”
  • movimento – “movement”
  • occasione – “occasion”
  • prezzo – “price”
  • causa – “cause”
  • sviluppo – “development”

Additional words:

  • fame – “hunger”
  • sete – “thirst”
  • niente – “nothing”
  • qualcosa – “something”
  • aiuto – “help”
  • errore – “mistake”
  • domanda – “question”
  • risposta – “answer”
  • macchina – “car”
  • aereo – “plane”

The 100 Most Used Italian Verbs

Verbs are all about action — doing things. That could be running, cooking, sleeping, whatever. If you (or someone else, or something else) is doing something, there’s a verb involved. You’ll find a verb in every Italian sentence, so it’s important that you know them.

Learning 100 of the most used Italian verbs will allow you to understand way more conversations that you might think.

The 2 Italian Auxiliaries

Before we dive into the full list of most common Italian verbs, let’s take a good look at the Italian auxiliaries, essere (“to be”) and avere (“to have”). I’ll come to why these matter in just a moment.

Essere

  • (io) sono – “I am”
  • (tu) sei – “you are”
  • (egli/essa/esso) è – “he/she/it is”
  • (noi) siamo – “we are”
  • (voi) siete – “you (all) are”
  • (essi/esse) sono – “they are”

Avere

  • (io) ho – “I have”
  • (tu) hai – “you have”
  • (egli/essa/esso) ha – “he/she/it has”
  • (noi) abbiamo – “we have”
  • (voi) avete – “you (all)” have”
  • (essi/esse) hanno – “they have”

Not only are the verbi ausiliari (“auxiliaries”) useful for making up composed tenses, but many verbal phrases that in English start with “to be” use avere as their core.

Examples:

  • avere sonno – “to be sleepy”
  • avere fame – “to be hungry”
  • avere ragione – “to be right”

By using avere + noun, you can even sometimes replace other verbs: avere voglia can replace volere (“to want”).

Top 10 Most Frequently Used Italian Verbs

Besides the auxiliaries, there are 10 other most frequently used Italian verbs:

  • fare – “to do”
  • dire – “to say”
  • potere – “to can” or “to be able to”
  • volere – “to want”
  • sapere – “to know”
  • stare – “to stay”
  • dovere – “to must” or “to have to”
  • vedere – “to see”
  • andare – “to go”
  • venire – “to come”

I’ve divided the next 88 most used Italian verbs into three lists, depending on the group of verbs they belong to.

The 34 Most Used Italian Verbs in the First Group: -are

  • dare – “to give”
  • parlare – “to speak”
  • trovare – “to find”
  • lasciare – “to let go” or “to leave”
  • guardare – “to watch”
  • pensare – “to think”
  • passare – “to pass”, “to move”, or “to hand”
  • portare – “to bring”
  • tornare – “to come back”
  • sembrare – “to seem” or “to look like”
  • chiamare – “to call”
  • cercare – “to look for” or “to search for”
  • entrare – “to enter”
  • ricordare – “to remember”
  • aspettare – “to wait”
  • arrivare – “to arrive”
  • diventare – “to become”
  • mangiare – “to eat”
  • camminare – “to walk”
  • toccare – “to touch”
  • considerare – “to consider”
  • mandare – “to send”
  • domandare – “to ask”
  • ascoltare – “to listen”
  • osservare – “to observe”
  • spiegare – “to explain”
  • mostrare – “to show”
  • significare – “to mean”
  • desiderare – “to wish”
  • giudicare – “to judge”
  • avvicinare – “to move closer” or “to approach”
  • ordinare – “to organize”, “to tidy up”, or “to order”
  • invitare – “to invite”
  • sbagliare – “to make a mistake”, “to miss”, or “to be mistaken”

The 33 Most Used Italian Verbs in the Second Group: -ere, -arre, -orre, or -urre

  • prendere – “to take”
  • mettere – “to put”
  • credere – “to believe”
  • vivere – “to live”
  • parere – “to seem”, “to appear”, “to believe” or “to think”
  • tenere – “to keep” or “to grip”
  • rispondere – “to answer”
  • chiudere – “to close” or “to end”
  • bere – “to drink”
  • raggiungere – “to reach”
  • comprendere – “to understand” or “to comprehend”
  • scendere – “to get off” or “to go down”
  • compiere – “to accomplish”, “to complete”, or “to carry out”
  • muovere – “to move”
  • conoscere – “to know”
  • chiedere – “to ask”
  • stringere – “to tighten”
  • decidere – “to decide”
  • ricevere – “to receive”
  • permettere – “to allow”
  • raccogliere – “to pick up”
  • ottenere – “to obtain”
  • ammettere – “to admit”
  • vendere – “to sell”
  • distinguere – “to distinguish” or “to recognize”
  • offendere – “to offend”
  • rimettere – “to replace” or “to refer”. When it is written as a
  • rompere – “to break”
  • godere – “to enjoy”
  • imporre – “to impose”
  • produrre – “to produce”
  • discutere – “to discuss” or “to argue” spegnere
  • prevedere – “to foresee”
  • spegnere – “to turn off” or “to put out”

The 21 Most Used Italian Verbs in the Third Group -ire

  • sentire – “to feel” or “to hear”
  • capire – “to understand”
  • morire – “to die”
  • aprire – “to open”
  • uscire – “to go out”
  • riuscire – “to succeed”
  • finire – “to end” or “to finish”
  • scrivere – “to write”
  • dormire – “to sleep”
  • avvenire – “to happen” or “to take place”
  • offrire – “to offer”
  • fuggire – “to flee”
  • riferire – “to refer”
  • impedire – “to prevent” or “to forbid”
  • divertire – “to entertain” or “to amuse”
  • fornire – “to provide”
  • riempire – “to fill”
  • scoprire – “to discover”
  • partire – “to leave” or “to depart”
  • unire – “to unite”
  • colpire – “to hit”

198 Frequently Used Italian Adjectives and Adverbs

Sometimes nouns and verbs on their own can’t convey a message clearly enough, and that’s when adjectives and adverbs come in handy.

These 198 frequently used Italian adjectives and adverbs will make your Italian much more colourful and bring your Italian to life.

The 8 Italian Possessive Adjectives

  • mio (mia/miei/mie) – “mine”
  • tuo (tua/tuoi/tue) – “yours” (singular second person)
  • suo (sua/suoi/sue) – “his” or “hers”
  • nostro (nostra/nostri/nostre) – “ours”
  • vostro (vostra/vostri/vostre) – “yours” (plural second person)
  • loro – “theirs”

Unlike in English, possessive adjectives in Italian have to agree with the noun that is possessed, and not the possessor, in genre and number.

Examples:

  • Il mio albero – “my tree”
  • La tua famiglia – “your family”
  • I suoi amici – “his friends”
  • Le nostre mani – “our hands”

Note: Loro is an exception as it always remains the same, no matter the noun to which it refers.

Examples:

  • i loro piedi – “their feet”
  • la loro vita – “their life”
  • le loro parole – “their words”

There are two additional Italian possessive adjectives which don’t have evident equivalents in English:

  • proprio (a/i/e) – “his own”/“her own”/“their own”

When proprio is a possessive adjective, it is used instead of suo/a and loro and only when it refers to something that belongs to the subject of the sentence: Ognuno porta il proprio cuaderno (“Everyone brings their own notebook.”)

  • altrui – “of others”/“of someone else”

Altrui is used when the noun to which it refers belongs to an indefinite person: le cose altrui (“other people’s things”).

Unlike proprio, altrui does not change depending on the genre and number of the noun it refers to.

8 Italian Indefinite Adjectives

Words we use on a daily basis like tutto/a/i/e (“all”), troppo/a/i/e (“too much/many”), and altro/a/i/e (“other”) are indefinite adjectives. They describe nouns in a non-specific sense: Devo parlare ad altre persone (“I need to talk to other people”).

  • tutto/a – “all”
  • poco/a – “little”
  • alcuno/a – “not any”, “no”, or “some”
  • ogni – “each”
  • qualsiasi – “any”
  • qualche – “some” or “a few”
  • altro/a – “other” or “different”

62 Italian Adjectives of Number

In Italian, the principal types of adjectives of number include the numeri cardinali (“cardinal numbers”), numeri ordinali (“ordinal numbers”), numeri moltiplicativi (“multiplicative numbers”) and numeri frazionari (“fractional numbers”).

The terms might sound intimidating, but they are actually very simple.

31 Italian Cardinal Numbers:

  • uno/a – “one”
  • due – “two”
  • tre – “three”
  • quattro – “four”
  • cinque – “five”
  • sei – “six”
  • sette – “seven”
  • otto – “eight”
  • nove – “nine”
  • dieci – “ten”
  • undici – “eleven”
  • dodici – “twelve”
  • tredici – “thirteen”
  • quattordici – “fourteen”
  • quindici – “fifteen”
  • sedici – “sixteen”
  • diciassette – “seventeen”
  • diciotto – “eighteen”
  • diciannove – “nineteen”
  • venti – “twenti”
  • trenta – “thirty”
  • quaranta – “fourty”
  • cinquanta – “fifty”
  • sessanta – “sixty”
  • settanta – “seventy”
  • ottanta – “eighty”
  • novanta – “ninety”
  • cento – “hundred” or “a hundred”
  • mille – “thousand” or “a thousand”
  • millione – “million”
  • milliardo – “billion”

You can form other cardinal numbers by combining some of these 31 words, such as trentuno (“thirty-one”) or duecentocinquantotto (“two hundred fifty-eight”).

The 13 Main Italian Ordinal Numbers:

  • primo/a – “first”
  • secondo/a – “second”
  • terzo/a – “third”
  • quarto/a – “fourth”
  • quinto/a – “fifth”
  • sesto/a – “sixth”
  • ottavo – “eighth”
  • nono – “ninth”
  • decimo – “tenth”
  • centesimo – “hundredth”
  • millesimo – “thousandth”

Note: ultimo is “last”.

The 6 Main Italian Multiplicative Numbers:

  • doppio/a – “double”
  • triplo/a/triplice – “triple”
  • quadruplo/a/quadruplice – “quadruple”
  • quintuplo/a/quintuplice – “quintuple”
  • decuplo/a/decuplice – “tenfold”
  • centuplo/a/centuplice – “a hundred times as much”

The 12 Main Italian Fractional Numbers:

  • mezzo/a/metà – “half”
  • un terzo – “one third”
  • un quarto – “one fourth”
  • un quinto – “one fifth”
  • un sesto – “one sixth”
  • un settimo – “one seventh”
  • un ottavo – “one eighth”
  • un nono – “one ninth”
  • un decimo – “one tenth”
  • un centesimo – “one hundredth”
  • un millesimo – “one thousandth”

50 of the Most Frequently Used Italian Adjectives

Some adjectives make it possible to describe the way something appears, where it is from, or the feelings it inspires. Here are 50 of the most frequently used Italian adjectives to help you do just so.

  • grande – “big”
  • stesso/a – “same”
  • bello/a – “beautiful” or “gorgeous”
  • nuovo/a – “new”
  • certo/a – “sure” or “certain”
  • vero/a – “true”
  • buono/a – “good”
  • italiano/a – “Italian”
  • vecchio/a – “old”
  • piccolo/a – “small”
  • giovane – “young”
  • alto/a – “tall”
  • diverso/a – “different”
  • lungo/a – “long”
  • povero/a – “poor”
  • maggiore– “greater”, “elder”, or “older
  • possibile – “possible”
  • caro/a – “expensive” or “dear”
  • pieno/a – “full”
  • nero/a – “black”
  • particolare – “specific” or “unique”
  • bianco/a – “white”
  • attuale – “current”
  • latino/a – “Latin”
  • impossibile – “impossible”
  • sereno/a – “serene” or “sunny”
  • puro/a – “pure”
  • normale – “normal”
  • perfetto/a – “perfect”
  • caratteristico/a – “characteristic”
  • russo/a – “Russian”
  • continuo/a – “continuous”
  • stupido/a – “stupid”
  • estremo/a – “extreme”
  • grigio/a – “gray”
  • reale – “real”
  • interessante – “interesting”
  • medesimo/a – “same”
  • religioso/a – “religious”
  • ampio/a – “wide”
  • biondo/a – “blonde”
  • ufficiale – “official”
  • attento – “attentive” or “alert”
  • enorme – “enormous”
  • sottile – “thin”
  • triste – “sad”
  • minimo – “smallest”, “slightest”, or “minimal”
  • privato/a – “private”
  • rapido/a – “fast”
  • diretto/a – “direct”

23 Italian Adverbs Derived from Adjectives

While adjectives mainly describe nouns, adverbs tend to modify, well… verbs. If you need an adverb but know only the adjective that explains the concept, chances are you will be able to build the adverb following the following rules.

In English, we sometimes add the suffix -ly to an adjective to turn it into an adverb. In Italian, the process is similar.

With adjectives that end in -o: Add -mente to the feminine form of the adjective.

Examples:

  • veramente – “truly”, “really”, or “actually”
  • francamente – “frankly”
  • esattamente – “exactly”
  • sinceramente – “sincerely”
  • profondamente – “deeply” or “profoundly”
  • certamente – “certainly”
  • improvvisamente – “suddenly”
  • chiaramente – “clearly”
  • direttamente – “directly”
  • raramente – “rarely”
  • altamente – “highly”

With adjectives that end in -e: Sometimes, you have to remove the -e and add -mente

Examples:

  • specialmente – “especially”
  • particolarmente – “particularly”
  • talmente – “so much” or “to such an extent”
  • cordialmente – “cordially”
  • abitualmente – “usually”
  • finalmente – “finally”
  • probabilmente – “probably”
  • eventualmente – “possibly”

Other times, you simply add -mente at the end of the word.

Examples:

  • velocemente – “quickly”
  • semplicemente – “simply”
  • recentemente – “recently”
  • fortemente – “strongly”

Practice is your best ally to differentiate when to do what with adjectives ending in -e.

Now let’s explore the realm of Italian adverbs that do not derive from adjectives.

12 Italian Adverbs of Place

  • fuori – “outside”
  • dentro – “inside”
  • sotto – “under” or “below”
  • davanti – “in front”
  • dietro – “behind” or “back”
  • qui – “here”, precise location
  • qua – “here”, imprecise location
  • – “there”, precise location
  • – “there”, imprecise location
  • via – “away”
  • lontano – “far”
  • vicino – “close”

11 Italian Adverbs of Quantity

  • più – “more”
  • meno – “less”
  • solo – “only”
  • tanto – “more” or “very much”
  • quasi – “almost”
  • poco – “little”
  • parecchio – “quite a lot” or “much”
  • abbastanza – “quite” or “enough”
  • almeno – “at least”
  • circa – “about” or “around”
  • per nulla – “at all”

11 Italian Adverbs of Time

  • poi – “then”
  • adesso – “now”
  • sempre – “always” or “forever”
  • mai – “never” or “never”
  • prima – “before”
  • subito – “immediately”
  • dopo – “after”
  • durante – “during”
  • ancora – “again” or “still”
  • presto – “soon”, “early”, or “rapidly”
  • già – “before” or “already”

8 Italian Adverbs of Manner

  • bene/ben – “well”
  • male – “bad”
  • forte – “heavily”
  • piano – “slowly” or “quietly”
  • appena – “just” or “only”
  • insieme – “together”
  • volentieri – “gladly” or “willingly”
  • meglio – “better”
  • peggio – “worse”

5 Miscellaneous Italian Adverbs

  • pure – “even”, “also”, or “too”
  • forse – “maybe”
  • piuttosto – “instead” or “rather”
  • inoltre – “moreover”
  • oltretutto – “besides”

The 10 Italian Subject Pronouns

Although these pronouns aren’t usually used in spoken Italian, it’s important to learn the 10 Italian subject pronouns to be able to study Italian conjugation.

  • io – “I”
  • tu – “you” (singular second person)
  • egli, ella, esso, Lei – “he”, “she”, “it”, “you” (formal singular)
  • noi – “us”
  • voi – “you” (plural)
  • essi, esse – “they” masculine, “they” feminine

Note: Egli, ella, esso, essi, esse are even less used than io, tu, Lei, noi, and voi in verbal communcation as they sound very formal. Often, they are replaced by lui (for egli), lei (for essa), and loro (for essi, esse), but only colloquially. Using lui, lei, and loro as subject pronouns is grammatically incorrect, but is done more and more often.

The 10 Italian Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are useful in sentences such as mi lavo (“I wash myself”). They indicate that the person who’s doing the action is also the recipient of the action.

In Italian, the reflexive pronouns are:

  • mi – “myself”
  • ti – “yourself”
  • si – “himself”/“herself”/“itself”/“yourself” (formal)
  • ci – “ourselves”
  • vi – “yourselves”
  • si – “themselves”

20 Core Italian Conjunctions and Connectors

Conjunctions and connectors are, you guessed it, words that help us tie together two parts of a sentence.

In Italian, the most used conjunctions and connectors are:

  • e – “and”
  • anche – “as well”, “also”, or “even”
  • dunque – “so”
  • allora – “so” or “therefore”
  • però – “but”, “yet”, or “however”
  • ma – “but”
  • perché – “because”
  • mentre – “while” or “whereas”
  • contro – “against”
  • invece – “instead”
  • o – “or”
  • – “neither” or “nor”
  • cioè – “that is (to say)” or “namely”
  • anzi – “instead”, “actually”, or “rather”
  • quindi – “therefore”
  • così – “thus”
  • perciò – “so” or “for this reason”
  • finché – “as long as”
  • nonostante – “although” or “even though”
  • a meno che or a meno che non – “unless”

The 10 Core Italian Prepositions

Prepositions show the relationship between two elements of a sentence. In Italian, the most common ones are:

  • tra – “between”
  • fra – “among”
    di – “of” or “from”
    a – “at”, “in”, or “on”
    da/dal/dalla – “from” or “to”
  • in – “at”, “in”, “to”, or “into”
    su – “on”, “up”, or “over”
    per – “for”
  • con – “with”
  • senza – “without”

The 7 Italian Question Words

Learning a new language conveys a lot of question-asking, which you will be able to face much better by knowing the seven question words in Italian:

  • chi – “who”
  • che – “what” (note: cosa? is also used to ask, “what?”)
  • dove – “where”
  • quando – “when”
  • come – “how”
  • perché – “why” (note: when not used as a question word but as a conjunction, perché means “because”)
  • quale (quali) – “which”

7 Popular Italian Interjections

Italians are fans of interjections, those little words that reveal the emotions of the speaker in a spontaneous reaction.

Here are some of the most popular Italian interjections:

  • – “yes”
  • no – “no” (mind-blowing, I know)
  • toh – “here, have it” or “look” → Example: Toh, chi si vede! (“Look who’s here!”)
  • peccato – “what a shame” (literally “sin”)
  • dai – “come on” (literally “give”)
  • ciao – “hello” and “goodbye”
  • ecco – “here”, “there”, or used to express comprehension → Ecco, lo sapevo! (“There, I knew it!”)

The 7 Italian Definite Articles

Unlike in English, gli articoli determinativi (“definite articles”) agree with the noun they refer to. Therefore, instead of being just one definite article like in English (“the”), there are six of them:

  • il or lo – “the” (masculine singular versions)
  • i or gli – “the” (masculine plural versions)
  • la – “the” (feminine singular version)
  • le – “the” (feminine plural version)
  • l’ – singular “the” placed in front of both masculine and feminine nouns that start with a vowel. It essentially is a contraction of lo and la.

Why are there two versions for the masculine “the”, both plural and singular? The default masculine definite articles are il and i, but they don’t sound good in front of certain combinations of letters. Therefore, lo and gli sometimes replace them.

You can learn the difference through practice, but I’m still leaving the rules here in case you’d like to give them a try (they’re quite easy!)

Lo and gli are used before words that start with:

  • pn-
  • *ps- *
  • gn-
  • z-
  • x-
  • y-
  • s- followed by a consonant
  • i- followed by a voyel

*Gli* precedes words that start with a vowel.

The 4 Italian Indefinite Articles

Unlike their definite cousins, gli articoli indeterminativi (“indefinite articles”) in Italian only exist in singular form. They are the equivalent of the English “a” and “an”.

  • un – “a” or “an” (standard masculine version)
  • uno – “a” (masculine version used in front of words starting z or s followed by a consonant)
  • una – “a” (feminine version in front of consonants)
  • un’ – “an” (feminine version in front of vowels)

The 7 Italian Partitive Articles

Gli articoli partitivi (“partitive articles”) are essential in Italian because they introduce unknown amounts. You could consider them the translation of “some” in sentences such as voglio dell’acqua (“I want some water”) or dammi dei prodotti (“give me some products”).

  • del – “some” (standard masculine singular version)
  • dello – “some” (masculine singular version)
  • della – “some” (feminine singular version in front of consonants)
  • dell’ – “some” (feminine and masculine singular version in front of vowels)
  • dei’ – “some” (masculine plural version)
  • degli’ – “some” (masculine plural version)
  • delle – “some” (feminine plural version)

The same rules that apply to the use of il, lo, i, gli apply to del, dello, dei, degli.

Strengthen Your Italian with the Most Used Italian Words

How do you feel about discovering the 500 core Italian words?

What if, by learning only five words every day, you’d ended up being able to have Italian interactions in around three months? Maybe you could participate in the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge to keep you motivated. By the end of the 90 days, you’d get to have a 15-minute conversation in Italian and use those 500 words!

You can also enrich your vocabulary by checking out these resources for learning Italian.

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Alice Cimino

Student, Freelance Content Creator

Alice is an undergraduate student who loves fiction, languages, and challenges. She's a bilingual by birth and a quadrilingual by consequence.

Speaks: French, Italian, Spanish, English

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