The more Italian you learn, the more you start noticing the little words. Often these are little words that could be used in English but are frequently omitted. We'll be looking at several of them, but let's start with the conjunction che. It is, indeed, a conjunction, but it can also be a pronoun or even an adjective in some cases. Most of the time it will mean "that" or "which," but it can also correspond to the relative pronoun "that" or "who." It can also mean "what?".
In Italian, we can't omit che, but in English, we can omit its equivalent, sometimes.
Mi dispiace che m'hanno bocciato.
I'm sorry they flunked me.Play Caption
The translation could have been:
I'm sorry that they flunked me.
1) There is a little error in the previous example. Maybe you can see why he flunked! What should he have said? (It's an error that lots of people make every day, so don't worry if you don't see it.)
Ma come faccio a entrare nella divisa che m'hai dato? Eh?
So how am I supposed to fit into the uniform you gave me? Huh?
Caption 38, La Ladra EP.11 Un esame importante - Part 7Play Caption
So how am I supposed to fit into the uniform that you gave me? Huh?
While this second translation isn't wrong, we don't need the "that."
2) What if the speaker were talking to more than one person. What might she have said?
Here's another example:
Supponiamo che stiamo preparando una pasta alla carbonara per quattro persone, quindi ci serviranno trecento grammi di pancetta, cinquecento grammi di pasta.
Let's assume we're preparing some pasta alla carbonara for four people, so we'll need three hundred grams of bacon, five hundred grams of pasta.
Captions 1-3, Adriano Pasta alla carbonara - Part 2Play Caption
We could have translated it like this:
Let's assume that we're preparing some pasta alla carbonara for four people, so we'll need three hundred grams of bacon, five hundred grams of pasta.
Typically, one of the cases where Italian uses the conjunction che and English does not is when using the verb "to know." Let's look at some examples.
Lo sai che abbiamo bisogno di te. -Sta sbattuta, Elisa.
You know we need you. -She's in bad shape, Elisa.
Caption 33, Chi m'ha visto film - Part 20Play Caption
It would be just as correct to say:
You know that we need you. -She's in bad shape, Elisa.
We just tend not to.
Here's an example in the imperfetto (simple past):
Sapevi che ti stavamo cercando.
You knew we were looking for you.Play Caption
It could have been translated as:
You knew that we were looking for you.
We have to keep in mind that in many cases, the conjunction che takes the subjunctive. This happens primarily with verbs that indicate uncertainty. This may be new for you, in which case, go ahead and check out the several lessons Yabla offers about the subjunctive.
So if instead of using the verb sapere (to know) which indicates certainty, we use the verb pensare (to think), we are in another grammatical sphere, or we could say, "mood." The congiuntivo (subjunctive mood).
Io... io penso che Karin sia andata via apposta.
I... I think that Karin went away on purpose.Play Caption
In this case, the translator did use "that" in English, but she could have chosen not to (which might have been more natural):
I... I think Karin went away on purpose.
3) What if you were to use the verb sapere in the above sentence?
4) What if the person were named Alfredo instead of Karin? Use both sapere and pensare.
When che means "who" or "whom," we are probably talking about a (relative) pronoun, not a conjunction. For our purposes, it doesn't really matter. What we do need to keep in mind is that, while we also have the pronoun chi meaning "who" or "whom" (with a preposition), when it's a relative pronoun, it's che.
Sì, al TG della sera hanno parlato di quel ragazzo che hanno ucciso. Assomiglia molto a uno che viene spesso...
Yes. On the evening news they talked about that boy they killed. He really looks like someone who often comes...
Captions 39-40, Provaci Ancora Prof! S1E3 - Una piccola bestia ferita - Part 10Play Caption
This is a bit tricky because in the example above, it would be a little bit awkward to fit in "whom" or "who." But it's interesting that we need the che in Italian to make the sentence make sense.
Yes. On the evening news they talked about that boy whom they killed. He really looks like someone who often comes...
Of course, a lot of Americans use "that" instead of "who" or "whom." It would still be awkward. It should be mentioned that in the previous example, "the boy" is the object, and that's when the che is omitted in English. But when it's the subject, we do need it.
Be', scusa se... se non t'abbiamo avvertito prima, ma c'è Valeria che deve dirti una cosa.
Well, sorry if... if we didn't let you know beforehand, but here's Valeria who has to tell you something.
Captions 37-38, Provaci Ancora Prof! S1E3 - Una piccola bestia ferita - Part 10Play Caption
Of course, the purpose of Yabla translations is to help you make sense of the Italian you hear and read. Sometimes taking a look at how our own language works can help, too. And when we are translating from English to Italian, we need to call on words we are omitting, so it can get tricky.
Hopefully, this lesson has helped you to be just a bit more aware of the word che. It's a word that means plenty of things, so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if you have some particular questions about che, please let us know and we'll try to shed some light on them. firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Mi dispiace che mi abbiano bocciato.
This may be open to question because the kid knows they flunked him, but some would argue that the subjunctive should have been used.
2) Lo sapete che abbiamo bisogno di voi. -Sta sbattuta, Elisa.
3) Io... io so che Karin è andata via apposta.
4) Io... io penso che Alfredo sia andato via apposta.
4b) Io... io so che Alfredo è andato via apposta.
Rispondere, with its English cognate "to respond" seems like it would be a very easy verb to use, and sometimes it is, indeed, easy. The verb rispondere translates as both "to respond" (its cognate) and "to answer" (a verb English inherited from the Old Norse "andsvar").
As with many verbs, by using a modal verb, we can keep the main verb in the infinitive, thereby avoiding the need to remember how to conjugate it.
Senti... Posso parlare con Luca? No, Luca non può rispondere, ha avuto un problema.
Listen... Can I speak with Luca? No, Luca can't answer, he had a problem.
Captions 49-50, Il Commissario Manara S1EP7 - Sogni di Vetro - Part 9Play Caption
If we don't include an object in the sentence, there are no complications. In the following example, we could also have translated rispondere with "to respond."
Va bene, allora seguo anch'io la normale procedura e prima di rispondere chiamo il mio avvocato.
All right, then I will also follow normal procedure and before I answer, I'll call my lawyer.
Captions 25-26, Il Commissario Manara S2EP8 - Fuori servizio - Part 6Play Caption
1) What if the speaker used the conjunction che (after prima) as an alternate way to say the same thing?
Once we start involving an object in our sentence (such as "the question"), we have to keep in mind that rispondere is an intransitive verb (meaning it doesn't take a direct object), so if I want to say, "I answer the question" in Italian, I have to use a preposition after the verb followed by an indirect object (in this case, la domanda (the question). Think: "I respond to the question."
Rispondo alla domanda (I answer the question/I respond to the question).
Se la sente di rispondere a qualche domanda? -Sì.
Do you feel you can answer a few questions? -Yes.Play Caption
2) Can you ask this same question to someone you are on familiar terms with?
Non ha risposto alla mia domanda. Che cosa vuole?
You haven't answered my question. What do you want?Play Caption
3) Can you say the same thing informally?
In English, "to respond" is intransitive and "to answer" is transitive, so we use them two different ways and we rarely have to think about it. We might think of using "to respond" in more formal situations.
I can respond to your letter or I can answer your letter.
But when we are translating from English to Italian, we have to remember that we need a preposition after rispondere.
We can also use rispondere where the indirect object is a person, perhaps expressed with a personal pronoun, as in the following example. In this case, we use "to answer" in our translation. "To respond" wouldn't work.
Toscani, per favore rispondimi. È importante, dai.
Toscani, please answer me. It's important. Come on.Play Caption
Memorizing rispondimi is a good idea. You never know when someone is going to faint and it's also handy to have when arguing with someone. Above all, remember that mi stands for a me (to me) so we do have a preposition (in this case a (to).
4) How would you say the same thing to a person you don't know very well? And for the record, you wouldn't say dai. Can you think of an alternative?
In the following clip, we have an indirect object pronoun in the Italian, but none in the English. These days, we might say "I didn't pick up," "I didn't answer the phone," I didn't answer your call," "I didn't return your call." But we probably wouldn't say "I didn't answer you" unless it were an email or a letter. In this context, we think of answering the phone, not the person.
Sì, lo so, mi hai chiamato cento volte, però io non ti ho risposto perché ho avuto un sacco di cose da fare, Teresa.
Yes, I know, you called me a hundred times, but I didn't answer because I had a bunch of things to do, Teresa.
Captions 23-24, Il Commissario Manara S1EP10 - Un morto di troppo - Part 1Play Caption
5) The above clip is very informal, between brother and sister, but he could have said he hadn't answered the phone. How could he have phrased it?
There are plenty of instances in which Italians insert an indirect object pronoun, where in English, none is called for. It's just something to be aware of.
We hope this lesson has provided some clarity about using the verb rispondere. If you have more questions, don't hesitate to write to us at email@example.com
1) Va bene, allora seguo anch'io la normale procedura e prima che risponda, chiamo il mio avvocato.
1b) Va bene, allora seguo anch'io la normale procedura e prima che risponda io, chiamo il mio avvocato.
2) Te la senti di rispondere a qualche domanda? -Sì.
3) Non hai risposto alla mia domanda. Che cosa vuoi?
4) Agente Toscani, mi risponda, per favore. È importante, la prego.
5) Sì, lo so, mi hai chiamato cento volte, però io non ho risposto al telefono/alla tua chiamata perché ho avuto un sacco di cose da fare, Teresa.
In this week's segment of Sposami, there is talk of modelling wedding gowns. The verb used at one point is indossare. If we look closely, we might recognize the root word dosso, which in Dante's time, was a variant of the noun dorso, meaning "spine," or "back."
We can make the clothing connection with the English hyperbolic idiom "giving someone the shirt off one's back," referring to generosity. The noun dosso is no longer used to mean "back," exactly, but it means "bump," such as a bump in the road or a speed bump.
In a previous lesson we talked about the adverb addosso or di dosso (which bring images of someone on your back). So even though we don't use dosso to mean "back" anymore, it has been incorporated into other words and phrases that have become crystalised as standard.
In this lesson, we will look at the verb indossare and other verbs that have to do with putting clothes on. We talked about taking clothes off in this lesson!
Practice: At the end of some video examples, there's a little grammar question, giving you the chance to expand on the example itself. You'll find the answers at the bottom of the page. Don't worry if they give you trouble, as they are aimed at more advanced learners. It may be an opportunity to find out what you don't know and to ask us questions! We'll be glad to give you some answers. Make sure to read the full lesson before answering the questions, as they might refer to examples further down the page.
If we have to model an outfit, we have to wear it, but in this case, it's wearing something with the specific purpose of displaying it. Indossare is the best choice if we are looking for a verb.
E poi, se proprio servisse di indossare un abito, posso farlo io. -No, tu no.
And besides, if it were really necessary to model a dress, I can do it. -No, you can't.
Captions 32-33, Sposami EP 2 - Part 3Play Caption
1) Nora starts her sentence in the subjunctive but finishes it in the indicative rather than the conditional (not really correct). What if she were to finish it in the conditional? What would she have said?
Regarding the video clip, the translation of indossare could also have been "to put on," or "to wear," but we thought it was important to make the distinction regarding the purpose: not putting something on to go and buy milk, but to put it on display. And let's remember that "to model" in this context can't be translated into Italian with modellare. That doesn't quite work (false friend).
When we talk about modeling a dress or outfit, it's sometimes done by a professional model. Although the term modella (usually in the feminine version) is used to mean "fashion model," the more "Italian" term is indossatrice. During the period of Italian fascism, foreign words were rooted out, including the commonly used French noun mannequin. By law, it had to be replaced by indossatrice.
If you haven't seen the documentary about the Italian Language and Italian Fascism (on Yabla), check it out. Ne vale la pena (it's worth the effort). There is mention of removing words like modella or the French "mannequin" from the language and using a more Italian word.
Parole straniere e borghesia sono mali da estirpare. [Mannequin - Indossatrice]
Foreign words and the bourgeoisie are evils to be rooted out. [Mannequin – indossatrice] (fashion model)
Captions 6-7, Me Ne Frego Il Fascismo e la lingua italiana - Part 5Play Caption
That said, the verb indossare is used all the time by Italians. It's transitive, so we can use the question word "what."
Al momento della scomparsa, indossava un paio di jeans chiari, delle scarpe da ginnastica anonime...
When she went missing, she was wearing a pair of light colored jeans, unbranded sneakers...
Captions 37-38, Chi m'ha visto film - Part 7Play Caption
2) How would you say this using the adjective vestito?
The basic verb for getting dressed is vestire (to dress), used in the reflexive, vestirsi.
Eh, scusate, commissario, ma come ci dobbiamo vestire? -Eh, infatti. Il tema della festa è anni ottanta, quindi regolatevi.
Uh, sorry Commissioner, but how should we dress? -Yeah, exactly. The theme of the party is the eighties, so act accordingly.
Captions 39-40, Il Commissario Manara S2EP4 - Miss Maremma - Part 11Play Caption
The question word in our example is come (how), which we commonly answer with an adverb or adverbial phrase. We can't follow it with a noun, as with indossare. Sometimes we choose one word over the other depending on how we want to construct the phrase, or what we want to include or exclude.
3). But what if he had used the question word "what?" How could he have posed the question?
The verb vestire is often transformed into the adjective vestito. In this case, the person is already dressed.
Mamma è morta sei mesi fa e papà aveva organizzato una messa in suffragio. Ecco perché era vestito così elegante.
Mom died six months ago and Dad had organized an intercession mass. That's why he was dressed so elegantly.
Captions 20-22, Il Commissario Manara S2EP2 - L'addio di Lara - Part 2Play Caption
4) Maybe we could modify the second sentence in the example above — to say something similar — using the verb indossare. You will have to come up with a direct object noun to make it work.
Let's keep in mind that vestito is also a noun meaning "dress" or, for a man, "suit."
Just as in English, Italian uses the verb mettere (to put). But whereas in English, we say "to put on," Italian uses the reflexive form mettersi (to put on).
Tu che cosa ti metti? Io avevo pensato di mettermi il vestito rosso.
What are you going to wear? I thought of wearing my red dress.
Caption 34, Anna e Marika Il verbo pensarePlay Caption
In this last example, the question is che cosa (what [thing]?). So we will need a noun as an answer. The formula is reflexive verb mettersi + noun.
5) We can do 2 exercises with this example.
a) Use the transitive verb indossare in the question and in the answer. In this case it is a learning exercise, but an unlikely real-life option!
b) Ask the question with come. You can still use mettersi or indossare in the answer, or you can come up with something using the same verb as in the question. In this case you'll need to be creative.
We'll often hear someone giving this order to someone else.
Dai, forza, vestiti.
Come on, get dressed.Play Caption
6) If you were giving this command to a bunch of kids, what would you say? Tip: Don't worry that dai is singular. it's an expression that stays in the singular.
But attenzione. As you can hear in the example, in the previous example in the imperative, the stress is on the first syllable. It looks exactly like the plural of the noun vestito, (dress, suit) as in the following example, but sounds different. When used in the plural, i vestiti means "clothes."
Eh, andate a cercare i vestiti per la festa. Forza, via, via.
Yeah, go find some clothes for the party. Go on, get going, get going.Play Caption
Once you have dressed, you are wearing something. We can use indossare, of course, but we can also use the verb portare (to carry).
7) Let's say you are asking this question, not to a friend, but to your boss, or to your Italian mother in law, with whom you are on formal terms. What would you say?
Secondo me dovresti portare la gonna più spesso perché ti sta molto bene.
In my opinion, you should wear a skirt more often. It looks very good on you.Play Caption
8) What's another way to say the same thing? There's more than one!
We've talked about different verbs we can use to talk about getting dressed and wearing clothes: vestire (used reflexively) indossare (transitive), mettersi un vestito (reflexive with a direct object), portare (transitive). Find out more about clothing in this video from Marika. Adriano also talks about clothes to wear in the different seasons.
Now to some solutions for the quiz questions scattered throughout the lesson:
1) E poi, se proprio servisse di indossare un abito, potrei farlo io. -No, tu no.
2) Al momento della scomparsa, era vestita con un paio di jeans chiari, delle scarpe da ginnastica anonime...
3) Eh, scusate, commissario, ma cosa ci dobbiamo mettere?
4) Ecco perché indossava un vestito così elegante.
5a) Tu che cosa indossi/indosserai? Io avevo pensato di indossare il vestito rosso.
5b) Come ti vesti? Io avevo pensato di vestirmi di rosso.
Io avevo pensato di vestirmi con il vestito rosso.
Io avevo pensato di mettermi il vestito rosso.
6) Dai, forza, vestitevi!
7) Secondo me dovrebbe portare la gonna più spesso perché le sta molto bene.
8) Secondo me dovrebbe indossare la gonna più spesso perché le sta molto bene.
Secondo me dovrebbe mettersi la gonna più spesso perché le sta molto bene.
Afterword: When we use the reflexive verb vestirsi, it's tricky because we can't use a direct object after it as we can with mettersi. We need the conjuction con (with) after it, or an adverbial phrase, which answers the question come (how).
One such phrase that comes to mind is: Vestirsi a cipolla (to dress in layers).
Quando vado in montagna, mi vesto sempre a cipolla (I always dress in layers [literally, "onion-style") when I go mountain climbing).
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks for reading!
We've talked about noticing things or not in various ways.
And we mentioned a couple of standalone phrases or expressions regarding noticing things, such as:
Ti rendi conto (do you realize)?
C'hai fatto caso (did you notice)?
Non c'ho fatto caso (I didn't notice).
There are other ways to call someone's attention to something, give them information, or a warning about something. Here are 7. We note that these verbs are almost always followed by the conjunction che (that). Since we are not talking about hypotheses, but rather statements of fact, we don't use the subjunctive in this case, as we often do after che.
New feature: At the end of each example, there's a little grammar question, giving you the chance to expand on the example itself. You'll find the answers at the bottom of the page. Don't worry if they give you trouble, as they are aimed at more advanced learners. It may be an opportunity to find out what you don't know and to ask us questions! We'll be glad to oblige.
We looked at notare in another lesson. Instead of using notare (to notice) by itself, in the imperative, for example, we can say far notare (to "make someone notice," to point out). There is often a particle representing the object pronoun and the preposition in the mix. In following example, Daniela is pointing out something to her class so she uses the second person plural vi (to you). Note that it comes before the verb!
Infine, vi faccio notare che "in effetti", come espressione a sé stante, come espressione singola, senza aggiungere altre parole dopo, si usa per affermare che si è convinti di qualcosa.
To finish up, I will point out to you that "in effetti," as a standalone expression, as an expression on its own, without adding other words after it, is used to affirm that we are convinced of something.
Captions 47-51, Corso di italiano con Daniela Infatti - In effetti - Part 4Play Caption
Q1) If Daniela were giving a private lesson, and thus were speaking to just one person, what do you think she would say?
Similar to far notare is fare presente. I'm calling your attention to some fact or situation. I'm presenting you with some information. I'm making you aware of it.
Ottimo lavoro, Arianna. Ti ringrazio per avermi fatto presente la situazione.
Great work, Arianna. Thank you for letting me know about the situation.Play Caption
Q2) If I were speaking on behalf of my company, how could I change this sentence?
Ma anche la città di Genova, con i suoi vicoli, è molto affascinante e da segnalare anche l'Acquario di Genova, che è molto famoso.
But also the city of Genoa, with its alleys, is very appealing and one should also mention the Genoa Aquarium, which is very famous.
Captions 79-80, L'Italia a tavola Interrogazione sulla LiguriaPlay Caption
In the previous example, we could have translated it with "to point out" or "to call attention to."
Q3) If you were telling one other person about about the Genoa acquarium, what could you say? This is harder than the previous example, and there is not only one possibility.
Signor Pitagora, La volevo avvertire che per trovare i soldi per la sua operazione, mio fratello ha rinunciato a tutti i diritti sull'azienda.
Mister Pitagora, I wanted to let you know that to get the money for your operation, my brother gave up all his rights to the company.
Captions 95-97, Questione di Karma Rai Cinema - Part 15Play Caption
There are other nuances of avvertire, but for now we will stick with the one that means "to warn," "to let someone know." You are turning someone's attention to something. Avvertire can be used with a menacing tone, as a warning.
Q4) The example uses the (singular) polite form (which is actually the third person singular), but what if you were telling a colleague or friend the same thing? What might you say?
I fratelli Troisgros, quando comunicai loro che volevo tornare a Milano, ci rimasero male.
The Troisgros brothers, when I communicated to them that I wanted to return to Milan, were disappointed.
Captions 45-46, L'arte della cucina I Luoghi del Mondo - Part 17Play Caption
This is a cognate that is easy to understand, but in addition to its meaning "to communicate" in general, Italians often use it to let you know something, sort of like avvertire. It might have been more authentic to translate it as "when I let them know that I wanted to return to Milan..." or "when I informed them..."
This is an interesting example because it contains the verb comunicare (to communicate) in the passato remoto (remote past tense), first person singular. And in addition, the object personal pronoun is the third person plural. We don't see this very often in everyday conversation.
Q5) It would be perhaps more common these days to hear this kind of sentence expressed in the passato prossimo, which, we recall, is used, not as the present perfect in English, but as the simple past tense: something over and done with. Try conveying this same message using the passato prossimo.
Be', ma allora dobbiamo subito avvisare qualcuno, eh.
Well, so then we should alert someone right away, huh.Play Caption
Q6) In the previous example, we don't know who to alert. But we do have to alert someone. What if we do know who to alert? Let's say we have already been talking about that person, say, someone's father— Masculine, singular. How could we construct this sentence? There's more than one correct solution.
Another cognate is of course, informare. So if nothing else comes to mind, informare works as a great verb for letting someone know something.
Be', ho dovuto informare tutti i nostri attuali inserzionisti che tutti i contratti futuri subiranno un aumento del prezzo del trenta per cento.
Well, I've had to inform all our current advertisers that all future contracts will undergo a thirty percent increase in cost.Play Caption
Eh... -Va bene, va bene, va bene, tenetemi informato.
Uh... -OK. OK. OK. Keep me informed.Play Caption
In the previous example, we have a new element: the verb tenere (to hold, to keep). It's pretty close to how we do it in English, which is great news, vero?
Q7) What if you are telling just one person to keep you informed? How would you say that?
As you can see, each verb has a slightly different meaning, but all are used to call attention to something and to share information.
A1) Ti faccio notare che...
A2) Ti ringrazio per averci fatto presente la situazione.
A3) e ti segnalo anche l'acquario...
e ti posso anche segnalare l'acquario...
A4) Susanna, ti volevo avvertire che...
A5) I fratelli Troisgros, quando ho comunicato loro che volevo tornare a Milano, ci sono rimasti male.
A6) Be', ma allora lo dobbiamo avvisare subito, eh.
Be', ma allora dobbiamo avvisarlo subito, eh.
A7) Tienimi informato (or if you are a female: tienimi informata).
What are some expressions you use everyday that you wish you knew how to say in Italian? Let us know and we'll try to provide some answers.
Let's look at 5 more ways to use the noun il conto in everyday conversation. The first two involve prepositions:
When we do something on someone's behalf, we use per conto di.
La leggenda racconta di miniere dove a scavare erano dei nani per conto del re Laurino.
The legend tells of mines where dwarfs were excavating on behalf of the king Laurin.
Captions 23-24, Alberto Angela - Meraviglie EP. 5 - Part 10Play Caption
Oltre a questo lavoro giornalistico più specifico, lavoro anche come, come responsabile di uffici stampa per conto di varie realtà.
Besides this more specific journalistic job, I also work as head of press offices on behalf of various organizations.Play Caption
An expression we might see in a contract about power of attorney is:
agire in nome e per conto di (to act in the name of and on behalf of)
This expression can also mean "of one's own" and is used quite frequently as in the following example.
Perché la mi' figliola [mia figlia] c'ha già tanti problemi per conto suo.
Because my daughter has enough problems of her own.Play Caption
It can also mean on one's own:
Non faccio in tempo a venire a casa per pranzo. Mangio per conto mio.
I don't have time to come home for lunch. I'll eat on my own.
If we use the preposition su (on) then it can mean "about." We usually use it in reference to people.
No, io devo smentire delle cattiverie che girano sul mio conto.
No, I have to prove wrong the maliciousness that's circulating about me.Play Caption
Anche se ultimamente si dicono un sacco di cose sul suo conto...
Even though lately they've said a lot of things about her...Play Caption
These next examples involve a verb plus conto:
Mah, la libertà è una grossa parola, perché bisogna sempre tener conto delle persone che abbiamo intorno.
Well, freedom is a strong word, because we always have to take into account the people we're surrounded by.
Captions 22-23, Che tempo che fa Monica BellucciPlay Caption
Here's an example using the particle ne (about it, of it) as well. It takes the place of di qualcosa (about/of something):
Tu vedrai che i giudici ne terranno conto, ascoltami.
You will see that the judges will take it into account, listen to me.Play Caption
When someone is telling you to listen to how things add up, or how things fit together, they might say:
Fai conto... (take this into consideration, do the math..., let's see... figure this in...)
Like many expressions, there are some people who use this expression regularly, and others who never use it. It can be added into a sentence as is, on its own. Instead of doing the math oneself, the speaker is having you participate. It's a modo di dire.
Ci vogliono, fai conto, tre ore per andare da Pisa a Bologna in macchina.
It will take — you should count — three hours to go from Pisa to Bologna by car.
Cammina, cammina. Sai quanti chilometri faccio io al giorno? -Quanti? -Fai conto tre pedinamenti, per dire, eh.
Yeah, walk. You know how many kilometers I do per day? -How many? -Figure three tails, to give you an idea, huh.
Captions 14-15, Il Commissario Manara S2EP6 - Sotto tiro - Part 1Play Caption
Fare conto can also be used with che (that) to make a more complex sentence.
Fai conto che io faccio tanti kilometri al giorno.
Take into account that I do three kilometers per day.
Fare conto doesn't necessarily have to do with numbers or counting. It can also mean "to assume that" or even "to pretend that" in certain contexts and in this case it takes the subjunctive.
Fai conto che io sia tua madre (anche se sono la zia), e devi fare quello che dico io.
Think of me as your mother (even though I am your aunt) and you have to do as I say.
We hope these ways for using il conto will be useful to you. Maybe you will hear them used in a movie, or when an Italian is explaining something to you. Now you know!
Can you think of other ways this noun is used? Let us know at email@example.com.
In a previous lesson, we talked about the noun conto as part of the phasal verb rendersi conto (to realize). A learner has written in asking if this can be synonymous with accorgersene (to notice, to realize). The answer is yes, sometimes, depending on the context. There is a lesson on the pronominal, reflexive verb accorgersene, so check it out.
In this lesson, we will continue to look at the noun il conto and how it fits into various expressions, with meanings that might seem to depart from the cognate "account." But let's keep in mind that in many cases, although English speakers prefer different turns of phrase, we can connect these with "account," if we look hard enough. After all, in English, we use the word "account" in lots of different ways, too.
Here are some examples from Yabla videos of how people use conto or conti in authentic speech.
Dopotutto bisogna fare i conti con i propri limiti ogni tanto, o no?
After all, one has to come to terms with one's own limits, every now and then, right?Play Caption
The previous example is from the biopic about Adriano Olivetti, which has been proven to be quite popular with subscribers. At the Olivetti typewriter factory, they're talking about selling it!
In the example below, the subject is Covid-19, and the fact that we have to come to terms with it, to reckon with it. Different translations but a similar concept.
Come ormai tutti sapete, non solo l'Italia, ma tutto il mondo sta cominciando a fare i conti con questa [sic: questo] assassino invisibile.
As everyone knows by now, not only Italy, but the whole world is starting to have to reckon with this invisible killer.
Captions 7-9, COVID-19 Andrà tutto benePlay Caption
So we're talking about dealing with something, facing something, taking something into consideration, taking something into account, or even taking stock.
Here's a practical situation in which one might use fare i conti. This time it does have to do with money.
Let's say I have someone do a job for me, say, getting a swimming pool up and running after the winter, and afterwards, I want to know how much I have to pay for it. Instead of just saying quanto ti devo? (how much do I owe you?), I can be a bit more roundabout. I can leave the door open for a conversation and allow for a justification of the fee I will be paying, compared to the initial preventivo (estimate), or for talking about a discount. I am letting the person I hired know that I am ready to settle up or at least to determine how much it will come to.
Dobbiamo fare i conti (we have to tally up, or "Let's figure out how much I owe you").
We can make the act of tallying up more casual, perhaps less about money, by using un po' (a little, a few) or due (two), which doesn't really mean the number 2, but is a generic low-grade plural to mean "some." In the following example, the number due (two) could replace un po'.
Che poi se facciamo un po' di conti, sono sempre io a perdonare per prima.
Which, after all, if we do the math here, I'm always the first one to forgive.
Captions 10-11, La Ladra EP. 8 - Il momento giusto - Part 6Play Caption
Uno si fa due conti e inizia a pensare che se tutti si vogliono innamorare, un motivo ci sarà.
You add things up and start thinking that if everyone wants to fall in love, there must be a reason.
Captions 42-43, Il Commissario Manara S1EP10 - Un morto di troppo - Part 2Play Caption
Another expression with conti comes from math and accounts, but has to do with summing up. It's a way of saying, "All in all," "in the end," "all things considered," "after all is said and done..."
Be', in fin dei conti, si tratta solo di ratificare uno stato di fatto.
Well, in the end, it's just a matter of ratifying a state of affairs.Play Caption
An expression that is used both in talking about money and about pretty much anything, is the the equivalent of "things don't add up."
E hai scoperto qualcosa? -Non ancora, ma i conti non tornano.
And did you discover anything? -Not yet, but things don't add up.
Captions 20-21, Il Commissario Manara S1EP11 - Beato tra le donne - Part 4Play Caption
There is still plenty to say about the noun conto, but we'll save it for next time! So stay tuned, and thanks for reading.
There's a word that Italians use every day in various contexts, with different nuances. If you follow Yabla's instagram account, you will have seen a reference to this recently. Poi facciamo i conti is something parents might say to their kids. The kids did something bad, but they are out in public, maybe having a good time. "We'll settle this later," is what they are saying with Poi, facciamo i conti.
But let's unpack this phrase, and to start with, the noun involved: il conto. If we look up conto in the dictionary, this is what we get: So one very common meaning of il conto is "the bill" or "check" you ask for after eating in a restaurant. It suffices to say:
Il conto per favore (the check please).
Here is another example from authentic conversation:
Eh, Marika, chiediamo il conto allora? -Sì. Scusi, posso avere il conto, per favore? -Vi porto subito il conto. -Grazie. -Grazie.
Uh, Marika, so shall we ask for the bill? -Yes. Excuse me, can I have the bill please? -I'll bring you the bill right away. -Thanks. -Thanks.
Captions 60-61, Anna e Marika Un Ristorante a TrasteverePlay Caption
Another way in which Italians love to use the noun conto is in the reflexive phrasal verb rendersi conto (to realize):
Avevo capito che, in tutti questi anni, è stata innamorata di lui. E per trent'anni gli ha dato del Lei, ma ti rendi conto?
I'd figured out that, for all these years, she'd been in love with him. And for thirty years she addressed him formally, can you imagine that?Play Caption
This is such a common Italian modo di dire that it is definitely worth learning. Even though there are various ways we translate this into English depending on the context, it's a good idea to pay attention to hearing it and try to get a sense of when it's used, without trying to figure out its precise English equivalent. We translators are obliged to, but learners can just learn by listening.
Ti rendi conto is what you say when you are shocked and surprised by something and find it hard to believe and it can even stand alone as a value judgement, often negative.
Ma ti rendi conto? Can you fathom that? Do you have any idea?
Of course, if you are speaking formally, to your boss, for example, it's a bit different: We use the third person singular (= formal second person) reflexive.
La stampa locale ci sta addosso. È trapelata quella storia assurda degli incontri clandestini della De Santis a casa Sua. Ma si rende conto?
The local press is on our backs. This absurd story has leaked about De Santis's clandestine meetings at your house. Do you have any idea?Play Caption
But apart from that expression, rendersi conto di qualcosa is "to realize something."
Viene definita sindrome della mantide religiosa; consciamente non si rende conto di essere un'assassina.
It's called the "praying mantis" syndrome; she doesn't consciously realize that she's an assassin.Play Caption
This is something you can say in the negative when you failed to notice something or were unaware of something you did. In our next example, the speaker uses that little particle ne, which stands for "it" or "about it." Note that when we use rendersi conto in the present perfect, we use the auxiliary verb essere (to be) because the verb is reflexive. Forming these turns of phrase is a bit of a challenge for learners!
E quindi l'ha uccisa. Ma io non volevo, io... non me ne sono neanche reso conto. Una notte ho deciso di affrontarla.
And so you killed her. But I didn't want to. I... I didn't even realize it. One night I decided to confront her.Play Caption
Un conto can often be translated as "thing," when you are talking about evaluating a situation: Here the dialogue is about stealing items from a hotel room.
Un conto è se ti pigli una saponetta, che non se ne accorge nisciun [nessuno]...
It's one thing if you swipe a soap because no one will notice...
Captions 75-76, L'oro di Scampia film - Part 10Play Caption
Ci siamo resi conto che c'è tanto da dire sul conto della parola "il conto", insieme ad il suo plurale, "i conti".
We've realized that there is a lot to say on the subject of the word il conto and its plural: i conti.
To be continued! We will talk about fare i conti, sul conto di, fare conto, and more! Thanks for reading!
In a previous lesson we talked about the preposition in, and in a subsequent lesson we talked about how we modify the preposition in when a definite article follows it. The preposition a works in a similar way, and sometimes means the same thing as in, but certainly not always.
A is used to refer to places, both going somewhere and being somewhere. Sound familiar? Yes. Just like in, a can mean "to" (indicating direction to a place) or "at" (indicating being in a place). Consider this short example.
OK, ho finito. Vado a casa (OK, I'm done. I'm going home).
Che bello! Finalmente sono a casa (how great! I'm finally home)!
Note that if I say sono in casa, I imply that I am inside the house, whereas if I say sono a casa, it might mean I am at home, but outside in the garden!
If we look at the preposition a in the dictionary, there's a long list of meanings, or rather, uses. But in this lesson, we'll look at just a few of the most common ways you need to know how to use this preposition.
We also say a scuola with no article. This is similar to English.
Sono a scuola (I'm at school)
Sto andando a scuola (I'm going to school).
Although these locations without an article are exceptions, they are important ones, since most of us have a home and many of us go to school or have kids or friends who go to school. Another perhaps less crucial one is a teatro ("to" or "at the theater").
In most other cases regarding places, we do need a definite article after the preposition, as in:
A me e a Vladi piace andare a ballare la sera, uscire con gli amici, andare a vedere qualche bel film al cinema e fare molto sport.
Valdi and I like to go dancing at night, going out with our friends, going to see a good film at the movies and playing a lot of sports.
Captions 17-20, Adriano la sua ragazzaPlay Caption
Dall'Umbria alla Toscana, il passo è breve.
From Umbria to Tuscany, it's but a short way.
Caption 2, Alberto Angela - Meraviglie EP. 4 - Part 6Play Caption
But for now, let's look at some other ways we use the preposition a.
We use a to talk about "when" or "until when."
For example, when we talk about "at what time" something is going to happen, we use a and in this case we use a definite article when talking about "at what time."
La mattina mi sveglio intorno alle otto.
In the morning I wake up at around eight o'clock.
Caption 5, Adriano GiornataPlay Caption
Why is it le otto? Isn't that plural? Yes. We use the feminine plural definite article (le) because there's a "hidden" word: le ore (the hours). Think of a clock striking the hours. So, yes. Time, when considered by the clock, is expressed in the plural, and of course, it takes some getting used to. For more about telling time, see this video from Marika.
But if we are talking about noon or midnight, then it's in the singular and there is no article.
Io mi ricordo che a casa mia si mangiava, allora, il, a mezzogiorno si mangiava: il primo, la carne, il contorno e la frutta,
I remember that at my house we'd eat, then, the, at noon we'd eat: the first course, meat, vegetable and fruit,
Captions 33-35, L'arte della cucina La Prima Identitá - Part 14Play Caption
We also use a when we talk about until what time something will go on.
Sì, ma fino a mezzanotte il commissario sono io.
Yes, but until midnight, I'm the commissioner.Play Caption
When we mention the months or a holiday, we use a:
Sembrava che la nebbia ci fosse anche a Ferragosto.
It seemed as though there was fog even at/on Ferragosto (national holiday on August 15th).Play Caption
E si possono pagare con varie rate, anche non tutte insieme. Varie rate che scadono ogni semestre, perché l'anno dell'u'... l'anno in cui si frequenta l'università è diviso in due semestri. -Il primo che va da settembre a gennaio, e il secondo, va da? -Il secondo va da febbraio a luglio.
And you can pay in various installments, not all at once. Different installments that are due every semester, because the school year... the year in which you attend university is divided into two semesters. -The first that goes from September to January, and the second, goes from? -The second goes from February to July.
Captions 18-22, Serena sistema universitario italianoPlay Caption
And finally, we use a when we say what something is like, what something is made of, or in what way something is done. We often use "with" for this in English, or we use an adjective. This topic is addressed in the Yabla lesson: A Righe or a Quadretti?
We talk about olio di oliva spremuto a freddo (cold-pressed olive oil).
In the following example, Monica Bellucci is describing how she goes about her career. Note that since istinto (instinct) starts with a vowel, she adds a d to the a!
Ma io non ho una formula, guarda, vado a m'... vado avanti molto ad istinto.
Well I don't have a formula, look, I go... I go along very much by instinct.
Caption 47, That's Italy Episode 1 - Part 3Play Caption
Here are two expressions, one with a and one with in, that essentially mean the same thing. You just have to remember which is which. They are worth memorizing.
Ad ogni modo, mi piace tanto.
In any case, I like her a lot.
Caption 36, Adriano la sua ragazzaPlay Caption
In ogni caso, anche se sapevo che era veramente una cosa folle, ho deciso di prendere Ulisse,
In any case, even though I knew it was really a crazy thing, I decided to take Ulisse,
Captions 28-29, Andromeda La storia di UlissePlay Caption
Looking forward to seeing you in the next lesson. A presto!
We recently talked about the preposition in: what it means and how to use it. While we don't always use an article with the noun following it, we often do. And when we do use in with a definite article, we combine the preposition and the article to form what we call una preposizione articolata (an "articled" preposition).
Basically, the n, instead of being at the end of the preposition in, gets moved to the beginning of the word and is followed by an e. After that, the ending will change according to the gender and number of the definite article, as well as whether the word following it starts with a vowel.
Here's the list:
(in + il) nel
(in + lo) nello
(in + l') nell'
(in + la) nella
(in + i) nei
(in + le) nelle
Nel frattempo, riempiamo una pentola d'acqua
In the meantime, we'll fill a pot with waterPlay Caption
We say nel because it's il frattempo. But here's a tip. Actually, we rarely say il frattempo. Most of the time you will find the noun frattempo together with the preposition nel. It's curious because the noun frattempo already comes from another preposition fra (between) and the noun tempo (time). In English we can say "in the meantime" or "meanwhile," which mean almost the same thing. But we need to translate both of these as nel frattempo or, alternatively, nel mentre, which means the same thing.
Questo è fondamentale quando ci si trova appunto nello studio di doppiaggio a dover affrontare un, un testo oppure un personaggio.
This is fundamental when you find yourself, in fact, in the dubbing studio and need to deal with a script or a character.
Captions 16-17, Arianna e Marika Il lavoro di doppiatricePlay Caption
We say nello because we say lo studio (the studio). So here, you have to pay attention to the first letter of the word following the preposition. It will start with an S plus a consonant, or a Z, and sometimes Y.
"Quanti libri hai nello zaino?
"How many books do you have in your backpack?
Caption 9, Marika spiega La particella NE - Part 2Play Caption
Oppure nello yogurt, la mela sciolta diciam'... ridotta a polpa nello yogurt, sempre sul viso, è idratante.
Or else in some yogurt, an apple dissolved, let's say... reduced to a pulp in some yogurt, again on the face, is moisturising.
Caption 22, Enea Mela - Part 2Play Caption
Il tasto "play" e "pause" si trova esattamente nello stesso punto del pannello di controllo.
The "play" and "pause" button is located in exactly the same spot on the control panel.
Captions 15-16, Italian Intro SerenaPlay Caption
We use l' when the first letter of the word following the article starts with a vowel. We double the L and add an apostrophe.
Nell'ultimo ventennio, i coronavirus si sono imposti all'attenzione del mondo in tre momenti precisi:
In the last twenty years, coronaviruses have caught the attention of the entire world in three precise moments:
Captions 27-29, COVID-19 Domande frequenti - Part 1Play Caption
Allora, può intagliare così, può intagliare un pomodoro così, mettere una pentola d'acqua a bollire e tenere i pomodori nell'acqua bollente per dieci minuti.
So, they can make an incision like this, they can cut a notch in a tomato like so, put up a pot of water to boil, and keep the tomatoes in the boiling water for ten minutes.
Captions 10-14, L'Italia a tavola La pappa al pomodoro - Part 2Play Caption
È da circa otto minuti che i nostri spaghetti stanno cuocendo nella pentola.
It's been about eight minutes that our spaghetti has been cooking in the pot.
Caption 38, Adriano Spaghetti pomodoro e aglioPlay Caption
E due luoghi sacri si trovano proprio nei punti più alti della città:
And two sacred places are found right at the highest points of the city:
Caption 12, Alberto Angela - Meraviglie EP. 1 - Part 10Play Caption
Leonardo, molto spesso, nelle sue opere, faceva le figure centrali quasi fossero delle piramidi e poi i dodici apostoli sono suddivisi in gruppi di tre.
Leonardo, very often in his works, made the central figures almost as if they were pyramids and then, the twelve apostles are divided into groups of three.
Captions 10-13, Alberto Angela - Meraviglie EP. 3 - Part 12Play Caption
Olivetti è sempre riuscito nelle cose che ha intrapreso.
Olivetti has always succeeded in the things he has undertaken.Play Caption
In future lessons, we will talk about other common prepositions that follow these same principles.
In a previous lesson, we talked about how to say hello and goodbye in Italian: There are formal and informal ways of doing so. And the very first lesson Daniela teaches in her popular series of classroom lessons is about how to greet people: salutare.
Oggi impariamo le forme di saluto.
Today we're going to learn ways to greet people.Play Caption
Before looking at the everyday meanings of salutare, we should acknowledge that it does also mean "to salute," as one would salute in the military, or salute the flag. But that is a very small part of the picture!
In addition to knowing how to greet people — a very important thing in Italian — we also use the verb salutare itself, quite often, to talk about greetings and greeting someone, as well as within the greeting or leavetaking itself, but what exactly does it mean? In fact, it's a little tricky. Just as ciao can mean "hi" or "bye," salutare can mean "to say hello" or "to say goodbye." Let's look at the verb salutare in context to get a better idea of how it's used.
Saying goodbye can be tough.
È arrivato il momento di salutarci, mi pare, no? -Eh. -Sì.
The time has come to say goodbye [to each other], I think, right? -Yeah. -Yes.Play Caption
The previous example is just one instance of the verb within the segment of the Commissario Manara episode, an episode in which Luca Manara is about to leave his present job and go back to Milan.
Here's another little scene from the same episode and segment about saying goodbye. One thing to notice is that while in the previous example, salutarci means "to say goodbye to each other" (reciprocal reflexive), in the example below, salutarci means "to say goodbye to us." That pesky ci again!
Brigadiere, ma che sei venuto a salutarmi? Caterina. -Povero cagnozzo, gli mancherai, eh. Io non posso credere che te ne saresti andato senza salutarci. -No, veramente... sono passato davanti a casa Sua, -Eh. -ma Lei non c'era. Comunque, io sono veramente contento che Lei sia venuta a salutarmi, perché voglio dirLe grazie.
Brigadiere, what, did you come to say goodbye to me? Caterina. -Poor doggy, he'll miss you, yeah. I can't believe that you would leave without even saying goodbye to us. -No, actually... I came by your house, -Huh. -and you weren't there. Anyway, I'm very happy that you came to say goodbye to me, because I want to say thank you to you.
Captions 42-47, Il Commissario Manara S1EP12 - Le verità nascoste - Part 8Play Caption
When we want to take our leave, or end a phone call, we can say:
Ti devo salutare (I have to say goodbye, I have to hang up, I have to go).
Ti saluto, vado a casa. (I'll be going. I'm going home).
So salutare often means "to say goodbye." But it also means "to say hello," "to greet." In the following example, a grandpa is telling his grandchildren to say hello to their grandmother.
Quanto mi siete mancati. -Salutate la nonna.
How I've missed you! -Say hello to Grandma.Play Caption
In the following example, Olivetti is greeting an old, estranged friend (he says ciao) who pretends not to see him.
Mauro! Ciao, Mauro. Cos'è? Non mi saluti?
Mauro. Hello, Mauro. What's the matter? You're not saying hello to me?
Captions 12-14, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep.2 - Part 9Play Caption
But in the next example, the people conversing are being formal with each other. The speaker calls the lady signora. And thus, he uses the formal, second-person imperative.
Arrivederci, signora. E mi saluti suo marito, eh. Ci tengo tanto, ah. Me lo saluti tanto, eh?
Goodbye, ma'am. And greet your husband, huh? It means a lot to me. Greet him warmly, huh?
Captions 74-77, Il Commissario Manara S1EP6 - Reazione a Catena - Part 3Play Caption
As we said, Manara is speaking formally. He says me lo saluti (greet him for me) using the imperative. He could also be saying "Give my regards to your husband." But if he were talking to a friend, he could put this all in one single word including two pronouns stuck to the verb. Saluta (greet) + me (for me) lo (him) / la (her).
In some contexts, (and as we saw in the very first video example), we use the noun form il saluto or un saluto (a greeting, a salutation) instead of the verb salutare.
Parliamo ora dei saluti informali.
Let's now talk about informal greetings.
Caption 24, Marika spiega Saluti verbali e a gestiPlay Caption
In the following example, we see a typical way of saying, "I won't ever talk to you again." But Italians give it a different twist. They say they are going to "take away" "saying hello," as in, "I'm not even going to greet you!" The verb is togliere (to remove).
La chiamo e gli [sic: le] dico che non ci vado. Ch'aggia fa' [napoletano: che devo fare]? -Fallo e ti tolgo il saluto.
I'll call her and tell her I'm not going. What can I do? -You do that and I won't talk to you anymore.Play Caption
Un saluto or saluti is what you might write on a postcard while you're on vacation somewhere. It's often in the plural:
Ciao vecchio. Saluti da Rio, Max.
Hi, old timer. Greetings from Rio, Max.
Caption 40, La Ladra Ep. 10 - Un ignobile ricatto - Part 7Play Caption
Salutare can also be interpreted to mean "to give one's regards to" so we often see saluti at the end of a short business email.
It can appear by itself or be embellished as follows:
Distinti saluti ([best] regards)
Cordiali saluti (kind regards)
That's it for this lesson, and we'll see you soon. A presto.
This business of gender in Italian can be so tricky for non-native speakers. When we hear a word, we don't always pay attention to the ending of a noun. It can easily get lost, so when we then have to actually say the word, for example, when looking for something in a shop, the doubt surges up. Which is it: a or o? So yes, we basically know the word, but the gender, and thus, the ending, escapes us. It's a great reason to learn a noun with its article, as we try to help you do in our Yabla vocabulary reviews at the end of our videos.
Alas, even people who have been living in Italy for years and years still have these doubts from time to time and get it wrong sometimes.
Let's look at one such word, or rather two. Because the same word with a different ending can mean something quite different. At the same time, we can usually find a connection between the two words through its root, or through the verb the noun came from, and that's always kind of fun (for us nerdy-type learners among us).
I go into a shop to buy a new bathroom scale. Is it un bilancio or una bilancia????? There's that embarrassing moment when you can't remember which it is. At that moment, you desperately try a workaround, using a different word like una cosa per pesarsi (something for weighing oneself). In fact, we can also call a bathroom scale a pesapersone (which luckily, can be either masculine or feminine!).
To get to the root of a word, which can sometimes help us understand it, we look to Latin, the source of most Italian words. We often look to the verb, but it turns out that in this case, the noun came first.
We have the late Latin noun "bilanx," made up of "bi-," meaning "two" and "lanx" meaning "plate." Picture an old fashioned type of scale that is made up of precisely that: two suspended plates on which to place the weights and the items you want to weigh.
With this image, you can remember the feminine goddess of justice, holding up the scale. And that can help you remember that the word for scale is la bilancia and it's feminine.
Prego, alla bilancia. Bene, abbiamo finito. Rivestitevi.
Please, on the scale. Good, we're done. Get dressed again.
Captions 11-12, La Tempesta film - Part 19Play Caption
Certainly, Italians get on a bathroom scale just as often as anyone, but they also use a little scale in the kitchen, to weigh items like la pasta, la farina (flour), lo zucchero (sugar), il riso (rice), etc.
From the noun la bilancia, we derive the verb bilanciare (to balance). You can balance the books or accounts, or you can balance the weights on an old-fashioned mechanical scale. The following example is from an explanation of the economy with the board game Monopoly as a model. It's describing the role of the Bank.
Cioè, immette liquidità nella partita per bilanciare la sfortuna dei giocatori o semplicemente l'eventuale mancanza di contante.
That is, it issues liquidity into the game to balance the misfortunes of the players, or simply the potential lack of cash.
Captions 26-27, l'Economia Spiegata Facile Perché le banche ci prestano i soldi?Play Caption
Bilanciare also has a reflexive form bilanciarsi. In this case it's intransitive. You might use this form if you are walking a tightrope, or carrying packages.
If it's about money, you are probably looking for the masculine il bilancio. It can mean the budget, the balancing of the budget, or the accounts.
This example is about cooking the books.
Che cosa ha fatto? Che cosa non ha fatto? Fallimento, falso in bilancio, bancarotta fraudolenta,
What did he do? What didn't he do? Bankruptcy, tampering with the books, fraudulent bankruptcy,
Captions 63-64, Il Commissario Manara S1EP5 - Il Raggio Verde - Part 10Play Caption
Here are some common phrases with bilancio, which is used a bit differently from English.
fare il bilancio, chiudere il bilancio (to draw up the balance sheet)
far quadrare il bilancio (to balance the books)
chiudere il bilancio in attivo/passivo (to make a profit/loss)
fare il bilancio della situazione (fig) (to assess the situation)
This lesson is dedicated to an old friend who had trouble with bilancia and bilancio. Are there words you have trouble remembering? Words that change meanings between masculine and feminine? The next lesson could be dedicated to you! Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a lot of things to do in the summer, but Italians talk about them a bit differently than English speakers do. The word we will hear all the time in Italy, at least if we're within a two hour drive from the coast, is il mare.
As you can see from the following example, we talk about the beach, because for the most part, we have sandy beaches. But Italy, being a peninsula (penisola in Italian) is surrounded on three coasts by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, so it's a vital part of the country itself. The sea has different names depending on what part of Italy it touches on.
Infatti, io e Giorgia siamo andate insieme al mare.
In fact, Giorgia and I went to the beach together.
Caption 21, Francesca e Marika Il verbo andare coniugazionePlay Caption
For more vocabulary about the beach, check out these videos:
This one is about a beach very close to Pisa, something to keep in mind if you visit Pisa in the summer.
Finalmente siamo arrivati al mare. [Marina di Pisa]
We've finally arrived at the seaside. [Marina di Pisa]Play Caption
Here's a wonderful series about the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. They are breathtakingly beautiful and well worth a visit. If you can't visit, watch the video!
La località isolata e selvaggia di grande bellezza naturale, si può raggiungere solo via mare.
The wild and isolated village, with its great natural beauty, is only reachable by sea.
Caption 11, Linea Blu Le Eolie - Part 8Play Caption
But let's say you like to swim, but in a pool rather than in the sea.
When you go to a pool regularly, to swim laps, then you can say faccio nuoto (I'm a swimmer, I swim): In the following example, Annamaria Mazzetti trains for Olympic triathlons.
Facciamo nuoto, bici, corsa tutti i giorni.
We swim, cycle, and run every day.
Caption 14, Le Olimpiadi 2012 Annamaria MazzettiPlay Caption
But let's say you want to go kayaking (andare in canoa), the instructor will ask you:
Do you know how to swim?Play Caption
If not, they will give you a life jacket or life preserver (un salvagente).
But let's say you're at the beach and you just want to go in the water and play in the waves. It sounds strange to us, because many of us have learned that bagno means bathroom...
noi amici, trascorriamo il tempo giocando, oppure nelle giornate estive facciamo il bagno e... invece, in quelle invernali veniamo qui per chiacchierare,
we friends pass the time playing, or else, on summer days we go swimming and... and on winter ones we come here to talk,
Captions 16-18, Amiche sulla spiaggiaPlay Caption
So if someone asks you: "Facciamo il bagno?" you will know they want you to go in the water at the beach or at the pool (in piscina).
Finally, one thing Italians say all the time during the summer is:
Ah, che caldo!
Oh, it's so hot!
Caption 1, Andromeda in - Storia del gelato - Part 1Play Caption
Caldo is an adjective meaning "hot", but also a noun meaning "heat": il caldo.
Enjoy your summer, or looking forward to summer, depending on where you are.
In a previous lesson, we looked at some Italian words that have to do with "right": retto and its feminine form retta. We mentioned that there are other words that can mean "right" and so in this lesson, we will look at two more: diritto, dritto. Sometimes they mean "right" and sometimes they don't, but they are very good words to know!
If we look at the dictionary entry for dritto, we also find diritto, so they are very closely related and can often be used interchangeably. And sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is saying one or the other. But there are cases where you can't swap them.
When you have rights (or not), then you use diritto as a masculine noun. Dritto won't work in this case!
Mi dice con che diritto ha fermato Stefano?
Will you tell what right you had to detain Stefano?Play Caption
As in English, we can talk about rights in general: equal rights, civil rights, etc., thus using the plural.
Anch'io ho i miei diritti e la mia dignità di lavoratore.
I also have my rights and my dignity as a worker.Play Caption
While a single law is una legge, law in general is referred to as diritto or giurisprudenza. Here, too, dritto won't do.
Mi sono appena iscritto alla facolta di Diritto.
I'm just enrolled in Law school.
Although dritta as a noun almost surely derives from the verb dirigere, it has become a colloquial but widely used feminine noun in itself. In this case, someone is heading you in the right direzione (direction) by giving you some good advice or a tip. Diritta doesn't work here.
Gli ho solamente dato qualche dritta su come tenere pulito il lastricato dalla gramigna. -Ah!
I just gave him a few tips on how to keep the flagstones free of weeds. -Ah.
Captions 53-54, La Ladra Ep. 7 - Il piccolo ladro - Part 8Play Caption
We can use the noun form dritto/dritta to describe someone who is sly, a smooth operator.
La dritta can also indicate the right-[hand] side, the one used to direct (dirigere). On a ship, it's the starboard side. On a medal il dritto is the "front" side. In knitting, dritto is a plain stitch.
Just as with "right" in English, diritto can be either an adjective or a noun, but it can also be an adverb.
One thing a parent might tell a child is:
Valentina, sta dritta.
Valentina, stand up straight.Play Caption
As we found in the lesson on retto, "straight" and "right" are close cousins in English. Think of the word "upright."
One way we use the adverb dritto or diritto is when we give directions, so this is super important. Whether you say diritto or dritto, people will understand you just fine.
Here, Daniela is teaching us about giving directions.
OK? Allora, andare a destra, andare a sinistra, andare dritto, andare sempre dritto, andare tutto dritto.
OK? So, "to go to the right," "to go to the left," "to go straight," "to go straight ahead." "to go straight ahead."
Captions 53-54, Corso di italiano con Daniela Chiedere informazioni - Part 1Play Caption
"Rigare dritto" vuol dire comportarsi bene.
"To toe the line" [to make a straight line] means "to behave."Play Caption
Check out Marika's video where she says a bit more about the expression rigare dritto or filare dritto.
In the following example, we could also say the shot went right to the heart.
Un colpo di pistola dritto al cuore a distanza ravvicinata, ma...
A gunshot direct to the heart at close range, but...Play Caption
There is certainly more to say about these fascinating and important words, but your head must be full by now. Keep your eyes and ears open as you watch Yabla videos. These words will be peppered all through them. Let us know your questions and doubts, and we'll get back to you. Write to us at email@example.com
In English, we have the pronoun "one" and the number "one." They both refer to something single but do not mean exactly the same thing. We have a similar phenomenon in Italian, but it goes a step further. This lesson will explore the word uno in various contexts, and since this will take us to the subject of "indefinite articles," we'll take the opportunity to look at those, too!
Uno (one) can be the number "one":
Adesso proveremo noi insieme un passo base di Tango. Uno, due, tre.
Now, together, we'll try out the basic steps of the Tango. One, two, three.
Captions 38-39, Adriano balla il Tango ArgentinoPlay Caption
We can use uno as an adjective when we are talking about "how many?" One.
Ho trovato solo uno stivale. L'altro l'ho perso (I found only one boot. I lost the other one).
Uno is an indefinite article, "a", used only when followed by a Z or by an S + a consonant:*
Uno scontrino, perché? Perché la parola inizia per s più consonante.
"Uno scontrino." Why? Because the word starts with "s" plus a consonant.Play Caption
Caption 27, Adriano Pasta alla carbonara - Part 2Play Caption
When the masculine word following the article begins with a vowel or single consonant (excluding Z) it's un.
Quello che è successo è un segnale.
What happened is a sign.Play Caption
This is the most common masculine indefinite article and as we mentioned above, it remains the same even when it comes before a vowel (no apostrophe).
Stiamo cercando un aviatore americano.
We're looking for an American pilot.Play Caption
When this article comes before a feminine noun (or the adjective that describes it), it's una.
Hai una bellissima voce.
You have a very beautiful voice.
Caption 9, Adriano Fiaba - Part 2Play Caption
If the feminine indefinite article una comes before a word that starts with a vowel, it becomes un' so as not to break the flow.
Magari sarà per un'altra volta.
Perhaps, another time.Play Caption
Here, instead of saying give me una borsa (a bag), Eva just says give me one of them.
Dai, dammene una. -No, no, so' [romanesco: sono] abituata.
Come on, give me one of them. -No, no, I'm used to it.
Caption 6, La Ladra Ep. 4 - Una magica bionda - Part 5Play Caption
Attenzione! In order to speak correctly, you have to know the gender of the noun you are replacing!
But uno can also mean the pronoun "someone."
Allora, innanzitutto, quando uno studia a uni'... a una università, eh, per esempio in Italia, eh, a Firenze...
So, first of all, when someone studies at a uni... at a university, uh, for example, in Italy, uh, in Florence...
Captions 17-18, Arianna e Marika Il Progetto Erasmus - Part 1Play Caption
Uno quando ha un talento, lo deve coltivare,
When someone has talent, he has to cultivate it,Play Caption
Generally speaking, the masculine form is used to mean "someone," however, if you want to specify that that someone is a female, then una can serve the same purpose.
For English speakers, getting the article right in Italian can be confusing, especially since in many cases, you have to know the gender of the noun you are using the article with and that can be daunting, too!
When translating, we often have to think twice. Does uno/un/una mean "one" or "a"? Since it's the same word in Italian, it's not always clear!
Doing the Scribe exercises at the end of the videos you watch can be a great way to learn how to use the articles — You ask yourself, "When do I use the apostrophe? And when not?" You'll make plenty of mistakes, but little by little it will sink in.
If you want more lessons about using articles, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Here are some of the video lessons that might be helpful for learning about using indefinite articles (called articoli indeterminativi).
We've talked about two words to use when we need something fixed: sistemare and riparare. Here's another: accommodare. This verb looks a lot like the English verb to accommodate and while they both come from the same Latin word "accomodare" they are not true cognates.
Questa bici è vecchia ma l'ho fatta accommodare da un amico esperto e sembra nuova.
This bike is old, but I had it fixed up by a friend who's an expert, and it's just like new.
It could be that the verb accomodare is used less frequently than some others to mean "to repair" but it's good to know it exists, as you might hear it and get confused if you hadn't read this lesson!
When getting something repaired, it's common to use the verb fare (to make, to do) and the infinitive form of the verb accomodare as in our example above: fare accomodare (to get repaired). Let's keep in mind that used this way, accomodare is a transitive verb, in other words, it takes a direct object.
As with sistemare, accomodare can be used to mean to tidy up, to arrange, as in getting a bedroom ready for someone.
Ho accommodato la stanza dove dormirai.
I got the room where you'll be sleeping ready for you.
As with many verbs, there is a reflexive form of accomodare, and in this case, it has come to mean something completely different from the normal verb. Here, we can also see a connection with the adjective comodo (comfortable, at ease).
This verb is very important when someone invites you into their house. Of course, when you enter, it is always polite to say permesso. You're asking permission to come in.
Con permesso? Permesso?
May I come in? May I come in?Play Caption
One answer you might get is this, especially if you know the person well:
Posso? -Vieni. Accomodati. Ti ho portato i prospetti che mi avevi chiesto.
May I? -Come in. Have a seat. I brought the forecasts you had asked me for.
Captions 19-20, Questione di Karma Rai Cinema - Part 14Play Caption
In the example above, the reflexive accomodarsi is used in the second person singular imperative. It can mean "Have a seat" but can also mean, "Make yourself comfortable," "Get yourself settled."
If you are staying with someone, perhaps they will show you to your room. They might say:
Ti faccio accomodare qui.
You can get settled in here.
The same goes for when you have dinner.
Se ho degli ospiti a pranzo o a cena, li faccio accomodare qui, su [sic: a] questo tavolo.
If I have guests for lunch or for dinner, I have them sit here, on [sic, at] this table.
Captions 34-36, Marika spiega Il salonePlay Caption
Accomodarsi is used in the polite form as well, especially in offices, and is one way of inviting you in, but can also mean "please have a seat." In the following example, it's combined with venga — the polite singular imperative form of venire (to come).
Commissario, c'è la signora Fello. Signora Fello, venga. -Permesso? -Venga, si accomodi.
Chief, Missus Fello is here. Missus Fello, come in. -May I? -Come in, have a seat.
Captions 37-39, Il Commissario Manara S2EP10 -La verità nascosta - Part 3Play Caption
If you read our lessons regularly, you might have come across a lesson about the adjective comodo, which has a couple of different meanings. The lesson also discusses accomodarsi briefly, so check it out here.
Using accomodarsi in sentences can be challenging, but it's important to have the verb comfortably in your vocabulary toolbox. So if you have questions such as "How do I say __________ in Italian," we are here to help! Write to us at email@example.com.
In some parts of the world, la bicicletta (the bicycle) has gained popularity lately because of the coronavirus. Some people like to avoid i mezzi pubblici (public transportation) and have begun opting for the bike. In Italy, bicycles have always been hugely popular, and la bicicletta is known affectionately as la bici. On weekends, you will see swarms of cyclists on country roads, so be careful if you're driving!
Per visitare al meglio il centro città di Lucca, ho deciso di prendere una bicicletta a noleggio. In questo modo, posso girare attraverso le vie del centro e addirittura pedalare sulle mura antiche.
To best see the city center of Lucca, I decided to rent a bicycle. That way, I can go around on the streets of the center and even pedal on the old walls.
Captions 13-16, In giro per l'Italia Lucca - Part 3
Curiously, the preposition used for saying "by bike" or "on the bike" is in (in), as we see in the following example.
Ti prometto che vado a scuola in bici. OK?
I promise I'll go to school by bike. OK?
Caption 54, La Ladra Ep. 3 - L'oro dello squalo - Part 4Play Caption
Il ciclismo (cycling) is also an excellent way to get exercise while being out in the fresh air and maintaining a certain distance from other people, so there's been a bit of a boom in recent months.
Let's take a look at some of the vocabulary that can be useful when talking about bikes.
The kind of bike that an older person would ride just to get around town, a bike that has just one gear, is called una bici olandese. Olandese means "Dutch — from Holland," and describes the kind of bike that works well on flat terrain (as in Holland), not hills. We'd probably describe this kind of bike as a clunker. Maybe it's been in the family for years. It's pesante (heavy), robusta (sturdy), there are parafanghi (fenders), and even a chain guard, so you don't get grease on your clothes while you're riding your bike to work. These bicycles usually have un cestino (a basket) and un portapacchi (a rack) on the back.
This is the kind of bike you would normally rent to get around a city, although these days, regular bikes have more gears and are more fun to ride. Cities can be a little hilly, so gears really help! When the bike has a comfortable seat and handlebars, but five or so gears so that you can do the hills and build up some speed on level terrain or descents, it's called a city bike, which needs no translation.
Now we get to bicycles that are made for appassionati di ciclismo (bike lovers), for people who like to ride for fun or sport.
Here, too, Italians have taken over the English term and call a mountain bike la mountain bike. So that's easy! These bikes are hugely popular with just about everyone, and can go everywhere, from normal roads to strade bianche (unpaved roads), strade sterrate (dirt roads), and ghiaia (gravel). People take them to the beach, too. They have a special kind of manubrio (handlebars) with il cambio (the gear shift) right there so you can switch gears without taking your hands off the handlebars.
Then we have road bikes: These are usually called bici da corsa because they are streamlined, made for going fast and are basically the kind of bike they use in races. They have curved handlebars that allow you to be aerodynamically positioned. These bikes have evolved over the years, but the basic design has remained the same.
Here are some of the words you might need when talking about bikes:
la sella (the saddle, the seat)
i parafanghi (the fenders)
il campanello the bell)
il manubrio (the handlebars)
il freno (the brake)
la ruota (the wheel)
la gomma (the tire)
i pedali (the pedals)
la catena (the chain)
la pompa (the pump)
la camera d’aria (the tube)
il cestino (the basket)
il portapacchi (the rack)
l’ingranaggio (the gear)
il cambio (the gearshifters)
i raggi (the spokes)
il cavalletto (the kickstand)
il gruppo* (the groupset) Note: the Italian word il gruppo means "the group" and has come to mean "groupset" — the mechanical parts of a bicycle. It's used in both Italian and English.
forare (to get a flat tire)
frenare (to brake)
salire (to get on)
scendere (to get off)
Other related words and phrases:
il ciclista (the cyclist)
noleggiare (to rent)
biciclette a noleggio (rental bikes)
il lucchetto (the lock)
alzare/abbassare la sella (to raise or lower the seat)
Quanto costa noleggiare una bici per un'ora (how much does it cost to rent a bike for an hour)?
Praticamente tutti i punti sono forniti di negozi per noleggiare le biciclette.
Pretty much all these points are equipped with shops for renting bicycles...
Caption 47, In giro per l'Italia Lucca - Part 1Play Caption
Let's look quickly at the verb noleggiare and its related noun il noleggio. Both of these words work when talking about renting a bike: noleggiare or prendere a noleggio. You might hear some people use another word for "rent" — affittare or prendere in aftitto. The meaning is the same, but affittare is used for things like an apartment or house, while noleggiare is used more for movable things. Affittare is never wrong, however, just less common in this context.
Infatti, ha affittato due biciclette, e così, andate in giro per la città.
In fact, he's rented two bicycles, and that way, you go around the city.
Captions 34-35, Marika spiega I veicoliPlay Caption
We hope this lesson will be helpful to you next time you travel to Italy, for either work or pleasure.
Some languages use one word to say something, another might need 2 or more to say the same thing. In the case of "living together," Italian has a word that sums it up nicely: la convivenza as a noun, or convivere as a verb. In modern English, we call it "living together," but a more official but perhaps outdated noun would be "cohabitation." The question comes up in the TV movie Sposami, where a young couple is having trouble planning their marriage in a way that will satisfy both sets of parents.
Perché non pensi a una bella convivenza, eh? Dai!
Why not think about just living together, huh? Come on!
Caption 58, Sposami EP 1 - Part 18Play Caption
Taking apart this verb and noun makes it easy to understand:
vivere (to live) + con (with) = convivere (to live with, to live together)
The verb convivere is used to mean "to coexist." So not necessarily "together," but at the same time, in the same space.
Ora, i resti dell'antico tempio e della primitiva cattedrale sono incastonati all'interno e all'esterno: elementi pagani e cristiani che si fondono, convivono...
Now, the remains of the ancient temple and the early cathedral are built-in on the inside and the outside: pagan and Christian elements that fuse together, that coexist...
Captions 9-10, Itinerari Della Bellezza Basilicata - Part 4Play Caption
We also use convivere when we have to bear, endure, tolerate, accept, or live with a situation or condition. Right now people are "living with" the presence of the coronavirus.
Si convive (one lives with it).
Dovremo convivere con il coronavirus per parecchio tempo ancora (we will have to live with the coronavirus for some time yet).
People who are living together may be called conviventi. It describes the state
La parete divisoria è abusiva, quindi per lo Stato noi siamo già conviventi.
The dividing wall is illegal, so for the State, we're already living together.
Captions 6-7, La Tempesta film - Part 16Play Caption
Conviventi is actually the present participle of convivere. We don't think about the present participle in English much, but it does exist. It is part of the present continuous or progressive tense and ends in "-ing." It looks just like a gerund but works differently.
We could put the previous example in the present continuous, but we would need a different verb (stare instead of essere, both translating to "to be").
La parete divisoria è abusiva, quindi per lo Stato noi stiamo già convivendo.
The dividing wall is illegal, so for the State, we are already living together.
Here's the difference:
A gerund is a form of a verb used as a noun, whereas a participle is a form of verb used as an adjective or as a verb in conjunction with an auxiliary verb. In English, the present participle has the same form as the gerund, and the difference is in how they are used.
Why is this important to know? In English it doesn't matter much--we know how to use these words and we don't much care what they are called. But it can help us understand the Italian present participle, which, unlike English, does have a different form, and often causes confusion for learners.
If you look at a conjugation chart, at the top you will see something like this:
convivereIt is conjugated like: vivereinfinite: conviveregerundio: convivendoparticipio presents: conviventeparticipio passato: convissutoforma pronominale: (n/a)
For those of you following Daniela's lessons, there is one about participles.
Il participio anche ha due tempi, il presente e il passato. Al presente, il participio è "andante" e al passato sarebbe "andato".
The participle has two different tenses, the present and the past. In the present, the participle is "going" and in the past it would be "gone."
Captions 7-10, Corso di italiano con Daniela Modi Indefiniti - Part 2Play Caption
That's it for this lesson. We hope you have learned something useful, and we encourage you to write to us with questions, doubts or ideas. firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the last lesson, we talked about the generic verb sistemare. Now, let's talk about a verb that is more specific when it comes to repairing things, but which has some surprising additional meanings.
This true cognate is an easy word to remember since it is so close to the English verb "to repair."
Io non ci metto le mani. La mandi a riparare in fabbrica.
I'm not going to touch it. You can send it to the factory to be repaired.Play Caption
Ripara le ruote e le gomme delle automobili, delle biciclette e delle motociclette.
He fixes wheels and tires of cars, bicycles and motorcycles.
Caption 48, Marika spiega Il nome dei negozi - Part 2Play Caption
Riparo can be the first person singular of the verb riparare.
Venga, la riprenda. Mi spiace, ma io questa non la riparo.
Come, take it back. I'm sorry, but I'm not repairing this one.
Captions 4-5, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep. 1 - Part 23Play Caption
But il riparo is also a noun. The following example gives us an idea of what it means.
Perché questo luogo è sempre stato in lotta con la sete dei conquistatori: Saraceni, Longobardi, Normanni. Ma è anche un luogo che ha offerto riparo,
Because this place has always been fought over due to the thirst of conquerors: Saracens, Longobards, Normans. But it's also a place that has offered shelter.
Captions 12-14, Itinerari Della Bellezza Basilicata - Part 1Play Caption
So riparo means "shelter," but what's interesting is that we can also use the verb riparare to mean "to shelter," "to protect." We can also use it reflexively ripararsi to mean "to take refuge." In this case, it's intransitive. This meaning is closely related to that of a similar verb, parare (to protect, to shield, to fend off).
Uè, però tirate piano, altrimenti non riesco a parare niente.
Hey, kick lightly though, otherwise I can't block anything.
Caption 41, L'oro di Scampia film - Part 8Play Caption
As a matter of fact, just as other Italian verbs with the prefix ri often have the same or similar meanings to the verb without the prefix (for example tornare, ritornare [to return]), sometimes, riparare and parare can mean the same thing. Parare is straightforwardly transitive.
Para, the third person singular of parare, is often used as part of the kind of compound noun that tells you what something does.
On a car, we have il parabrezza (the windshield). It fends off the wind.
We have parafanghi (fenders) on bicycles (fango = mud). It fends off the mud.
Un parasole (an awning, a parasol) helps to block the sunlight.
Riparare (when it means protection or shielding) is often used in the context of protecting things from the elements — things such as plants, animals, objects, people, houses, camping spots, etc. The preposition of choice is da (from).
L'ombrellone ti ripara dal sole. The beach umbrella protects you from the sun.
The following example has to do with an animated elephant who needed to do something in private. The past participle of riparare easily becomes an adjective!
C'era da trovare alla svelta un angolino riparato.
A sheltered corner needed to be found quickly.
Caption 13, Dixieland La magia di TriboPlay Caption
Riparare can also mean "to remedy," "to make up for," "to put right." In English, we can use "to repair" in this case, too, but there are other, easier Italian verbs for these nuances.
What we have tried to provide here are the words you will most commonly hear in everyday speech, and the ones you will want to know if you need to choose a spot for a picnic in Tuscany, get your shoes fixed, or find some shelter when out hiking and it starts raining.