Italian Grammar

By taking the time to understand how the Italian language works, you'll be able to speak Italian naturally, and read and write in Italian. We know this can be one of the more challenging parts of your course, and we’re here to help! You can browse the topics, do a search in the top right corner of this page, or start a new topic at the bottom. Don’t be shy!

[question]

Why "the chocolates(plural)" having le cioccolate instead of i cioccolate?

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - February 13, 2020

Why is the conditional tense of "potere" used in this sentence?

Ciao Diana,  Non ti devi assolutamente preoccupare, l'utilizzo del congiuntivo (specialmene in casi ambigui come questo) è davvero ostico! Sono più che certa che con ancora un po' di pratica saranno un gioco da ragazzi!  :)  Caterina

3 replies - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - February 6, 2020

Use of A to start a sentence

Hi cedch,  Thanks for your question! The verb "piacere" always needs the preposition "a", as in "A Roberta piace l'America", or "A me piace sciare".  Alternatively, you can find the pronouns "mi" (to me), "ti" (to you), "gli" (to him), "le" (to her), "c...

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - December 22, 2019

Italian grammar and reference book

Do you have any recommendations for grammar and vocabulary  reference book in Italian

0 replies - Last post by geupneic - December 21, 2019

Do some nouns have both Masculine and Feminine variants? When so I use which?

Hi, From what I understand, nouns are either masculine or feminine.  The italian word for cat is il gatto, but occasionally I see la gatta for cat. How do I know when to use la gatta? I was thinking maybe if you know the cat you referring to is a female c...

2 replies - Last post by MarkL57 - November 14, 2019

Dimenticata / dimenticato in Lesson 4.8

"si e dimenticata"  => "she forgot"  I wanted to find how say "he forgot". which Google translates "si e dimenticato" But conjugation tables for "dimenticare" only show "dimenticato" Is this an unusual verb whose ending changes with the gender of the re...

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - October 31, 2019

How to speak formal Italian.

Ciao, I'm a bit confused on how to speak in formal Italian to a stranger or when being respectful, but think I may have worked it out. So what I noticed is that all you need to do when you speak to someone (or a group of people), is to refer to them in t...

3 replies - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - October 31, 2019

"Fuori questione" and "non se ne parla"

In lesson 4/8, both translate as "it is out of the question", which makes sense for "fuori question", but does "non se ne parla" mean something like "no one talks about"? Thanks, Jack

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - October 31, 2019

Comparing Things. Italian - Level 1, Lesson 4.7

Ciao Sno-J1,  Thanks for your question, I will be more than happy to help clarify any doubts you might have! When it comes to comparisons, the word "di" can be translated as "than". Let's take again the example given in lesson 4.7: Lei corre | più veloc...

2 replies - Last post by Sno-J1 - October 24, 2019

Present Subjunctive

In Italian course Level 2,  Module 8:4 Asking For Directions, there's a sentence where Maria says: Per andarci, bisogna che faccia etc.    Howard explains the use of bisogna che, but then there's no explanation whatsoever that I can find to explain the u...

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - October 11, 2019

Mi puo fare o Puoi fare per me

...Exactly!  A synonym of "piacere" (noun) would be "favore", just in case you wish to use both of them :)

5 replies - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - September 13, 2019

Italian grammar - Verb ending

Bisogna che io lavori (It's necessary that I work) from Level 2, Module 9.3 Why does "lavori" end with an "i" Looks like a masculine plural noun (works) but seems to function as a verb in this sentence. Please explain.

3 replies - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - August 30, 2019

nel, nelle vs. al, alle

I see nel, nelle,  and al , alle 9and their various forms) both used for "at" in the translations. How can I know which one to  use?

2 replies - Last post by GerryS - August 28, 2019

Difference tra vorrebbe e piacerebbe

Ciao  Per favore spiegare la differenza tra vorrebbe e piacerebbe. Grazie

2 replies - Last post by Marsha264 - August 7, 2019

Chiedo and chiedi

In lesson 12.1  There is a line:  Se gliela chiedo (If I ask her) and the next line says: Se non gliela chiedi (If you don't ask her).   In these sentences they both refer to a single woman, so I don't see why they are different. When do you use chiedo an...

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - July 29, 2019

Al vs di (in foods)

I am learning Italian from multiple courses.  Anytime I’ve learned the term “chocolate cake”, they teach “la torta al cioccolato”.  In the survival phrase lesson at Rocket Italian, they say “la torta di cioccolato”.  I always assumed di was a description ...

3 replies - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - July 27, 2019

Struggling with the grammar lessons

I've not given as much attention to the language and culture lessons (the culture ok) but I don't find the grammar modules as engaging as the ones with the lessons presented by Alessandro and Maria. Apart from repeating the audio tracks, I've skipped mos...

2 replies - Last post by Laura Sedor - July 24, 2019

Ancke lei

Buon Pomeriggio . On lesson 2 dialogue,  Alex asks Aspetta anche Lei un taxi...Can we say Aspetta un taxi anche Lei instead? Grazie buon fine settimana Marcia

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - July 21, 2019

Sto male versus sono stanca, sono annoiatta?

That's a good question! According to Lesson 1.5,  it appears that they can both mean "to be" but "essere" and its variations are how we describe ourselves whereas "stare" describes feelings, like "I'm well" or whatever. But one might think that "I'm bored...

4 replies - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - July 15, 2019

Formal/polite form

I learned that the formal you form follows the second person singular form. However, to practice my Italian, I am reading Le Avventure di Pinocchio, and I noticed that Pinocchio addresses Geppetto using the second person plural (voi) form. Can someone exp...

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - June 17, 2019

Gender and number of article applying to several following nouns

Hi ptabor2,  Thank you for the feedback. Could you please let me know in which lesson you found this sentence? We can then review it and fix it.  Kind Regards.

3 replies - Last post by marieg-rocket languages - April 4, 2019

When to use scorsa and ultima

Ciao Caterina, Grazie per la spiegazione. AR

2 replies - Last post by AR--9 - March 6, 2019

"In the kitchen" - Do you say, "In cucina" or "Nella cucina"?

In speaking or writing the phase, "In the kitchen", do I use, "In cucina", or "Nella cucina"? Grazie

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - January 12, 2019

Posso or Permesso for "May I"?

Are "posso" and "permesso" interchangeable when you want to ask, "May I?"

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - January 12, 2019

Suo and Tuo

Many thanks Caterina for your explanation. It is very helpful :-)

5 replies - Last post by Paolo_Guitar - December 29, 2018

Word order in Italian

Lesson 2.3 has a sentance 'Mi può fare una fotografia con dietro la chiesa?' Can someone explain why dietro (behind) comes before comes before la chiesa - ie why its 'with behind the church' , not con la chiesa dietro?

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - December 12, 2018

Grammar - past tense.

Hi Tony1248,   The verb “piacere” is not extremely straightfoward, especially when comparing it to the English language. It's mainly and most frequently used to express that “someone likes something”. For instance, let's take the sentence “I like the hou...

6 replies - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - November 7, 2018

può verses puoi

In Language and Culture 2.13 Talking about money..................... Why is it  " Mi può fare uno sconto?"   which Rocket Italian translates to  "Can you give me a discount?"   and not "Mi puoi fare uno sconto?" It seems like the first  uses the he/she...

1 reply - Last post by caterina-rocket-italian-tutor - October 10, 2018

Rocket Certification

I am having trouble with the Rocket Certifications at the end of each module. I have to do a hard reset of the test every time I finish the section in order to continue, and at the end it will not show that I completed it. Hopefully you can help me out.

0 replies - Last post by AlexandraK3 - October 6, 2018

Mio versus il mio

In module 2, the section on "love," we are introduced to some new vocabulary that employs the possessive. For example, "il mio fidanzato" as well as "mio marito." Where is the explanation of when we use these? Is there a lesson that I've missed?

0 replies - Last post by SheilaM17 - August 19, 2018

Lesson 1.4 - Piacere Grammar Question

I have a question about the grammar in this exchange: Ti piacere la cucina romana? Si, mi piace tutta la cucina italiana! In a previous lesson, we learned that questions can be made without having to change the syntax from the statement, simply by usin...

3 replies - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - July 9, 2018

When to use con and al

For the word 'with' in Italian, how to know when to use 'con' and when to use 'al'?  I look at the statements in the lessons using con or al but can't figure out when I should be using con and when I should use al. Thanks!

4 replies - Last post by EvanS55 - July 7, 2018

Use of "Per andare a" and Come arrivare a"?

Lucia: Grazie. AR

2 replies - Last post by AR--9 - June 14, 2018

Mistake in a module 3.7 example?

In module 3.7, I think one of the examples may be wrong. The example is: Noi viaggiamo meno veloci in treno che in aero. In this sentence, I think less fast  (meno veloci) is being used as an adverb to modify the verb, we travel (viaggiamo), by describing...

1 reply - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - June 5, 2018

Play/audio feature not working with Rocket Italian

How do I get my android Galaxy phone to heat my voice during Tocket Italian lessons?

1 reply - Last post by muxlow1 - May 6, 2018

Difference between subjunctive and present indicative

Hi Tom, Io posso is used "as it is", as in... Io posso nuotare. I can swim. (Io) ti posso aiutare? Can I help you? The subjunctive conjugation, io possa, is used in front of "che": Che io possa... That I can... Pensi che io possa farcela? Do you think t...

2 replies - Last post by Tom-R - May 2, 2018

Tu versus Ti

Hi William, Tu is used as a subject, as in: Tu sei alto. You are tall. Tu hai tre libri. You have three books. Ti is used as an object, as in: Io ti vedo. I see you. Ti manco una lettera. I send you a letter. In this case, io is the subject of the sente...

1 reply - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - April 24, 2018

che or come for how

In the survival lesson on love, "How good you are" is Che bravo, but in the lesson on Vesuvius "How wonderful you (all) are" translates to come siete bravi.   While I understand siete bravi for he plural "you all", I don't understand why come is used here...

1 reply - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - March 19, 2018

Why is an infinitive used here?

I was studying my flash cards and came across the sentence:  "Mi piace guardare i miei figli giocare gli sport."  ("I like to watch my sons play sports" is my intended translation). I can't remember why "giocare" is supposed to be the infinitive form her...

4 replies - Last post by jrdevivo - February 23, 2018

pronun for we

When is the pronun for we "ci" or "noi" appropriately used.  I have seen ci piace for we like and noi andiamo for we go.

2 replies - Last post by vpserio - February 7, 2018

Confused

In the lesson it states that tea with milk is Un te' al latte. I feel stupid asking this but why isn't it "con" latte. I thought "con" meant with.

1 reply - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - February 6, 2018

Grammer question.

Lesson 4.7 continuing action. Sentence “nessuno di noi  vuole andare a scuola”.  Can anyone explain why the third person of verb Volere  is used, and not the first person plural ie vogliamo?

2 replies - Last post by AnthonyM25 - January 30, 2018

The use of "al" and "con" with "te" and "caffe"

Hi AR, You can write both tè al latte and tè con latte, but caffè al latte would sound strange. When it comes to food, you can generally use either a or con, but this rule doesn't always apply. You might find more information here: https://members.rocke...

2 replies - Last post by AR--9 - January 15, 2018

position of adverb

Why does the position of "bene" move? For example when I say  "You speak italian well" it is "Parli bene l'italiano" (between the verb and the noun} But when I say "I don't speak italian well" it is "Non parlo l'italiano bene" (after the noun)?

1 reply - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - January 2, 2018

verb tense

in lesson 11.3  Roberto says : Credo che lo spezzatino con la polenta d'inverno rimane qualcosa di imbattibile. I thought that in phrases where there is some doubt such as here with' credo che' that one uses the present conjunctive so why 'rimane' and no...

3 replies - Last post by Colin397 - December 28, 2017

Confused - Agreement of past participle in 9.2

Hello In lesson 9.2 regarding filling your car, there is the statement "l'ha controllata recentemente'  Howard states that it is 'controllata' not 'controllato' because it refers to Le gomme.  I'm confused by this because my understanding is that the pa...

1 reply - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - November 23, 2017

quelli vs quei

Is it the case that quelli is still used as a pronoun but not as an adjective? as in "Quelli sono rossi" but "Quei vini sono rossi"?

5 replies - Last post by MickK - November 15, 2017

grammar question

why is it le scarpe maronni and not maronne?

2 replies - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - October 2, 2017

Combined pronouns and verb agreement

I started lesson 10.7 on combined pronouns.  It made sense until I got to 2 examples that were in the past tense:   Tuo padre ti ha comprato la macchina ieri Your father bought you the car yesterday   Tuo padre te l'ha comprata ieri ...

1 reply - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor - June 15, 2017

Reflexive verbs - Vedere

In lesson 8.5, there is  the sentence:  "Allora ci vediamo a febbraio." which is translated as "So we will see you in February."  From the context of this sentence, the "you" is more than 1 person.   Why is the pronoun "ci" used instead of "vi?"  I would...

2 replies - Last post by jrdevivo - March 31, 2017

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