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Italian Grammar

Understanding Italian Grammar

Italian grammar is the body of rules describing the properties of the Italian language. The Italian language is based on the following categories: articles, adjectives, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions.

In Italian articles are more than just simple words before the nouns. They identify the genre and the number of the nouns and are essential in order to recognize irregular nouns. They can be masculine or feminine, singular or plural and, except in some specific cases, they must always be used. For more on Italian articles click here.

Adjectives are words that describe a person or a thing. For more on Italian Adjectives click here.

Nouns are words that refer to a person or a thing; they can be masculine or feminine, singular or plural. Many Italian nouns have irregular form.

Pronouns are words that are used in place of a noun. They can stand in for the subject, Io mangio - I eat; the object, Paola mi ama - Paola loves me; or the complement, Io vivo per lei - I live for her. There are many kinds of pronouns: personal, possessive, demonstrative, interrogative and indefinite. For more on pronouns in Italian click here.

Verbs are the core of the Italian language. They are words that refer to an action (andare - to go; mangiare - to eat) or to a state (essere - to be; stare - to stay; esistere - to exist). In Italian there are three classes of verbs, five moods and 21 tenses. For more on verbs in Italian click here.

If you want to find out more about verb conjugations in Italian then check this lesson out!

Italian Adverbs

An adverb is a word that tells you how or where or when an action is done, for example:

Prepositions are words that show position in relation to space or time, or that introduce a complement. The main prepositions in Italian are listed below. For a more in-depth look at Italian prepositions click here.

 
Preposition
Italian
English
di:
La casa di Paola
Paola’s house
a:
Io vado a casa
I go (to) home
da:
Il treno viene da Milano
The train comes from Milan
in:
La mamma è in Italia
The mother is in Italy
con:
Io vivo con Paola
I live with Paola
su:
La penna è sul tavolo
The pen is on the table
per:
Il regalo è per te
The gift is for you
tra/fra:
La banca è tra il supermercato e la scuola
The bank is between the supermarket and the school

Italian Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that link to other words or to a group of words. Like e - and, ma - but, se - if.

The Auxiliary Verbs: Essere and Avere

Essere and avere can be used as common verb, with the meanings of to be and to have, but also they can be auxiliary verbs, io ho comprato - I have bought.

Essere:

Avere:

In the formal situation, the 2nd person is substituted with the 3rd person Lei.

Some special cases:

Italian Grammar Rules Summary

  • There are seven main categories in Italian: articles, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions and conjunctions.
  • Adjectives and nouns have a specific form for the masculine and for the feminine, for singular and plural
  • Verbs are the core of the Italian language
  • Some prepositions can be contracted with the articles
  • Essere and avere are the Italian auxiliary verbs.

Testing!

Test yourself with the Rocket Italian testing tools! Improve your knowledge of Italian!

Note that the tests below are listed from easiest to hardest.

Hear It Say It!

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Improve your understanding of spoken Italian. With Hear it Say it! you can tune your ear to Italian, increase your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation at the same time! Ready?

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • LISTEN to the audio (and touch up your pronunciation with Rocket Record if you like; Chrome/Firefox/Edge desktop browsers only)
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase and see the translation
  • Just click your RATING to continue

See how many words you've rated at each level below. Just click on the number below each rating to review your words and phrases.

Write It!

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Write it! helps you to improve your written Italian and your understanding of sentence structures. Just listen to the audio and type in what you hear!

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • LISTEN to the audio
  • WRITE down, in Italian, what you hear
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase and see the translation
  • Your answer will be automatically RATED, just click the rating to continue

Tip!

Click the keyboard icon for a Italian keyboard

Know It!

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Know it! tests you on your ability to translate English to Italian! Ready?

  • Click the Get Started button below
  • READ the word/phrase
  • RECORD yourself saying it in Italian (Chrome/Firefox/Edge desktop browsers only)
  • Click REVEAL to see the word/phrase in Italian and listen to the Italian audio

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