Questions in Italian

Asking questions in Italian is really easy: it's just a matter of tone. If you look at the following examples there are no differences the way the words are sequenced. The change that occurs when placing a question mark at the end of the statement is one of intonation, the voice rises at the end of the sentence.

Asking Questions in Italian by Changing Tone

Interrogative pronouns

In some sentences, which begin with interrogative pronouns like where, what, or who, there are some conventions to observe. In questions beginning with interrogative pronouns, the subject can be placed at the end of the sentence.

Using "no?" to change a sentence into a question

Adding the phrases no? non è vero? è vero? or vero?  to the end of the statement will change the sentence into a question.

The Italian interrogative clauses

    In Italian there are three main kinds of interrogative clause:

  • The simple interrogative clauses, that accept a positive or negative answer (si/no, yes/no) or a specific answer.
  • The disjunctive interrogative clauses, which contain acceptable alternative answers within the question.
  • The rhetoric interrogative clauses, which require a positive answer.

Italian interrogative pronouns: rules and examples

    There are four:
  • chi, who: invariable and refers only to people, either singular or plural.
  • che or che cosa, what: invariable, refers just to things or concepts.
  • quale (qual, quali), which: invariable in genre, it has different forms for singular or plural.
  • quanto (-a, -i, -e), how many, how much: variable in genre and number, used with people or things.

English – Italian questions

Here there are some English interrogative expressions and their corresponding Italian translations.


HOW:

WHAT:

WHO:

WHY:

WHERE:

Questions in Italian summary

  • Take care about the tone of the sentence.
  • With interrogative pronouns the subject is at the end of the sentence, while the verb is the second to last word.
  • means yes, NO means no
  • how in Italian is translated as come or quanto
  • what in Italian is translated as che cosa
  • who in Italian is translated as chi
  • why in Italian is translated as perché
  • where in Italian is translated as dove
  • dove and perché can also be used for the answers

For more on the use of Italian questions check out these lessons...

A presto!
Maria DiLorenzi
Rocket Italian


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