A Few Ways to say "A Lot"

Parecchio, molto

No, papà è che c' ho parecchio lavoro da fare, sono un po' sotto pressione.
No, Dad, it's that I have quite a lot of work to do; I'm under a bit of pressure.
Caption 14, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 7 of 11 

Parecchio might be less familiar to you than molto.

Ho molto lavoro (I have a lot of work).


Like moltoparecchio is used as an adjective and in this case has different endings depending on whether it modifies a masculine or feminine noun and depending on whether it’s plural or singular.

Il lavoro is masculine, so it’s parecchio lavoro or molto lavoro.

Ci sono parecchie cose strane.
There are a lot of strange things.
Caption 62, Il Commissario Manara 1: Un delitto perfetto - Ep. 1 - Part 7 of 14


La cosa is feminine and it’s plural, so we say parecchie cose or molte cose.


But like moltoparecchio is also an adverb. In the following example, parecchio could easily replace molto.

Mi piace molto il posto e poi ho ritrovato vecchi amici e la zia è deliziosa come sempre.
I like the place a lot and then I met up with old friends and Aunt is charming as always.
Caption 11, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 7 of 11 


Un sacco

Un sacco is quite colloquial, as is “bunch!” Sacco translates as “bag,” or “sack, so imagine a big bag of something!

Non fare questa faccia, vedrai che ti farai un sacco di amici.
Don't make that face. You'll see that you'll make a bunch of friends.
Caption 9, Caption La Tempesta: film - Part 9 of 26 



Tanto is another word for a lot. Like the other words above, it can be used as an adjective:

E... insomma, dopo un tempo che in quel momento non sapevo stimare se era tanto o poco
And... in short, after a time, which in that moment I couldn't assess whether it was a lot or a little
Caption 53, Anna presenta: Il mio parto 

Certo che firmo per la barella, non avevo tanta scelta.
Ofcourse I'll sign for a gurney. I didn't have much choice.
Caption 30, Anna presenta: Il mio parto 


Tanto can be used as an adverb as well.

Non andavo tanto veloce, ma mi hanno fatto la multa.
I wasn’t going very fast, but they gave me a ticket.


It’s always good to know several different ways to say something. Variety is the spice of life!

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If at First You Don't Succeed

Daniela has taken us through different kinds of verbs and how they interact with verbs in the infinitive.


Here’s a quick overview so you can get up to speed.


She started out by explaining modal verbs and other verbs that work like modal verbs. These verbs don’t need any preposition between the conjugated (modal) verb and the verb in the infinitive. See: Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + Verbo all'infinito and following. Here’s an example.

Non posso andare al cinema stasera. Devo studiare.
I can’t go to the movies tonight. I have to study.

She then gave us some examples of verbs that take the preposition di (of) between the conjugated verb and the verb in the infinitive. See Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + Verbo all'infinito +preposizione “di”

Ho deciso di andare al cinema da sola. Ho dimenticato di ritirare dei soldi al bancomat.
I decided to go to the movies alone. I forgot to get some money at the ATM machine.


In her most recent lessons, she has talked about verbs that take the preposition (to) between the conjugated verb and the verb in the infinitive. See Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + verbo all'infinito + preposizione “a”

Se non ho gli occhiali, non riesco a leggere.
If I don't have glasses on I can't manage to read.
Caption 19, Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + verbo all'infinito + preposizione “a” part two


Daniela talks about several verbs in this context but let’s take a closer look at the verb riuscire because, although commonly used in Italian, it can be tricky to translate and has some important nuances.


Riuscire means “to succeed.” In the following example, it makes sense to us.

Sono riuscito a convincerlo della mia innocenza.
I succeeded in convincing him of my innocence.

But Daniela’s example above would sound a bit stilted with the verb “to succeed”:

If I don't have my glasses on, I don't succeed in reading.

In English, we would likely use the modal verb “to be able” or “to manage.”

I can’t read without my glasses.
I’m unable to read without my glasses.
I can’t manage to read without my glasses.

Remember this saying when thinking about the verb riuscire: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”


Non riesco (I can’t) implies that I am trying, but I’m not succeeding. Non posso (I can’t) on the other hand, could mean any number of things having to do with permission, ability, money, etc. So riuscire (to succeed) is a bit more specific than potere (to be able to).

Riesci a inquadrarla? -Sì.
Are you able to get a shot of it? -Yes.
Caption 16,  Anna e Marika:  Hostaria Antica Roma - Part 4

You could use the verb “to succeed” here, but it would sound a bit odd in conversation.

Are you succeeding in getting a shot of it?
Will you succeed in getting a shot of it?

Here’s another example:

e poi, quando riuscivamo [ad] avere due lire,
and then, when we succeeded in having two liras [a couple of dollars],
Caption 13, L'arte della cucina: La Prima Identitá - Part 15

We could also say, “when we were able to get a hold of two liras...” or “when we managed to get a hold of two liras...”


In the negative, riuscire can be used for saying “I give up.”

Non ci riesco (I am not succeeding in it/I can’t manage it).

The ci here refers to “in it,” or “at it.”


But using riuscire in the negative implies that you gave something a try. If you say non posso, we don't know anything about why you can't. Your mother won’t let you? You don’t know how? It’s against your religion? Riuscire, on the other hand, implies you are willing, but unable.


Riuscire is one of those verbs you might not use immediately while learning Italian because it’s easier to use potere (to be able to). Understanding how Italians use riuscire is handy, however, and once you are accustomed to hearing and reading it, you will probably start using it, too!


Marika uses riuscire in her presentation of Yabla. Her advice is sound!

Se invece non ci riesci, non ti preoccupare, ti devi solo allenare.
If you don't succeed in it, don't worry, you just need to practice.
Caption 32, Yabla-Intro: Marika

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Colloquial Speech

This lesson looks at some colloquial expressions from the last segment of Stai lontana da me, a comedy. 


When asking for confirmation of what you have said, here’s one way:

Dico bene?
Am I saying it well [am I right/am I telling like it is]?
Caption 27, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17 


The prefix ri is similar to “re” in English: it's used to repeat something:

Hai ridetto Monica.
You re-said “Monica” [you said “Monica” again].
Caption 42, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17


Niente di niente is colloquial but used quite a bit in everyday speech. In fact, there are two instances in this segment. We can translate it colloquially: “no nothing,” or, in correct English: “nothing at all.”

E in due anni zero litigate, niente di niente. È un vero paradiso.
And in two years, no fights, no nothing. It's true paradise.
Caption 49, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

E poi a Sara non è successo più un incidente. -No, no, niente di niente.
And then Sara hasn't had any more accidents. -No, no, nothing at all.
Captions 62-63, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17


Stra is a prefix meaning “extra” or “over.” It’s used quite a bit to mean “super” or “mega” in colloquial speech, although there are more mainstream words with this prefix, such as stravecchio (very mature or old), stracotto (as an adjective, “very well-cooked”; as a noun, “meat stewed a long time”), stravedere (to think the world of), straviziare (to overindulge).


Jacopo’s client used very colloquial speech:

...Cioè perché stra-pesante, cioè una noia totale.
...That is, because super heavy duty, that is, a total bore.
Caption 51, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17


His use of cioè (that is) is very close in meaning to "I mean," in English, which some people sprinkle throughout their speech. Ciò is one of those words that in the beginning was two separate ones:  ciò (this that) and è (is).


Quasi quasi literally means “almost almost.”

Quasi quasi non ci lasciavamo. -Ciccì, cicciò due palle dottore, a noi ci piaceva litigare.
We were seriously considering not breaking up. -Yatter, yatter what a downer, Doctor. We liked fighting.
Caption 52,  Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

Some alternative translations:

We were seriously thinking of not breaking up.
We were of a mind not to break up.


Here’s an expression to justify asking someone a question. Most Italians know this expression or saying, and some use it automatically. In English, we might say, “There’s no harm in asking.”

Poi, domandare è lecito, rispondere è cortesia.
Besides, asking is permissible; answering is good manners.
Caption 57, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 17 of 17

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Word Order Options with Modal Verbs and Object Pronouns

Object pronouns can be very tricky to use because there isn’t just one way to construct a phrase. Especially when dealing with modal verbs, which go hand in hand with infinitives, the object pronoun can go either before the conjugated verb or after the infinitive. The trick is that, as we shall see, the pronoun actually gets attached to the infinitive, which loses its final e


Let's look at an example.


Here, the object pronoun comes just before the conjugated verb volere, which is modal.

Possiamo dire: ho comprato un'auto nuova. La vuoi vedere?
We can say, "I bought a new car. Do you want to see it?"

Caption 46, Marika spiega: I pronomi diretti


Here, on the other hand, the object pronoun not only follows the infinitive, it's attached to it. In order to attach it, the final e of the infinitive vedere is omitted.

Oppure: ho comprato un'auto nuova. Vuoi vederla?
Or else, "I bought a new car. Do you want to see it?"

Caption 47, Marika spiega: I pronomi diretti



There are several pieces of dialogue in a recent episode of Commisario Manara that lend themselves to having their word order changed as explained above. Why not give it a try, and consult the solutions at the bottom of the page to check your answers. If this is new to you, then go right to the solutions, and see how they differ from the examples.


First, find the elements: the conjugated verb (likely modal), the infinitive verb, and the object pronoun. The next step is to rephrase the sentence, changing the position of the pronoun. 


Eh, me lo potevi dire anche domani in ufficio, no?
Uh, you could have told me that at the office tomorrow, couldn't you?
Caption 4, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11 

Hai detto delle cose bellissime. Non scordarle. Funzionano.
You said some very beautiful things. Don't forget them. They work.
Caption 22, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11 

Però non voglio, io non voglio perderti.
However, I don't want, I don't want to lose you.
Caption 10, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11

Lasciami lavorare. Appena ho i risultati, te li vengo a riferire.
Let me work on it. As soon as I have the results, I'll come to report them to you
Caption 19, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11

Va be', buona notte e scusami tanto per prima, eh. -Non devi scusarti.
All right, good night, and sorry for before. -You don't have to apologize.
Caption 21, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11

E di che cosa mi volevi parlare?
Ti volevo parlare di una situazione finanziaria.
And what did you want to talk to me about?
I wanted to talk to you about a financial situation.
Caption 29-30, Il Commissario Manara 1: Beato tra le donne Ep. 11 - Part 4 of 11


Here are the examples and their solutions, for a quick comparison. 

Eh, me lo potevi dire anche domani in ufficio, no?
Eh, potevi dirmelo anche domani in ufficio, no?

Hai detto delle cose bellissime. Non scordarle. Funzionano.
Hai detto delle cose bellissime. Non le scordare. Funzionano.

Però non voglio, io non voglio perderti.
Però non voglio, io non ti voglio perdere.

Lasciami lavorare.
Mi lasci lavorare?

Lasciami lavorare. Appena ho i risultati, te li vengo a riferire.
Lasciami lavorare. Appena ho i risultati, vengo a riferirteli.

Va be', buona notte e scusami tanto per prima, eh. -Non devi scusarti.
Va be', buona notte e scusami tanto per prima, eh. -Non ti devi scusare.

E di che cosa mi volevi parlare?
E di che cosa volevi parlarmi?

Ti volevo parlare di una situazione finanziaria.
Volevo parlarti di una situazione finanziaria.


Don't forget to read the examples out loud to see how they feel!


As you follow this and other videos, and as you start speaking in Italian, hopefully, you'll start to feel comfortable with these different word order options.You’ll start noticing these constructions in most videos you look at. 

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Sapere sapere sapere

Sapere sapere sapere. We keep coming back to the same verbs, but there’s always something more to learn!


We have already covered the verb sapere (to know, to know how to, to have the flavor/smell of) in previous lessons. But this week, Daniela talks about sapere once again. This time she discusses the most common meaning of sapere: to have knowledge of something. She explains how to use sapere in this sense, when followed by a verb in the infinitive rather than by a noun.


She explains about using the preposition di between conjugated sapere and the verb in the infinitive:

Allora diciamo: sappiamo di essere i più forti. I più forti.
So we say, "We know we're the strongest. The strongest."
Caption 22, Corso di italiano con Daniela - Verbo + Verbo all'infinito + preposizione DI - Part 3 of 3

So di essere in ritardo.
I know I am late. (Or, I know that I’m late.)

The preposition di is generally translated as "of," but the trick here is that in English we don’t use the preposition “of” in this kind of situation. We either use “that,” as in “I know that I am late,” or we don’t use any preposition at all, as in “I know I am late.” All in all, sapere plus di plus infinitive is a construction that is difficult to match up in English, so we just have to assimilate it as best we can.


Let’s look at some more examples of sapere plus di, so you can get a feel for it.

Uno stupido non sa di essere stupido (an idiot doesn’t know he’s stupid).

Sappiamo di doverti delle scuse (we know we owe you an apology).

Sai di essere l’unica persona in grado di risolvere il problema (do you know you are the only person able to solve the problem)?

Sapete di camminare in mezzo alla strada (do you know you are walking in the middle of the road)?

Sanno di infrangere la legge, ma non gli importa niente (they know they are breaking the law, but they don’t care).

Leonardo sa di essere stato scorretto con me (Leonardo knows he has not been fair with me).


One of the other ways sapere gets used is to mean “to know how to.” Daniela has explained this in another video lesson:

Per esempio, io posso dire: Luca sa nuotare.
For example, I may say, "Luca knows how to swim."
Caption 19, Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + Verbo all'infinito - Part 1


Here are some additional examples of this meaning. It should be mentioned that in this case, sapere acts like a modal verb, such as “can,” “must,” “may,” etc. Remember that with modal verbs, there is no preposition before the infinitive.

Non so parlare spagnolo (I don’t know how to speak Spanish).

Roberto non sa cucinare (Roberto doesn’t know how to cook).

Non sapete leggere fra le righe (you don’t know how to read between the lines).

miei genitori non sanno ballare (my parents don’t know how to dance).


And let’s not forget that we can also use sapere before a noun.

Sai l’ora (do you know the time)?

So quello che dico (I know what I’m saying). 

So l’inglese (I know English.)

Di quella canzone, Gianna non sa abbastanza bene le parole (Gianna doesn’t know the words to that song well enough). 

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The Verb Ricordare (to Remember) in Context

Daniela has talked about the fact that ricordare (to remember) takes the preposition di. In a recent episode of Stai lontana da me, there is a scene where the verb ricordare appears a number of times. Let’s take a closer look.

In the following example, Simona is using ricordare reflexively: ricordarsi (to remember), but very generally, in that there is no direct object at all. She’s just saying, “You don’t remember, do you?”

È incredibile, sono passati trent'anni e sei identico. -Identico a chi? -Sono Simona, non ti ricordi, eh?
It's incredible, thirty years have passed and you are the same. -The same as who? -I'm Simona, you don't remember, do you?
Captions 14-15, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 15 of 17 

But then, as they keep talking, we start hearing some direct object pronouns as well.

Ma figurati, ma io manco me la ricordo 'sta maledizione.
But are you kidding? But I don't even remember it, this curse.
Caption 25, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 15 of 17

Of course in English, we don’t normally include the direct object pronoun together with the direct object noun.


'Sta maledizione (this curse) is the actual direct object of the above example and the one below.

Ma come non te la ricordi? -Ma non me la ricordo, era alle elementari, Jacopo. -Eh!
But what do you mean you don’t remember it? -But don't remember it, it was at elementary school, Jacopo. -Yeah.
Captions 26, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 15 of 17


In the following example, just the indirect object pronoun (mi in this case) is used because what was remembered (the fact of being sweethearts) is then explained in a separate clause.

Eh, mi ricordo che eravamo fidanzatini, poi, non so, è successo qualcosa e...
Uh, I remember that we were sweethearts and then something happened and...
Captions 27, Rai Cinema: Stai lontana da me - Part 15 of 17

So when we don’t need to be specific, mi ricordo or non mi ricordo (I remember/I don’t remember) will do.

When there is no direct pronoun, just an indirect pronoun, we can ask the question:

Ti ricordi?
Do you remember?

But when we specify what is being remembered, we either insert a direct object noun:

Ti ricordi quel viaggio...?
Do you remember that trip...?

Or a verbal phrase:

Ti ricordi di aver fatto quel viaggio nel settantanove?
Do you remember having made that trip in seventy-nine?

Attenzione! This is when we need di, as Daniela has explained in a recent video lessonRicordare is a verb that takes the preposition di when followed by a verb in the infinitive, whether or not it is reflexive.


We can also insert a direct object pronoun. Attenzione! This causes a shift. In this case, the indirect pronoun changes from an i ending to an e ending. The direct pronoun will be lo (it), la (it), li (them), or le (them): In this particular case the object is viaggio (trip), a masculine noun.

Te lo ricordi?
Do you remember it?
Me lo ricordo
I remember it.
Se lo ricordano.
They remember it.

You can practice forming sentences with only an indirect pronoun. Then add a direct object pronoun corresponding to a noun you are thinking of, and make the shift, as above.


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Remembering and Forgetting with Ricordare and Dimenticare

In Italian, “to remember” and “to forget” go well together: Ricordare/dimenticare


Ricordare may be easy to remember if we think of making a mental record of something.​
Dimenticare, if you take it apart, is kind of a fun word. Di, just like “dis” in English, often undoes something. Mente is the Italian word for mind. You undo something from your mind!

Duemilaseidici è stato un anno da ricordare o da dimenticare?
Was two thousand sixteen a year to remember, or a year to forget?


Think of things you want to remember or forget from last year:

Vorrei ricordare un bellissimo viaggio in Italia.
I would like to remember a great trip to Italy.
Vorrei dimenticare quanti soldi ho dovuto spendere
I would like to forget how much money I had to spend.


In the above examples, we have treated ricordare and dimenticare as ordinary transitive verbs. They are followed by a noun. This is the most basic way to use these verbs. But ricordare and dimenticare are, more often than not, used reflexively.

Ricordati (remember)!! When a verb is reflexive, the subject and object of the verb are one and the same:

Mi sono tagliato (I cut myself).


For more about reflexive verbs see this lesson and this video.


In the following example, ricordare is used reflexively, and is followed by a noun, not a verb.

Daniela, tu per caso ti ricordi i nomi degli altri colli di Roma?
Daniela, do you, by chance, remember the names of the other hills of Rome?
Caption 6, Marika e Daniela: Il Foro Romano 


Ricordiamoci (let’s remember) that when a verb, not a noun, follows a verb in this category, we need the preposition di in between, as in the following example. You may notice that the verb decidere (to decide) behaves the same way!

Il tuo amico ha deciso di portarti in giro con il suo scooter, ma non ha dimenticato di prestarti un casco.
Your friend has decided to take you around on his scooter, but hasn't forgotten to lend you a helmet.
Caption 8, Marika spiega: I veicoli 


The above example could be modified a few ways to say the same thing. We could use the reflexive:

Il tuo amico si è deciso di portarti in giro con il suo scooter, ma non si è dimenticato di prestarti un casco.
Your friend has decided to take you around on his scooter, but hasn't forgotten to lend you a helmet.


You will notice that as soon as we use the reflexive form, we need the auxiliary verb essere (to be) rather than avere (to have) in the compound tenses. This can be tricky indeed!


We could also use the verb ricordare:

Il tuo amico si è deciso di portarti in giro con il suo scooter, e si è ricordato di prestarti un casco.
Your friend has decided to take you around on his scooter, and has remembered to lend you a helmet.


However we decide to use ricordare and dimenticare (and decidere, for that matter), we need di before the verb in the infinitive.

Ah, mi sono dimenticato di dirti che...
Oh, I forgot to tell you that...
Caption 20, Francesca: alla guida - Part 1 of 4 

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Ci: There's Always More to Say About It!

We had mentioned in a recent lesson that we would come back to ci. Well, it just so happens that Marika talks about ci in a recent video lesson.

To start off, she explains how ci is used to express place so that you don’t have to keep repeating the place in subsequent sentences if it has already been mentioned once. It’s a pronoun in this sense, and includes the preposition and the object of the preposition. So we’re talking about an indirect pronoun.

She uses some examples that give a fairly clear idea of how to use ci in this sense. What can be tricky is that in English, we can leave more elements out of the sentence than in Italian.

There is one example she gives:

Vieni a fare la spesa con me?
Are you coming food shopping with me?
Sì, ci vengo. Grazie.
Yes, I'm coming. Thanks.
Captions 29-30, Marika spiega: La particella “ci” - Part 1 of 3 

In this case, it’s hard to find any kind of indirect object that represents “to do the shopping with me.” In English, we just say, “Yes, I’m coming.” We could say, “Yes, I’m coming with you,” but that leaves out the shopping.


So when we are thinking about how to say something in Italian, and we are translating from English, it’s tricky to remember this little particle ci. It gets used so often, and it gets used in situations in which we as English speakers would not bother. Fortunately much of the time we can be understood in Italian even if we don’t use these words. It can take years to make ci a natural part of speech for a non-native speaker.

Here are a few more examples:

Dovevo andare al lavoro oggi, ma non ci vado.
I was supposed to go to work today, but I’m not going there.

In English we would just say, “but I’m not going.” And that is what takes getting used to in Italian!


Mia madre sta bene in questa casa, ma io ci sto male.
My mother is happy in this house, but I am not happy here.


Ho chiesto un aumento,ma non ci conto.
I asked for a raise, but I’m not counting on it.


As Marika tells us more about ci, we'll have more examples for you. So stay tuned!

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Cercare, Tentare and Provare: to Try.

Cercaretentareprovare: All three of  these verbs have multiple meanings, but they are also all synonyms meaning “to try.” There are nuances in their meanings that lead us to choose one over the other in a given situation, but that will get easier over time.


This week Daniela explains about using the verb cercare with infinitives when it means “to try.” Cercare takes the preposition di (to) before a verb in the infinitive.

Cerco di aprire la bottiglia.
I try to open the bottle.
Caption 58, Corso di italiano con Daniela: Verbo + Verbo all'infinito + preposizione DI - Part 1 of 3 


We could use the verb tentare to mean much the same thing. It also takes the preposition di when used with a second verb in the infinitive.

Ho tentato di aprire la bottiglia, ma ...
I tried to open the bottle, but...


A helpful cognate for this verb is “to attempt.”

attempted to open the bottle...


We can say something similar with the verb provareAttenzione! Provare takes the preposition a. Daniela will soon be talking about this preposition. When she does, you’ll be ready!

Ho provato ad aprire la bottiglia.
I tried to open the bottle.


All three of these verbs have additional meanings.
Daniela told us about cercare. You use it when you’re searching for something.

Ho cercato il libro, ma non l’ho trovato.
I looked for the book but I didn’t find it.


Tentare has an additional meaning, “to tempt.“

Non mi tentare con quel dolce. Sono a dieta.
Don’t tempt me with that dessert. I’m on a diet.


There’s a noun form, too: una tentazione (a temptation).


Provare has an English cognate “to prove,” which is a synonym for dimostrare (to demonstrate).

Non ha rubato le scarpe, ma non lo può provare.
He didn't steal the shoes, but he can't prove it.

The noun form is la prova (the proof, the evidence).

e quindi tutte le prove sono a carico di Ninetta.
and so all the proof is against Ninetta.
Caption 6, Anna e Marika: in La Gazza Ladra - Part 1 of 2 


But provare also has to do with feelings, and in this case is a synonym for sentire (to feel). In the following example the impersonal si is used.

Ce la fai a dirci che cosa si prova in questo momento?
Can you let us know what you're feeling right now?
È un'emozione grandissima, sono emozionatissima.
It's a very great emotion, I'm very excited.
Captions 7-8, Gioia Marconi: Vado avanti


It should be mentioned that we use la prova, or le prove, for when we practice music, theater, or dance with others, when we rehearse. This meaning has more to do with provare when it means “to try.”

Dove devi andare?
Where do you have to go?
A fare le prove per il concerto.
To practice for the concert. 
Captions 23-24, Milena e Mattia: L'incontro




Try switching verbs among cercaretentare, and provare. Remember to use the correct preposition! In this exercise we are only dealing with cercaretentare and provare when they mean "to try."


Tutti i giorni, cerco di arrivare puntuale a scuola (every day, I try to get to school on time).


A volte provo ad andarci in bici, ma arrivo troppo stanco (sometimes I try to go by bike but I arrive tuckered out).


Ho tentato di chiedere un passaggio alla zia, ma lei parte troppo tardi (I tried asking my aunt for a ride, but she leaves too late).


Hai provato a chiamare il dottore (did you try to call the doctor)?


Tenterò di dire qualche parola in inglese (I will try to say a few words in English).


Cerca di parlare un po’ più piano, altrimenti non ti capiscano (try speaking more slowly, otherwise they don’t understand).


Cercherò di darti una  risposta entro questa settimana (I will try to give you an answer within the week).


L’ultima volta che ho cercato di cucinare il pesce, è stato un fallimento (the last time I tried cooking fish, it was a failure).


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The Ci in C'è

A common contraction we hear every day in Italian is c’è (there is). If we open it up, we find two words:

Ci (there) and è (third person singular of essere [to be]).


When referring to objects in a place, c'è is fairly straightforward, and its English translation “there is” corresponds quite well:

Nel corpo di Giada non c'è traccia di quel sonnifero.
In Giada's body there is no trace of that sleeping medicine.
Caption 50, Il Commissario Manara 1: Un morto di troppo Ep. 10 - Part 9 of 12  


But things aren't always so straightforward. Let’s look at the following example where, to our ears, it might seem like there’s an extraneous “there.” In fact, the literal translation of the Italian would be “there’s the mama.” Let’s not forget that Italian uses ci to mean “there” and “here” interchangeably for the most part.

Vai, vai tranquillo, c'è la mamma! -Sì, mamma.
Go ahead, don’t worry, Mama is here! -Yes, Mama.
Caption 15, Il Commissario Manara 1: Le Lettere Di Leopardi - Ep 4 - Part 10 of 17


In the following example, and the previous one, we see that the word order changes between English and Italian. In Italian the ci (there) comes before the conjugated verb “to be,” making the contraction easy, but in English we need to put “there” afterwards:

Sì, ma non c'è nessuno. È tutto serrato.
Yes, but nobody is there. It's all locked up.
Caption 9, Il Commissario Manara 1: Un delitto perfetto - Ep. 1 - Part 1 of 14 

Or, we can put in an extra “there.”

There’s nobody there.
There’s nobody here.


Attenzione! If we want to distinguish between “here” and “there,” then we can use qui and .

Il libro non è qui, è lì (the book isn't here; it's there).


Italian uses “there is” to mean “it exists”:

È il minerale più resistente che c'è in natura. Rilassati Gina.
It's the most resistant mineral that exists in nature. Relax, Gina.
Caption 11,  La ladra: Le cose cambiano - Part 16 of 17


But there are also colloquial turns of phrase that use “there is” that don't quite correspond to English. The following example is in the imperfetto or simple past.

C'era Lei di turno tre notti fa? -Sì.
Were you in service three nights ago? -Yes.
Caption 2, Il Commissario Manara 1: Un morto di troppo Ep. 10 - Part 10 of 12 


When asking for someone on the phone, Italians use c’è. Remember that unlike English, questions and statements in Italian have the same word order, but the inflection changes.

Pronto. -Salve, c’è Susanna?
Hello. -Hello, is Susanna there?


When asking what’s wrong, it’s easy to say:

Che c'è? -Niente. 
What is the matter? -Nothing.
Caption 7. Il Commissario Manara 1: Il Raggio Verde - Ep 5 - Part 5 of 14 

In this case, translating literally (what is there?) does not work at all!


Lastly, let’s not forget the popular song by Nek, Laura non c'è. Note again the fact that ci (here, there) is inserted before the verb “to be.”

Laura non c'è, è andata via
Laura is not here; she's gone away
Caption 1, Nek: Laura non c'è 


We’ll often come back to the word ci in lessons, since it really does get around, and can be tricky. For more about ci, see these lessons.

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