Italian Lessons


Comodo: Comfortable or Handy?

The adjective comodo (comfortable) is easy to find in the dictionary, and is easy to understand, too, in a normal context.


Che dici, sarà comodo questo letto per la tedesca con la puzza sotto il naso?

What do you say? Will this bed be comfortable for the snobbish German lady?

Captions 12-13, Sposami EP 3 - Part 5

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Quindi non dimenticatevi di indossare delle scarpe comode, un abbigliamento comodo per potervi godere questo spettacolo meraviglioso.

So don't forget to wear comfortable shoes, comfortable clothing, to be able to enjoy this marvelous show.

Captions 45-46, Marika spiega Expo 2015 - Part 2

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Grammar corner

As you can see, comodo ends in "O." So when using it to describe a noun, you have to pay attention to both the gender and the number of the noun it's describing. There are 4 possibilities: o, a, i, and e. Here are some examples.

Questo vestito è comodo (this dress is comfortable).

Questa gonna è comoda (this skirt is comfortable).

Questi pantaloni sono comodi (these pants are comfortable).

Queste scarpe sono comode (these shoes are comfortable).



Try making sentences with other appropriate nouns you know, such as la sedia, il letto, la maglietta, il cappotto, gli stivali, i calzini, l'anello, il divano, il cuscino, i guanti, 


The opposite of comfortable

To say "uncomfortable," we use the famous "S" prefix: scomodo.  Quite often, but certainly not always, the S prefix will indicate the opposite of the original meaning of the word. For more about how the S prefix works, examples, see this lesson

Ma perché le donne devono aver un abito così scomodo?

But why do women have to have such uncomfortable clothing?

Caption 52, L'Oriana film - Part 23

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Try doing the same exercises as above (with comodo) with scomodo. It works the same way! Make sure and say your sentences out loud, if possible.


Being comfortable

Up until now, we have talked about things that are or aren't comfortable. We can use the verb essere (to be). But when it comes to how we are feeling, such as sitting in an armchair, we use comodo and scomodo  with the verb stare, also translated as "to be." We're talking about our state of being. Let's assume a woman is talking. She might say:

Su questa sedia, sto un po' scomoda. Manca un cuscino (I'm kind of uncomfortable on this chair. There's no cushion).

Su quell'altra, sto piuttosto comoda, invece (but on that other one, I am pretty comfortable).


❇️ Food for thought:

What if a guy were talking?

What if a couple were talking together about how they feel sleeping on the ground?

What if you were asking someone if they are comfortable, when it's clear they are not comfortable?


Stare is also used with comodo in another situation. Sometimes comodo specifically implies remaining seated, as in the command:

 Stai comodo (don't bother getting up).


Getting comfortable

When you get comfortable, the verb is mettersi (to put oneself). We use the reflexive form of mettere (to put) as if to say, "Put yourself" into a comfortable position or state.

Quando torno a casa, la prima cosa che faccio è mettermi comodo.

When I get back home, the first thing I do is to get comfortable.

Caption 39, Adriano Giornata

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If I invite you to my place, and you are just standing in the entranceway, I might say:

Mettiti comodo (relax, make yourself at home, take off your shoes if you want, have a seat). 


Comodo meaning "convenient"

There are other contexts in which comodo is used in Italian, and these might be a bit harder to grasp. Comodo can mean "convenient," as in an easy answer, as in over-simplifying.


Ho cambiato idea, me ne ero dimenticato, non gliel'ho detto?

I changed my mind, I had forgotten, didn't I tell you?

Troppo comodo, Manara.

Too convenient, Manara.

Ormai le sue dimissioni saranno già protocollate.

At this point, your resignation will have been registered.

Captions 33-35, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP12 - Le verità nascoste

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And to talk about inconveniencing someone, the verb is scomodare

Non ti voglio scomodare (I don't want to inconvenience you).


Fare comodo

A common expression is fare comodo (to be or to come in useful, handy, or to be convenient). So in Italian, the verb is fare, while in English it's "to be" or "to come in."


Here's an example that's close to home for Yabla users:

Fa molto comodo avere i sottotitoli in due lingue, no?

Having subtitles in two languages is very handy, isn't it?

Having subtitles in two languages comes in very handy, doesn't it?


The following example is in the past conditional. They wished they'd had a beach umbrella.


Che caldo!

It's so hot!

Certo, un ombrellone nelle ore centrali del giorno  avrebbe fatto veramente comodo.

Of course, an umbrella for the middle of the day would have come in really handy.

Captions 1-2, Una gita - al lago - Part 3

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In a future lesson, we'll talk about comodo as a noun.



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 62, Corso di italiano con Daniela - Verbo + Verbo all'infinito + preposizione DI

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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 63, Anna e Marika - in La Gazza Ladra

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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 8-9, Gioia Marconi - Vado avanti

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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 28-29, Milena e Mattia - L'incontro

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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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