There is an Italian cognate for the noun exam: It's esame, but there are a few basic things to know about using the word.
First of all, if you are in college (which is always called università in Italy), you take exams, right? Well in Italy, first of all, exams are generally oral exams, where you have to speak and answer questions at length, and often in public, before your peers. The final exam of high school is called l'esame di maturità, or just la maturità.
Cioè, come ho potuto io, che alla maturità ho preso sessanta?
That is, how could I have, when I got sixty in the finals?Play Caption
Second of all, instead of taking an exam, you give it: dare un esame. At least this is how it is in colloquial speech.
Che importa se non ha dato nessun esame.
What does it matter if he didn't take any exams?Play Caption
That's one way to say it. We can also use the more "correct" verb sostenere. Sostenere means plenty of things as you can see in the link (including a close cognate — "to sustain"), but in the case of exams, it means "to undergo."
Per avere l'elenco degli esami che ha sostenuto tuo nipote, ci vuole il [sic: la] password, no, eh. -Ah, sì, sì, ho capito. -Ecco.
To have the list of the exams your nephew took, you need the password, right? -Ah, yes, yes, I get it. -Here.Play Caption
And sometimes Italians use the all-purpose verb fare (to make, to do).
Ma mi avevi detto che era una freccia, era... faceva gli esami, uno dopo l'altro.
But you told me that he was as fast as an arrow, he was... he took the exams one after another.Play Caption
When you pass an exam, the right word is superare l'esame but people use the verb passare, too.
Non ho mai visto Alberto dispiaciuto di aver passato un esame.
I've never seen Alberto unhappy to have passed an exam.Play Caption
Che se non superi quegli esami non puoi fare gli altri esami che poi ti permettono di passare al secondo, al terzo, al quarto e poi al quinto anno e prendere la laurea.
That if you don't pass those exams you can't do the other exams that then allow you to go on to the second, third, fourth, and then to the fifth year and get your degree.
Captions 36-38, Serena sistema universitario italianoPlay Caption
If you flunk an exam, sei bocciato or bocciata.
Invece, all'università, se prendi un voto inferiore al diciotto sei bocciato e non passi l'esame.
Instead, at the university, if you get a grade below eighteen, you fail, and you don't pass the exam.
Captions 49-50, Serena sistema universitario italianoPlay Caption
There are also the exams you do for your health (and sometimes when you are already dead).
Non ti consegno il rapporto perché ho richiesto un esame necroscopico.
I won't give you the report because I requested a post-mortem exam.Play Caption
In the U.S. we make an appointment to see a doctor. In Italy, prediamo un appuntamento (we take an appointment) and a visit to the doctor is called una visita, but when the doctor examines you, he or she "visits" you: visitare.
Dopo che sei stato accolto o accolta dagli infermieri e visitato o visitata dal dottore del Pronto Soccorso, ti diranno cosa è meglio per la tua salute.
After you have been asked to come in (m) or come in (f) by the nurses and examined (m) or examined (f) by the emergency room doctor, they will tell you what's best for your health.
Captions 55-57, Marika spiega Il pronto soccorsoPlay Caption
...tanto che una volta andai da un medico a farmi visitare...
...so much so that once I went to a doctor to get a checkup...Play Caption
We looked at the noun torto in a previous lesson. We can say hai torto (you're wrong). But what about when you're right? Being right uses the noun ragione, but let's first take a closer look at this versatile noun and related forms.
In Italian, la ragione is a partial true cognate. When used to mean "the reason," it makes sense to us because it's a true cognate:
E c'è una ragione molto precisa.
And there is a very precise reason.
Caption 21, Meraviglie - EP. 2 - Part 2Play Caption
We also have a verb form: ragionare (to reason, to think, to reflect):
Cerchiamo di ragionare con calma.
Let's try to think about this calmly.Play Caption
We have an adjective, too: ragionevole (reasonable):
Siccome mi sembra anche una persona piuttosto ragionevole,
Since you also seem like a rather reasonable person,
io spero non ci saranno problemi, ecco.
I hope there won't be any problems, that's it.
Captions 55-56, Sei mai stata sulla luna? - filmPlay Caption
But we also use the noun ragione (without the article) together with the verb avere (to have) to mean "to be right."
avere ragione (to be right) -- literally, it would be "to have right."
In Italian, aver ragione has come to mean "to be right." And people use this expression countless times every day, so it's great to have it in your toolbox. The verb you need to conjugate is avere (to have), which is probably one of the first verbs to learn in Italian. Here's the conjugation chart for avere. But you don't need an article for ragione in this case, so it couldn't get much easier than that. Abbiamo ragione (are we right)?
Avevi ragione tu. Gabriele s'era messo nei guai.
You were right. Gabriele got into trouble.
Gare di cross illegali.
Illegal dirt bike racing.
Captions 18-19, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP1 - Matrimonio con delitto - Part 8Play Caption
Il cliente ha sempre ragione?
The customer is always right?
Caption 70, La Ladra - Ep. 4 - Una magica bionda - Part 2Play Caption
Sono stufa delle tue promesse.
I'm sick of your promises.
Sono anni che aspetto che lasci tua moglie...
I've been waiting for you to leave your wife for years...
-Hai ragione. -e io non...
-You're right. -and I won't...
Hai ragione, hai ragione. Va bene.
You're right, you're right. All right.
Captions 68-71, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP9 - L'amica ritrovata - Part 5Play Caption
"To prove someone right" can be dare ragione,
Non ti interessa il parere di nessuno.
You're not interested in anyone's opinion.
-Ma poi i risultati mi danno ragione.
-But afterwards, the results prove me right.
Captions 21-22, Adriano Olivetti - La forza di un sogno Ep. 1Play Caption
But we can also use dare ragione when we admit or agree that someone else is right. It's just an additional nuance to saying "you're right."
Su questo, ti dò ragione.
About that, I agree you're right.
Do a search of ragione on the videos page and you will get plenty of examples in various conjugations and contexts, where ragione might mean "right" and where it might mean "reason." It's a great way to get lots of different examples all at once. Try repeating some of them out loud.
And remember: The trickiest thing to remember is that the verb to use is avere (to have), not essere (to be).
We will close with a little expression that's also the title of this lesson:
a torto o a ragione (wrong or right), rimango della mia idea (I'm not changing my mind).
In English, we would start with "right," but you get the idea!
That's it for this lesson, and we hope that when someone else is right, you will be able to tell them so in Italian! If you have questions about this, just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.