Italian grammar notes and exercises

Italian grammar can be intimidating. Know the rules with these simple notes, then practice with these audio resources.  Learning should be fun!

Stefano Lodola

By STEFANO LODOLA

Italian grammar: how to learn it?

Learning the Italian grammar can seem like the hardest and most boring task when you start learning the language. Most Italian teachers would start by teaching you the grammar rules. That’s probably why you hated doing Italian grammar exercises in school.

Though it’s not the first thing you have to learn, knowing the Italian grammar has its importance and sooner or later you will have to deal with it. The secret is taking courses designed to teach you grammar without the need to study endless rules. How? By absorbing the basic Italian grammar rules while listening to natives having real conversations. That’s how kids learn. At the age of 5, kids are already fluent in their native language. How can this be? They don’t even know what a verb is at that age. It’s because they hear their parents speaking. That’s the best approach for you as well. By listening to natives, you will know advanced Italian grammar rules to use in real life conversations even if you never studied the rules themselves.

Italian grammar exercises should be fun!

Have you ever thought you can love learning grammar? Learning the Italian grammar doesn’t have to be neither boring nor hard. That’s exactly I have created fun and friendly Italian grammar exercises so you can enjoy learning Italian.

Every lesson of this course introduces Italian grammar exercises where you read, listen to natives, write and speak. Rooted in science, these exercises are specifically created to keep you engaged and make learning Italian as easy and fun as possible.

Below you find short grammar notes with links to exercises taken from my audio course “Ripeti con me!”. This section is completely free.

Italian grammar exercises for real life conversations

I believe Italian grammar exercises should get you ready for real life conversations. In school, you were typically forced to memorize conjugations, pronouns and verbs. This makes learning hard and, even after a few years, you might not be able to have a real conversation. Millions of people around the world are in this exact situation.

That’s why I created a language learning experience where you can practice Italian grammar naturally, by building real sentences anchored in real life situations. Order food in a restaurant. Have a casual chat with a native speaker about your day. Explore ways of talking about the books you read. These are all grammar exercises created around certain themes in order to boost your learning.

Learning the Italian grammar with “Ripeti con me!” has real benefits

  • The Italian grammar will seem easy and fun. These Italian exercises will feel like playing a game. The catch: you absorb the Italian grammar effortlessly. In no time, you’ll be getting compliments from natives for your Italian skills.
  • Learn Italian the smart way. Instead of learning the hardest parts of the Italian grammar first, I take you through a journey of the most used Italian words and sentences. This means that you start by learning what really matters first.
  • Get ready for real conversations in Italian. Every Italian exercise is meant to bring you one step closer to having real conversations. That’s why I created speaking exercises for you to practice the Italian grammar you learn.

Learning Italian from English, French, or Spanish

When you are learning the grammar of a new language, it can be quite beneficial to make comparisons to a language that you already know.

Do you know any French or Spanish? If you do, you’re in luck. About 80% of the entire Italian vocabulary is similar to French and Spanish. These 3 languages are also similar in pronunciation and grammatical genders. For example, nouns are masculine or feminine and the Italian adjectives take the noun’s gender.

Even if you don’t speak French or Spanish, you can still find many similarities between Italian and English. By comparing English grammar to Italian grammar, you will be able to learn some of the similarities and some of the differences. This can help to make the task of learning a new language a bit less daunting. Even though English is a Germanic language, and Italian is a Romance language, you will find some similarities.

Sentence Structure

For example, both languages use the pattern of SVO in sentences. This means that the subject comes first, followed by the verb and finally the object. Knowing this is going to help you with your sentence construction in the Italian language, and it can make learning much easier. However, you will notice that in the Italian, you do have more freedom when you want to emphasize one of the words over another. For example, the sentence “I drink the coffee” follows SVO perfectly. However, you could change the order of the words slightly when you are speaking in Italian to show more emphasis. For example, the sentence would then become “the coffee I drink”. While it might not sound right in English, it is perfectly acceptable in Italian grammar.

Verb Conjugations

As in other languages, Italian features tenses – past, present, and future – and you will need to know and understand the usage of the different tenses in different situations as well as how to make them agree with the other parts of the sentence.

The Italian verbs are going to change form depending on the tense and the subject of the sentence. Even if you remove the subject, you will usually be able to understand who is going the action based on the verb in the sentence. Conjugation of verbs is therefore very important, and it is something that all students of the language should learn to do well.

Singular and Plural

When you want to make something plural in English, you will usually only need to add an “s” at the end of the word. Of course, we know there are quite a few exceptions (mice, teeth, etc.). In Italian, you will have two ways to create a plural word. Feminine nouns that have an “a” at the end will change the “a” to an “e” to become plural. Masculine nouns that end in an “o” will have an “i” take the place of the “o” at the end of the word in Italian grammar.

Learning the basics of grammar is one of the first steps in learning and mastering a language. Take the grammar slowly, and you will not have trouble learning!

Parts of Speech

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.

  • Articles. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An adverb is a word that tells you how or where or when an action is done.
  • 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.
  • Conjunctions are words that link to other words or to a group of words. Like e – and, ma – but, se – if.
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As a language learner, I was raised speaking only Italian, but now I speak 10 foreign languages.

As a teacher, I’ve taught Italian to adults in schools and universities.

I’ve lectured in polyglot clubs and coached students on their way to fluency.

I’m eager to share my secrets with you.

Stefano

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