Le parti del corpo, body parts in Italian – Podcast and quiz

We are sure that even if you speak some Italian there are some names of body parts – parti del corpo – you don’t know. We’ll focus on vocabulary and pronunciation. Listen to the audio files and solve the final quiz.

Ok, get ready to listen and repeat the words. We are going to dissect and study the human body just like my esteemed fellow countryman Leonardo da Vinci did some time ago. Well… in less detail.

La testa – The head

As opposed to English, i capelli is a countable noun. So il capello is a single hair. Il sopracciglio belongs to a particular family of Italian nouns, along with other nouns of body parts. The singular is masculine, plural is feminine le sopracciglia ending in -a. This is because in Latin they were neutral words and in Italian (we have no neutral) singular and plural took different genders. At the bottom of the page you will find a recap.

Il torso – the torso (easy!)

In this case the singular word il seno stands generally for both breasts. It is also possible to say i seni, less used. I bet you want to know how we say “ass” instead of the most polite sedere. There you go: culo. 

Gli arti – Limbs


Finally, it’s worth mentioning the name of the fingers. From thumb to pinky the are: pollice, indice, medio, anulare, mignolo. In Italian il dito, singular is masculine, the plural le dita is feminine. Other nouns with irregular plurals are: sopracciglio, ciglio, braccio, ginocchio, labbro. Try to say the plural following the same rule, LE DITA —-> LE —–A.

A useful tip, hoping you won’t need it. If you feel pain somewhere and need to explain it to an Italian doctor, say:

  • Mi fa male + singular —> Mi fa male la testa
  • Mi fanno male + plural —> Mi fanno male le gambe

Pesto alla genovese, an easy and cheap Italian dressing

Pesto alla genovese is a very versatile dressing for your pasta, sandwiches and main dishes, fish and meat. Learn how to prepare it with simple ingredients.

I have four big vases full of basilico, so I decided to prepare some simple pesto alla genovese before it blossoms and leaves get hard. Pesto is one of my favourite dishes of the summer.

Some background information. Pesto alla genovese, in Italian simply pesto (in Ligurian language pestu) is a typical condiment originally from Liguria, northern Italy, the region of the famous Cinque Terre, and its capital Genova. There was something similar our ancestors the Romans called moretum but of course they did not have any pasta back then. The basic ingredients of pesto alla genovese are basil (Ocimum basilicum) or, better, the Genovese Basil (in Ligurian language baxeicò). The second key ingredient is pine nuts, then we have Ligurian sweet garlic,  Parmesan cheese (or Sardinian pecorino) and Ligurian olive oil.

I already know Ligurians will complain against a simple Milanese like me for spoiling their recipe, but they will understand that normal people around the world can’t find regular ingredients used in their famous sauce. So…

I used:

  • 100 grams of fresh basil from my garden
  • 50 grams of tender Sicilian almonds (sorry I didn’t have pine nuts in my cupboard)
  • 4 tbs of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a glass of Italian Olio Extra Vergine di oliva 30 cl
  • salt

The word pesto comes from the verb pestare, to crush, because pesto is traditionally produced with a mortar made of marble and wooden pestle. I have a simple hand blender, built in 2012. No history or romantic tradition here! Nowadays, it is used more than the mortar. Don’t tell the Ligurians, they might say it’s not true.

I grind all the ingredients separately and mix them together in a later stage. So, first I ground the almonds pretty thin, making sure they didn’t turn into a powder. Then grated the parmigiano. Whole garlic is heavy on your stomach, so it’s better to take the core out. The critical step is mixing the olive oil with the basil and the garlic. Add the basil in two or three times. I usually click just a few seconds on the hand blender, let it cool down and start again. You don’t want to heat the ingredients. I like it when basil leaves are not completely turned into a paste. Then finally add the ground almonds, the ground parmigiano, stir and taste it for adjusting salt. Check the texture. If your pesto is too solid, add olive oil.

You should obtain a half pint of pesto. I usually eat some the same evening and freeze the remainder. You can freeze it in ice cube molds.  If you keep in in your fridge, make sure there is always a film of oil on the surface, protecting the content form air. When you cook your pasta, before adding the sauce, mix pesto alla genovese with some spoons of cooking water and make it soft. I cooked it with a typical Ligurian pasta called trofie.

Penny-pinching Ligurians (believe me, they are…) add potatoes and French beans (in Italian fagiolini or cornetti) to spare some more expensive pasta. I have to say the combination of those two ingredients is superb, so try it!

You can use your pesto alla genovese for dressing a sandwich with mozzarella and tomato, or with your fish or white meat. Try it in your potato salad or on your toasted bruschetta with tomato. If you like simple pasta with tomato, add some pesto and double cream (panna da cucina in Italian), you will get a very delicate sauce, called “le 3 P” (3 P’s –> Pesto Panna Pomodoro). I like to add a couple of spoonfuls of pesto alla genovese to my minestrone, in summertime as well as in winter. Please try it at home!

Il Castello di San Martino della Vaneza – the house is on fire!

This lovely little castle in the middle of the countryside near Padua, is a little time machine, where people can eat medieval food, learn how stuff was done without electricity, watch a battle which took place 800 years ago and see the castle set on fire.

Built on the banks of the unpredictable river Bacchiglione, in the countryside of Veneto, the Castello di San Martino della Vaneza is perhaps the most important symbol of the desperate and futile effort of the people or Padua, just at the beginning of the renaissance period, to keep their freedom against the emerging superpower of Venezia. The year 1372, the Carrara family lead the last succesful defense of Padua against the army of the Serenissima. Their freedom though didn’t last long. When the battle took place, the castle was at least 400 years old, probably older.

Every year people living around the sweet Colli Euganei,  in the Padua countryside, gather in the area of the castle the last weekend of July to revive the event. The fairy-tail forest around the castello looks like it was 800 years ago, with people in ancient costumes baking bread in stone ovens, soldiers in armours preparing for the battle, women cooking traditional food and brewers serving beer or wine.



At the exclusive supper inside the castle, open to 50 people only (I was lucky enough to be invited ;)) were served medieval traditional dishes and entertainment. It was a great chance to see and taste what rich people ate back then. Poor people, well… they did not eat at all.


After the hearty meal, everyone gather in front of the dry bed of the Bacchiglione river, a fantastic natural amphitheatre in front of the castle, and watch the battle. The show is great, there are about 150 modern professional soldiers belonging to clubs of people crazy for medieval fights (I didn’t know there were so many!). They come all over the Veneto region, some from Lombardia, Toscana, Emilia and Umbria, and fight with real weapons! It was impressive to observe the horses, incredibly brave and beautiful animals, the only ones probably thinking the battle was real. Then after the end of battle, the Castello is “set on fire”, to remember the severe damages it had during the battle. If you happen to be in Venezia in July, the event is worth an afternoon/evening outside the city, just one hour driving.



XIX Palio dello Sparviero 26/27/28 Luglio 2013

Avverbi di frequenza – Italian adverbs of frequency – Guide and QUIZ

avverbi di frequenza

Italian adverbs of frequency answer the question “ogni quanto?” or how often an action takes place

According to the Italian grammar the adverbs of frequency are part of the bigger family of avverbi di tempo. We are going to study them separately because the scope of avverbi di tempo is too wide. Pretty straight forward, the avverbi di frequenza look like the English Adverbs of Frequency, but most of them don’t follow rigid rules about their position inside a sentence.

There are two main groups of adverbs of frequency.

  • Avverbi di frequenza determinati: they describe the frequency of actions in a time frame.

Some adverbs can be drawn from adjectives with the suffix -mente.

  • Annuale ➜ Annualmente (yearly)
  • Mensile ➜ Mensilmente (monthly)
  • Settimanale ➜ Settimanalmente (weekly)
  • Giornale ➜ Giornalmente (daily)

For describing the number of times, the formula is #times + “volte al” + timeframe:

  • Avverbi di frequenza indeterminati: describe the frequency of events not considering a time frame

avverbi di frequenza

The scope of the avverbi di frequenza indeterminati goes from mai (never) to sempre (always). The graphic shoes (arguably) the relative position of each adverb of frequency.

Depending on the use, some adverbs like generalmente or frequentemente are or are not considered avverbi di tempo. When they indicate frequency, they are. Some notes:

  • Mai behaves like some indefinite adjectives and pronouns such as niente or nessuno. Against any apparent logic, the double negative sentence “Non mangio mai il risotto” literally I never don’t eat risotto is correct. The structure of the sentence is non + verb + mai
  • The flexible adverb quasi (almost, nearly) can be used to adjust the adverbs of frequency, both determinati or indeterminati. We can say Faccio colazione quasi ogni giorno or Faccio colazione quasi sempre.
  • The position of the avverbi di frequenza inside a sentence is usually not as rigid as in English. We can use them before any other element of the clause, Qualche volta gioco a calcio, in the middle Gioco qualche volta a calcio or at the bottom Gioco a calcio qualche volta.

Periodo ipotetico – Italian Conditional Sentences

The Italian periodo ipotetico, is used to express a hypothetical situation and its consequences

This is a very basic introduction to the Italian Periodo ipotetico.Please have a look at the congiuntivo and condizionale if you are not familiar with those grammar points.

The concept of periodo ipotetico is similar to the English conditional sentences. The main clause, called apodosi, (you don’t need to remember that) describes the consequences of the possible action in the dependent clause, called protasi (another word you can happily forget about).

  • Se piove (premise), —> non andiamo in spiaggia (consequence).

That’s the simplest type of periodo ipotetico.

If the weather will be bad, we won’t go to the beach. We use the indicativo, because we are sure about the situation / outcome scenario.

There are three different types of Italian Conditional Sentences


If the outcome, given the circumstances, is  REAL we talk about periodo ipotetico della realtà.

  • Se mangi solo verdura, dimagrisci.
  • Se avrai sonno mentre guidi, fermati.
  • Se hai bevuto troppo, ti accompagnerò a casa.

All the sentences begin with Se, (if).

We can swap main and subordinate clauses and obtain the same result: Fermati se avrai sonno mentre guidi. 

In this first type of conditional sentences, we can use the indicativo mood, presente, passato and futuro, sometimes in combination with the imperativo (2nd example). The action is going to happen for sure or it is likely to happen given the right circumstances.

The “formula” for this first periodo ipotetico is

Se indicativo presente / futuro (dependent) + indicativo or imperativo (main).


If the premise is not realistic at the moment, the outcome will be more vaguely possible. We talk about periodo ipotetico della possibilità.

  • Se avessi dei soldi, comprerei una bella casa.
  • Se vendessi la mia macchina userei l’autobus.
  • Se potessi, ti presterei dei soldi.

If I had the money, I’d buy a nice house. It means that I don’t have money, however…

The “formula” for this second periodo ipotetico is

→ se + congiuntivo imperfetto (dependent) + condizionale presente (main)

Please note that the 2 tenses are not interchangeable, I cant’s use the condizionale in the dependent clause or the congiuntivo in the main clause

  • Se potrei ti presterei dei soldi
  • Se potessi ti prestassi dei soldi

They are both wrong.

Impossibilità (or Irrealtà)

If the action, given the circumstances is impossible or not realistic, we talk about periodo ipotetico dell’irrealtà. The premise is in the past and did not happen, the outcome is pure speculation.

  1. Se non avessi mangiato quattro pizze, adesso non avrei il mal di pancia.
  2. Se fossi andato all’università, adesso forse avrei un bel lavoro.
  3. Se mi fossi svegliato in tempo, non sarei arrivato in ritardo.

All the events causing the condition in the main clause are in the past. The whole period is a representation of an alternative past, so it’s not real.  We can’t change the past. But, what if…

The “formula” for this periodo ipotetico is

→ se + congiuntivo trapassato (dependent)condizionale presente (main) – Examples 1 & 2

  • The hypothetical action in the past could have had consequences on the present.

→ se + congiuntivo trapassato (dependent) + condizionale passato (main) – Example 3

  • The hypothetical action in the past could have had consequences on the past.

In spoken Italian, there is a tendency to simplify the periodo ipotetico della impossibilità using the imperfetto. 

  • Se mi fossi svegliato in tempo, non sarei arrivato in ritardo. → Se mi svegliavo in tempo non arrivavo in ritardo.

This is quite common in informal spoken Italian and it is acceptable. Of course, many teachers are against this simplification but, as a matter of fact, Italians use it a lot and it’s already encoded in textbooks. I’m totally fine with that.

Again, this is a simplification. Book a free trial class if you want learn more.

Please solve the quiz.


Italian Direct and Indirect Pronouns – Pronomi combinati – QUIZ

We are going to study how combining Italian direct and indirect pronouns  will simplify the Italian language and complicate your life as a student

mime lome lame lime leme ne
tite lote late lite lete ne
cice loce lace lice lece ne
vive love lave live leve ne
gli (a loro)glieloglielaglieliglielegliene
sise lose lase lise lese ne

Let’s imagine a dialogue between two young friends. Mario wants to know if Luigi’s father can lend them his car.

  • Mario: “Hai chiesto a tuo padre se ci presta la sua macchina?” Did you ask your father if he will lend (to) us his car?
  • Luigi: “Glielo ho chiesto ma non ce la dà” I asked (it to) him, but won’t give it to us.

Luigi’s answer has all the elements for describing how Italian direct and indirect pronouns can be combined together and avoid redundant elements in a discussion. Let’s analyse what Luigi says.

I asked (it to) him GLIELO —> GLI + LO = GLI means A LUI, to his father; LO stands for asking your father the question

CE LA ➜ CE means A NOI , to us and LA takes place of “la macchina”, it, the car.

Looking at the grid, we can observe some changes:


when combined with direct pronouns become


  • Mi dai le forbici? ➜ ME LE dai? Can you give me the scissors? Can you give them to me?
  • Ti presento una mia amica ➜  TE LA presento  – Let me introduce her to you
  • Giulia si lava la faccia ➜  SE LA lava – Giulia washes it (the face) herself (reflexive SI)
  • La mamma ci ha detto di tornare a casa ➜ CE LO ha detto – She said it to us
  • Vi do dei biscotti ➜  VE LI do – I give them to you

An important note about GLI: it merges with direct pronouns forming complex compound pronouns.

  • Oggi compro a Maria delle scarpe nuove ➜ GLIELE compro – I buy them (feminine) to her

Please remember that Italian direct and indirect pronouns, with indicativo, congiuntivo and condizionale tenses come always BEFORE the verb and are separate:

  • Te lo dico io. Se non te lo dicessi io, te lo direbbe qualcun altro.

We already can see how Italian direct and indirect pronouns match with infinito, imperativo and gerundio. They always come after the verb and merge with it. The same happens when pronouns are combined together.

  • Non posso tenervelo segreto, devo dirvelo – I cant keep it secret to you. I have to say it to you 
  • Mario, devi dare 10 euro a Carlo. Daglieli
  • Non sapevo cosa fare. Parlandotene, mi sono tolto un peso

Now we can see some real examples and practice. I am going to put together some sentences with different tenses and moods. They are only in Italian. Make an effort and try to understand them.

  • Ci presteresti la tua macchina? Ce la presteresti?
  • Mia sorella mi ha regalato una cravatta. Me l’ha regalata.
  • Ci scambieremo i regali a Natale. Ce li scambieremo.
  • Da bambino, mia madre non mi dava mai la coca cola. Non me la dava mai.
  • Mio fratello si è comprato una macchina nuova. Se l’è comprata.
  • Mi fai assaggiare un po’ di risotto? Me ne fai assaggiare un po’?
  • Luca mi aveva detto di non ascoltarti. Me l’aveva detto.
  • Vi dico di non arrivare in ritardo. Ve lo dico.
  • Puoi mandare due pacchi a noi? Ce li puoi mandare?

Please note: when a verb begins with a vowel or a H, LO and LA turn into L’.

  • Giulia si è tolta il maglione. = Se l‘è tolto.
  • Mia sorella mi ha cucinato il pesce. = Me l’ha cucinato.

Please remember that Italians use pronouns very often and learning them correctly will help you to speak fluently. Please take some time for completing the quiz.

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Italian Direct and Indirect Pronouns

Pronomi combinati



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CI and NE – two particular Italian words

CI and NE are two common Italian particles. Versatile, very important and sometimes confusing

Italians love to use pronouns, sometimes combined together, sometimes merged with verbs. It’s convenient for us, the Italian language is simplified by the use of pronouns.

For students it can be rather confusing. “Ci and “Ne” are usually studied together as examples of flexible “pronominal particles”, particelle pronominali and particelle avverbiali. We’ll call them pronouns and adverbs to make it simple.

This is a very basic post introducing CI and NE.

You can also read this blog in Italian. There are other examples.


  • Claudio ci ha salutato (ha salutato noi)
  • Giulio non vede l’ora di incontrarci (incontrare noi)
  • pronome indiretto: as indirect pronoun instead of a noi
  • Stefano ci ha offerto il pranzo (ha offerto a noi)
  • Per favore, mandaci una email di conferma (manda a noi)

  • avverbio di luogo: replacing qui, lì, là, + verbo essere –> c’è (= ci è) and ci sono
  • Sul tavolo c’è il tuo bicchiere
  • Nella foresta ci sono tanti alberi
  • avverbio di luogo: replacing qui, lì, là + verbs of movement/position (andare, venire, stare …)
  • Andiamo al mercato? – No, non ci vengo
  • Vieni con me al cinema? Sì, ci vengo volentieri

  • pronome (particella): replacing  di, a, con, su + qualcuno/qualcosa
  • Pensi spesso all’Italia? – Sì, ci penso sempre (all’Italia)
  • Hai sentito che Marco ha un figlio?  – Non ci credo! (a questa cosa)


  • pronome indiretto: di lui/ di lei / di loro
  • Non posso vivere senza Giorgia! Ne sono innamorato (di lei)
  • Mio figlio è intelligente. Ne sono orgoglioso (di lui)

  • pronome partitivoa portion/fraction of a whole
  • Vuoi della pizza? Sì, ne prendo una fetta (di pizza)
  • Signora, quante pesche vuole? Ne prendo un chilo (di pesche)

Ci and Ne (as all direct and indirect personal pronouns) can merge with the gerundio infinito and imperativo:

  • Incontriamoci alle 5.
  • La pasta fa ingrassare. Mangiandone tanta ho preso 5 chili
  • Giulio vorebbe incontrarci domani

Finally, NE supports the moto da luogo complement, meaningcoming from a place”.

For example:

  • Sono andato a casa alle 3. Ne sono uscito alle 5 (from home).

That’s all for today. try the quiz. Alla prossima.


Interiezioni and intercalari, the “parsley” of the Italian language

È come il prezzemolo! Italian intercalari

He’s like parsley! That’s what Italians say of someone or something you see everywhere, like parsley on Italian dishes. Intercalari and interiezioni are elements of the Italian spoken language that people sprinkle all over, to emphasize what they want to say.

Just like parsley, intercalari and interiezioni are really everywhere in the Italian spoken language. But, again, just like parsley, when there are too many, they can spoil the taste of our beautiful language.

Intercalari are fragments, specific words used outside the canonical structure of a sentence. They can give an elegant pace to a speech but they also could be be very annoying, a sort of linguistic nervous tic.

Allora, appunto, insomma, diciamo, dai, vabè (a Milano), vabbè (a Roma), vabbuò (a Napoli), così, ecco, cioè, è vero, non so, come dire, voglio dire, ti dico, per così dire, diciamo, vedi, guarda, senti, praticamente, tipo, un attimino and many others, are classic intercalari.

Some of them are used as ice-breakers to start a sentence (allora, dunque, senti, guarda, vedi, praticamente …) others as a sort of request, a confirmation that you are listening to what I’m saying… (cioè, allora, no?, niente, proprio, capito) to which you are supposed to nod, like when someone in English says ” you know” every 10 words.

Here below, a fragment of an Italian cult comedy movie called “Un sacco bello”: a debate between a desperate father, a hippie son with his girlfriend living in a community in Tuscany, and a priest. They have a strong Roman accent and speak quite fast. Don’t worry, just listen.

Try to count the cioè, allora, proprio, no? niente, and others you may catch.

That was quite extreme, but some people use intercalari a bit too much.

Finally the interiezioni are a sort of intercalari, but usually shorter expressions of different emotions. Depending on the intonation and intensity, the same sound can have different meanings, followed by a question mark or an exclamation. I can’t include all the feelings here but I will write some emotions in Italian. Google them and find their meaning.

  • Ah: sorpresa, desiderio, rabbia, dubbio
  • Eh: sorpresa, indignazione, approvazione, rabbia
  • Oh: gioia, sorpresa, ammirazione
  • Boh: sorpresa, smarrimento
  • Mah: dubbio
  • Toh; sorpresa,

Alla prossima

Italian articoli partitivi, “some” in Italian – QUIZ

Articoli partitivi are used to indicate a part, a number out of a total. Some…

This is a very short and simple article for beginners. I’m going to introduce a simple way for you to indicate a quantity, pretty much equivalent the English “some”.

The Italian articoli partitivi are obtained by adding the preposition di (of) to the articoli determinativi:

di + …

il —> del

lo —> dello

la —> della

i —> dei

gli —> degli

le —> delle

l’ —> dell’

Il vino: vorrei del vino

Lo zucchero: ho comprato dello zucchero

La carne: mangerei della carne

I fiori: le ho regalato dei fiori

Gli amici: ho invitato degli amici

Le uova: Vai a comprare delle uova

L’aglio: Aggiungi dell’aglio al sugo

Singular Articoli Partitivi are used in combination with uncountable nouns, in Italian nomi di massa), words such as: foods – acqua, vino, formaggio, verdura, carne – etc ; materials: legno, carta etc.

In spoken Italian, instead of using the articoli partitivi, often times we can use “un po’ di”, literally “a little of” (quantity).

So for example, instead of saying, “ho mangiato dei cioccolatini” I can simply say “ho mangiato un po’ di cioccolatini”.

Here’s a simple quiz for you. Please answer anche check your score against the average.

Alla prossima


Avverbi: Italian adverbs, a complete guide

Italian adverbs are called avverbi, from the Latin “ad verbum”: “near the verb”

We use Italian adverbs to add meaning to verbs, adjectives or other parts of a sentence.

It’s easy to confuse avverbi and aggettivi so we need to understand which part of the sentence a particular word refers to. Let’s take for example the word forte, which means strong, but in the spoken language it also means fast. It can be an aggettivo or an avverbio, depending on the word they emphasise.

  • Mario è forte – In this case the word forte is an aggettivo because it refers to Mario, a noun. Mario is strong.

  • Mario corre forte – In this case forte is an avverbio because it describes the verb andare.  lit. “Mario runs fast”.

According to their structure, we can talk about:

  • Avverbi semplici: born as adverbs, not deriving from other words. Mai, forse, bene, male. etc.
  • Avverbi derivati: coming form other words, usually adjectives, with the addition of the suffix – mente (in English -ly). Chiaro (clear) -> chiaramente (clearly).
  • Avverbi composti: coming from combination of words. Da+per+tutto = dappertutto (every + where = everywhere).

The easiest way to understand and classify Italian adverbs is by their function. I’m going to write just a few examples only in Italian. Your job will be to understand them.


That said, we can now sort all different types of Italian adverbs. We can classify the them in 5 main groups.

Avverbi di modo

They describe how an action (the verb) is taking place.

  • Adverbs ending in “-mente” in particular are very common. They roughly correspond to the English adverbs ending in “–ly” and are obtained adding the suffix to and adjective. For example:

Luigi cammina velocemente. The adverb is obtained by adding -mente to the adjective veloce. All the words ending in -mente are Italian adverbs. In this case, velocemente describes how Luigi walks (fast).

Sometimes, adjectives work as adverbs.

Luigi cammina storto. In this case the word storto (not straight).

Storto, is the way Luigi walks.



  • Ho studiato bene la lezione di italiano.
  • Stasera Maria ha cucinato molto male.
  • Domani andiamo al cinema insieme.
  • Il latte è quasi finito.
  • Di solito in autostrada guido piano.


  • Mio figlio ha passato l’esame di inglese facilmente.
  • Preferisco mangiare molto lentamente per gustare il cibo.
  • Sinceramente non lo so!
  • Probabilmente arriveremo in ritardo.
  • Il treno è arrivato esattamente alle 8.


In Italian we can use some adjectives instead of the correspondent adverb and make the sentence more linear and conversational.

  • Vado sempre veloce in bicicletta.
  • Gli aerei volano molto alti in cielo.
  • Ho camminato tranquillo per strada.


Some verbal phrases can act as adverbs:

  • All’improvviso, è andata via la luce.
  • Mia sorella è partita molto riluttante.


Some adverbs have regular/irregular superlatives. Please click on the link for more examples.

  • Ho corso più velocemente di te.
  • Ho corso molto velocemente.


Avverbi di tempo

They are all Italian adverbs that describe when an action (the verb) is taking place. For example:

Luigi cammina adesso – Luigi walks now.

Adesso describes when the action take place.

Other common avverbi di tempo are: oggi, ieri, domani, sempre, mai, raramente, stasera, stamattina, dopo, prima, mentre, ancora, subito, presto, tardi etc.


  • Ci vediamo domani.
  • Sono le dieci, ormai la festa sarà finita.
  • Domattina mi devo svegliare presto.
  • Hai già finito di mangiare?
  • Federico arriva sempre in ritardo al lavoro.
  • Non + Mai. The adverb MAI (never) needs a negative NON (not) to work properly. Non guardo mai la tivù. (I “don’t” never watch TV). you should consider this “non” as part of “mai”, not as a double negative. Read this formore cases in Italian.


Avverbi di luogo

They describe where an action takes place. For example:

Luigi cammina davanti – Luigi walks ahead.

Davanti describes where the action is happening.

Other common avverbi di luogo are: sopra, sotto, vicino, lontano, a destra, a sinistra, di fianco, qui, qua, lì etc.


Qui & Qua: they both mean “here” and are  virtually equivalent. Qui means “exactly here”.

  • Stefano è venuto qui a cena.

Lì & Là:  should represent a precise area in the vicinity of the speaker, “over here”. Là is out of reach, “over there”. As a matter of fact though, people use both as synonyms to represent a place far from the speaker.

  • Siamo andati là sperando di rilassarci, ma faceva troppo caldo.

vicino, lontano, sotto, sopra, davanti, dietro, dentro, fuori… are adverbs but also prepositions when they are used in relative terms. They often work combined with a preposition (vicino a, lontano da etc.)

  • Abito vicino all’ospedale.


Avverbi di quantità 

They describe a quantity, associated to a verb. For example:

Luigi ha camminato molto.

Molto describes the verb camminare.

Other common avverbi di quantità are: poco, tanto abbastanza, niente, troppo, un po’ (poco), nulla, meno, assai, etc.


There are some pure adverbs: addirittura, ancora, inoltre, pure, pressappoco, perfino, quasi, piuttosto, almeno, abbastanza.

  • “Il biglietto per il concerto è piuttosto caro”.

Some adjectives or pronouns can work as adverbs: quanto, molto, nulla, tanto, poco, troppo, meno, piú, niente.

  • “Ho mangiato troppo!”


Avverbi di giudizio

They represent a pretty wide  range of Italian adverbs

We need them for expressing an opinion, whether it is positive, negative, or a doubt. For example:

Luigi forse ha camminato 

Forse (perhaps or maybe) changes the meaning of the verb, making it a possibility instead of a fact.

Some common avverbi di giudizio are: forse, probabilmente, sicuramente, magari, assolutamente, certamente, davvero, esattamente, di certo, di sicuro.


 They are generally split in three sub-categories:

Affermazione. certamente, sí, appunto, proprio, sicuramente, certo.

  • “Verrò alla tua festa di sicuro“.

Dubbio. forse, probabilmente, quasi, circa, all’incirca, magari…

  • Magari Luciano è ammalato, oggi non l’ho visto.

Negazionemica, no, non, neppure, nemmeno, neanche…

  • “Non sono stato mica io!”.


Avverbi interrogativi

They of course ask QUESTIONS about an action. They are related to the categories explained above. so we have avverbi interrogativi…

  • …di tempo: Quando comincerà la scuola?
  • …di modo: Come hai trovato il tuo nuovo lavoro?
  • …di luogo: Dove facciamo la spesa per stasera?
  • …di causa: Perché non hai invitato Carmela alla festa?
  • …di quantità: Quanti soldi servono per comprare una casa?


I hope you liked this quick overview.


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