20 Useful Italian Expressions You Can Use Right Away
Most of the language courses you will visit will teach you the importance of learning one word at a time. When I first started learning Italian and Italian expressions, I was certain that I was supposed to learn words one by one and then try to put them together in sentences. For example, things like “hello“, “goodbye”, and so on. If I was lucky, the sentence would be understandable, and possibly even correct. But learning this way was slow and pretty boring.
I realized that, no matter how many words I knew, I wasn’t able to construct many sentences the way Italians do. So, I started writing down and memorizing entire phrases and learning words in context, something that polyglot Steve Kaufmann writes about in his post. Not long after, I began to feel more comfortable speaking Italian and had a lot more fun.
Don’t Learn Italian Word by Word, Read and Learn Things in Context
One great thing about the everyday expressions that we hear in shops, restaurants and even on dates, is that they often repeat themselves. Think about your own language. How many expressions do you repeat day by day without even thinking about their structure – “Nice to meet you”, “Good to know”, “I really doubt that” and so on. Expressions are great because they can be the stepping stones of starting a conversation and building blocks of your vocabulary. I mean, if you learn expressions (by reading books, listening to others, and so on), you’re going to learn much faster than if you were to just study word by word.
In saying this, I’d like to go over 20 useful Italian expressions that can kick start your language ability.
20 Useful Italian Expressions
To give an excuse
Ho da fare. – I am busy.
Ho un’altro impegno. – I have another appointment.
Purtroppo non posso. – Unfortunately, I can’t.
Scusa/Scusi – I am sorry. (the first one is used when you refer to a friend or a peer, and the latter one – about someone older, it’s a more respectful form let’s say).
Non l’ho fatto apposta. – I didn’t do it on purpose.
Chiedo scusa. – Another way to say “I’m sorry” (does not change no matter who you are talking to).
Per quanto riguarda… – Concerning… (Example: Per quanto riguarda il mio studio, tutto va bene)
A proposito – By the way
A proposito di… – Concerning…
Secondo me… – In my opinion…
Sono d’accordo. – I agree.
Hai/Ha ragione. – You are right (again, the informal and the formal versions respectively)
È proprio così. – Yes, it is like that.
Non sono d’accordo. – I disagree.
Non la vedo così. – I don’t see it that way.
When you feel sorry about something (not for apologizing!)
Che peccato! – I’m sorry to hear that!
Mi dispiace. – I am sorry.
Other commonly used Italian expressions
Ci penso io. – Let me take care of that.
Non ne vale la pena. – It’s not worth it.
Ci diamo del tu? – Let’s address each other with “tu” (so that you can finally ditch that polite “Lei”)
Learn Italian Expressions and Much More Using LingQ
As I talked about earlier, learning through context not only speeds up you language skills but it’s also more enjoyable than simply using flashcards that contain individual words.
If you’re a beginner, I suggest starting off with LingQ’s Italian mini stories. These are easy to read and also fun to listen to. You’ll learn how to pronounce words and the context their used in.
You can also use LingQ on you mobile device for those long commutes 🙂
Using LingQ, you can look up your new words by clicking on them and viewing their definition (right side). Save them for a later review.
If you mini-stories aren’t your cup of tea, you can choose from hundreds of hours of content in LingQ’s library. Or, you can import your own content such as audio books, YouTube videos, and much more.
Enjoyed this post? Check out our post on Italian terms of endearment next!
Olga Drobina is a linguist by degree and by vocation, she is in love with Italy and everything about it, and a devoted teacher who transmits her passion for the Italian “dolce vita”.