Italian All-in-One For Dummies book cover

Italian All-in-One For Dummies

By: Antonietta Di Pietro and Francesca Romana Onofri Published: 09-03-2013

Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.

Italian All-in-One For Dummies appeals to those readers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide to mastering the Italian language. It contains content from all For Dummies Italian language instruction titles, including Italian For Dummies, Intermediate Italian For Dummies, Italian Verbs For Dummies, Italian Phrases For Dummies, Italian Grammar For Dummies, and Italian For Dummies Audio Set.

  • Offers readers interested in learning Italian a valuable reference to all aspects of this popular language
  • The content appeals to students, travelers, and businesspeople who visit Italian-speaking countries
  • An online companion site allows you to download audio tracks allows for more practice opportunities, as well as additional content empowering you to speak Italian like a native

Whether you're a pure beginner or have some familiarity with the language, Italian All-in-One For Dummies, with downloadable audio practice online, is your ticket to speaking, and writing, Italian.

Articles From Italian All-in-One For Dummies

9 results
9 results
Italian All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-24-2022

The Italian language is adapting to the rhythms of modern life with the introduction of new idioms and the construction of simpler, more concise sentences and paragraphs. The basic rules of the Italian language, however, stay the same. Despite the ongoing transformation of the language, these rules remain the foundation that stabilizes it. Here are a few Italian fundamentals that you don't want to miss if you want to communicate in Italian.

View Cheat Sheet
Colors as Italian Adjectives and Idioms

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

In Italian, colors aren't just everyday adjectives; they also appear in idioms to express emotions, fears, feelings, and passions. Colors charge idioms with poetic nuance. Expressions like cronaca rosa (gossip columns), romanzo giallo (mystery novel), avere una fifa blu (to be filled with terror), dama bianca (the spectre of a woman [folklore has it that her appearance is an omen of death]), and anima nera ([to have] a wicked soul) are common in Italian. Colors also create the Italian flag, which is called il tricolore (three-colors) because it's green, white, and red. Any association of green, white, and red evoke the tricolore for Italians, so much so that these three hues have lost their function as adjectives and gained that of national symbols. Here are a few more idiomatic expressions with colors: zona blu (blue area), generally in the historical center of a town, where the circulation of cars is forbidden diventare di tutti i colori (to show deep embarassment) dirne/farne/vederne di tutti i colori (to say/do/see all kinds of preposterous things) essere nero (to be filled with rage) mettere nero su bianco (to put something down in black and white [as in black ink on white paper]) vederci rosso (to be very upset) When a photo isn't a colori (in color), it's in bianco e nero (white and black) in Italian, not in black and white as in the English language! Despite the use of colors in so many Italian idioms, don't forget that colors are descriptors and that, as with every adjective in Italian, they agree in gender and number with the noun they describe: una gonna nera (a black skirt) tante gonne nere (many black skirts) un giaccone verde (a green jacket) due giacconi verdi (two green jackets) Unlike in the English language, colors usually follow nouns in Italian: Indosso una gonna nera e un giaccone verde (I am wearing a black skirt and a green jacket). Most of the colors are adjectives ending in -o, -a, (-i, -e in the plural forms), some end in -e (-i [plural]), while others remain unchanged in gender and number: Colors in -o/-a/-i/-e Colors in -e/-i Colors with invariable ending bianco/a/chi/che (white) verde/i (green) rosa (pink) nero/a/i/e (black) arancione/i (orange) viola (violet/purple) rosso/a/i/e (red) marrone/i(brown) blu (blue) giallo/a/i/e (yellow) celeste/i (light blue) azzurro/a/i/e (azure)

View Article
Italian Verbs: Present Perfect Indicative of Essere Sincero and Mentire

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

In Rome, the Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth) encourages you to conjugate the present perfect indicative of the Italian verbs essere sincero/a (to be sincere/honest/truthful) and mentire (to lie). The Mouth of Truth is a carved marble mask of a deity or faun. Its fame stems from a sinister legend of the Middle Ages. In that period, men and women accused of sins had to place their hand inside the stone mouth. If guilty of lying, the monument would devour their hand. It seems that the judges organized the mutilation in advance by having an accomplice hidden behind the sculpture, ready to cut hands if they thought the accused was guilty. Although this tale is just a popular myth, even modern-day skeptics are likely to experience some anxiety the first time they slide their hand into the mouth of truth! Guilty or not guilty? Get ready to state your case: essere sincero/a (to be sincere/honest/truthful): io sono sempre stato/a sincero/a (I have always been truthful) tu sei sempre stato/a sincero/a (you [inf.] have always been truthful) lui/lei/Lei è sempre stato/a sincero/a (he/she/you [form.] have always been truthful) noi siamo sempre stato/a/i/e sincero/a/i/e (we have always been truthful) voi siete sempre stato/a/i/e sincero/a/i/e (you have always been truthful) loro/Loro sono sempre stato/a/i/e sincero/a/i/e (they/you [form. pl.] have always been truthful) mentire (to lie): io non ho mai mentito (I have never lied) tu non hai mai mentito (you [inf.] have never lied) lui/lei/Lei non ha mai mentito (he/she/you [form.] has never lied) noi non abbiamo mai mentito (we have never lied) voi non avete mai mentito (you have never lied) loro/Loro non hanno mai mentito (they/you [form. pl] have never lied)

View Article
Figure Out the Future Tense in Italian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

When learning the Italian future tense, imagine a romantic scenario involving the gorgeous Trevi Fountain in Rome. Tradition holds that you can ensure a return visit to the Eternal City by standing with your back to the fountain and tossing a coin over your shoulder and into the water. If you're really determined to return to Rome, review some key verbs in the future tense: Amare (to love) Tornare (to return) Vedere (to see) Partire (to leave) io (I) amerò tornerò vedrò partirò tu (you, inf.) amerai tornerai vedrai partirai lui/lei/Lei (he/she/you form.) amerà tornerà vedrà partirà noi (we) ameremo torneremo vedremo partiremo voi (you) amerete tornerete vedrete partirete loro/Loro (they/you form. pl.) ameranno torneranno vedranno partiranno

View Article
Texting and Chatting in Italian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Every day, Italians send more than 167 million text messages, for a total of 60 billion texts annually. Texting and chatting in Italian means learning new grammar rules, a new vocabulary, and a peculiar system of signs — all of which are necessary to convey the rhythms of conversation to this new hybrid language. Get familiar with this new idiom, because you may need to communicate with text-addicted Italians. Here's a list of the most common texting abbreviations, Italian-style: m = mi (I, me) t = ti (you) xke = perché (why, because) cmq = comunque (anyway) bc = baci (kisses) midi = mi dispiace (I'm sorry) pfv = per favore (please) d = da (from, since, of) grz = grazie (thanks) tn = tanto (a lot, much, long time) k = chi (who, what) c6 = Ci sei? (Are you there?) qls = qualcosa (something) + = più (more) risp = rispondi (answer) nn = non (no, not) prox = prossima (next) gg = giorno (day) tvb = ti voglio bene (I love you) ta = ti amo (I love you) Test your text translation skills by trying to decipher the following message. Then try to craft an appropriate reply. c6? nn t vedo + d tn! La prox volta risp pfv xke tvb e m manki! grz e bc Ci sei? Non ti vedo più da tanto! La prossima volta rispondi per favore perché ti voglio bene e mi manchi! Grazie e baci. Are you there? I haven't seen you for a long time! Next time, please answer my message because I love you and I miss you! Thanks and kisses.

View Article
Summing Up Italian Articles, Nouns, and Adjectives

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

In Italian, nouns have gender and number — masculine or feminine, and singular or plural. Articles (a, an, the, and so on), which are associated with nouns, are also masculine, feminine, singular, or plural according to the noun they refer to. So the English definite article the is either masculine singular, masculine plural, feminine singular, or feminine plural in Italian. The following table shows how you can combine nouns and articles. Pay attention to the beginning letter of masculine nouns because the article changes according to this letter; this is why you see four versions of masculine nouns in the table. Italian articles take the gender and number of the nouns they refer to, so the first thing you have to do is determine the gender and number of the noun you're working with. You'll find some examples in the first column. The second column helps you focus on the beginning letters of nouns, which is essential to find the correct definite and indefinite articles, shown in the third and fourth columns, respectively. Gender and Number of NounsNouns Beginning with ...Definite ArticlesIndefinite Articles Masculine singular 1. Nouns beginning with a consonant (such as libro, tavolo, and sogno) il (il libro, il tavolo, il sogno) un (un libro, un tavolo, un sogno) Masculine plural 1. Nouns beginning with a consonant (such as libri, tavoli, and sogni) i (i libri, i tavoli, i sogni) dei (dei libri, dei tavoli, dei sogni) Masculine singular 2. Nouns beginning with s + a consonant, z, ps, pn, gn, or y (as in specchio, stivale, scienziato, zaino, psicologo, pneumatico, gnomo, and yogurt) lo (lo specchio, lo stivale, lo scienziato, lo zaino, lo psicologo, lo pneumatico [but also il pneumatico], lo gnomo, lo yogurt) uno (uno specchio, uno stivale, uno scienziato, uno zaino, uno psicologo, uno pneumatico, uno gnomo, uno yogurt) Nouns beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, or u) as in aereo, amico, orso, and invito l' (l'aereo, l'amico, l'orso, l'invito) un (un aereo, un amico, un orso, un invito)Note: Make sure you don't use an apostrophe with the masculine un. Masculine plural 2. Nouns beginning with s + a consonant, z, ps, pn, gn, or y (as in specchi, stivali, scienziati, zaini, psicologi, pneumatici, gnomi, and yogurt) gli (gli specchi, gli stivali, gli scienziati, gli zaini, gli psicologi, gli pneumatici [but also i pneumatici], gli gnomi, gli yogurt) degli (degli specchi, degli stivali, degli scienziati, degli zaini, degli psicologi, degli pneumatici [but also dei pneumatici], degli gnomi, degli yogurt Nouns beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, or u) gli (gli aerei, gli amici, gli orsi, gli inviti) degli (degli aerei, degli amici, degli orsi, degli inviti) Feminine singular Nouns beginning with a consonant (such as banca, casa, and stazione) la (la banca, la casa, la stazione) una (una banca, una casa, una stazione) Nouns beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, or u) as in arte and eredità l' (l'arte, l'eredità) un' (un'arte, un'eredità) Feminine plural All nouns (such as banche, case, stazioni, arti, and eredità) le (le banche, le case, le stazioni, le arti, le eredità) delle (delle banche, delle case, delle stazioni, delle arti, delle eredità) Also note that although definite articles are omitted in English, they're not omitted in Italian. For example, La gente dice . . . (People say . . .). Adjectives provide details about the noun(s) they refer to. They take the noun's gender and number. Most masculine nouns end in -o (singular) or -i (plural), while most feminine nouns end in -a (singular) or -e (plural). Some nouns end in -e in their singular form and in -i in the plural, both for feminine and masculine forms. Check the following table to see how adjectives and nouns agree in gender and number: bianco un foglio bianco (a white sheet of paper) fogli bianchi (white sheets of paper) bianca una pagina bianca (a white page) pagine bianche (white pages) verde un banco verde (a green desk); una penna verde (a green pen) banchi verdi (green desks); penne verdi (green pens) Qualifying adjectives usually follow the noun; however, all other modifiers — demonstrative, interrogative, possessive, and indefinite pronouns, as well as number — come before the noun: Abbiamo letto un libro interessante. (We read an interesting book.) Vorrei comprare questo libro. (I would like to buy this book.) I tuoi libri sono nello zaino nero. (Your books are in the black book pack.) Perché hai ordinato pochi libri? (Why did you order so few books?) Quali libri hai preso in prestito? (Which books did you borrow?) È il terzo libro che leggo su questo argomento. (This is the third book that I have read on this subject.)

View Article
Crafting Common Idiomatic Expressions in Italian

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Whether you're learning Mandarin, Farsi, German, or Italian, idioms enrich communication — but can't be translated literally. In Italian, the most common idioms use the following verbs: fare (to do), avere (to have), essere (to be), and andare (to go). Idioms using fare (to do) Here's a list of the most common idiomatic expressions with fare (to do): fare gli auguri (to give one's wishes) fare il bagno/la doccia (to take a bath/shower) fare bello/brutto/caldo/freddo/fresco (to have good/bad/warm/cold/cool weather) fare il biglietto (to get a ticket) fare buon viaggio (to have a good trip) fare colazione (to have breakfast/lunch) fare i compiti (to do homework) fare una conferenza (to give a lecture) fare la conoscenza di (to meet; to make the acquaintance of) fare il conto (to add up the total) fare due, tre, . . . chilometri (to cover 2, 3, . . . kilometers) fare un favore (to do a favor) fare un giro (to take a tour) fare male (to hurt; to ache) fare una partita di calcio (to play soccer) fare una passeggiata (to take a walk) fare la pasta (to cook pasta) fai pure! (go ahead!) fare un regalo (give a present) fare una sorpresa (to surprise) fare la spesa (to go grocery shopping) fare le spese (to go shopping) fare lo spiritoso (to joke; to clown) fare tardi (to be late) fare una telefonata (to make a call) fare le valige (to pack) fare vedere (to show) fare un viaggio (to take a trip) fare una visita (to pay a visit) Idioms using avere (to have) Notice that most of the idiomatic expressions with avere are translated with the verb to be in English. aver caldo (to be warm) avere . . . anni (to be . . . years old) avere la corda al collo (to have no way out) aver fame (to be hungry) avere fegato (to be brave) aver freddo (to be cold) aver fretta (to be in a hurry) avere grilli per la testa (to have fancy and unrealistic ambitions) avere la luna storta (to be in a bad mood) avere una memoria di ferro (to have a good memory) avere molto caldo (to be hot) aver paura (to be afraid of) aver ragione (to be right) aver sete (to be thirsty) aver sonno (to be sleepy) aver torto (to be wrong) aver vergogna (to be ashamed of) Idioms using essere (to be) and andare (to go) Here's a list of the most common idiomatic expressions with essere (to be) and andare (to go). essere a cavallo (to find a good solution to an issue) essere al settimo cielo (to be very happy) essere come il diavolo e l'acqua santa (to be extremely different) essere nelle canne (to be broke; to be in difficulty) essere un carciofo (to be credulous/awkward) andare all'aria (to disrupt the plans; to be unsuccessful) andare liscio (to go smoothly) andare via (to leave; to go away) andare a trovare (to pay a visit to someone)

View Article
How to Conjugate Italian Verbs in the Present Indicative Tense

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

In Italian, the present indicative tense works much like the present tense in English. To conjugate Italian verbs in the present indicative tense, you first need to understand that Italian infinitives (the "to" form, as in to die, to sleep, to dream) end in one of three ways — and that you conjugate the verb based on that ending: Verbs that end in -are Verbs that end in -ere Verbs that end in -ire The endings of regular verbs don't change. Master the endings for each mode and tense, and you're good to go! Keep in mind that verbs agree with subjects and subject pronouns (io, tu, lui/lei/Lei, noi, voi, loro/Loro): Common Regular Italian Verbs in the Present Indicative Tense Subject Pronoun Lavorare (to work) Prendere (to take; to order) Partire (to leave) Capire (to understand) io lavoro prendo parto capisco tu lavori prendi parti capisci lui/lei/Lei lavora prende parte capisce noi lavoriamo prendiamo partiamo capiamo voi lavorate prendete partite capite loro/Loro lavorano prendono partono capiscono Unfortunately, there are also irregular verbs, which you have to memorize. You'll find that the more you practice them, the easier it is to use them in conversation: Common Irregular Italian Verbs in the Present Indicative Tense Subject Pronoun Andare (to go) Bere (to drink) Dare (to give) Fare (to do) Stare (to stay) Venire (to come) io vado bevo do faccio sto vengo tu vai bevi dai fai stai vieni lui/lei/Lei va beve dà fa sta viene noi andiamo beviamo diamo facciamo stiamo veniamo voi andate bevete date fate state venite loro/Loro vanno bevono danno fanno stanno vengono

View Article
Learning Italian: When to Capitalize Formal Titles before Names

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Fine-tune your command of the Italian language by knowing when to capitalize a person's title. If you have to write a formal letter or e-mail to VIPs, such as the principal of your child's school, show that you're familiar with the rules of Italian "bureaucratic" etiquette. Names that represent a particular title — by birth, merit, or qualification — should be capitalized. You write: il Presidente (President) l'Onorevole (Honorable) il Rettore (Dean) il Preside (Principal) il Professore (Professor) However, when these titles are accompanied by a proper name, using lowercase is preferable: il presidente Rossi l'onorevole Verdi il rettore Bianchi il conte Cavour il re Vittorio Emanuele II In the plural, these titles aren't capitalized (such as ministers or senators). For example, i senatori hanno approvato una nuova legge sul lavoro (The senators have approved a new labor law).

View Article