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The 103 Most Common Words in Italian

It would be nice if we can learn Italian the way computers can learn any language on earth.

Unfortunately for us plain humans, picking up a language still takes a little elbow grease.

But what many people don’t realize is that you can quickly begin using any language—Italian included.

Below are 103 of the most common words in Italian that will allow you to build simple yet common sentences and begin communicating immediately.

They cover all the basic parts of a sentence, allowing you to get across thousands of different ideas. Plus, they come with simple sample sentences to help you practice.

Let’s get started!

Contents

Italian Articles

Perhaps the most commonly used words are also the shortest and most unassuming. Articles in Italian are paired with nouns and match the nouns in gender and number.

For example, because  bagno (bathroom) is masculine, it takes the masculine articles il (the) and  un (a). Masculine nouns often end with the letter “o.”

Feminine nouns, such as  camicia (shirt), take the feminine  la (the) and  una (a). Feminine words most often end with the letter “a.”

Some words end in neither “o” nor “a,” so their gender must be memorized (such as caffè , which is masculine).

Generally, the article for a noun, as well as how the noun ends, changes when it becomes plural. Masculine nouns that start with a consonant other than “s” or “z” take  i for “the.” Feminine nouns use le . Masculine plural nouns often end in i, while plural feminine nouns end with e.

Here are all the Italian articles:

Italian ArticlesEnglish Translation
il
l'
lo
the (masculine, singular)
la the (feminine, singular)
i
gli
the (masculine, plural)
le the (feminine, plural)
un
uno *

*used for masculine nouns that start with a gn, pn, ps, x, y, z or s + consonant.
a (masculine)
una a (feminine)

We’ve skipped the examples for these because there will be plenty as we move on with our list of common Italian words.

Master tip #1: Why are there a few versions for the masculine singular and plural articles? It depends on what letter the next word begins with.

It’s a good idea to become familiar with Italian articles and their oddities as soon as possible, because you’ll be seeing them a lot in your studies!

Common Italian Nouns

A noun is a word that refers a person, place, thing or idea. They can help you talk about an ever-growing collection of topics.

Here are examples of masculine and feminine nouns. Note how the articles are used in the example sentences for each type of noun.

Italian Masculine NounsEnglish TranslationExample Sentence
padre father Tuo padre è basso.
Your father is short.
marito husband Mio marito è triste.
My husband is sad.
figlio son Nostro figlio è basso.
Our son is short.
uomo man Quell'uomo è brutto.
That man is ugly.
bambino boy Il bambino è basso.
The boy is short.
caffè coffee Il caffè è caldo.
The coffee is hot.
anno year L'anno è breve.
The year is short.
bagno bathroom Il bagno è pulito.
The bathroom is clean.
calzini socks I suoi calzini sono puliti.
His socks are clean.
libro book Questo è un libro interessante.
This is an interesting book.
albero tree L'albero è alto.
The tree is tall.
tavolo table Ho bisogno di un tavolo.
I need a table.
Italian Feminine NounsEnglish TranslationExample Sentence
madre mother Mia madre è alta.
My mother is tall.
moglie wife Mia moglie è felice.
My wife is happy.
figlia daughter Sua figlia è alta.
His daughter is tall.
donna woman Quella donna è carina.
That woman is pretty.
bambina girl La bambina ride divertita.
The girl laughs cheerfully.
birra beer La birra è fredda.
The beer is cold.
settimana week Questa settimana è lunga.
This week is long.
scarpa shoe La sua scarpa è sporca.
Her shoe is dirty.
camicia shirt La sua camicia è bella.
Her shirt is pretty.
casa house La casa è grande.
The house is big.
cucina kitchen La cucina è sporca.
The kitchen is dirty.
scuola school Ho compiti per la scuola.
I have homework for school.
luce light Accendi la luce.
Turn on the light.

Master tip #2: You can always add to this list of nouns or double-check the articles used with them by consulting an online English-Italian dictionary, such as LexiLogos.

Common Italian Pronouns

There are a number of different kinds of pronouns, but a good place to start is by learning the personal ones.

Italian Personal Pronouns

These pronouns are used to replace nouns and names. They allow you to make simple statements about yourself and other people without being repetitive.

Italian PronounsEnglish TranslationExample Sentence
io I Io sono felice.
I am happy.
tu
Lei
you
you (formal)
Tu sei triste.
You are sad.
lui he Lui è alto.
He is tall.
lei she Lei è bassa.
She is short.
noi we Noi abbiamo freddo.
We are cold.
voi you (plural) Voi avete caldo.
You are hot.
loro they Loro sono belli.
They are pretty.

Master tip #3: Need some help remembering these? Pair your learning with a language learning app like FluentU.

On FluentU, you can hear all these words (and many more) used by native Italian speakers, so you can get a good sense of how and when each word is used.

Plus, you can save any word to your vocabulary list for later review through fill-in-the-blank quizzes and video-enhanced flashcards.

most common words in italian

It’s a natural (and fun!) way to learn new Italian words!

In addition, FluentU Italian has a YouTube channel. It will teach you Italian from scratch in an immersive way. You’ll get clips from movies transformed into language lessons, grammar tips and vocabulary lists, among other interesting stuff.

One example is the following video, catered to complete beginners who are just starting their Italian language adventure:

Italian Possessive Pronouns and Adjectives

Possessive pronouns and adjectives let you talk about ownership (my/mine, your/yours, etc.). The basic difference between a possessive pronoun and a possessive adjective is whether there’s a noun following it.

For example, this sentence shows a possessive adjective because the word  mio is modifying the word caffè :

Il mio caffè è caldo. — My coffee is hot.

This sentence, on the other hand, shows a possessive pronoun because mio replaces the word caffè, which is now only implied:

Il mio è caldo. — Mine is hot.

As you’ve probably already noticed from the examples above, the definite article (aka “the”) is required to form the possessive: il, la, i or le. The noun that follows or is being replaced determines which article to use, and the form the possessive pronoun or adjective takes.

All possessives must agree in number as well as gender. For example, if you’re talking about your bathroom, you might say: il mio bagno , but if you’re describing both bathrooms in your house, it would be i miei bagni .

One final plot twist: one of the few exceptions in which an article isn’t needed with possessives is nouns of family members. Hence, it’s Tuo padre è basso (Your father is short) instead of Il tuo padre è basso. 

Learning the following words will help you reference ownership and expand the complexity of your sentences quite a bit!

English
Pronoun
Masculine
(Singular)
il
Masculine
(Plural)
i
Feminine
(Singular)
la
Feminine
(Plural)
le
Example Sentence
(Possessive Adjective)
Example Sentence
(Possessive Pronoun)
my
mine
mio miei mia mie Il mio cane è adorabile.
My dog is adorable.
Il mio è il migliore.
Mine is the best.
your
yours
tuo tuoi tua tue La tua birra è fredda.
Your beer is cold.
La tua è fredda.
Yours is cold.
his
her / hers
your / yours (formal)
suo suoi sua sue La sua cucina è pulita.
Her kitchen is clean.
La sua è pulita.
Hers is clean.
ours nostro nostri nostra nostre La nostre camicie sono brutte.
Our shirts are ugly.
Le nostre sono brutte.
Ours are ugly.
your
yours
(plural)
vostro vostri vostra vostre Le vostre figlie sono belle.
Your daughters are pretty.
Le vostre sono belle.
Yours are pretty.
their
theirs
loro loro loro loro Le loro scarpe sono sporche.
Their shoes are dirty.
Le loro sono sporche.
Theirs are dirty.

Master tip #4: Once you master these, you can move on to other types of Italian pronouns. From there, there’s a whole world to be discovered, from subject pronouns to direct object pronouns and beyond!

Correctly using pronouns in any language can really help you sound more natural, so it’s worth spending some time mastering them.

Common Italian Verbs

Of all the Italian verbs below, you’ll want to pay close attention to  essere (to be) in particular. As you might have noticed from the example sentences in this post, this little word can take you a long way!

Common Italian VerbsIo
(I)
Tu
(You - Singular)
Lui (He)
Lei (She)
Noi
(We)
Voi
(You - Plural)
Loro
(They)
avere
to have
ho
have
hai
have
ha
has
abbiamo
have
avete
have
hanno
have
ascoltare
to listen
ascolto
listen
ascolti
listen
ascolta
listens
ascoltiamo
listen
ascoltate
listen
ascoltano
listen
dovere
must
devo
must
devi
must
deve
must
dobbiamo
must
dovete
must
devono
must
essere
to be
sono
am
sei
are
è
is
siamo
are
siete
are
sono
are
fare
to do or make
faccio
do/make
fai
do/make
fa
does/makes
facciamo
do/make
fate
do/make
fanno
do/make
mangiare
to eat
mangio
eat
mangi
eat
mangia
eats
mangiamo
eat
mangiate
eat
mangiano
eat
mettere
to put
metto
put
metti
put
mette
puts
mettiamo
put
mettete
put
mettono
put
parlare
to speak
parlo
speak
parli
speak
parla
speaks
parliamo
speak
parlate
speak
parlano
speak
prendere
to make
prendo
make
prendi
make
prende
makes
prendiamo
make
prendete
make
prendono
make
potere
can
posso
can
puoi
can
può
can
possiamo
can
potete
can
possono
can
sapere
to know
so
know
sai
know
sa
knows
sappiamo
know
sapete
know
sanno
know
sentire
to hear or feel
sento
hear/feel
senti
hear/feel
sente
hears/feels
sentiamo
hear/feel
sentite
hear/feel
sentono
hear/feel
stare
to stay
sto
stay
stai
stay
sta
stays
stiamo
stay
state
stay
stanno
stay
vedere
to see
vedo
see
vedi
see
vede
sees
vediamo
see
vedete
see
vedono
see
volere
to want
voglio
want
vuoi
want
vuole
wants
vogliamo
want
volete
want
vogliono
want

Master tip #5: Note that the above conjugations are in the present tense. You can learn more about each of these verbs here and how to conjugate them here.

Common Italian Adjectives

Adjectives describe whatever you’re talking about and are an easy way to further bump up the complexity of your sentences.

Keep in mind that, like possessive pronouns, adjectives must also agree in number and gender. For example:  Il bambino è alto (The child is tall) vs.  I bambini sono alti (The children are tall).

Also remember that, unlike in English, an Italian adjective often follows the noun it’s describing instead of preceding it. For example:  Il bambino alto è felice (The tall child is happy).

Common Italian AdjectivesEnglish TranslationExample Sentence
contento happy Sono molto contento oggi.
I am very happy today.
triste sad È triste vedere la sua reazione
It's sad to see her reaction.
alto tall Mio padre è molto alto.
My father is very tall.
basso short La sedia è troppo bassa.
The chair is too short.
pulito clean La casa è sempre pulita.
The house is always clean.
sporco dirty Il cane ha le zampe sporche.
The dog has dirty paws.
caldo hot Fa caldo oggi.
It's hot today.
freddo cold Bevi una bevanda fredda.
Drink a cold beverage.
brutto ugly Quel dipinto è davvero brutto.
That painting is really ugly.
bello beautiful La vista è bellissima.
The view is beautiful.
intelligente intelligent Maria è una ragazza intelligente.
Maria is an intelligent girl.
stupido stupid Quella è una domanda stupida.
That is a stupid question.
simpatico nice Il tuo amico è davvero simpatico.
Your friend is really nice.
antipatico unpleasant Trovo quel ragazzo antipatico.
I find that boy unpleasant.
nuovo new Ho comprato un libro nuovo.
I bought a new book.
vecchio old Questa macchina è vecchia.
This car is old.
veloce fast Il treno è veloce.
The train is fast.
lento slow Il traffico è molto lento.
The traffic is very slow.
interessante interesting Ho letto un libro molto interessante.
I read a very interesting book.
noioso boring La lezione è stata noiosa.
The lesson was boring.
grande big Ho un cane grande.
I have a big dog.
piccolo small La casa è piccola.
The house is small.

Master tip #6: Find a language exchange buddy to practice conjugating Italian adjectives. You can use sites such as italki to find a partner to practice common Italian phrases you use when traveling, for example.

Knowing someone else who’s learning the language (or is a native Italian speaker learning your native language) is a great way to stay motivated, while making new friends at the same time.

Common Italian Adverbs

Whereas adjectives describe nouns and pronouns, adverbs describe everything else—verbs, adjectives and even other adverbs!

For example, when turning an Italian adjective into an adverb, you do one of two things. If the feminine form of the adjective ends in -o, change it to the suffix -mente. If the adjective ends in -e, you only need to add -mente without changing the spelling.

Italian Adverbs That Come From AdjectivesAdjective FormExample Sentence
lentamente
slowly
lento
lenta
slow
Lei cammina lentamente.
She walks slowly.
rapidamente
rapidly
rapido
rapida
rapid
Arriverò lì rapidamente.
I will arrive there quickly.
veramente
truly
vero
vera
true
Mi piace veramente.
I really like it.
facilmente
easily
facile
easy
Ho superato l'esame facilmente.
I passed the exam easily.
generalmente
generally
generale
general
Generalmente fa bel tempo qui.
Generally, the weather is nice here.

Here are other common Italian adverbs according to their respective categories:

Italian Simple AdverbsEnglish TranslationExample Sentence
bene well Sto bene oggi.
I am well today.
dentro inside Vieni a sederti dentro.
Come sit inside.
dietro behind Vieni dietro di me.
Come behind me.
dopo after Ci vediamo dopo.
See you later.
insieme together Andiamo al cinema insieme.
Let's go to the movies together.
mai never Non mi arrenderò mai.
I will never give up.
sempre always Ti amo sempre.
I love you always.
Italian Interrogative AdverbsEnglish TranslationExample Sentence
come how Come possiamo aiutarti?
How can we help you?
dove where Dove hai messo le chiavi?
Where did you put the keys?
perché why Dimmi perché lo hai fatto.
Tell me why you did it.
quando when Quando sarà pronto?
When will it be ready?
quanto how much / how many Quanto costa questo?
How much does this cost?
Italian Adverbs of Time and PlaceEnglish TranslationExample Sentence
domani tomorrow Ci vediamo domani.
See you tomorrow.
ieri yesterday Ieri è stato piovoso.
Yesterday was rainy.
oggi today Ho una riunione oggi.
I have a meeting today.
qui here Non c'è nessuno qui.
There's nobody here.
there Vado domani.
I'm going there tomorrow.

Master tip #7: To practice and master Italian adverbs, quiz yourself on websites like Online Italian Club and One World Italiano. These will test your ability to conjugate into the right form and use them in the appropriate context, respectively.

 

While there are no shortcuts to becoming fluent in a language, don’t make the mistake of waiting until you’ve memorized 1,000 words. Instead, fast track your progress and become an Italian speaker in just a few days by learning—and using—these 103 most common words in Italian.

These basics are the building blocks to a lifetime of conversation!

And One More Thing...

If you're as busy as most of us, you don't always have time for lengthy language lessons. The solution? FluentU!

Learn Italian with funny commericals, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:

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Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.

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Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

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FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’re learning, and give you extra practice with difficult words. Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!

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