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I Must Study Italian

Posted on 02. May, 2016 by in Grammar

Devo studiare l’italiano (I must study Italian), is something that we hear a lot from you, dear readers. We sympathise, trying to learn a foreign language when you don’t live in situ is really tough! We’re also aware that we do quite a lot of high level grammar articles, such as the compound constructions that we focussed on last week.

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Perhaps it’s time to take a few steps back and study some fundamental verb conjugations. This will be the first in a series of articles covering the three very important verbi modali (modal verbs): dovere (to have to), volere (to want) and potere (to be able).

Let’s begin with the irregular verb dovere. We’ll examine its basic conjugations and its usage in everyday speech:

Indicativo Presente (present indicative):
io devo, tu devi, lui/lei deve, noi dobbiamo, voi dovete, loro devono

Examples:
oggi devo fare la spesa = today I must/have to do the shopping
Lucia deve studiare per l’esame = Lucia must/has to study for her test
purtroppo Mario e Lucia devono andare via presto = unfortunately Mario and Lucia must/have to leave early

Indicativo Imperfetto (imperfect indicative):
io dovevo, tu dovevi, lui/lei doveva, noi dovevamo, voi dovevate, loro dovevano

Examples:
non sono venuta perché dovevo scrivere un articolo = I didn’t come because I had to write an article
purtroppo Mario e Lucia dovevano andare via presto = unfortunately Mario and Lucia had to leave early
quando eravamo bambini dovevamo tornare a casa prima che facesse buio = when we were children we had to get back home before dark

To find out more about the imperfect indicative see this post: Indicativo Imperfetto

Indicativo Futuro (future indicative):
io dovrò, tu dovrai, lui/lei dovrà, noi dovremo, voi dovrete, loro dovranno

Examples:
se vuoi passare l’esame dovrai studiare di più = you’ll have to study more if you want to pass your exam
per andare a Bologna dovrete cambiare treno a Prato = to get to Bologna you’ll have to change train in Prato
Mario e Lucia dovranno alzarsi presto per essere all’aeroporto in tempo = Mario and Lucia will have to get up early to be at the airport on time

To find out more about the future indicative see this post: Indicativo Futuro

Condizionale Presente (present conditional):
io dovrei, tu dovresti, lui/lei dovrebbe, noi dovremmo, voi dovreste, loro dovrebbero

Examples:
oggi dovrei fare la spesa = I should do the shopping today
se vuole passare l’esame Lucia dovrebbe studiare di più = Lucia ought to/should study more if she wants to pass her test
dovremmo tornare a casa prima che faccia buio = we ought to/should get back home before dark

To find out more about the present conditional see this post: Condizionale Presente

Congiuntivo Presente (present subjunctive):
io debba, tu debba, lui/lei debba, noi dobbiamo, voi dobbiate, loro debbano

Examples:
penso che tu debba chiederle scusa = I think you ought to/should apologize to her
credo che Lucia debba studiare di più = I believe Lucia ought to/should study more
non c’è ragione per cui dobbiate partire così presto = there’s no reason why you should leave so early

To find out more about the present subjunctive see this post: Congiuntivo Presente

Congiuntivo Imperfetto (imperfect subjunctive):
io dovessi, tu dovessi, lui/lei dovesse, noi dovessimo, voi doveste, loro dovessero

Examples:
pensavo che tu dovessi finire di scrivere l’articolo = I thought you had to finish writing the article
credevo che Mario dovesse restare a Bologna per due giorni = I believed that Mario had to stay in Bologna for two days
se per caso dovessimo andare a Firenze potremmo fare una tappa a  Siena = if by chance we had to go to Florence we could stop off in Siena

To find out more about the imperfect subjunctive see this post: Congiuntivo Imperfetto

Next time I’ll be looking at the conjugation and use of dovere when used with the auxiliary verbs essere (to be) and avere (to have).

A presto!

An Italian Quiz For April – The Solutions

Posted on 29. Apr, 2016 by in Culture, Grammar, Italian Language, Quiz

Here are the answers to our recent quiz. Well done those of you who had a go. Those who didn’t, I shall want to hear your excuses, and they’d better be good. None of that “the cat ate it” nonsense!

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But seriously, give us some feedback, was it too difficult? Did you not feel confident enough to post your answers? Do you have technical difficulties in posting your comments? Do let us know because your comments help us improve our articles.

A. General Knowledge

We asked you to give a complete answer in Italian to the following questions:

1. in quale regione si trovano i trulli? Answer: I trulli si trovano in Puglia
2. come si chiama la piazza dove si corre il Palio di Siena? Answer: La piazza dove si corre il Palio di Siena si chiama Piazza del Campo
3. quale famoso musicista ha composto l’opera ‘La Traviata’? (two possible grammatical constructions) Answer: Giuseppe Verdi ha composto ‘La Traviata’ or ‘La Traviata è stata composta da Giuseppe Verdi
4. quali ingredienti ci vogliono per fare gli spaghetti all’amatriciana? (see this post: The Amatriciana Dilemma) Answer: Per fare gli spaghetti all’amatriciana ci vogliono il guanciale, i pomodori, l’olio d’oliva extravergine, il vino bianco secco, il pecorino grattugiato, il peperoncino, sale e pepe, e gli spaghetti, ovviamente.
5. come si intitola il primo libro della Divina Commedia di Dante? Answer: Il primo libro della Divina Commedia si intitola ‘Inferno’
6. chi ha affrescato la Cappella Sistina? (two possible grammatical constructions) Answer: Michelangelo ha affrescato la Cappella Sistina or la Cappella Sistina è stata affrescata da Michelangelo

These two trees both play an important role in traditional Italian culture and cuisine. Can you identify them? The one on the left is fairly easy, the one on the right is very difficult.

These two trees both play an important role in traditional Italian culture and cuisine. Can you identify them? The one on the left is fairly easy, the one on the right is very difficult.

On the left: olivo, on the right: frassino, also known as l’albero della manna

B. Grammar

Translate the following sentences into Italian using the grammar rules illustrated in Dammi il Cinque Part 1 and Dammi il Cinque Part 2:
1. give me 200 grams of Parma ham = dammi 2 etti di prosciutto di Parma
2. is Maria there? tell her that I want to talk to her = c’è Maria? dille che voglio parlarle
3. let us in = facci entrare
4. go and get me a glass of water, please = vammi a prendere un bicchiere d’acqua
5. these are Giorgio’s reading glasses, give them to him = questi sono gli occhiali da lettura di Giorgio, daglieli
6. this song is beautiful. Let me listen to it again = questa canzone è bellissima. Fammela riascoltare/ascoltare di nuovo

C. Conversation

In a shop window you see a shirt you really like, so you decide to buy it. Translate the English sentences below into Italian. You can refer to these posts: Buying Clothes in Italy part 1 and Buying Clothes in Italy part 2:

Commessa: “Desidera?”
You: “Can I see that shirt that is in the window?”
“Potrei/posso vedere quella camicia che è in vetrina?”
Commessa: “Che taglia le serve?”
You: “44. Can I try it on?”
“La 44. Posso provarla/La posso provare?”
Commessa: “Sì, certo, il camerino è lì in fondo, a destra”
You: “The sleeves are a bit short. Do you have a similar model?”
Le maniche sono un po’ corte. Avete un modello simile?”
Commessa: “Nella 44 abbiamo questa camicia … è un po’ più elegante, ma molto bella”
You: “It’s comfortable … I like it. How much is it?”
“E’ comoda … mi piace. Quant’è/quanto viene/quanto costa?”
Commessa: “Viene 45 euro”
You: “It’s a good price, I might buy two. Do you have other colours?”
“E’ un buon prezzo, quasi quasi ne compro due. Avete altri colori?”
Commessa: “Abbiamo il bianco avorio, il celeste, il lilla, e il grigio”
You: “I like the blue one. I’ll have both shirts”
“Mi piace il celeste. Prendo tutte e due le camice”
Commessa: “Ottima scelta. Sono 90 euro”
You: “Here’s 100 Euros”
“Eccole 100 euro/Ecco 100 euro a lei”
Commessa: “10 euro di resto a lei. Arrivederci e grazie”
You: “See you”
“Arrivederci”

An Italian Quiz For April

Posted on 27. Apr, 2016 by in Grammar, Quiz

Monday morning, blog brainstorming, Serena: di cosa scriviamo questa settimana? (what shall we write about this week?) Geoff: beh, secondo me è da un po’ che non facciamo un quiz, e ai nostri cari lettori piace sempre un bel quiz, no? (um, I think it’s been a while since we’ve done a quiz, and our dear readers always like a nice quiz, don’t they?)

Yes readers, this is where you get to participate, especially those of you who don’t normally post comments (we know you’re out there). Don’t be shy, we’re all here to learn together, so have a go, try and answer at least a couple of question. Su forza ragazzi!

A. General Knowledge

give a complete answer in Italian to the following questions, see the example below:
Question: in quale città si trova la Torre Pendente di Pisa?
Acceptable answer: la Torre Pendente di Pisa si trova a Pisa 🙂
Unacceptable answer: Pisa! 🙁

Tocca a te … It’s your turn …
1. in quale regione si trovano i trulli?
2. come si chiama la piazza dove si corre il Palio di Siena?
3. quale famoso musicista ha composto l’opera ‘La Traviata’? (two possible grammatical constructions)
4. quali ingredienti ci vogliono per fare gli spaghetti all’amatriciana? (see this post: The Amatriciana Dilemma)
5. come si intitola il primo libro della Divina Commedia di Dante?
6. chi ha affrescato la Cappella Sistina? (two possible grammatical constructions)

These two trees both play an important role in traditional Italian culture and cuisine. Can you identify them? The one on the left is fairly easy, the one on the right is very difficult.

7. These two trees both play an important role in traditional Italian culture and cuisine. Can you identify them? N.B. The one on the left is fairly easy, the one on the right is very difficult.

B. Grammar

Translate the following sentences into Italian using the grammar rules illustrated in Dammi il Cinque Part 1 and Dammi il Cinque Part 2:
1. give me 200 grams of Parma ham
2. is Maria there? tell her that I want to talk to her
3. let us in
4. go and get me a glass of water, please
5. these are Giorgio’s reading glasses, give them to him
6. this song is beautiful. Let me listen to it again

C. Conversation

In a shop window you see a shirt you really like, so you decide to buy it. Translate the English sentences below into Italian. You can refer to these posts: Buying Clothes in Italy part 1 and Buying Clothes in Italy part 2:

Commessa: “Desidera?”
You: “Can I see that shirt that is in the window?”
Commessa: “Che taglia le serve?”
You: “44. Can I try it on?”
Commessa: “Sì, certo, il camerino è lì in fondo, a destra”
You: “The sleeves are a bit short. Do you have a similar model?”
Commessa: “Nella 44 abbiamo questa camicia … è un po’ più elegante, ma molto bella”
You: “It’s comfortable … I like it. How much is it?”
Commessa: “Viene 45 euro”
You: “It’s a good price, I might buy two. Do you have other colours?”
Commessa: “Abbiamo il bianco avorio, il celeste, il lilla, e il grigio”
You: “I like the blue one. I’ll have both shirts”
Commessa: “Ottima scelta. Sono 90 euro”
You: “Here’s 100 Euros”
Commessa: “10 euro di resto a lei. Arrivederci e grazie”
You: “See you”

You can find out how you got on later this week when we publish the answers. Alla prossima.