In this lesson we’ll start using verbs in Italian and we’ll discover the highly-useful Italian words for “this” and “that”.

In this lesson we’ll see:

  • io mangio la pizza
  • io bevo la birra
  • questo
  • quello
  • How to Say “I Eat the Pizza” in Italian

    Io mangio la pizza in Italian means I eat the pizza.

    Io mangio la pizza

    You can use this in Italian where you would say “I’m eating pizza” in English, even though the literal translation is “I eat the pizza”.

    The best pizzas comes from the hometown of pizza, Naples, but pizzas are usually very tasty in all parts of Italy. If you happen to be in Italy, don’t forget to try some Italian pizza!

    • “Io” is Italian for “I”.
    • In Italian the form of verbs (eat, walk, sleep etc.) change depending on who they refer to (I, you, he/she, etc.). “Mangio” specifically means “I eat”, all by itself. So you don’t normally need to say “io” at all; only “mangio la pizza”. But you can use “io” for emphasis if necessary.
    • The double “z” in Italian is usually pronounced like “ts” in “cats”; just the same way it’s pronounced in “pizza” in English.
    • Technically, the word “mangio” is the first person present tense of “mangiare”, the Italian for “to eat”. It’s “first person” because it refers to “I” (not you or he or whatever), and present because it refers to something that is happening now, not in the past or future.

    Italian for “I Drink Beer”

    Io bevo la birra means I drink the beer.

    Io bevo la birra
    Once again, even though this literally means “I drink the beer”, you can use it where you’d use “I am drinking beer” in English.
    • Technically, “bevo” is the first person present tense of “bere”, which means “to drink”. So “bevo” means “I drink”.
    • The first person present tenses of Italian words are usually words end in “o”. We’ve already seen two examples of these; “mangio” and “bevo”.

    How to Say “This” in Italian

    Questo in Italian means this.

    Questo
    We’ve already learned che cos’è. You could change this question by adding “questo” on the end to say Che cos’è questo? (What is this?)
    • “Questo” also has a feminine form; questa. You have to use this before feminine nouns. So you say questo cane (this dog) but questa birra (this beer); questo telefono (this telephone), but questa porta (this door)
    • When “questo” is used before a word starting with a vowel, you’ll have to drop the final “o” or “a”. In written Italian, this is replaced with an apostrophe: quest’albero (this tree), quest’anatra (this duck)

    The Italian for “That”

    Quello in Italian means that.

    Quello
    Like questo, this is a really useful word. For example, you can ask Che cos’è quello? (What is that?)
    • “Quello” also has a feminine form which is “quella”. So “that cake” is quella torta.
    • Before most masculine nouns, quello changes to quel. So we say quel cane (that dog) and quel tavolo (that table). Before masculine and feminine nouns that begin with a vowel, the final “o” or “a” is dropped: quell’albero.

    This lesson wasn’t so easy but you’ll get the hang of using quello in its various forms as you continue to read and speak Italian. We’ll return to it later. When you come down to it, if you always only used quello in every situation, you’d usually be understood.

    Exercises

    Translate the following sentences into Italian.

    Click the link below to view the answers. Don’t forget to also read all the examples out loud at least two or three times.

    1. This or that?
    2. This is a dog.
    3. I drink a coffee.
    4. I eat cake.
    Show answers »
    1. Questo o quello?
    2. Questo è un cane.
    3. (Io) bevo un caffè.
    4. Mangio la torta.

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