In this lesson you’ll encounter your first full Italian sentence, plus we’ll start to see the difference between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ words in Italian.
Your First Sentence in Italian: Asking for a Coffee
Un caffè, per favore means a coffee, please!
You’ve already seen all of these words, except for un which means ‘a’.
The Italian for “Cake”
Una torta in Italian means a cake.
Una means also ‘a’. But why is it un caffè and yet una torta? Why two kinds of ‘a’?
- Italian nouns (names of things) are either masculine or feminine.
- With masculine words you have to use un, but with feminine words you use una.
- Torta is a feminine word, while caffè is a masculine word.
The Italian for Table
Un tavolo is the Italian word for a table.
Here’s another masculine Italian word.
Because it’s masculine, we say un tavolo.
The Italian for Beer
Una birra in Italian means a beer.
Can you guess the grammatical gender of the word ‘birra’?
- The double ‘r’ here is rolled briefly at the front of the mouth. Anyone can learn to do this with practice, but don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it; you will be understood even if you say the ‘r’ in an English way.
OK in Italian
Va bene in Italian means OK / alright.
- Va means ‘it goes’; bene means ‘well/fine/good’.
Therefore va bene means literally “it goes good”.
Italians use it a lot, to mean “OK”.
Example (your first Italian dialogue!)
English speaker: “See you later, OK?”
Italian speaker replies: “Va bene”.
Translate the following sentences into Italian. Don’t forget to use the correct form of ‘un’ or ‘una’.
Click the link below to view the answers. But have a go first!
- A coffee, please.
- A cake, please.
- A beer, please.
- A table, please.
- Un caffè, per favore.
- Una torta, per favore
- Una birra, per favore
- Un tavolo, per favore