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!

Un caffè, per favore!

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 torta

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.
We’ll look at this in more detail in the next tutorial.

The Italian for Table

Un tavolo is the Italian word for a table.

Un tavolo
  • 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.

Una birra

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 bene
  • 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”.

Exercises

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!

  1. A coffee, please.
  2. A cake, please.
  3. A beer, please.
  4. A table, please.
Show answers »
  1. Un caffè, per favore.
  2. Una torta, per favore
  3. Una birra, per favore
  4. Un tavolo, per favore

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