Now we’ve seen some basic Italian vocabulary, we can move on to more complex words and sentences.

Let’s begin with some phrases which will be useful for you if you’re traveling to Italy.

Today we’ll look at how to ask where things are.

Excuse Me in Italian

Scusi in Italian means excuse me or sorry.

Scusi

Scusi is the formal (polite) way of saying excuse me. You might also hear scusa. Scusa is the informal way of saying scusi.

“Do You Speak English?” in Italian

Parla inglese? is the Italian for Do you speak English?

Parla inglese?

So now you can already ask: Scusi, parla inglese? (Excuse me, do you speak English?)

  • In English, the spoken languages of countries are always written with uppercase first letters (for example: English, Italian, French). In Italian there is no such rule, so “inglese” is written with a lowercase letter.

Italian for “Where Can I Find the Bus?”

The Italian dove posso trovare l’autobus? means where can I find the bus?

Dove posso trovare l’autobus?
  • Remember, if you want to use “the” before Italian words that start with a vowel, you need to use l’ before the word.
  • We’ve already used l’ with things like l’aqcua (the water) and l’anatra (the duck).
  • While acqua and anatra were feminine words, the gender of autobus is masculine.

“Ticket Machine” in Italian

Biglietteria automatica in Italian means ticket machine.

Biglietteria automatica

If you need a bus or train ticket, you might need to know the Italian term for ticket machine.

Automatica in Italian means “automatic”. When you see the word automatica after other nouns, then the word usually indicates some kind of machine.

Can you work out what article this word requires? Il or la? Since the word ends in “a”, it’s feminine (usually the case for words ending in “a”) and requires la.

  • The letters “gli” in biglietteria are sort of combined together and are pronounced somewhat like “y” in “yellow”.

The Italian for “Where is the Toilet/Restroom?”

Dov’è il bagno? means Where is the toilet/restroom?

Dov’è il bagno?

“Bagno” in Italian means bath, but dov’è il bagno? – when it’s asked in public – is a polite way of asking where the toilet (or in American English, “restroom”) is.

  • We’ve already learned a similar word to dov’è namely cos’è (what is it). Cos’è is short for “cosa è”. But it’s generally shortened to cos’è with the final “a” in cosa missed off and replaced with an apostrophe).
  • Dov’è in its complete form would be dove è, but in the same way as cos’è, dove è is also shortened.

Looking for a Hotel in Italy

Dov’è l’albergo Hilton? in Italian means Where is the Hilton Hotel?

Dov’è l’albergo Hilton?

If you prefer to use the word “hotel” instead, you can, because in Italian albergo and hotel are both used.

  • If you want to say “the hotel”, in Italian you’ll have to say l’albergo or l’hotel.
  • Remember the letter “h” in “hotel” in Italian is not pronunced; “h” is always silent.
  • The gender of the word albergo is masculine. So, if you wish to say “a hotel”, you’ll have to say “un albergo” or “un hotel” (un because it’s masculine).

Exercises

Translate the following sentences into English.

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. Dov’è l’autobus?
  2. Potrebbe ripetere dov’è l’albergo?
  3. Scusi, non ho capito.
  4. Buongiorno! Questo è l’albergo Hilton.
  5. Questo autobus è troppo piccolo.
Show answers »
  1. Where is the bus?
  2. Where am I?
  3. I’m sorry, I don’t understand (I haven’t understood).
  4. Good morning! This is the Hilton Hotel.
  5. This bus is too small.

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