Sometimes language learners are afraid of speaking in a foreign language because they’re scared of making mistakes.
But they also forget that even native speakers make mistakes when talking or even when writing!
So, to make you feel better about your mistakes in Italian, here are some of the most common mistakes Italians make when speaking or writing.
Sometimes, it can be tricky to know whether to use the accent or not in Italian, especially on monosillabic words. So, some Italians either use too many accents or they choose not to use them at all.
The fact is that some monosillabic words can change meaning according to whether they have an accent or not.
So, here are some of the things you have to pay attention to when writing something in Italian.
Dà or da?
- Dà is the third singular person of the present tense of the Italian verb dare.
- Da is a preposition
Quando lo vedo, mi dà sempre un fiore
When I see him, he always gives me a flower
Io vengo da Firenze
I come from Florence
Né or ne?
- Né is a negative conjunction.
- Ne is usually an adverb or a pronoun.
Né Marco né Simone sanno parlare tedesco
Neither Marco nor Simone can speak German
Me ne sto andando
Bello quel quadro. Anch’io ne ho uno simile a casa
That picture is beautiful. I’ve got a similar one at home
Sì or si?
- Sì is usually used when answering a question in an affirmative way.
- Si is used as a pronoun.
Ti piace la pizza? Sì
Do you like pizza? Yes
Si rasa ogni giorno
He shaves every day
Lì/là or li/la?
- Lì and là are adverbs of place.
- Li and la are pronouns.
Le chiavi sono lì/là
The keys are there
Caspita! Hai un sacco di libri. Li hai letti tutti?
Wow, you’ve a lot of books. Did you read them all?
+ Dov’è la mia borsa? – L’hai lasciata in macchina
+ Where’s my purse? – You left it in the car
If using Italian accents can be tricky so it can be the use of the apostrophe.
Here some of the words you should pay attention to:
Un or un’?
- Un is used with singular masculine nouns
- Un’ is used with singular feminine nouns starting with vowel
Ho visto un elefante
I saw an elephant
Ho visto un’anatra
I saw a duck
Da’, fa’, sta’, va’ or da, fa, sta, va?
- Dà, fa’, sta’, va’ are abbreviations of the second person singular of the imperative of the verbs dare, fare, stare, andare.
- Da is a preposition
- Fa is the third person singular of the present of the verb fare and it is also used to show how far back in the past something happened.
- Sta and va are the third persons singular of the present of the verb stare and andare respectively.
Dà questo a tua madre
Give this to your mother
Vado da Mario
I go to Mario’s house
Mi sono sposato 10 anni fa
I got married 10 years ago
Marco sta mangiando
Marco is eating
A luglio Sara va a Londra
In july Sara goes to London
Po or po’?
You should always use po’ because it’s the abbreviation of poco.
Ex: Posso avere un po’ di pane, per favore?
Can I have some bread, please?
Qual è or qual’è?
In this case, you should always use the version without the apostrophe, qual è.
Ex: Qual è il tuo vestito preferito?
Which is your favourite dress?
These are some of the most common mistakes Italians make when writing. Do you make some of these common mistakes too?
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