Difference between bene and buono in Italian

Difference between bene and buono in ItalianMany people who learn Italian are usually confused about the use, and meaning, of the Italian words bene and buono.

So, today I’m going to explain to you when and how to used bene and buono.


Let’s start with some grammar. What? You already see a headache coming? I know, Italian grammar can be complicated but just give me a minute and you’ll se that, in this case, it’s easier than you thought.

Bene in Italian is an adverb. This means that it says something about a verb, describing actions and states. Let’s look at two examples:

a. In quel ristorante abbiamo mangiato bene
We ate well in that restaurant

b. Francesco suona bene il piano
Francesco plays the piano well

In the first example, the adverb bene refers to the verb mangiare and explains to you how we ate.

In the second example, instead, bene refers to the verb suonare and describes it, saying how Francesco plays the piano.

Since it’s an adverb, bene doesn’t change from masculine to feminine, or from singular to plural.

What about the position? Where should I place bene?
Even if the adverb bene doesn’t necessarily have a fixed position, it is usually placed after the verb.


Buono in Italian is an adjective. As such, it says something about a noun and it’s usually used to give an opinion on the quality of something or someone.


a. La pasta è buona
Pasta is good

b. Marco è un bambino buono
Marco is a good child

In example a the adjective buono refers to a noun, pasta, while in example b it refers to bambino.

Since buono is an adjective it changes according to the noun. If the noun is masculine pural we use buoni, if the noun is feminine plural we use buone, if the noun is masculine singular we use buono, if the noun is feminine singular we use buona.

Now, that you’ve learnt the differences between bene and buono, test yourself with this exercise.

Complete with buono or bene.

1. Giada non parla ……. tedesco
2. Scusi, può ripetere? Non ho capito …….
3. Questo tiramisù non è tanto …….
4. Il prezzo di questo cappotto è …….
5. Daniela è una ……. amica
6. Mi raccomando, studia ……. per l’esame
7. Alberto si comporta sempre …….
8. Questa è proprio una ……. idea!
9. Voi conoscete ……. Nicola?
10. Tu hai veramente una ……. memoria!


Original image by Claudio_Scott

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