Collocations are a group of two or more words that almost always come together to create a specific meaning, like make trouble instead of do trouble or fast food instead of quick food. Different combinations may sound weird to a native speaker. So, learning Italian collocations is important if you want to speak Italian and sound like a native.
Today I’m going to list ten common Italian collocations you can start to learn.
Common Italian collocations
1. Prendere una decisione
In Italian you take a decision, you don’t make one.
Ex: Domani Marco dovrà prendere una decisione importante.
Marco will have to make an important decision tomorrow.
2. Fare la doccia
In Italian you do a shower, you don’t take it.
Ex: Mi sono alzata, ho fatto la doccia, ho fatto colazione e sono andata al lavoro.
I got up, I took a shower, had breakfast, and went to work.
3. Infrangere la legge/le regole
In Italian you shatter the law/the rules, you don’t break it/them.
Ex: Federica ha già infranto la legge/le regole troppe volte.
Federica has already broken the law/the rules too many times.
4. Tenere il posto
In Italian you keep someone a seat, you don’t save it
Ex: Mi hai tenuto il posto?
Did you save me a seat?
5. Fare visita
In Italian you do a visit to someone, you don’t pay them a visit. However, in standard Italian is much more common to use the expression “andare a trovare”, literally “to go find”.
Ex: Domani faremo visita ai miei genitori/Domani andremo a trovare i miei genitori.
We’ll pay my parents a visit tomorrow/Tomorrow we’ll visit my parents.
6. Prestare attenzione
In Italian we lend attention, we don’t pay it.
Ex: Presta attenzione o non sarai in grado di svolgere gli esercizi da solo.
Pay attention or you won’t be able to solve the exercises on your own.
7. Arrivare/giungere ad un accordo/compromesso
In Italian we arrive to an agreement/a compromise, we generally don’t come to it.
Ex: Alla fine, le due aziende sono arrivate/giunte ad un accordo/compromesso.
Finally, the two companies have come to/reached an agreement/compromise.
8. Prendere un appuntamento
In Italian we take an appointment, we don’t make it.
Ex: Pronto, buongiorno, volevo prendere un appuntamento per un’ecografia.
Hello, good morning, I’d like to make an appointment for un ultrasound.
9. Avere senso
In Italian a thing has or doesn’t have sense, it does not however make sense, unless you want to convey a very different meaning! In fact, “fare senso” in Italian means to make you sick, to disgust or repulse you.
Ex: Secondo me il tuo ragionamento ha molto senso.
In my opinion your reasoning makes a lot of sense.
10. Esprimere un desiderio
Finally, in Italian we express a wish, we don’t make it.
Ex: Hai visto la stella cadente? Hai espresso un desiderio?
Have you seen the shooting star? Have you made a wish?
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Original image by RobinHiggins