La Nostra Lingua

“Make Me!”

English speakers use the verb “make” to describe how someone has made them do  something or how someone has made them feel.  In other words, in this type of situation, the subject of the sentence is the instigator that will make the stated action take place for someone else. The verb “make” is called a “causative verb,” and is one of the three true causative verbs in English, which are: let, have, and make. Check out some popular American songs to see how often this concept comes up in language.  Catchy tunes like, “You Make Me Feel Brand New,”  sung …

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“Let me…” and “Let’s”

The verb “let” is called a “causative verb,” and is one of the three true causative verbs in English, which are: let, have, and make. English speakers use the verb “let” to direct someone to do something.  In other words, with the verb “let,” the subject of the sentence is relying on or needs someone else to “cause” the action that will take place. Let’s try some example sentences in English conversation to help us understand this concept before we move on to Italian.  In English, we might say, “Let/Leave me alone!” or “Let me think!”  In a less dramatic …

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What I’m thinking about

When an Italian wants to describe what he is thinking about, he must use the verb pensare, and this is the verb that will be the topic of our blog today. Pensare works a bit differently from the “typical” Italian verb with an -are ending. When using the verb pensare to express a thought one person or a group has for themselves, pensare must be followed by the prepositions “di” or “a.” “Pensare di” is used when the phrase to follow starts with a verb, which will be in the infinitive form (to see, to start, etc.). “Pensare a” is used when the phrase to follow describes a thought …

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Using piacere to say, “I like it!”

The Italian verb piacere literally means “to be pleasing.” Italians use this verb when they want to show that they like something. It is how Italians say, “I like it!”  While Americans seem to “love” everything, the Italian response is more measured. In Italy, it’s important to be able to describe our likes and dislikes, and that’s where the verb piacere comes in handy. Piacere is a very important verb for travelers to Italy because there are so many places and things in Italy to like!  It should first be noted that piacere has an irregular conjugation. Also, because the verb piacere  is most …

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How to say, “I love you!”

To tell someone we love them in Italian, we must first learn how to use the verb amare, which means “to love.”  But be careful!  Because this is the Italian verb of romantic love! In fact, Italians often address their romantic love simply as “amore,” which is the noun that means “love.”  Italians also address loved ones as “amore mio,” which means “my love.” Beautiful, isn’t it?  The full conjugation of this important verb is given below, with the stressed syllables underlined. Amare – to love io amo I love tu ami you (familiar) love Lei/lei/lui ama you (polite) she/he loves       noi amiamo we love …

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What I’m thinking

Many, many Italian expressions use the verb pensare, which is most often translated as “to think.” You can imagine how this verb will come up often in conversation – with family and friends, of course, but also with acquaintances. In fact, the verb pensare has so many uses in Italian, many of which do not translate directly into English that we must really learn to think in Italian to master the use of this verb. But, once mastered, speaking with these phrases will truly help one to sound like a native! Because this verb is so important, we will give …

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What I wish … for the holidays!

When an Italian wants to describe a hope or a wish he has, either for himself or someone else, he must use the verb sperare, and this is the verb that will be the topic of our blog today. Sperare works a bit differently from the “typical” Italian -are verb. To review what we’ve learned in our last blog about sperare: When using the verb sperare to express a hope or a wish one person or a group has for themselves, sperare must be followed by the preposition “di”. “Di” will often be followed by a verb in the infinitive …

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What I hope…

  I believe that commonly used phrases are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time. If we learn how to incorporate commonly used phrases when we speak Italian, we will be able to express important feelings — like our hopes — just as we do in our native language! This will help us with our “email Italian” as well. Read below and you will see what I mean. This post is the 15th in a series of Italian phrases we have been trying out in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. If …

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