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Italian Grammar Practice: What to Look for and Our Best Tips

Italian is notorious for its fickle rules. Do you cringe when you hear the words “Italian grammar practice”? Does this expression make you feel uncomfortable, or does it make you want to yawn?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this lesson is for you. I will give you some valuable advice on how to practice Italian easily. We will first take a look at your learning style and then brush up on some common Italian grammar rules that are often a challenge for learners.

Let’s start right away!

Choose the Italian grammar practice strategy that works best for you

There are different types of learners, and what works best for one person may not be as effective for another. For example, some people learn best by listening to a language (we call them “auditory learners”), while others do better by reading texts (they are called “visual learners”). Other people prefer a more hands-on approach to learning grammar, such as playing games and drawing what they are learning (“tactile learners”).

Before committing to long sessions of Italian grammar practice, you need to determine what kind of learner you are.

For example, you might want to listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and songs if you are an auditory learner. If you are a visual learner, you might prefer Italian books, flashcards, and movies.

Regardless of the method you choose, you can’t ignore a healthy amount of speaking when practicing Italian grammar. Repeating what you learn out loud will help you reinforce new words more than any other learning strategy.

Once you have determined which type of learner you are, you can start with some basic Italian grammar exercises. In the next section, we will cover the most difficult aspects of grammar for beginners.

Where to start with Italian grammar practice

Now that we’ve talked about how to learn Italian, let’s talk about what to learn.

The Italian sentence structure

Italian follows the same sentence structure as English and most European languages, that is, Subject Verb Object. In an acronym, SVO. For example:

  • Elisa | mangia | una pizza.
    Elisa | eats | a pizza.

However, unlike English, Italian doesn’t tend to use auxiliary verbs to turn a simple sentence into a question, nor does it reverse the subject/verb order. For example:

  • Ha dimenticato le chiavi a casa.
    He forgot the keys at home.
  • Ha dimenticato le chiavi a casa?
    Did he forget the keys at home?


  • Paolo sta andando dal medico.
    Paolo is going to the doctor.
  • Paolo sta andando dal medico?
    Is Paolo going to the doctor?

This is very different from English, so be especially careful about this in your Italian grammar practice.

Sentences are made negative with the adverb non (not) immediately before the verb. For example:

  • Ho visto tua mamma. Non ho visto tuo papà.
    I have seen your mom. I haven’t seen your dad.

It’s also worth noting that subject pronouns are very often left implicit. This is because the verb conjugations are different for each subject pronoun, so there is no need to add the subject. When they’re not implied, it’s usually because we want to bring them out:

  • Tu cucini, io mangio.
    You cook, I eat.
  • Cosa stai mangiando? – Sto mangiando un gelato.
    What are you eating? – I am eating an ice cream.

Italian pronouns, including direct and indirect pronouns, precede verbs. This is very different from English, and it’s a very challenging grammar rule for foreigners. For example:

  • Leggo un libro. Lo leggo.
    I read a book. I read it.
  • Presto un libro a un amico. Gli presto un libro. Lo presto a lui. Glielo presto.
    I lend a book to a friend. I lend him a book. I lend it to him. I lend it to him.
    (Literally: “Him I lend a book. It I lend to him. Him it I lend.”)

The Italian parts of speech

There are 9 parti del discorso, parts of speech, in Italian. Five of them are called variable, variabili, because they can take different forms. The other four are called invariabili, invariable, because they have only one form.

The variable parts of speech are:

  • articles
  • pronouns
  • nouns
  • verbs
  • adjectives

The invariable parts of speech are:

  • prepositions
  • adverbs
  • conjunctions
  • interjections


Articles are one of the first things you should learn in your Italian grammar practice journey. There are three types of articles in Italian: definite, indefinite and partitive articles.

Italian definite articles are il, lo (masculine singular), la (feminine singular), i, gli (masculine plural) and le (feminine plural). For example:

  • Il gatto insegue i tre topi.
    The cat chases the three mice.
  • Lo studente studia. La bambina gioca.
    The student studies. The child plays.
  • Le finestre sono aperte.
    The windows are open.
  • Gli stivali sono troppo corti.
    The boots are too short.

Indefinite articles are un and una, for masculine and feminine nouns, respectively. For example:

  • Un gatto mangia una lucertola.
    A cat eats a lizard.


We could write an entire book on Italian pronouns alone, so I will give you an example of each type of pronoun you will find.

  • Noi siamo di Roma. Voi di dove siete?
    We are from Rome. Where are you (all) from?
    (subject pronouns)
  • Hai preso gli occhiali? – Sì, li ho presi.
    Did you get the glasses? – Yes, I got them.
    (direct object pronouns)
  • Ho chiesto a Barbara di uscire. Le ho chiesto di uscire.
    I asked Barbara out. I asked her out.
    (indirect object pronouns)
  • I miei zii vivono a Trieste. Mia sorella vive a Torino.
    My aunt and uncle live in Trieste. My sister lives in Turin.
    (possessive pronouns)
  • Questo tè è freddo. Questi biscotti sono buonissimi.
    This tea is cold. These cookies are delicious.
    (demonstrative pronouns)
  • Qualcuno ha dimenticato di chiudere la porta.
    Someone forgot to close the door.
    (indefinite pronouns)
  • L’uomo che indossa la cravatta è il mio capufficio.
    The man wearing the tie is my office manager.
    (relative pronouns)
  • Quale di questi ti piace di più?
    Which of these do you like best?
    (interrogative pronouns)


Italian prepositions will make you scratch your head, but this is an important part of your Italian grammar practice that you can’t ignore.

The most common Italian prepositions are di, a, da, in, con, su, per, tra, and fra. These are called “simple prepositions”.

You can add definite articles to some of them (namely, di, a, da, in, and su). Prepositions that have an article attached are called “articulated prepositions”.

Examples of simple prepositions are:

  • Stai andando a fare la spesa?
    Are you going shopping for groceries?
  • Devo comprare un regalo per mia mamma.
    I have to buy a gift for my mom.
  • Vado al cinema con alcuni miei amici.
    I go to the movies with some of my friends.

Examples of articulated prepositions are:

  • Le maniche della maglietta sono troppo corte.
    The sleeves of the T-shirt are too short.
  • Il gatto salta sul tavolo.
    The cat jumps on the table.
  • Lo scoiattolo scende dall’albero.
    The squirrel comes down from the tree.

There is a third type of Italian preposition called preposizioni improprie, “improper prepositions”. These prepositions can also be verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, such as vicino (next to), insieme (together), and dopo (after). For example:

  • Abito vicino alla spiaggia.
    I live next to the beach. (vicino is also an adjective)
  • Passeggio spesso insieme a Luca.
    I often walk together with Luca. (insieme is also an adverb)
  • Sono uscito dopo la fine della partita.
    I left after the game was over. (dopo is also an adverb)


Adverbs are used to change the meaning of many elements in a sentence. There are many types of adverbs in Italian, such as adverbs of time and adverbs of place. Let me give you some examples:

  • Puoi ripetere? Parli troppo forte.
    Can you repeat that? You speak too loudly.
  • Il mio cane è molto curioso.
    My dog is very curious.
  • Stasera pioverà.
    It will rain tonight.
  • Soffro di mal d’auto. Posso sedermi davanti?
    I have motion sickness. Can I sit in the front?


Conjunctions are used to link words or clauses, so they are especially important for Italian grammar practice. Without them, you can only build simple sentences! Some common Italian conjunctions are e (and), anche (too), ma (but), o (or), and quindi (then). For example:

  • Marco e Debora vanno a scuola.
    Marco and Debora go to school.
  • So suonare il piano, ma non so nuotare.
    I can play the piano, but I can’t swim.


Interjections are words we use to express an emotion, such as fear, surprise, or joy. Some common Italian interjections are uffa (what a bore!), beh (well), accidenti (damn it), and complimenti (congratulations). For example:

  • Accidenti, ho dimenticato di fare i compiti!
    Darn it, I forgot to do my homework!
  • Hai vinto il primo premio. Complimenti!
    You won the first prize. Congratulations!
  • Beh, non può andare meglio di così.
    Well, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Nouns and adjectives

A comprehensive guide to the use of Italian nouns and adjectives is beyond the scope of this article, but there are some general rules to keep in mind when constructing sentences in Italian, especially if you are a native English speaker.

Italian nouns can be either masculine or feminine, singular or plural. This is different from English, where nouns don’t really have a “gender” (but they do have a number). The gender of a noun is usually determined by its ending letter. Plurals are formed by changing that final letter.

Masculine singular nouns often end in -o:

  • Gatto, tavolo, frigorifero, sasso
    Cat, table, fridge, small rock

Feminine singular nouns often end in -a:

  • Carta, finestra, porta, acqua
    Paper, window, door, water

Masculine plural nouns often end in -i:

  • Gatti, tavoli, frigoriferi, sassi
    Cats, tables, fridges, small rocks

Feminine plural nouns often end in -e:

  • Carte, finestre, porte, acque
    Papers, windows, doors, waters

Unlike English, Italian adjectives match the gender (masculine, feminine) and the number (singular, plural) of the noun. For example:

  • Gatto rosso, gatti rossi
    Red cat, red cats
  • Mela verde, mele verdi
    Green apple, green apples

Pronouns also match the gender and the number of the noun:

  • Ho comprato il libro. L’ho comprato. (Lo ho)
    I bought the book. I bought it.
  • Ho comprato le arance. Le ho comprate. (Le ho)
    I bought the oranges. I bought them.

If you want to focus on adjectives during your Italian grammar practice, take a look at our definitive guide to Italian adjectives!


The Italian verb system is especially tricky. In the section on Italian sentence structure, we talked briefly about the subject pronouns.

There are six subject pronouns in Italian:

tuyou (sing)
lui/lei/Leihe, she, you (polite)
voiyou (pl)

The lei pronoun is also used to refer to people to whom we owe some degree of deference or respect, such as a teacher, a doctor, or a shopkeeper.

You may come across esso (it), essi (they), and ella/essa (she), but these forms are rarely used today, both in written and spoken language, and survive only in conservative textbooks. When describing inanimate objects in Italian, you almost never use esso.

So why is this verb system tricky? There are almost no verb endings in English. We say I drink, you drink, he drinks… At best, an -s is added to the first-person singular subject.

However, Italian has a different verb ending for each subject. We say io bevo, tu bevi, lui beve.

If you want to focus your Italian grammar practice on the Italian verb system, we have you covered with a comprehensive guide to Italian conjugations.

Italian grammar practice: Strategies & resources

Whether you are a visual, an auditory, or a tactile learner, there are some common strategies, among others, that you can adopt for a successful Italian grammar practice:

  • Do something every day. Modern life keeps us busy. But when it comes to language learning, doing a little every day is more effective than studying for 10 hours straight on your days off. You need regular and frequent practice.
  • Avoid distractions. Keep a bottle of water handy, and if you are studying on a computer or mobile device, do not open social media while you are studying.
  • Set a goal and stick to it. Set small goals and a larger goal. For example, if you are a fresh beginner, plan to learn the Italian days of the week, months, and seasons to pave your way to the A1 level. Setting small goals will help you stay motivated.
  • Use online resources. Social media is a big no-no for your Italian grammar practice, but we encourage you to learn Italian through various resources. Clozemaster, for example, is perfect for visual learners thanks to its contextual learning, as is Duolingo with all its fun animations to keep you engaged. If you like good old-fashioned flashcards, Anki is the resource for you.

Here is a list of the best Italian resources out there.

Italian grammar practice: Conclusion

I know this may sound like a lot, but Italian grammar is actually easier than it looks. If you practice for even a few minutes every day, you will see improvement before you know it. Just remember to be consistent.

I hope this article on the best strategies for Italian grammar practice has given you some ideas to work on!

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