Italian, Lesson 1: Pronouns

Howdy, all?

Piazza Venezia in Rome, The Vittoriano
Piazza Venezia in Rome, The Vittoriano

I decided to move some of my handwritten notes on Italian studies to the blog, in case I lose my papers. There will be 15-20 short lessons – the very essence of Italian grammar, absolute minimum you should know to start speaking. I know, it’s not easy to start. But if you reach Lesson 7 (modal verbs), you’ll be able to build really a lot of phrases yourself.

We’re starting from pronouns and to be verb.

Italian pronouns – singular
  • I – io (sounds like ‘yo, man!’, but sofffffter – jio)
  • you – tu (informal)
  • she – lei
  • he – lui
  • you – lei (formal or polite way)
Italian pronouns – plural
  • we – noi (sounds like n + Oi-oi-oi! in songs)

  • you – voi
  • they – loro

  • iotuleiluilei
  • noivoiloro

Easy, right?

I am <username>

The challenge is in remembering the verbs. Each italian verb has a separate form for each pronoun – so called conjugation. We’re starting from ‘to be’ verb – essere – and it’s different forms.

Essere – singular forms
  • I am – io sono
  • You are – tu sei
  • He is – lui è
  • She is – lei è
  • You are – lei è
Essere – plural forms
  • We are – noi siamo
  • You are – voi siete
  • They are – loro sono

  • sonosei – è
  • siamosietesono

(repeat these lines 10 times: sono, sei, è, siamo, siete, sono, …)

“But where is, bloody hell, the essere word itself???” – you ask. These 5 words (sono, sei, è, siamo, siete, sono) are 5 different forms of essere. It behaves the same way as to be – we use am, is, are, was, … – but not to be itself.

We’re ready to introduce ourselves now:

  • I am Taras. Nice to meet ya! – Io sono Taras. Piacere di conoscerti!

Let’s move to Lesson 2 for more examples!