Italian FAQ - A list of links

  1. How do possessive adjectives work? Why doesn't "mio padre" need the article?

  2. Why do you say "bel paese" and "brutta abitudine", but usually adjectives come after the noun?

  3. Why is "lo caffè" incorrect?

  4. Why did it mark wrong "Mangio la mia propria bistecca"?

  5. "Ci guardo dopo"... What does "ci" mean?

  6. Why don't you say "Cosa tua sorella ha fatto?" but "Cosa ha fatto tua sorella?"?

  7. "Lui si esercita" and "Stasera si beve?"... both with "si", why?

  8. Prepositions are already difficult, but what should "nel" or "sulla" be? Preposizioni articolate!

  9. Why don't you say "Lui sa mia sorella"? Differences between "conoscere" and "sapere".

  10. Why don't you say "Io piaccio i libri" but "A me piacciono i libri"?

  11. A lot of stuff regarding pronouns.

  12. How come Italian has double negations?

  13. What does "fare" mean? Almost everything!

  14. Why do you use different accents in Italian? How do they work?

  15. Colours as adjectives... when do they follow the gender and number of the noun they are connected to?

  16. Why "Assomiglia a tua madre" and not "Assomiglia tua madre"? Verbs and correspondent prepositions. (Something more should be added regarding movement verbs.)

  17. Something more regarding prepositions, with some exceptions for verbs like "stare" "andare" "venire" "entrare"... some useful tips. It's in Italian, sorry. If you find a similar resource in English please let me know.

  18. "Sono di Roma" "Vengo da Roma"... Guess, prepositions!

  19. "Anch'io!" Sometimes the subject can't be implied.

  20. How to know when a word is masculine or feminine, especially for the ones ending with E? Use a dictionary and follow some hints... and

  21. "Il film non viene guardato" Why "viene"? That's passive!

  22. "Gli gnocchi"... how do you pronounce it?

  23. "Non andare!" Who shouldn't go? You! That's imperative!

  24. Prepositions and infinitive and

  25. "Sono IN casa" VS "Sono A casa"... you can almost always use both... (Need some updates on this topic, if you find some better material or have specific questions, please do not hesitate)

  26. "Quando lui arriva a casa?" is wrong! Why? Word order in questions... (thanks to Sandrabruck)

  27. Why can't I say "gli uovi"? Plurals don't always follow the gender of the singular noun!

  28. "Ho mangiato una mela", "La ho vista", "Le ho scritto". Why past participles with avere sometimes follows the gender of some nouns? It follows the gender of the clitic pronoun, if it is an indirect object!

  29. Why do you say "Ho visto mia zia" and "Ho visto le mie zie"?

  30. Why "Io ho iniziato un libro" and "Il film è iniziato da sei ore" use different auxiliary verbs? The same verb can be either transitive or intransitive depending on the context...

Please tell me if some links don't work, if I can I will replace them. :)

I will constantly update this discussion, according to the questions I answer to. If you have other useful links, please share them.

March 6, 2013


Hi Marziotta. I have posted some helpful 'starter' sheets for many sections of the Italian tree that could aid future duo learners. I traversed the Italian tree from beginning to end in 2014, so all the sheets I have are now listed here.

Each sheet contains duo's hints (as I saw them) or, in the later sheets I have sometimes been looking words up regularly on to fill out the meanings for certain words.

Some people have found it helpful when first learning a new section; it saves them the time of 'looking' up all the translations.

Sometimes the document will contain the common 'wisdom' I see while troweling the discussions. This wisdom is invaluable in understanding concepts and helpful for all the things we duoLinguists stumble over .. 'principianti' that we are.

Keep in mind I am not saying there is 'perfect' wisdom in the cheat sheet(s). I don't use them that way. In fact, after a week of practicing a section with the cheat sheet it I leave it laying on a pile on my desk ... because the section is in my head now :-). So I do not plan on maintaining them, because I am finished using them. But if other can find use in them that's great. In bocca al lupo, tutti!

Regards, xyphax

March 8, 2014

Great job! It is important to share what we know! Maybe one day I will simply start a blog, since I love helping people and I don't work with languages any more, and I miss it. :) We'll see! Keep up learning!

July 20, 2014

Come lavoravi con le lingue?

August 3, 2014

Facevo il tester di localizzazione, adesso faccio il tester di software.

Qui su duolingo non lavoro, offro volontariamente il mio tempo per tenermi allenata e aiutare gli altri.

September 30, 2014

This is incredible, xyphax! I'll print this information so I can refer to it! I'm almost finished with the ADVERBS lessons. Do you have more helpful documents? I appreciate your help!

March 17, 2014

I'll continue to add new sheets as I go through the tree. I have posted most of what I have so far; my study style has changed .. in earlier sections I was creating flashcards and not study sheets, so for most of them I have nothing to post.

March 17, 2014

Awesome, thanks! Have a lingot :)

March 8, 2014
  • 2073

These are so helpful. Thanks, but I wish I had seen some earlier! Never mind, they're great for revising too. :)

March 25, 2014


April 29, 2014

So helpful. Thank you and here's a lingot.

May 17, 2014

Looks great at first glance! I think you missed out the most common, helpful verbs though - essere and avere :)

March 8, 2014

Ah yes, I missed essere. I am not sure in which section duo introduced it, so I just added it to verbs 1 after stare and then added some links to when to use stare / essere. :-)

Thanks for the review of the verbs.

March 9, 2014

Aha! Looks good :)

March 9, 2014

Marziotta- you are WONDERFUL!!!! Multissimo grazie (is that correct?) :)

March 7, 2013

"Moltissime grazie" ;)

You're very welcome, to be honest I hope people will read here and stop making always the same questions. XD

New questions are always welcome, of course. :)

March 7, 2013

You are a true star! Thank you for taking the time to do this. This is precisely what Duolingo needs to be engaging with at this stage - the provision of explanations. Well done and thank you for your help and encouragement with my own prepositional problems.

March 12, 2013

That's not so well made, when we will start to have 40 or more topics, I should find a way to rearrange everything... Or maybe make a FAQ only for prepositions, and one for all the rest! Prepositions seem to be the bigger issue so far!

March 13, 2013

Duolingo needs to find ways to (a) recognise and (b) facilitate the contributions of people like you.

March 13, 2013

Perhaps just separating the list up above in the top section about prepositions and the bottom section about other things would be helpful. (I would find that helpful)

Great job by the way! :)

June 2, 2013

Great idea, but I already pointed out explanations in many sentences which point to follow in this discussion... I will have to collect everything somewhere else in a better organized way one day!

July 23, 2014

Hi there! I have created this page to share the grammar rules that Duolingo doesn't explain. Follow, share, collaborate, and keep practising at Duolingo! Impariamo insieme l'italiano! =)

February 10, 2014

I wrote a lengthy explanation about il passato prossimo (for the unit "Verbs: Present Perfect") here:

It might be of use to anyone in that stage.

I also gave a number of useful links for a beginner to the person in this thread:

June 25, 2013

Thanks! And sorry for noticing it only now!

July 23, 2014


March 6, 2013

The list will become longer in a few days. :D

March 6, 2013

That's so useful, grazie mille!

March 8, 2013

Thank you - this is a great idea. Can I say a bowl with a spoon in it by una ciotola con una cucchiaio in ci ? where 'ci' is supposed to refer back to "a bowl".

BTW the ` (back tick) on USA keyboard gives the pink text. This may be a bad choice because I am not sure that an Italian keyboard has the symbol.

March 8, 2013

Let me answer, even if a little late.

I would translate it as "una ciotola con dentro un cucchiaio". We don't need to specify "in it" since we have the word "dentro".

"Ne voglio ancora." = "I want more of it"

"Ci credi?" = "Do you believe it?"

"Quanto ne sai?" = "How much do you know of/about it?"

"Ci vieni anche tu?" = "Are you coming there as well?"

Making some random examples... "ne" translates more "of/about it" and "ci" translates "it/there".

"In it", becomes "dentro" (But "I have two friends in it" would be "Ho due amici LÌ dentro." we would need to specify somehow a place. "Ho due amici dentro" would mean "I have two friends in".)

(I always make so much mess when I explain and look for examples, that's why I am trying to find some links as well!) :)

March 11, 2013

Marziotta, your explantions are very helpful. Without people able and willing to help like this Duolingo would be much less useful! Plerase keep it up :-). In this case I see that trying to map "it" to an Italian word may not be the right way to go.

March 12, 2013

For one thing: explaining a language without having trained for it is a very difficult thing to do. You know how it should be, but why is not easy, especially if it is your mother language. Another thing is, that I think your explanations are clear and extensive.
In this case I would add, that "ci" is a combination of the preposition "a" with "il/la/lo" and "ne" is a combination of "in" with "il/la/lo/i/le/gli"

March 11, 2013

Mille grazie Marziotta! These links are very usefull to me, because I'm studying Italian at my university, but it's going way to fast! I still don't know when to use 'in' and 'nel', but I hope I soon will when checking these websites!

March 25, 2013

"in" and "nel" are easy: Anytime you have to use "in" + article the combination becomes "ne+..." Examples: in la casa >> nella casa, in l'armadio >> nell'armadio, in il cestino >> nel cestino, in lo sportello >> nello sportello, in le case >> nelle case, in gli armadi >> negli armadi, in i cestini >> nei cestini.

March 25, 2013

Yes, I know, but we had to learn a list with articles and words. We learned 'a casa', also in sentences like 'io torno a casa'. And sometimes, when we have to say where an object is, it's still only 'in': i piatti sono in cucina'. So it's really confusing to me! But thanks anyway for explaining me how to use 'in' and 'in' + article!

March 31, 2013

Of course it is confusing, because there are so many differences between languages, often without a grammar rule to explain them. Just think of translating "thuis" or "gezellig" into another language. Marziotta has done a magnificent job with her listing of grammar sites. It is just that there are so many exemptions to rules. Don't give up, try to use the foreign language and you will get better. Besides: Italians are always very happy when people try to speak Italian, even if it is only a few words and you are probably already better than just a few words.

March 31, 2013

This one was answered by Mukkapazza, regarding "Guardiamogli in casa (etc)" = "Let's look inside his house"

July 6, 2013

the last one is not working here :/

July 17, 2013

great links, the one on passive voice is empty. thanks a lot :)

August 17, 2013

It should work now. Oh my, I didn't notice it!

October 1, 2014

SUPER! thanks.

September 11, 2013

This is very helpful. Thank you.

October 28, 2013

Grazie mille Marziotta! Have a lingot!

February 11, 2014

Thank you for these great links, marziotta! Grazie mille!

March 17, 2014

As many have pointed out already, this is very helpful. Thank you so much!

May 8, 2014

Thanks for this great collection! I've just noticed that number 22 does not work.

June 3, 2014

Have a lingot!

June 19, 2014

This is a wonderful list. Thank you!

The only thing I would say is don't link to an answer of another duolingo question in the list. Instead of linking to another duolingo answer, just copy the relevant information and place it here in this post (unless it is really specific to only one question/context). For example, number 15 (colors as adjectives). You posted a link to this discussion on another thread saying you answered it here. I followed the link (it took me here), I went through the list found number 15 and followed the link to yet a third duolingo discussion thread! It was a bit much is all (a minor quibble).

Thanks again!

July 24, 2014

I will try to fix all the missing links in the future. And... did I already write it somewhere? Maybe the best thing is to make something like a blog, where I explain the things, one by one. I hope duolingo won't mind if I will link it here.

July 24, 2014

Writing a blog is an excellent idea. You seem to have the gift of being able to explain both the nuts and bolts and the nuances of language clearly and simply. Don't leave duolingo though please!

September 29, 2014

I've just become moderator, I can't leave now! :D

September 29, 2014

Our gain :-D . Complimenti!

September 30, 2014


July 31, 2014

WOW Thank you SO MUCH You and those like you make Duolingo work!

August 11, 2019
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