The question “how old are you?” is the example I often use to try to stop my students translating everything they want to say very literally from English to Italian.

The literal translation of “how old are you?” in Italian would be “quanto vecchio sei tu?” Here, we have two problems: first the position of the subject, verb and adjective, which fails to obey the rules of Italian; and then the meaning.

Italians will not understand your question and, worse than this, they will probably be offended (as you are suggesting they look old!) In the end, it is easier (and less risky!) to learn key Italian phrases without trying to translate directly from English.

And here are a few useful everyday phrases:

A che ora arriva l’autobus?
Quanto viene la maglietta bianca?
Quanto vengono le scarpe in vetrina?
Scusi, sa dov’è la stazione?
 Prendo un caffè e un cornetto.

Fill in the blanks below, matching the responses to the questions:

  1. …………………………….
    Quali ? Le scarpe nere sono in offerta, vengono 85 euro.
  2. …………………………..
    Quella a maniche corte costa 35 euro.
  3. ………………………
    Il numero 4 arriva alle 10 e 20.
  4. Cosa prende?
    ………………………………..
  5. ……………………….
    Deve continuare su questa strada e poi girare alla seconda a destra.

 

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