Tips for Studying Italian



Are you struggling with your avere and your fare, or your a and your in? Idiomatic expressions in Italian can be tricky. We offer you some tips for improving your Italian in no time.

The Prepositions a and in

The prepositions a and in both mean inat, and to but are not interchangeable. The preposition in is always used before a country, while a is used before a city.

Noi siamo a Roma, in Italia. We are in Rome, in Italy.


In addition, different places will use either a or in, for no obvious reason. For instance, Italians use in in front of ufficio (at the office), but a in front of casa (at home), and they always say in vacanza when on vacation.

Prepositions in Italian, as in any language, are very idiomatic, and therefore it’s not always easy to decide which preposition to use. The best way to learn them is to learn prepositions in phrases: note the prepositions and which nouns they go with each time they come up in expressions you read or hear. In ufficio, in vacanza, in Italia, a casa, a Roma. Eventually they will come to you more easily.

Idiomatic Expressions With Avere and Fare

Avere (to have) and fare (to do, to make) are two very idiomatic verbs. Avere is used in many expressions that use to be in English, such as avere fame (to be hungry).

Common idiomatic expressions using avere

avere fame to be hungry
avere sete to be thirsty
avere caldo to be hot
avere freddo to be cold
avere ragione to be right
avere torto to be wrong
avere fretta to be in a hurry
avere sonno to be sleepy
avere bisogno di to need
avere voglia di to feel like
avere paura di to be afraid of

Avere is also used to express age in Italian:

Quanti anni hai? How old are you?
Ho ventitré anni. I am twenty-three years old.

Common idiomatic expressions using fare

Fare is often used in expressions that require to take in English:

fare la doccia to take a shower
fare il bagno to take a bath
fare colazione to have breakfast
fare una fotografia to take a picture
fare una passeggiata to take a walk
fare una pausa to take a break
fare un viaggio to take a trip

Here are some other common expressions using fare:

fare la spesa to go grocery shopping
fare spese to shop
fare una domanda to ask a question


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