Is it easy to LEARN Italian? The 9 Words and Expressions that EVERYONE gets wrong!

Is it easy to learn Italian? Not really! In this lesson we are going to talk to you about some Italian words or expressions that represent a real problem for foreign students! We have selected the 9 most complex words and expressions of the Italian language and we have decided to teach you how to use them correctly!


Some words or expressions used daily by Italians can be a real obstacle for all foreigners who want to learn the difficult language.

  1. Già

The expression già (already) indicates the completion of an action. An example could be: “Ho già spiegato tutto a Chiara” (I have already explained everything to Chiara). In addition, this expression in the spoken language can also be used, depending on the intonation, to indicate astonishment, resignation or irony. To deepen your knowledge of this particular Italian word, don’t miss our lesson dedicated exclusively to GIÀ and ANCORA.

  1. Cui

The relative pronoun cui seems to create a lot of problems for foreigners, especially for those who have Spanish as their native language. The relative pronoun “cui” is certainly the most formal and least used in the Italian language, in fact it would be useful to know all the other relative pronouns as well in order to not get confused.

  1. Proprio

It is a word used when we are really convinced of something, so it serves to emphasize what we are saying. One of the main difficulties that this word creates for foreigners is the pronunciation, as many struggle to pronounce the letter R. This is actually a difficulty that some Italians also have, because in the past the form “propio”, without the letter R, was accepted, but today it is considered incorrect. Anyway, there would be many other things to say, so we suggest you to watch the complete lesson about the word PROPRIO in Italian.

  1. Ne

The particle ne is very difficult to understand for foreigners, especially for Spaniards, since there is no equivalent in their native language. A quick tip we can give is to learn sentences that contain the NE particle so that you can better understand the way you can use it. Some examples could be: “Ne ho soltanto uno” (I only have one) or “Che me ne faccio” (what do I do with it). Our lesson dedicated exclusively to the NE particle in Italian is definitely useful if you want to know everything about how to use it.

  1. Ma dai

This expression can be used in three different ways, with three different meanings and three different intonations, for example we can use this expression as an exclamation of surprise, astonishment or as a negative expression, to indicate that the person in front of us has said or done something stupid and, lastly, in the form of a question that means that what the other person has told us is obvious and predictable, something that we already knew. If you want to learn other colloquial expressions like “ma dai”, check out our course Italiano in Contesto: the Italian course based on the Contextual Method! By signing up using the code MARTA you will pay only 50€ instead of 180€!

  1. Pronouns (direct and indirect) + SI impersonale

Another big problem for foreigners is the use of pronouns (direct and indirect) and the SI impersonale. A sentence like “Gli si è rotto il libro” (His book broke) would drive 99% of those who study Italian crazy! However, we must remember that in Italian the SI impersonale must always be put before the verb and all other pronouns, direct or indirect, must be put before the SI impersonale. In any case, a thorough study of direct and indirect pronouns and of the SI impersonale is in order.

  1. Tanto

In some cases, the word tanto does not correspond to “molto” (a lot), but to the use that we Italians make of it in the colloquial form. The word “tanto” can be used when we want to say that, even if we fail in one of our attempts, nothing happens, for example we can say: “Provate a farlo, tanto se sbagliate non succede niente” (Try to do it, even if you fail nothing happens). As always, we did a lesson to study in detail the word TANTO in Italian.

  1. Ecco

The expression ecco goes to emphasize the presence of someone who has just arrived or something we want to give to someone, an example might be: “Ecco! È appena arrivato” (Here! He has just arrived). We must say that direct or indirect pronouns can also be added to this expression, for example: “Ecco a te” (Here you are) oppure “Eccolo” (Here he is). This little Italian word, while it may seem somewhat innocuous, is definitely worth looking into, so we suggest you check out our full lesson on ECCO and its meanings.

  1. Prego

We know well that the expression prego (you are welcome) is used in response to the expression “grazie” (thank you), but that’s not all! It is also used as an expression of politeness, to emphasize all polite actions, for example if we want to tell someone to enter a room before us, to be polite, we can say: “Prego, entri pure” (Please, come in). However, we totally understand that using the same word over and over can be repetitive, so we did a lesson on all the synonyms for prego– it’s totally worth watching!

Of these words and expressions, how many did you already know? Have we finally cleared up all your doubts? Let us know in the comments!

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Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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