5 things GRAMMAR BOOKS do not teach you! – Speak Italian like a NATIVE!

Grammar books, although very useful, often overlook important language aspects… Especially because they tend to focus on rules that speakers modify or ignore altogether! In this video you are going to learn 5 things Italians say all the time, although you don’t find them in grammar books!

Learn How to Speak Italian like a NATIVE!

Let’s get started!

We are pretty sure that you might have already come across this structure:


This structure is used to express possession.

For example:

– Hai la sciarpa? [- Do you have your scarf?]
– Sì, ce l’ho. [- Yes, I have it!]

It’s like “Sì, ho la sciarpa” [Yes, I have the scarf] or “Sì, la ho“, but 99% of Italians tend to use the structure with CE!

For example:

– Abbiamo un altro esempio per chiarire meglio? [Do we have another example to better clarify?]
– No, non ce l’abbiamo! [No, we don’t]

This structure comes from the use of…


Do you know what it is? It consists in putting a CI before the verb AVERE to emphasize what’s being said.

For example, many times we say:

C’ho fame instead of Ho fame [I’m hungry]

C’abbiamo un cane instead of Abbiamo un cane [We have a dog]

The CI ATTUALIZZANTE is used above all in the spoken language in informal contexts, but since we don’t really know how to write it, we don’t use it in the written language.

Some linguists suggest it should be written with the apostrophe: c’ho caldo [I’m hot]

Others prefer to use the letter J: cj ho caldo [I’m hot]

However, both solutions are not very satisfying, therefore we say it, but we don’t write it!


In colloquial interactions CHE covers many different functions which, in formal contexts, are usually covered by other grammatical elements that are more precise. We can mention here some of the functions it can take on: reason, contidion, time, purpose, etc.

For example:

Non tardare che (= perché) la cena è già pronta! [Don’t be late because dinner is ready!]


Sono diventato tifoso della Juventus che (= quando) avevo appena sei anni! [I began rooting for Juventus when I was six!]

There so many other cases in which we use CHE POLIVALENTE, if you want a specific lesson on this topic, let us know in the comments! Let’s now move on to another thing…

3) What does APPOSTA mean?

It’s highly likely that you already know the words “volontariamente”, “deliberatamente”, “intenzionalmente” and “di proposito”. However, there is a small word with the same meaning that Italians use much more often: APPOSTA.

For example:

– Oh! Perché mi hai tirato una gomitata? – Scusa, non l’ho fatto apposta!

BE CAREFUL! If used as an adjective, the word APPOSTA takes on the meaning of “idoneo“, “adatto“.

For example:

Sono stata invitata ad una festa in maschera, quindi devo comprarmi un vestito apposta [I’ve been invited to a costume party, so I need to buy a suitable dress]

4) What does MANCO mean?

There is another word that we use quite a lot when we speak, but we noticed that foreign people do not understand it: MANCO

And we are not talking about the first person singular of the verb MANCARE (for example: io ti manco), but about that word that we use with the meaning of “nemmeno”, “neppure”, “neanche”.

For example:

– Non mi piace la melanzana. [I don’t like aubergines]
– Manco a me. [Neither do I]

Or, an common expression, which puts together the word MANCO and APPOSTA, is “manco a farlo apposta”. What does it mean?

It means “come se lo avessimo fatto di proposito” [what a coincidence!]. It’s often used to refer to a coincidence.

For example:

– Si è rotto il computer! [My computer broke!]
– Manco a farlo apposta ne ho comprato uno nuovo proprio mezz’ora fa
[What a coincidence! I bought a new one 30 minutes ago]

Another thing you might not know is…

5) What does COME MAI mean?

It simply means: PERCHÉ? PER QUALE RAGIONE? [Why? What’s the reason?]

For example:

– Lo sai che non ancora visto il tuo video sull’apostrofo? [– Do you know that I haven’t watched your lesson on the apostrophe yet?]
– Come mai? [– How come?]
– Perché me ne scordo sempre! [– Because I keep forgetting it!]

Ok… Now let us know in the comments if you already knew these things! Ah, and don’t forget to have a look at our lesson on the PRONOMINAL VERBS!

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