Italian sentence structure (word order)
- Exercise on Italian affirmative sentences (Easy) - Drag text Score -/-
- Exercise on Italian sentence structure (Objects and pronouns) - Single choice set Score -/-
- Exercise on Italian sentence structure (Adverbs) - Single choice set Score -/-
- Exercise on Italian simple affirmative sentences (Mixed) - Single choice set Score -/-
If you want to form a simple affirmative sentence, it's necessary to order three main elements first.
Simple affirmative sentence: Subject + Verb + Object
|Marco guarda la televisione.||Marco is watching television.|
|Il cantante saluta i fans.||The singer waves to the fans.|
|L'albero è in giardino.||The tree is in the garden.|
- 1.Sentence structure rules
- 1.1.Word order recap
- 1.2.Position of articles
- 1.3.Omission of the personal pronoun
- 1.4.Position of objects and pronouns
- 1.4.1.Direct/indirect objects and reflexive pronouns
- 1.4.2.Direct and indirect object pronouns
- 1.4.3.Direct and indirect objects
- 1.5.Position of adjectives
- 1.5.1.Position of possessive adjectives
- 1.6.Position of prepositions
- 1.7.Position of adverbs
- 1.7.1.Adverbs of manner
- 1.7.2.Adverbs of place, time and frequency, quantity
Sentence structure rules
Word order recap
We can imagine other elements of the sentence as blocks. Each block has its own position.
Here's a recap of the possible spots in which you can collocate the linguistic elements you need.
(personal pronoun omittable)
|Direct/Indirect/Reflexive pronoun||Verb||(Adverb)||[Adjective]||Direct object||[Adjective]||Indirect object||(Adverb)
|(Oggi)||Maria||/||mi||porta||/||/||un maglione||rosso||/||(Oggi)||Today Maria will bring me a red sweater.|
|/||(Tu)||/||/||sei||sempre||un grande||amico||/||per Laura.||/||You are always a great friend for Laura.|
|/||La mia amica Sara||/||/||è andata||/||/||/||/||al mare||/||My friend Sara went to the sea.|
|Domani||(io)||/||ti||chiamerò||brevemente||/||/||/||/||alle cinque.||Tomorrow I will briefly call you at five.|
|/||Il regalo||del compleanno||/||era||/||blu e giallo||/||/||/||/||The birthday present was blue and yellow.|
Position of articles
Articles are used to point out a noun or other substantivized parts of speech.
Remember! Italian nouns are always introduced by an article (either determinate, indeterminate or partitive).
- CORRECT: Girls just want to have fun. Le ragazze vogliono semplicemente divertirsi.
- WRONG: Girls just want to have fun. (x) Ragazze vogliono semplicemente divertirsi.
Omission of the personal pronoun
Unlike English, in most cases personal pronouns could be omitted because the conjungated verb clearly shows the subject of the sentence.
|(Io) Vado a scuola.||I go to school.|
|(Noi) Mangiamo della pasta.||We eat some pasta.|
|(Loro) Cantano molto forte.||They are singing very loudly.|
Position of objects and pronouns
Direct/indirect objects and reflexive pronouns
Direct and indirect object pronouns substitute another elment; reflexive pronouns stress that the action is carried out by the subject itself.
Pronouns: Subject/(Personal pronoun) + Direct/Indirect/Reflexive pronoun + Verb + Rest of the sentence
|Io ti vedo.||I see you.|
|Maria si lava i capelli.||Maria washes her hair.|
|Mario la ama.||Mario loves her.|
Direct and indirect object pronouns
Indirect object pronouns generally precede direct object pronouns.
Direct and indirect object pronouns: Subject/(Personal pronoun) + Indirect object pronouns + Direct object pronoun + Rest of the sentence
|Il negozio te lo regala.||The store will gift it to you.|
|Me la presteranno.||They will lend it to me.|
|Te le restituirò.||I will give them back to you.|
Direct and indirect objects
In Italian sentences, direct objects precede indirect objects.
Direct and indirect objects: Subject/(Personal pronoun) + Verb + Direct object + Indirect object
|Mario dà un libro a suo fratello.||Mario give a book to his brother.|
|La segretaria chiama un taxi al direttore.||The secretary calls the director a taxi.|
|Michele regala una bici a suo figlio.||Michele gives a bike to his son.|
Position of adjectives
Unlike English, adjectives generally follow the noun they refer to.
|Un maglione rosso||A red sweater|
|Un libro noioso||A boring book|
|Dei ragazzi interessanti||Some interesting guys|
Remember! Adjectives must always agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to.
Adjectives can also precede the noun, and, in this case, the meaning conveyed is completely different.
This happens with adjectives such as: Buono (Good), Grande (Big), Bravo (Good), Vecchio (Old).
|Noun + Adjective||Adjective + Noun|
|Un amico vecchio (A friend who is old)||Un vecchio amico (An old friend)|
|Un uomo grande (A big man, in size)||Un grande uomo (An important man)|
Other adjectives as well could be placed before the noun, and it's mainly for stylistic purposes, to simply accentuate a specific meaning.
Position of possessive adjectives
Possessive adjectives help specify a possession. They agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to.
Possessive adjective: Article + Possessive adjective + Noun + Rest of the sentence
|La mia macchina è rotta.||My car is broken.|
|Il suo accento è strano.||His accent is weird.|
|I nostri zii sono arrivati.||Our uncles are here.|
Position of prepositions
Simple and articulated prepositions are used to introduce a quality, a possession, a location or direction of a noun or verb; they are usually placed after the element they refer to.
Prepositions: Subject/(Personal pronoun) + (Preposition + Information) + Verb + (Preposition + Information) + Rest of the sentence
Check out the following examples.
|La casa di Maria è grande.||Maria's house is big.|
|(Io) Viaggio da Roma a Parigi.||I travel from Rome to Paris.|
Position of adverbs
Adverbs generally add a piece of information about the main verb.
Adverbs: (Adverb) + Subject/(Personal pronoun) + Verb + (Adverb) + Rest of the sentence + (Adverb)
Adverbs of manner
Adverbs of manner/ending in -mente: Subject/(Personal pronoun) + Verb + Adverb + Rest of the sentence
|Luigi mangia velocemente.||Luigi eats quickly.|
|Il cane cammina tranquillamente.||The dog walks calmly.|
|Lui parlava chiaramente.||He was speaking in a clear way.|
Adverbs of place, time and frequency, quantity
Adverbs of place, time and frequency, quantity: (Adverb) + Subject/(Personal pronoun) + Verb + (Adverb) + Rest of the sentence + (Adverb)
These adverbs can go right after the verb as well as at the beginning or at the end of a sentence; it depends on the communicative intention.
|Domani (io) andrò al mare.||Tomorrow I'll go to the sea.|
|(Io) Ho preparato la cena stamattina.||I made dinner this morning.|
|(Tu) Non ascolti mai la musica punk.||You never listen to punk music.|
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