• Italian grammar
  • 1 Italian alphabet and pronunciation (letters,...)
  • 2 Function of Italian words (subject, object)
  • 3 Italian articles (the/a, an) [0/16]
  • 4 Italian numbers (cardinal, ordinal) [0/7]
  • 5 Italian nouns [0/13]
  • 6 Italian adjectives [0/17]
  • 6.1 Adjective agreement in Italian (endings) [0/2]
  • 6.2 Qualifying adjectives in Italian [0/3]
  • 6.3 Possessive adjectives in Italian (my, your, his/her...) [0/3]
  • 6.4 Demonstrative adjectives in Italian (this, that) [0/2]
  • 6.5 Indefinite adjectives in Italian (some, any...) [0/3]
  • 6.6 Numeral adjectives in Italian (one, the first...) [0/2]
  • 6.7 Interrogative adjectives in Italian (what/which,...) [0/2]
  • 6.8 List of adjectives in Italian (A-Z)
  • 7 Italian pronouns [0/28]
  • 7.1 Personal pronouns in Italian [0/6]
  • 7.2 Relative pronouns (who, that, which, ...) in Italian [0/4]
  • 7.3 Possessive pronouns in Italian (mine, yours, his, ...) [0/4]
  • 7.4 Demonstrative pronouns (this, that, ...) in Italian [0/3]
  • 7.5 Indefinite pronouns (few, some, many, ...) in Italian [0/4]
  • 7.6 Interrogative pronouns (who, what, which) in Italian [0/4]
  • 7.7 Reflexive pronouns in Italian (myself, each other) [0/3]
  • 8 Italian prepositions [0/25]
  • 8.1 Italian simple prepositions [0/20]
  • 8.1.1 Italian preposition "di" (of, from,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.2 Italian preposition "a" (at, to,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.3 Italian preposition "da" (by, from,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.4 Italian preposition "in" (in, to,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.5 Italian preposition "con" (with) [0/1]
  • 8.1.6 Italian preposition "su" (on, over,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.7 Italian preposition "per" (for, to,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.8 Italian prepositions "tra/ fra" (between, among,...) [0/1]
  • 8.1.9 "On" in Italian (su)
  • 8.1.10 "To" in Italian [0/4]
  • 8.1.11 Italian prepositions of place and time [0/3]
  • 8.1.12 Simple preposition chart - English to Italian [0/5]
  • 8.2 Italian articulated prepositions [0/3]
  • 8.3 Expressions with Italian prepositions [0/2]
  • 9 Italian adverbs [0/24]
  • 9.1 Italian adverbs of manner (good, bad, so) [0/4]
  • 9.2 Italian adverbs of frequency and time (always, now) [0/4]
  • 9.3 Italian adverbs of place (here, there) [0/4]
  • 9.4 Italian adverbs of quantity (more, nothing, enough) [0/3]
  • 9.5 Italian affirmation/negation adverbs (Yes, No, Neither) [0/4]
  • 9.6 Italian adverbs of doubt, interrogative/exclamative [0/5]
  • 10 Italian comparatives, superlatives (adjectives/adverbs) [0/7]
  • 11 Italian tenses and verb conjugation [0/17]
  • 11.1 Present tense in Italian (presente indicativo) [0/2]
  • 11.2 Past tenses in Italian [0/11]
  • 11.3 Future tenses in Italian [0/4]
  • 12 Italian verbs [0/94]
  • 12.1 Functions and classification of Italian verbs [0/1]
  • 12.2 Transitive and intransitive verbs in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.3 Active voice and passive voice in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.4 Italian regular verbs [0/30]
  • 12.4.1 First conjugation in Italian (verbs ending in -are) [0/16]
  • Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the first conjugation (Score -/-)
  • Conjugation of abitare (to dwell) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of amare (to love) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of giocare (to play) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of lavorare (to work) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of mangiare (to eat) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of parlare (to speak) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of studiare (to study) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of pagare (to pay) in Italian [0/1]
  • 12.4.2 Second conjugation in Italian (verbs ending in -ere) [0/6]
  • 12.4.3 Third conjugation in Italian (verbs ending in -ire) [0/8]
  • 12.5 Italian irregular verbs [0/38]
  • 12.5.1 Conjugation of irregular verbs ending in -are [0/8]
  • 12.5.2 Conjugation of irregular verbs ending in -ere [0/24]
  • Conjugation of sapere (to know) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of leggere (to read) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of mettere (to put) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of piacere (to like) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of rimanere (to remain, to stay) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of conoscere (to know) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of scrivere (to write) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of vivere (to live) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of chiudere (to close, to shut) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of prendere (to take, to catch) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of bere (to drink) in Italian [0/2]
  • Conjugation of tenere (to hold, to keep) in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.5.3 Conjugation of irregular verbs ending in -ire [0/6]
  • 12.6 Italian modal verbs [0/6]
  • 12.7 Italian reflexive verbs [0/2]
  • 12.8 Verbi sovrabbondanti in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.9 Verbi difettivi in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.10 Verbi fraseologici in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.11 Verbi impersonali in Italian [0/2]
  • 12.12 Auxiliary verbs (essere, avere) in Italian [0/5]
  • 12.13 Verbs and prepositions in Italian
  • 13 Italian moods
  • 14 Indicative mood in Italian
  • 15 Subjunctive in Italian [0/9]
  • 16 Conditional in Italian [0/4]
  • 17 Infinitive in Italian [0/1]
  • 18 Imperative in Italian [0/3]
  • 19 Gerund in Italian [0/3]
  • 20 Present participle in Italian [0/1]
  • 21 Past participle in Italian [0/1]
  • 22 Italian sentences [0/15]
  • 23 Italian conjunctions [0/4]
  • Structure of complex Italian sentences

    A sentence is complex when it's formed by a main clause and a clause that depends on it or a clause that is in some way connected to it.

    Coordinated/Dependent clauses

    It's possible to add to a main clause a coordinated clause, introduced by coordinating conjunctions, and/or a dependent clause, introduced by a subordinating conjunction.

    enlightened Coordinated/Dependent clauses: (Main clause) + Conjunction + Second clause + (Main clause)

    Type of clause Main clause Second clause English
    (coordinating conjunction)
    L'insegnante parla  e gli alunni ascoltano. The teacher talks and the pupils listen.
    (subordinating conjunction)
    Io cucino mentre tu riposi. I cook while you rest.
    To form complex sentences, it's possible to add a dependent clause before or after the main sentence.
    Dependent clauses are usually separated from the main clause by a comma.
    Italian English
    Mentre Luigi andava a casa, il sole iniziava a tramontare. While Luigi was going home, the sun was starting to set.
    Io cucino e il gatto dorme. I cook and the cat sleeps.
    (Loro) Pensavano che lo sapessi, ma io non lo sapevo. They thought I knew, but I didn't know.

    In this lesson we will analize the structure of the following types of complex clauses:
    • Relative sentences;
    • Indirect questions and reported speech;
    • Infinitive phrases.

    Relative sentences (who, which, that)

    Relative clauses specify something about an element that has already been introduced.
    In English, relative clauses are introduce by who, which, that.

    In Italian we use the following pronouns:

    Masculine singular Feminine singular Masculine plural Feminine plural English
    Che Che Che Che Who / which / that
    Cui Cui Cui Cui Who /which / that (preceded by a preposition)
    Il quale La quale I quali Le quali Who / which / that (formal/less used)

    There are two main structure options of relative clauses:

    1. Relative clauses where the information is omittable;
    2. Relative clauses that specify a non-omittable quality.

    Relative clauses (omittable information)

    This type of clause includes an information which could be also easily omitted; the sentence would still make sense.

    enlightened Relative clauses (omittable information): Subject + [Comma + Relative pronoun + Verb + Object  + Comma] + Main verb + Rest of the sentence

    Italian English
    La vicina di casa, [la quale si è trasferita lo scorso anno], si chiama Paola. The neighbor, who moved in last year, is called Paola.
    Il primo figlio di Chiara, [il cui marito si chiama Leo], è appena nato. Chiara's first son, whose husband's name is Leo, was born a while ago.
    Giovanni, [che si è lasciato da poco con la ragazza], è molto triste. Giovanni, who recenty broke up with his girlfriend, is very sad.

    Relative clauses (non-omittable quality)

    This second structure includes a relative sentence that can't be omitted because it specifies a distinctive quality of the element it refers to.

    enlightenedRelative clauses (non-omittable quality): Subject + Relative pronoun + Verb + Other elements]  + Main verb + Rest of the sentence

    Italian English
    La torta che era stata bruciata non è stata servita al matrimonio. The cake that had been burnt wasn't served at the wedding.
    La bicicletta che hai messo fuori è tutta bagnata. The bycicle you put outside is all wet.
    La stanza in cui dormi è al piano di sopra. The room you sleep in is upstairs.

    Both these structure are usually placed close to the element they refer to.

    Indirect questions and reported speech

    Indirect questions are subordinate prepositions that introduce a doubt, a question.
    Reported speeech is used to explain what somebody said.

    They are usually introduced by the following words:

    Verbs Chiedere (To ask), Pensare (Think), Credere (To believe)
    Names Domanda (Question), Dubbio (Doubt)
    Adjectives Curioso (Curious), Dubbioso (Doubtful)
    Prepositions  Se (If), Come (How), Perchè (Why), Quando (When), Quanto (How much)
    Conjunctions Che (That)
    Interrogative adjectives and pronouns Chi (Who), Il quale (Which/That), Che cosa/Cosa (What), Quanto (How much)


    enlightened Indirect questions/speech: Subject/(Personal pronoun) + Introductory element + Rest of the sentence

    Italian English
    Mi chiedo come sia possibile dormire 3 ore a notte. I'm wondering how you could possibly sleep 3 hours per night.
    Non si capisce cosa voglia fare. You don't manage to understand what he will do.
    Mario ha detto che è curioso di conoscere il risultato finale. Mario said he was curious to know the final score.


    Infinitive phrases

    Infinitive phrases express an action using the infinitive mood.

    enlightened Infinitive phrase: Main clause + Preposition/No connecting element + Verb on the infinitive mood  (+ Rest of the sentence)

    Let's analize the following examples.

    Italian English
    Mi ha dato il libro di matematica per studiare. He gave the Maths book to study.
    E' facile raggiungere la stazione. It's easy to reach the railways station.


    Exercise on Italian complex sentences - Drag text

    Exercise on Italian complex clauses (relatives) - Single choice set

    Exercise on Italian complex sentences (indirect questions/reported speech) - Drag text

    Exercise on Italian complex sentences (infinitives) - Drag text