Idiomatic expressions in Italian: learn some of them!

Idiomatic expressions are words, phrases or expressions which are commonly used conversations by Italians native speakers.

It’s humorous seeing how many mistakes we can make, considering we literally translate from English into Italian or viceversa.

The genuine, ordinary language that we use is quite different from the language we learn in class. It can be full of idiomatic expressions and aphorisms which we become familiar with the more we practise.


Idiomatic expressions: I am VS I have

For example, in Italian we pronounce ho freddo/caldo, which is far different from translating literally I am cold/ hot. That’s because we are using 2 swing verbs (to have in Italian, to be English). But for example ho fretta, in Italian means I have hurry, in English would be I am in a hurry.

Random idiomatic expressions and false friends

If you come late to the lesson, it’s not tu sei tardi but tu sei in ritardo.

When you say mi dispiace it means you are sorry, but non mi piace means you don’t like something.

I can’t wait becomes non vedo l’ora (I can’t see the hour).

And in Italy you are a piece of bread (un pezzo di pane) but in the UK you are a piece of gold.

And finally, in Italy we don’t say to break a leg taking into consideration they have a test but to be in the wolf’s mouth (in bocca al lupo).

Fattoria is a farm but fabbrica is a factory.

Libreria is a bookshop but the biblioteca is a public library.

Parenti are the relatives and genitori are the parents.

The list goes upon, and I am certain that I will think of another 10 examples in next few minutes.

Last but not least, if you need anything from me, hit me with the phone (dammi un colpo di telefono) which means give me a call. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt! 😉

If idiomatic expressions fascinate you, I recommend you to buy this book.

You can buy my book here. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

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