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Italian Lesson – May 2022


The past several lessons were basically holiday themes: Valentine’s Day, Carnevale and Easter. This lesson be a more serious lesson as we learn a basic, but important, verb, essere (to be). To be is the most-used verb in almost any language and in Italian, its forms are irregular as they are in English. If you haven’t learned the forms of essere, here’s the chance to do so. Here is a review of how the verb is conjugated.

Io sono – I am

Tu sei – You are (informal)

Lei è – You are (formal)

Lui or lei è – (He or she is)

Noi siamo – We are

Voi siete – You are more

Loro sono – They are

Now it’s time see essere as used in Italian with basic sentences. Look at these sentences.

Giovanni é un amico. Giovanni is a friend.

The sentence in Italian is structured like English. There is a subject+verb+indefinite article+noun.

Now look at these sentences.

Giovanni é cameriere. Giovanni is a waiter.

Something is missing! The little word un is missing before the name of the profession. OK, it’s not a mistake. In Italian we do not use the indefinite article un, uno, una un’ with an occupation, trade, profession, religion, or nationality after a form of essere to be.

However, if you look at the next sentence, you’ll see when you do need the indefinite article.

Giovanni é un cameriere simpatico. Giovanni is a nice waiter.

The indefinite article is needed with an occupation, trade, profession, religion, or nationality when it is accompanied by an adjective.

Let’s test the usage of essere. Fill in the blanks with the correct form. (ANSWERS BELOW)

1. Lui ____ simpatico.

2. Loro ______ dentisti.

3. Io ______ avvocato.

4. Giovanni e Paola _________ professori.

5. Roberto e io _______ italiani.

1. è / 2. sono / 3. sono / 4. sono / 5. siamo

Now let’s try a few sentences. Fill in the blank with the necessary missing words.

1. Giuseppe ___________ postino

2. Maria ___________ professoressa simpatico.

3. Lei non _________ cameriera.

4. Lui _______ medico buono.

5. Loro _______ giornalisti.

1. è / 2. è una / 3. è / 4. è un / 5. sono

Here some familiar descriptive adjectives that you should learn to make more colorful sentences.

This month’s proverb
It is from Naples.
Napolitano: ‘Ntiempo ‘e tempesta, ogne pertuso è puorte.
Italiano: Nel tempo di tempesta, ogni buco è porto.
English: During a storm, every small ravine can become a port, (Literal)

English equivalent: Any port in a storm.

This month’s falso amico
It is carattere, which doesn’t mean character. In Italian, it means personality. Character in Italian is personaggio.

Author: rrocco