This page directs you to some of the most striking differences between English and Italian.

Here are a few general remarks by way of introduction.

The approach is a comparative/contrastive one. Expressions like "English X is Y in Italian" or "English X corresponds to Italian Y" are seldom 100% correct but only reliable approximations - exceptions and special cases are frequently to be expected. Only such technical terms as "Eng. synchrotrone / It. sincrotrone" seem to be one-to-one correspondences without uncertainties.

As a matter of fact, different languages are not different labels placed on the same objects or concepts, but different ways of organising reality. Here are a few examples:

  • English uses the same word key both for what you use to open locks and for what you press on a computer board. This sounds absurd to an Italian who, since early childhood, has always called the former "chiave" and the latter "tasto".

  • In English, an exercise-book is a kind of book; in Italian, "libro" (book) is a different concept from "quaderno" (exercise-book, notebook).

  • On the other hand, the italian noun "casa" embodies what is either a house or a home to an English speaker; similarly, the verb "dire" combines say and tell.

The two languages are remarkably different in several ways and most of the differences are not self-explanatory at all. Some rules or explanations are repeated in different pages; this is a deliberate choice, in order to reinforce essential concepts.

Clicking on the blue arrows () lands you on the requested pages.

    Special topics

  • A missing person

  • A missing gender

  • Addressing people

  • Agreement / Concord

  • No conversions (almost)

  • From letters to sounds

  • Conjugating verbs

  • Mood and modality

  • Time and tenses

  • Place, time, manner and other "complementi"

  • Possessives and gender

  • Basic syntax

  • Premodification