Easy Learning Italian

Different types of questions - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

  • Some questions can be answered by yes or no. They are sometimes called yes/no questions. When you ask this type of question your voice goes up at the end of the sentence.
  • Is it raining?
  • Do you like olives?
  • You’re leaving tomorrow?
  • Other questions begin with question words such as why, where and when and have to be answered with specific information.
  • Why are you late?
  • Where have you been?
  • When did they leave?

1  How to ask yes/no questions in Italian

  • If you are expecting the answer yes or no, make your voice go up at the end of the question.
TipIn Italian you can turn an adjective or a verb into a question simply by making your voice go up on the last syllable.
Basta?Is that enough?
Piove?Is it raining?
Chiaro?Is that clear?
Buono?Is it nice?
  • If you are asking about a person, place or thing using a noun, put the noun at
    the end of the question.
È partita tua sorella?Has your sister gone?
È bella la Calabria?Is Calabria beautiful?
Sono buoni gli spaghetti?Is the spaghetti nice?
  • If the English question has a pronoun such as you, they or he in it, you:
  • keep to normal word order
  • don’t translate the pronoun into Italian unless you want to stress it
Parlano italiano?Do they speak Italian?
Ha francobolli?Have you got stamps?
È caro?Is it expensive?
C’è tempo?Is there time?
Fa l’avvocato?Is he a lawyer?
Va bene?Is that okay?
  • If you do want to stress you, he, they and so on, use a pronoun in Italian, and put it at the end of the sentence.
Parla italiano Lei?Do you speak Italian?
Viene anche lui?Is he coming too?
L’hanno fatto loro?Did they do it?
  • For more information on Pronouns, see Pronouns.

2  How to answer yes/no questions

  • In English you can answer questions simply by saying yes or no. If this doesn’t seem quite enough you add a short phrase, using the verb that starts the question.
Do you speak Italian?Yes, I do.
Can he swim?Yes, he can.
Have you been to Rome?No, I haven’t.
Are they leaving now?No, they’re not.
  • In Italian you can very often answer just with or no.
Stai bene? – .Are you okay? – Yes.
Ti piace? – No.Do you like it? – No.
  • If you don’t want to answer this sort of question with a definite yes or no you can use phrases such as:
Penso di sì.I think so.
Spero di sì.I hope so.
Credo di no.I don’t think so.
Spero di no.I hope not.
  • If you want to answer more fully you have to repeat the verb that’s in the Italian question.
Sai nuotare? – Sì, so nuotare.Can you swim? – Yes, I can (swim).
Piove? – Sì, piove. Is it raining? – Yes, it’s raining OR Yes, it is.
Capisci? – No, non capisco.Do you understand? – No, I don’t (understand).
  • Note that there is no Italian equivalent for answers using short phrases such as Yes, I do; No, I don’t; No, they haven’t.
Key points
  • Make your voice go up at the end of questions.
  • Put nouns and stressed pronouns at the end of the question.
  • If you want to answer more fully, repeat the verb that is used in the question.

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