Italian Beginner

Lezione 2

By 1 December 2018 No Comments

In this lesson we are going to see how to ask how people are, how to introduce a friend of yours and how to talk about jobs.
During this lesson you will listen to dialogues and you will learn useful situational expressions. Then you will find easy grammar focuses and vocabulary. If it’s not enough, challenge yourself in our Open Class and talk to our teachers, it’s free!

Listen to this dialogue:

[A.] Ciao Carlo, come va?
[C.] Ciao Alessandra, bene, grazie e tu come stai?
[A.] Mah, così così, sono un po’ stanca. Arriva il Professor Sotutto!
[P.] Buongiorno ragazzi.
[C.] Buongiorno professore, come sta?
[P.] Non c’è male, grazie.

Situational Expressions

How to ask how people are
Informal Formal Formal and Informal
Come stai? Come sta? Come va?
How to answer
Negative Neutral Positive

Male (-)
Proprio male (–)
Malissimo / Molto male (—)

Così così
Non c’è male

Abbastanza bene (+)
Bene (++)
Molto bene / Benissimo (+++)

Focus on Grammar

Stare (to stay/to be) is the verb used to ask how people are, but its first meaning is “to stay”, “to remain”. Let’s see the singular conjugation.

Stare (to stay / to be)
io sto
tu stai
lui / lei / Lei sta

Listen to this dialogue:

[C.] Ciao Valentino, come stai?
[V.] Ciao Carlo, bene, grazie e tu?
[C.] Non c’è male, grazie… ah ti presento Alessandra! Alessandra, questo è Valentino.
[A.] Piacere.
[V.] Molto lieto.
[A.] Valentino, tu sei un collega di Carlo?
[V.] No, sono ingegnere, lavoro in un’azienda americana, e tu cosa fai?
[A.] Studio lingue straniere all’università e faccio la segretaria part-time in un ufficio.

Situational Expressions

How to introduce a friend of yours
Informal Formal Formal and Informal
Ti presento [name] Le presento [name] Questo è [name] Questa è [name]
How to ask for people’s profession
Informal Formal
Cosa fai?
Che lavoro fai?
Di cosa ti occupi?
Cosa fa?
Che lavoro fa?
Di cosa si occupa?
How to answer
sono + profession faccio + il, lo, la, l’ + profession lavoro come + profession

Focus on Grammar

Fare (to do/to make) is one of the verbs used to ask what people do, but we can also use Lavorare (to work) or Occuparsi (to do as a job). Let’s see the singular conjugations.

Fare (to do/ to make) Lavorare (to work) Occuparsi (to do as a job)
io faccio
tu fai
lui/ lei / Lei fa
io lavoro
tu lavori
lui/ lei / Lei lavora
io mi occupo
tu ti occupi
lui/ lei / Lei si occupa

Let’s see the nouns which are used to talk about professions. In Italian there are two genders, masculine and feminine, both for people and for things. A good help for a beginner speaker is to look at the ending of the word. Usually, but not always, nouns ending in -o are masculine, ending in -a are feminine. We also have a special group ending in -e, which can be either masculine or feminine. To know the gender of the -e group can be complicated at the beginning, but for the moment try to remember these suffixes: masculine nouns usually end in -ale, -ile, -ore, feminine nouns usually end in -zione, -sione, -gione, -trice.

Masculine Nouns Feminine Nouns
avvocato (lawyer)
libro (book)
professore (professor)
segretaria (secretary)
penna (pen)
attrice (actress)
Determinative articles

Determinative articles (articoli determinativi) have different forms according to the gender, number, and even to the first letter of the noun or adjective it precedes. They indicate a precise object or person. Do not be scared by the different forms they have, it’s just a matter of practice.

Singular Plural
Masculine il, lo, l’ i, gli
Feminine la, l’ le
How to use the richt determinative article

Il (plural form i) is used before masculine nouns beginning with a consonant, for example: il libro, il corso, il ragazzo, il bar.

Lo (plural form gli) is used before masculine nouns beginning with -s + consonant or z, for example: lo zaino, gli zaini, lo zucchero, lo spazzolino, gli spazzolini, lo stadio, gli stadi.

Lo loses its “-o” in front of masculine nouns beginning with a vowel, such as l’amico, gli amici, l’orologio, gli orologi, l’aeroporto, gli aeroporti.

We also use lo/gli with masculine nouns beginning with -ps i.e. lo piscologo; -gn, i.e. lo gnomo.; -y, i.e. lo yogurt and -x, i.e. lo xilofono. If you are a beginner learner, forget about these examples, they are not so common.

La (pl. le) is used before feminine nouns beginning with any consonant, like la borsa, le borse, la scarpa, le scarpe, la studentessa, le studentesse. Alike lo, la loses its “-a” in front of feminine nouns beginning with a vowel, for example: l’ape, l’amica, l’azione.


Nouns for some professions
l’agente immobiliare (m/f) = the real estate agent
l’avvocato (m/f) / l’avvocatessa = the lawyer
il / la barista = the barman / barmaid
il cameriere / la cameriera = the waiter / waitress
il / la cantante = the singer
il commesso / la commessa = the shop assistant
il cuoco / la cuoca = the cook
il / la dentista = the dentist
il dottore / la dottoressa = the doctor
il / la farmacista = the pharmacist
il fruttivendolo / la fruttivendola = the greengrocer
il fioraio / la fioraia = the florist
il funzionario / la funzionaria = the official
il / la giornalista = the journalist
il / la guardia parco = the park warden
l’impiegato / l’impiegata = the employee, office worker
l’infermiere / l’infermiera = the nurse
l’ingegnere (m/f) = the engineer
l’insegnante (m/f) = the teacher
il macellaio / la macellaia = the butcher
il meccanico / la meccanica = the mechanic
il / la musicista = the musician
il / la negoziante = the shopkeeper
l’operaio / l’operaia = the worker
il panettiere / la panettiera = the baker
il parrucchiere / la parrucchiera = the hairdresser
il / la pilota = the pilot
il poliziotto / la poliziotta = the policeman / policewoman
il pompiere / la pompiera = the fireman / firewoman
il postino / la postina = the postman / postwoman
il veterinario / la veterinaria = the vet
il / la vigile del fuoco = the fire fighter
l’uomo d’affari / la donna d’affari = the businessman / businesswoman

If you want to practice, just join our free Open Class with a native teacher! Alternatively, you can subscribe to our full-course live italian classes.