You learn by your mistakes: 5 grammatical errors that Italians make often

Italian is a beautiful language and it is not not by chance that you trying to learn it as best you can. It is musical, charming, full of harmony but also very complex and full of hidden traps.

Even for native Italians there are pitfalls and doubts that lead to many mistakes both in written (increasingly influenced by those hasty cell phone messages) and in spoken language. So, do not blame yourself if you too are often assailed by doubts and make some mistakes, learning takes time and practice.

But what are the most common grammatical errors made by Italians themselves (friends, relatives, people that we hear on TV)?


Let’s go through a few of them.

The subjunctive: a real nightmare, nowadays virtually unknown to many and increasingly obsolete. Its non-use, is not only incorrect, but also very annoying. In Italian “Spero che la visita è andata bene” sounds certainly a lot worse than “Spero che la visita sia andata bene”.

Apostrophes: The rule is actually very simple, but many do not seem to remember. Feminine words require an apostrophe while masculine ones do not. Easy, isn’t it? A typical mistake would be the “qual è” which should be written strictly without an apostrophe because it’s not a case of elision but a truncation of the word, while “ un po’ ” is spelled with an apostrophe because it is the elision of the word “poco”.

Pronouns gli/le/loro: here too there are many doubts and especially lack of attention regarding their proper use, although it’s pretty easy. For feminine nouns the pronoun “le” should be used. For the masculine singular nouns “gli” and for all plurals “loro”. “Gli ho detto che è stata molto brava all’esame” should be replaced by “Le ho detto che è stata molto brava all’esame” and the sentence sounds immediately better. You’ll grasp it soon!

D’accordo, tutt’altro, a fianco: are examples of words that are written separately although many tend to write them together: “Daccordo”, “tuttaltro” e “affianco”.

The adverb assolutamente (absolutely) : is very often used in everyday language, although often inappropriately, without being followed by an adjective or another adverb, which are “absolutely necessary”. For example: “Ti è piaciuta la mostra? Assolutamente…” (it is important to specify whether yes or no).

In your experience as a student of Italian, which mistakes would you say you make more often?

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