Here are some useful words to help you ask questions in Italian:

Dove- Where

It can be followed by a single verb, for example:

Dove abita Anna?- Where does Anna live?

Dov’è la chiesa?- Where is the church? In this example the dove (where) and the è (is) join together to make one word dov’è (where is)

It can be followed by a plural verb, for example:

Dove sono i miei amici?- Where are my friends?

Dove vanno Marco e Laura?- Where are Marco and Laura going?

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Che cosa- What

You can use both words (che cosa) or just che or just cosa.

Che cosa c’è da visitare a roma?- What is there to see in Rome?

Cosa mi volevi dire?- What did you want to tell me?

Che prendi da bere?- What are you going to have to drink?

Che cos’è?- What is it? (here the apostrophe replaces the last letter of che cosa)

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Perchè- Why

Perchè means both ‘why’ and ‘because’. You can normally tell which one it is by listening to the intonation and context the word is used in.

Perchè non andiamo a prendere un gelato?- Why aren’t we going to have an ice cream?

Perchè abbiamo già mangiato troppo- Because we have already eaten too much

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Chi- Who

Chi is usually followed by a singular verb, such as in the below sentences:

Chi viene alla festa?- Who is coming to the party?

Chi ha mangiato tutta la pasta? - Who ate all of the pasta?

However, it can be followed by the plural of essere:

Chi sono tutte queste persone? -Who are all these people?

The expression di chi è (singular) or di chi sono(plural) is the equivalent of ‘whose’:

Di chi è questa borsa- Whose bag is this?

Di chi sono queste scarpe - Whose shoes are these?

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Come- How

You may recognise the word comefrom the expression come ti chiami?- what is your name?. It literally translates as ‘how do you call yourself’?

Come si arriva al museo?- How do you get to the museum?

Come stai?- How are you?

The expression come maiis often translated as ‘how come’:

Come mai non mi hai chiamato? How come you didn’t call me?

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Quando- When

Quando parte il treno- When does the train leave?

Quando vanno in vacanza?- When are they going on holiday?

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Quale- Which

The word quale agrees in number with the noun it precedes. Quale is used before a singular masculine or feminine word:

Quale pizza vuoi?- Which pizza do you want? 

Quale film preferisci?- Which film do you prefer?

If the word that follows quale is a plural word, quale changes to quali:

Quali sono i nostri posti?- Which seats are ours?

Quali libri leggiamo? Which books shall we read?

If qualeis followed by è from the verb essere, quale becomes qual: 

Qual è la tua camera- Which is your room?

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Quanto- How much

Quanto is often followed by the verb costa or costano:

Quanto costa la giacca- How much does the jacket cost?

Quanto costano queste caramelle- How much do these sweets cost?

If quanto is followed by a noun, it needs to agree in gender and number with the noun. So it would be quanto for a masculine singular noun and quantafor a feminine singular noun:

Quanto sale ci metto?- How much salt shall I put in?

Quanta pasta vuoi?- How much pasta do you want?

You would use quanti for a masculine plural noun and quante for a feminine plural noun:

Quanti studenti frequentano la scuola - How many students attend the school?

Quante persone ballano? How many people are dancing?

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Changing tone

You can also ask questions in Italian just by changing the tone you use, with a rising intonation at the end of the sentence.

Viene Veronica?- Is Veronica coming?

Alessandra ha mangiato i biscotti?- Did Alessandra eat the biscuits?

The sentence is exactly the same in terms of grammar and word order, but the intonation used is different. There is no need for a question word like ‘do’ or ‘does’ in Italian.

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Vero?

You can add vero or no at the end of a sentence to make it a question, especially if you are expecting the person you are speaking to to say ‘yes’ in answer to your question. Again, you amend the tone you use, with a rising intonation at the end of the sentence.

Vieni anche tu, no?- You’re coming too, aren’t you?

Questa è la tua casa, vero?This is your house, isn’t it?

If you expect that the person you are speaking to will answer ‘no’ to your question, you can add non è vero at the end:

Non sono andati via, non è vero?- They haven’t left, have they?

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Word order

Italian question words are often used at the beginning of the sentence, but there are some exceptions. For emphasis you can put a noun or pronoun first, for example:

Lei cosa pensa?- What does she think?

Le mie chiavi dove sono?Where are my keys?

If a preposition is used, it should go at the beginning of the sentence:

Di dove sei?- Where are you from?

Con chi sei uscito - Who did you go out with?

 

A che ora dobbiamo partire- What time do we have to leave?