How to Ask Questions in Italian

| Fri, 09/28/2018 - 02:54

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?


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)


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


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?


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?


Quando- When

Quando parte il treno- When does the train leave?

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


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?


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?


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.



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?


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?