Essential Italian Grammar


"Good stuff!" — Words & Worlds of New York. This logical, developmental presentation of the major aspects of Italian grammar includes all the necessary tools for speech and comprehension. Designed for adults with limited learning time who wish to acquire the basics of everyday Italian, this grammar features numerous shortcuts and timesavers. Ideal as an introduction, supplement, or refresher.

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Essential Italian Grammar

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"Good stuff!" — Words & Worlds of New York. This logical, developmental presentation of the major aspects of Italian grammar includes all the necessary tools for speech and comprehension. Designed for adults with limited learning time who wish to acquire the basics of everyday Italian, this grammar features numerous shortcuts and timesavers. Ideal as an introduction, supplement, or refresher.

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Product Details

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Essential Italian Grammar

By Olga Ragusa

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1963 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11340-1


Essential Italian Grammar is based on the assumption that you plan to spend a limited number of hours studying Italian grammar and that your objective is simple everyday communication. This book is not a condensed outline of all aspects of Italian grammar. It is a series of hints to help you use more effectively and with greater versatility phrases and vocabulary that you have already learned.

How to Study Essential Italian Grammar

If you have already studied Italian in a conventional manner, you can use this book as a refresher by glancing through all of it first and then selecting those areas on which you wish to concentrate.

If you have never studied Italian grammar, then the following suggestions will be helpful:

1. Master several hundred useful phrases and expressions such as you will find in any good phrase book or in the Listen & Learn Italian course. You will understand the suggestions contained in Essential Italian Grammar more easily after you have achieved this basic working knowledge of Italian. The purpose of this book is to enable you to gain greater fluency once you have learned phrases and expressions, not to teach you to construct sentences from rules and vocabulary.

2. Read through Essential Italian Grammar at least once in its entirety. Don't be concerned if anything is not immediately clear to you. What may appear discouragingly difficult at first will become easier as your studies progress. But the first reading is necessary to acquaint you with terms and concepts peculiar to Italian grammar. Learning what these terms and concepts are will help you to improve your comprehension of Italian and to use more freely the expressions you already know. As you use Italian and hear it spoken, many of its grammatical patterns will become familiar to you. Essential Italian Grammar helps you to discover these patterns so that you can use them.

3. Go back to this book periodically. Sections which seem difficult or of doubtful benefit at first, may prove extremely useful later.

4. For the most part, the book follows a logical order, taking up the major divisions of grammar in sequence. You will do best to follow this order. However, some students learn best when they study to answer an immediate question or need (e.g., how to form the comparative; how to conjugate the verb "to be," etc.). If you are one of these students, turn to the section that interests you. But read through the entire section, rather than just an isolated part. Individual remarks, taken out of context, are easily misunderstood.

5. Examples are given for every rule. It is helpful to memorize these examples. If you learn every example in Essential Italian Grammar, together with its literal translation, you will have encountered the basic difficulties of Italian and studied models for their solution.

6. You cannot study Italian systematically without an understanding of its grammar, and the use and understanding of grammatical terms is as essential as a knowledge of certain mechanical terms when you learn to drive a car. If your knowledge of grammatical terms is weak, read the Glossary of Grammatical Terms (p. 94) and refer to it whenever necessary.

In every language there are many ways to express the same thought. Some constructions are simple, others more difficult. During your first experiments in communication, use a simple construction. Throughout Essential Italian Grammar you will find suggestions on how to avoid complicated constructions in favor of simpler ones. You may ultimately wish to master a more sophisticated way of expressing yourself. Be satisfied at first with the simplest.

As you begin to speak Italian, you will become aware of the areas in which you need the most help in grammar. If you have no one with whom to speak, speak mentally to yourself. In the course of a day see how many of the simple thoughts you've expressed in English you are able to turn into Italian. This kind of experimental self-testing will give direction to your study of grammar. Remember that you are studying this course in Italian not to pass an examination or to receive a certificate, but to communicate with others on a simple but useful level. Essential Italian Grammar is not the equivalent of a formal course of study at a university. Although it could serve as a supplement to such a course, its primary aim is to help the adult study on his own. Indeed, no self-study or academic course or series of courses is ever ideally suited to all students. You must rely on and be guided by your own rate of learning and your own requirements and interests. Essential Italian Grammar makes self-study easier.

If this or any other grammar tends to inhibit you in speaking Italian or in using what you have learned through phrase books, conversation courses, or the Listen & Learn records, curtail your study of grammar until you feel it will really assist rather than hinder your speaking. Your objective is speaking, and you can learn to speak a language without learning its grammar. But because of its systematic approach, grammar is a short-cut to language learning for those who feel at home with it. The fundamental purpose of Essential Italian Grammar is to help you by eliminating hit-or-miss memorization.


Excerpted from Essential Italian Grammar by Olga Ragusa. Copyright © 1963 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 7
Suggestions for Vocabulary Building 11
Similarities between English and Italian Vocabulary 12
Word Order 14
How to Form Questions 15
Interrogative Words 16
Nouns and Articles 18
Gender of Italian Nouns 18
The Definite Article 18
Plurals of Nouns 19
Irregularities in Noun Plurals 20
Noun Suffixes 21
Hints on the Identification of Gender 21
Masculine and Feminine Forms of the Same Noun 22
Common Prepositions and the Definite Article 23
The Indefinite Article 23
Adjectives 25
Agreement of Adjectives with Nouns 25
Forms of Adjectives 25
Position of Adjectives 26
Special Forms of Bello, Buono, Grande 27
Adverbs 30
Comparisons of Adjectives and Adverbs 32
Comparisons of Inequality 32
Irregular Comparative Forms 33
The Absolute Superlative 33
The Word "Than" 34
Comparisons of Equality 35
Expressing Possession 36
Possessive Adjectives 36
Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns 38
Demonstrative Adjectives 38
Questo and Quello as Pronouns 39
The Pronoun Cio 40
Personal Pronouns 41
Subject Pronouns 41
Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns 42
Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns with the Same Verb 44
Stressed Forms of the Personal Pronouns 44
How to Avoid the Use of Double Pronouns 45
Table of Personal Pronouns 45
Negatives 49
Che, Cui, Chi 51
Che as Conjunction 51
Che as Relative Pronoun 51
The Relative Pronoun Cui 51
The Interrogative Pronoun Chi 52
Conjunctions 53
Verbs 54
Comparison of English and Italian Verbs 54
The Three Conjugations 54
The Present Tense 55
Comparison of Present Tense in English and Italian 55
First Conjugation 55
Second Conjugation 56
Third Conjugation 56
The Present Tense of Commonly Used Irregular Verbs 58
The Progressive Present 59
The Present Participle 59
The Use of Stare 59
The Imperative or Command Form 59
Third Person Command Forms 60
First Person Plural Commands 61
Familiar Command Forms 61
Review Table of Command Forms 62
The Present Perfect Tense 62
The Past Participle 63
The Helping Verbs Avere and Essere 63
The Present Perfect of the Model Verbs 64
The Past Definite Tense 65
The Past Definite of the Model Verbs 65
The Past Definite of Irregular Verbs 66
Common Irregular Past Definites 67
The Past Definite of Essere and Dare 67
The Imperfect Tense 68
The Imperfect Tense of the Model Verbs 68
The Imperfect Tense of Essere 69
The Uses of the Imperfect Tense 69
The Pluperfect Tense 71
The Pluperfect Tense of the Model Verbs 71
Use of the Pluperfect Tense 72
The Future Tense 72
The Future Tense of the Model Verbs 72
The Future Tense of Irregular Verbs 73
The Uses of the Future Tense 74
The Conditional Mood 75
The Conditional of the Model Verb Parlare 75
The Conditional of Irregular Verbs 76
The Uses of the Conditional 76
The Subjunctive Mood 77
Tenses of the Subjunctive 77
The Present Subjunctive of Irregular Verbs 79
The Uses of the Subjunctive 80
Reflexive Verbs 81
Comparison of Reflexive Verbs in English and Italian 81
The Present Tense of Reflexive Verbs 81
The Present Perfect Tense of Reflexive Verbs 82
The Command Form or Imperative of Reflexive Verbs 82
Important Reflexive Verbs 82
Uses of the Reflexive 83
The Passive Voice 84
Prepositions and Infinitives 84
Verbs Followed Directly by the Infinitive 84
Verbs Followed by a or di before the Infinitive 85
The Present Participle and the Infinitive 85
Idiomatic Constructions 86
The Verb Piacere 86
The Verb Fare 87
The Verb Avere 89
The Verbs Essere and Stare 89
C'e and Ci sono 90
Aver bisogno and Bisognare 90
The Verb Volere 90
The Verbs Dare and Andare 91
The Verbs Sapere and Conoscere 91
Some Useful Expressions 92
A Glossary of Grammatical Terms 94
The Parts of Speech 94
Words about Verbs 97
Words about Nouns 101
Miscellaneous Terms 102
The Parts of the Sentence 102
Index 105
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