Verbs English speakers get wrong all the time!

You are an English speaker trying to learn Italian? I am pretty sure you get these verbs in Italian wrong or at least some of them! Let’s find out in today’s article!




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Ciao a tutti and welcome to this new article. Today we are going to talk about some verbs English speakers usually get wrong. This is because they work in a completely different way in English, therefore you get them wrong in Italian. But no worries, once you will understand the mistake you are making, I am pretty sure you will get these verbs right all the time!


Today we are going to talk about the verbs cercare, aspettare, guardare, and ascoltare. You might think these verbs are pretty easy and they are! Their conjugation is standard, they are not irregular, except “cercare” that adds an H in its conjugation (for example tu cercHi), but other than that they are not that hard!

The problem is that in English you would always use a preposition with them! For example:

  • I am looking for my phone.

  • I am waiting for my wife.

  • Look at the sky!

  • Do you like listening to music?

How would we translate these sentences in Italian? Why don’t you give it a try?


Cercare

Let’s try to analyze each one of those sentences. Let’s start with the first one:

  • I am looking for my phone.

First of all, here we need to use the verb cercare. Although, in English you say “to look for” in Italian this verb does not require a preposition. So, we are just going to say:

  • Sto cercando il mio telefono.

And not “sto cercando PER il mio telefono”, we don’t need that! Unfortunately, cercare does not only mean “to look for” but also “to try” when followed by another verb. For example:

  • I am trying to call you → Sto cercando di chiamarti

In this case, we would use the preposition DI, but only with another verb in the infinitive. When we are using “cercare” as “to look for” then no preposition is needed. For example:

  • Sto cercando un abito da sera → I am looking for an evening dress

  • Che cerchi? → What are you looking for?


Aspettare

Now, let’s move on to the following verb: aspettare. The logic here is exactly the same:

  • Sto aspettando mia moglie → I am waiting for my wife.

  • Sto aspettando i miei amici → I am waiting for my friends.

  • Stai aspettando qualcosa? → Are you waiting for something?


Guardare

The verb guardare is a little trickier. This is because it has several meanings. For instance:

  • Guarda il cielo! → Look at the sky!

From this sentence, we understand that when the verb “guardare” means “to look” or better “to look at” then no preposition is needed. However, we could also use the verb “guardare” to say “to watch”. For example:

  • Sto guardando la TV → I am watching TV

  • Puoi guardare i bambini? → Can you watch the kids.

In this case, it is pretty obvious that “guardare” and “to watch” work in the same way, but don’t forget that “guardare” does not require a preposition in Italian whatsoever.


Ascoltare

The last verb of today is “ascoltare” and again the logic is exactly the same!

  • Ti piace ascoltare la musica → Do you like listening to music?

  • Ascolto il professore quando parla → I listen to the professor when he speaks

Keep these rules in mind! They will be very helpful! If you have any questions, you can send me a message in the contact section of my website.


Un abbraccio dall’Italia,


Teacher Stefano


Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!
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