Mar 1 / Irene

Advanced Italian Vocabulary that you need to start using

My short guide to Italian Vocabulary for advanced learners

Even the most advanced students of the Italian language need some vocabulary enrichment. In this post, I will list seven Italian vocabulary categories that advanced students should know!

As an advanced level student of Italian, you probably already knew that Italians speak with a lot of idioms and are very creative with how they use different words. 
Do not worry too much about the breakdown of these categories as many of these Italian expressions fall into one or more of the categories and, generally speaking, they are all idioms.

Let’s dive into how you can better organize your Italian idioms, making this hard subject easier to tackle.

1 - Idioms

This is the largest category of this list and that is because Italians love using them! I find that the easiest way to start learning this vocabulary is to further break it down into sub-categories such as parts of the body, animals, food, and clothing.

2 - Pronominal verbs

Ugh, I know…  these verbs. Trust me, these are challenging for all students of this language but I have a tip to help you learn these verbs faster. I recommend breaking them down according to the pronoun used (the main ones being CI, LA, and NE)

3 -Italian phrasal verbs (verbi sintagmatici)

Yes, Italian has phrasal verbs. They are formed by combining verbs and adverbs (such as giù, su, avanti, via, etc.) Although this topic is briefly covered for learners, it is used everyday by native speakers of Italian. Good news is that phrasal verbs are easier to master compared to pronominal verbs.

4 - Locuzioni verbali, basically another group of phrasal verbs

These are expressions containing nouns and verbs that, when put together, mean something very different from their respective definitions. This can lead to phrasal verbs being a confusing topic.
I believe that the best way to understand this topic is to look at an example. Andare nel pallone, as you may understand litteraly means ‘to go and enter the ball’; however, when Italians use this phrase it is meant as ‘to be confused’ or ‘to be stuck on something’.
Some common verbs used in locuzioni verbali are: dare, fare, and andare.

You are probably wondering what is the difference between this category (locuzioni verbali) and the previous category (verbi sintagmatici). Verbi sintagmatici are formed by a verb plus an adverb, while locuzioni verbali are all the other forms of phrasal verbs.

5 - Locuzioni avverbiali or adverbial expressions

Same story, but now with adverbs. The Italian language is rich with adverbial phrases. Although these phrases may contain zero adverbs, when put together they act as an adverb. Think of “alla svelta” - ”quickly” or “per niente” - “at all”. 

6 -  Proverbs and clichés (frasi fatte)

If you want to boost your vocabulary and sound like a native speaker, you should have some fun through the use of proverbs and clichés.

7 - Italian bad words

If your goal is to fully understand what a native Italian speaker is saying, you should probably add some bad words to your vocabulary. They are idioms after all!

Did you know that by creating an account on Best Italian Classes you gain access to a free downloadable file that will greatly assist you in mastering these different vocabulary categories?
Start enriching your Italian vocabulary today!

Created with