Apr 5 / Irene

Italian Phrasal Verbs: 5 things you need to know before mastering them.

Did you know that there are Italian phrasal verbs?

They do not just exist, but they are used every day by native speakers making them a must learn for advanced level students of Italian. I am going to talk about the five things you need to know before diving into Italian phrasal verbs!

1 - Their Italian name

Phrasal verbs in Italian are known as ‘Verbi Sintagmatici’. Do not be surprised if your Italian friend has never heard this phrase before because it is not super common and usually only used by language professionals.

2 - What are Italian phrasal verbs?

Italian phrasal verbs (or verbi sintagmatici) are verbs combined with an adverb. 
Buttarsi giù and mettere su are perfect examples.
These phrases have an idiomatic meaning (more or less) that can be difficult to pick up on, even for advanced level students of Italian.

3 - The Main adverbs used in Italian phrasal verbs 

I like grouping verbi sintagmatici according to the adverb used.
The main adverbs used are:
Su / Giù / Fuori / Avanti / Dietro / Indietro / Sotto / Via
but there are also others used such as addoso and dentro.

4 - A little trick to understand verbi sintagmatici 

The meanings of Italian phrasal verbs are usually idiomatic to some extent. Also, one phrasal verb can have several different meanings depending on the context. This can definitely lead to some confusion but I have a little trick to help! Have you noticed that all of the adverbs I’ve mentioned are space adverbs?

If you think about the movement or position that is given by the adverb, it usually helps you understand the phrase’s meaning and makes it easier to memorize.

As an example, think of the verb “mettere dentro” (translating ‘to put inside’). This phrase can also mean ‘to arrest’/ ‘to put in jail’. Thinking of the adverb ‘dentro’ (inside) helps you connect this phrase to the idiomatic meaning. Don’t you agree?

5 - Italian phrasal verbs are easy

I like saving the good news for the end! Compared to the other categories of pronominal verbs, Italian phrasal verbs are easier to pick up and use in your dialect! This is because adverbs are much easier to place, usually after the verb, compared to pronouns which can be trickier!

Now that you have learned these five important topics, you are ready to start learning Italian phrasal verbs! Lucky for you, I have already created a course with tons of practice… you can, of course, find it on Best Italian Classes!

You can try the first lesson, all of the verbi sintagmatici with Giù, for free right now! This includes video lessons, quizzes, and downloadable PDFs all for free.

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