How to Say ‘How’ in Italian

1. Come

The most frequent translation of ‘how‘ in Italian, is come.

Come‘ is used as an interrogative word in many common Italian questions, such as:

Come stai?how are you?
Come ti chiami?what is your name?
Come ti senti?how do you feel?
Come va?how are you?
Come si dice … in Italiano?how do you say … in Italian?
Com’è andato il fine settimana?How did your weekend go?
Come hai passato il Natale?How did you spend Christmas?

However, in some common sentences, ‘come’ is translated as ‘What’ in English.

This occurs in questions like “What’s (something) like?”

Examples:

  • Com’è il tempo? – What’s the weather like?
  • Com’è il centro di Milano? – What’s the city center like?
  • Com’è il nuovo capo? – What’s the new boss like?

Come is followed by the third person singular of the verb to be  “è” when the thing or person we want to find out is one, singular.

If we want to find out about people or more things are like, we use the third person plural of the verb to b “sono.” 

  • Come sono le lasagne? – How are the lasagne?
  • Come sono gli amici di Maurizio?  – How are Maurizio’s friends?

In the same way, come is used with the verb andare to find out the outcome of something. In this way, the verb is often conjugated in the past tense, as we are usually asking about a past event.

  • Com’è andato l’esame? – How did your exam go? 
  • Com’è andato l’appuntamento?  – How did your appointment go?
  • Come sono andate le vacanze? – How did your vacations go?

COME as an exclamation

When you want to compliment someone or to express satisfaction you can say:

  • How beautiful you are! – Come sei bella!
  • How lucky I am! – Come sono fortunato!

The “how” in exclamations becomes “COME” in Italian

2. Quanto cosa? (How much is it?)

If you want to ask how much is something in Italian you can opt for two possible questions:

  • Quanto costa?
  • Quanto viene? (slightly more colloquial)

3. Quanti (How many?)

How many is a question word which translates into Quanti? or Quante?

Quanti is followed by a masculine plural noun.

  • Quanti figli hai? 

Quante is followed by a feminine plural noun.

  • Quante camere ha la tua casa?

4. Quanto tempo (How long?)

If you want to ask someone how long has she been doing something, you should put together this structure.

  • Da quanto tempo studi italiano? – How long have you been learning Italian?

5. Quanto/Quanta? (How much?)

How much is a question word which translates into Quanto? or Quanta?

Quanto is followed by a masculine singular noun.

  • Quanto vino vuoi? – How much wine do you want?

Quanta is followed by a feminine singular noun.

  • Quanta acqua vuoi? – How much water do you want?

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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