How to use BENE, BRAVO, BELLO and BUONO
IN A NUTSHELL…
- Bravo is used just with people –> Paolo è bravo! (Paolo is skilled, talented)
- Buono refers to the interior qualities of things or people. –> Paolo è buono (Paolo is good at heart)
- Bello refers to the exterior qualities of things or people. –> Paolo è bello (Paolo is handsome)
- Bene is used just with verbs. –> Paolo parla inglese bene (Paolo speaks English well)
WHEN TO USE BENE IN ITALIAN
Bene is often misused. One of the most recurring mistakes in Italian is using bene for good. That’s incorrect.
Bene has one and only one translation: WELL.
Bene is an adverb, which means that it must follow a verb.
- Marco cucina bene
- Lucia disegna bene
Intensifiers of bene
molto bene, benissimo, strabene (colloquial)
Never say: il libro è bene ❌
WHEN TO USE BRAVO IN ITALIAN
Bravo is another adjective which is often misused too.
Bravo means, indeed, good. But, it’s just used for a person.
Italian use bravo to say that a person is good at doing something
- Luca è bravo a disegnare / Luca è bravo in disegno
Note that you can use the adverb bravo in two different way:
- essere bravo + a + verb – Luca è bravo a cucinare
- essere bravo + In + noun – Luca è bravo in cucina
In a nutshell, we can say that bravo is used when someone has a talent, a skill or is simply good at doing something.
Bravo has a secondary meaning too.
Bravo is also used to indicate the moral qualities of a person.
- Una brava persona – a person with ethical values
Popular Italian expressions using bravo
- Che bravo! – well done!
- Bravo! – well done!
WHEN TO USE BELLO IN ITALIAN
Bello means nice if applied to something, or beautiful/ handsome if applied to someone.
In short, bello indicates the physical quality of someone or the appearance of something.
Italian uses the adjective bello to give an opinion on the external quality of something or someone.
Intensifiers of bello
- Molto bello, bellissimo, strabello (colloquial)
Examples with bello
- Quel palazzo è bellissimo
- Quella donna è proprio bella
- Che bella città!
- Che bella casa!
- Questo mobile è bello!
Popular Italian expressions using bello
- Che bello! ‘That’s lovely!
Do you that bello becomes begli, bei or bel sometimes? In this article, I explain to you why.
WHEN TO USE BUONO IN ITALIAN
Buono means good and is used to give an opinion about the interior qualities of something or someone.
If a person is buona, we mean that this person has ethical qualities.
- Marco è buono – he is good-hearted or a person with good moral qualities
If something is buono, we mean that this thing has a good quality.
- Quella pasta è buona.
- Questo prodotto è buono.
- Questo mobile è buono.
Intensifiers of buono
- molto buono, buonissimo, strabuono (colloquiale)
Popular Italian expressions using bello.
- Che buono! – it’s delicious!