222

We're coving the 10 most important things to know to get by in Italian. Last week, we looked at Italian greetings, at the common courtesies, and asking questions. This week, we started with things you will need, and now we're going to talk about numbers.

5. Numbers


Strictly regarding the number of words to learn here, there are more than there have been for the first four parts of this series. However, these are all just bare words, not phrases, so it's not that much more. And numbers are usually pretty easy to learn.

First, the numbers from 0-16 are:

zero
zero

uno
one

due
two

tre
three

quattro
four

cinque
five

sei
six

sette
seven

otto
eight

nove
nine

dieci
ten

undici
eleven

dodici
twelve

tredici
thirteen

quattordici
fourteen

quindici
fifteen

sedici
sixteen

dicissette
seventeen

diciotto
eighteen

diciannove
nineteen


All the rest of the numbers from 20 to 99 are formed by adding the numbers 1-9 to the stem for each mulitple of 10:

venti
twenty

trenta
thirty

quaranta
fourty

cinquanta
fifty

sessanta
sixty

settanta
seventy

ottanta
eighty

novanta
ninety


Therefore, fourty-eight is quarantotto, and thirty-three is trentatré. (Note that in these compound words, the stress must fall properly on the word for the ones digit, which is why there is an accent mark on the final e in trentatré.)

Numbers higher than 99 aren't as important, but they're easy to form.

cento
one-hundred

duecento
two-hundred

trecento
three-hundred

mille
one-thousand

duemila
two-thousand

tremila
three-thousand

un milione
a million


Italian also has a few interesting words of approximation:

decina
about ten

decine
tens (similar to dozens)

centinaio
about a hundred

centinaia
hundreds

migliaio
about a thousand

migliaia
thousands


This also makes it possible to say something like una decina di migliaia (about ten thousand) and centinaia di migliaia (hundreds of thousands).

And then there are always some quantities that can't be expressed numerically...

ogni
each

tutto
all / everything

qualsiasi
any

nulla
nothing

niente
nothing

nessuno
no one

quarto
quarter

mezzo
half


(Note: I did not include qualunque here, which also means any but not in a quantitative sense.)

Finally, let's have a look at some words that relate to how numbers are used.

litro
liter

millilitro
milliliter

grammo
gram

chilogrammo
kilogram

metro
meter

chilometro
kilometer

isolato
block

euro
euro

dollaro
dollar

sterlina
pound sterling



Putting it together


If you're following the 10 things list and just learning enough to get by in Italian, you probably don't need to master everything on this page. The odds are you're going to be hearning and wanting to understand numbers, but you probably won't be saying them very often. If you can confidently learn the numbers 0-9 you can give out or take down a phone number. Everything else is easy.

So at this point, you should know how to ask how far something is, or how much something costs, and now you should be able to understand the answer. You should also know how to understand time, because in Italian, you just add the definite article to the number of the hour: è l'una (it's one o'clock), or sono le sette e quaranta (it's 7:40).

Next, we'll learn directions.

 

 

comments powered by Disqus