“Going to” in Italian: Italian Grammar Lesson 18

Key Takeaways

Learn the secrets of speaking Italian like a local! Dive into the essential andare a structure to express your future plans with ease. Master the irregular verb “andare” and sound like a native as you chat about your upcoming actions.

  • Structure: Use andare a + verb in the infinitive to indicate intention and movement, similar to “going to” in English but with an emphasis on the subject moving to perform the action.
  • Conjugation: The verb andare is irregular and frequently used. Conjugations: io vado, tu vai, lui/lei va, noi andiamo, voi andate, loro vanno.
  • Examples with verbs: Examples include vado a fare la spesa (I’m going to do the groceries) and noi andiamo a vedere un film (We’re going to watch a movie).
  • Structure for places: Use andare a/in + place to indicate movement to a location. The choice of preposition depends on the size and boundaries of the place.
  • Examples with places: Examples include vado a scuola (I go to school) and loro vanno in piscina (They go to the swimming pool).
  • Nuances and exceptions: The prepositions a and in can change the meaning of a sentence. For example, vado all’ospedale (going to the hospital as a destination) versus vado in ospedale (going to the hospital as a patient).

Quick facts

How do you indicate future actions in Italian?

Use "andare a" + infinitive verb to express imminent actions.

What's the structure for saying "I'm going to" in Italian?

Use "io vado a" followed by a verb in the infinitive form.

Can "andare a" be used for any verb?

Yes, it can be paired with any infinitive verb to indicate a near-future action.

How do you ask someone what they are going to do?

Say "Cosa vai a fare?" to ask what someone is going to do.

How do you express a collective future plan in Italian?

Use "noi andiamo a" + infinitive verb, e.g., "Noi andiamo a vedere un film."

What verb form is used with "andare" to say "my friends are going"?

Use "i miei amici vanno a" + infinitive verb.

What's a common verb irregular in Italian?

"Andare" is highly irregular but frequently used, warranting memorization of its forms.

How do you say "We are going to eat out" in Italian?

"Noi andiamo a mangiare fuori" is the correct phrase.

What's a practical sentence using "andare a" for shopping?

"Vado a fare la spesa," meaning "I'm going to do the groceries."

How do you express an upcoming movie night in Italian?

Say "Noi andiamo a vedere un film" to mean "We're going to watch a movie."

My Thoughts

Going to + verb in Italian

Andare a + verb: the Structure

In Italian, if we want to say we’re going to do something, we use the following structure:

  • andare a + verb in the infinitive (the base form).

Just like in English, “going to” in Italian conveys a slight but relevant shade of intention.

The main difference from English, though, is that the Italian expression cannot be separated from the implication of the subject moving to perform the action.

By this I mean that if you say vado a mangiare (I am going to eat), you are not only saying that you are planning on eating and about to do so, but that you are also moving to do it.

Andare a + verb: the Conjugation

In case you don’t remember the conjugation of the verb andare, here it is:

  • Io vado
  • tu vai
  • lui/lei va
  • noi andiamo
  • voi andate
  • loro vanno.

As you might know already, it’s one of the most used irregular verbs in Italian, so it’s always good to try and memorize the conjugation.

Andare a + verb: Examples

Here are some examples:

  • Vado a fare la spesa“. (I’m going to do the groceries.)
  • “Cosa vai a fare là?” (What are you going to do there?)
  • “I miei amici vanno a mangiare fuori stasera.” (My friends are going to eat out tonight.)
  • “Noi andiamo a vedere un film.” (We’re going to watch a movie.)
"Vado al cinema con amici."

Going to + place in Italian

Andare + place: the Structure

As we saw already, the verb andare means “to go”, which is the reason why the connotation of movement is conveyed when using the expression “going to + verb” in Italian.

If you only want to say that you are going somewhere, then of course this is the right verb to use. However, you don’t have to use another verb right after, but rather the place you are going to.

Therefore, this is the structure to say that you are going to a place:

  • andare a/in + place

There are two main things I want you to notice here:

  1. The verb that is used in Italian is the present tense. However, this verb tense is commonly used to express actions that are about to be performed, as in the cases explained in this section.
  2. There are two prepositions you need to choose from: “a” vs “in”. This happens because in Italian, unlike English, the choice of the preposition does not depend on the verb that is used, but rather on the place where you are going.

The tip I always give my students when they struggle with the choice of the preposition is the following: if you are going to a place that is circumscribed, relatively small and has specific boundaries, such as gates or doors, then you use “in”. If you are going to a place that is wide, relatively big and has no boundaries, then you use “a”.

Of course, it is an unorthodox rule, so do not ignore the exceptions!

Andare + place: Examples

Here are some examples:

Vado a scuola.

I go to/ am going to the hospital.

Vado in palestra.

I go / am going to the gym.

Andiamo al negozio di scarpe.

We go / are going to the shoes shop.

Loro vanno in piscina.

They go / are going to the swimming pool.

As I said in the previous section, this topic is not exempt from exceptions and complexities. In fact, in some cases, you can use both prepositions, but the meaning of the sentence changes completely.

For instance, look at this pair of sentences:

  • Vado all’ospedale.
  • Vado in ospedale.
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They are both translatable into “I go / am going to the hospital” but the Italian interpretation is different.

In the first sentence, you say that you are going to the hospital just as a mere destination without specifying the purpose. Maybe you work there, or there is someone you want to visit.

In the second sentence, instead, you say you are going to the hospital for treatment or as a patient.

Vado a comprare il pane.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

What Are You Going to do Now?

Now that you dived into the nuances of this very versatile verb, I bet you are ready to explore the different uses of these expressions.

Engage in conversations, read a lot, and discover all the colors of the Italian language.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions


What is andare in Italian?

In Italian andare is a first group irregular verb that means "to go."

What preposition comes after andare?

When the verb andare is used with an infinitive, the preposition "a" must be used. Additionally, the verb andare is sometimes used to create idiomatic expressions, in which the verb takes on a different meaning.

Italian word of the day
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
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4 Responses

  1. Molte utilite ma il lezzione 18 anche utiliza venire, tonare e restare.
    C’è un’altra lezione di Grammer che usa questi verbi?

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