How to say “I like” – Italian grammar lesson 13

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I like in Italian
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How to say “I like”

Knowing how to say you like something is very useful in all languages. In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to say “I like” and how to use it in context.

Before we go into detail, we’ll give you some examples:

Tu mi piaci.

I like you.

Ci piace andare al cinema.

We like going to the cinema.

A Gianluca piacciono le macchine.

Gianluca likes cars.

Vi piace il caffè?

Do you like coffee?

Piacere explained

English vs. Italian

In Italian, we use the verb “piacere” to say “to like” but it doesn’t quite behave like the verb “to like”. The structure is very different. To be more precise, in Italian it behaves backwards.

Let’s take the first sentence as an example to analyze.

  • Tu mi piaci.
    I like you.

In Italian, the subject of the sentence is who is liked, in this case, “tu”. The person who likes is the indirect object pronounmi”. As you can see, the verb agrees with the subject and NOT with the indirect object pronoun. In English, the verb agrees with the subject too but the subject is “I”, unlike in Italian.

To like in Italian

Piacere: conjugation

We’re going to give you very literal translations so that you get the concept. Instead of “to like” we’re going to use the concept of “to be pleasing to someone” which sounds very odd but will give you an idea of how this verb works.

Let’s have a look at the conjugation of the verb piacere.

  • Io piaccio (I’m pleasing)
  • Tu piaci (You’re pleasing)
  • Lui/lei piace (He/She’s pleasing)
  • Noi piacciamo (We’re pleasing)
  • Voi piacete (You’re pleasing)
  • Loro piacciono (They’re pleasing)

Piacere to like explained Italian

Mi piace

Obviously, the phrases above are not complete since you cannot just say “I’m pleasing”. You need a complement to that. In Italian, we need an indirect object pronoun.

Let’s have a look at all of them:

  • mi (to me)
  • ti (to you)
  • gli/le (to him/to her)
  • ci (to us)
  • vi (to you)
  • gli (to them)

You don’t always need an indirect object pronoun though. You might also find the name of someone. In this case, you’ll notice the presence of the word “a” which means “to”.

For example, a Laura (to Laura) or a Enrico e Riccardo (to Enrico and Riccardo).

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I like piacere

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Piacere: examples

Now that you know about the difference between English and Italian, and about the importance of indirect object pronouns, it’ll be easier to understand the complete structure.

Let’s have a look at some examples. We’ll give you literal translations together with translations that make more sense.

Mi piace andare in montagna.

Going to the mountain is pleasing to me. = I like going to the mountain.

I film stranieri gli piacciono tanto.

Foreign films are very pleasing to him. = He likes foreign films a lot.

A Laura piacciono i tatuaggi.

Tattoos are pleasing to Laura. = Laura likes tattoos.

Ti piace la pizza?

Is pizza pleasing to you? = Do you like pizza?

You probably noticed the most common forms of the verb “piacere” are “piace” and “piacciono” since we usually like one thing/person or many things/people.

Also, you might find the subject before or after the verb.

To like piacere

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