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How to say this and that: Italian grammar lesson 46

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This and that

There’s a difference between saying “this book” and “that book”, right? If you never thought about this, just picture the scene.

“This book” is closer to you whereas “that book” is further from you.

In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to say this and that in Italian.

There are two possible scenarios. Have a look at the sentences below and compare them. Try to see how differently the words “this” and “that” are used.

Cos’è questo?

What’s this?

Cos’è questa cosa?

What’s this thing?

Cos’è quello?

What’s that?

Cos’è quella cosa?

What’s that thing?

This and that in Italian

Questo and quello on their own

You might have guessed that “this” is questo and “that” is quello in Italian.

You might also have guessed that they can be used on their own, meaning that they don’t depend on another word that follows them.

When they’re used on their own, they usually refer to a thing/an object. So, in that case, questo could be translated as “this thing” and quello as “that thing”.

Have a look at the examples above:

Ti piace questo?

Do you like this?

Questo mi sembra incredibile.

This seems unbelievable to me.

Ho comprato quello.

I bought that.

Quello è piu bello.

That is more beautiful.

How to say this in Italian

Questo, questa, questi, queste

Questo can also be used as an adjective. This means it can be followed by a noun (a person, a thing, an idea, a thought, or a place).

Adjectives agree in gender and number with the nouns they refer to.

This is why we have many possibilities: questo, questa, questi, and queste, depending on the noun.

Let’s have a look at some sentences so that you understand better:

Ti piace questa borsa?

Do you like this bag?

Quella idea è interessante.

That idea is interesting.

Voglio comprare tutti questi libri.

I want to buy all these books.

How to say that in Italian

Questa, questi, and queste can also be used on their own BUT when it’s obvious they refer to a noun that is not said in the sentence.

In this case, they mean “this one” or “those ones”.

Have a look at the examples:

Ti piace questa?

Do you like this one? (Pointing at a t-shirt.)

Vuoi questi?

Do you want these ones? (Pointing at jeans.)

Questo and quello

Practice with Quizlet

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

Quel, quello, quella, quei, quegli, quelle

Quello can be used as an adjective too.

Again, we have many possibilities: quel, quello, quella, quei, quegli, quelle, depending on the noun.

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Quello is used only before a singular masculine noun that starts with sp-, st- or z-. Quel is much more common since it’s used before all other singular masculine nouns.

It’s the same with quegli. It’s only used before a plural masculine noun that starts with sp-, st- or z-. Quei is used with all other plural masculine nouns.

Here are some examples:

Ti piace quello zaino?

Do you like that bag?

Quel bambino è troppo simpatico.

That kid is so funny.

Quella ragazza è veramente intelligente.

That girl is very intelligent.

Quegli stivali sono bruttissimi.

Those boots are horrible.

This these Italian

And again, quello and its variants can also be used on their own when the noun they refer to is not explicit in the sentence. In this case, they can be translated as “that one” or “those ones”.

Have a look at the examples:

Ti piacciono quelle?

Do you like those ones? (Pointing at cups.)

Voglio quella!

I want that one! (Pointing at a doll.)

that those Italian

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