How to say “this” and “that”: Italian grammar lesson 46

Summary

Ready to master the Italian art of pointing things out? Dive into our guide and learn the nuances of using “questo” and “quello” like a native. You’ll be gesturing to “this” and “that” with Italian flair in no time! 😉

  • Get the basics: “This” translates to questo and “that” to quello in Italian. They can stand alone or modify nouns, changing form to match gender and number. 🇮🇹
  • Stand-alone usage: When flying solo, questo and quello mean “this thing” and “that thing.” Use them when the object is obvious and doesn’t need repeating. 👌
  • Adjective agreement: As adjectives, questo becomes questa, questi, or queste, while quello morphs into quel, quella, quei, quegli, or quelle, all depending on what you’re describing. 📏
  • Special cases for quello: Remember, quello and quegli are reserved for masculine nouns starting with sp-, st-, or z-. It’s a quirky rule, but it’ll save you from sounding like a newbie! 😎
  • Implicit references: When the noun is implied, questo and quello can go it alone, translating to “this one” or “those ones.” It’s all about the context, folks! 🤷‍♂️
  • Practice makes perfect: Try using questo and quello in your daily Italian chit-chat. The more you use them, the more natural they’ll feel. And who doesn’t want to sound like a local? 🗣️👍

My thoughts

How to say this and that in Italian?

In English, there is a difference between saying this book and that book. This book refers to an object closer to you whereas that book alludes to an object farther from you.

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?

How to use questo and quello?

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 or 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 use questo as an adjective?

Questo can also be used as an adjective. This means it can be followed by a noun being 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.

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.)

Practice with Quizlet

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

How to use quello as an adjective?

Quello can be used as an adjective too.

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

  • Quello and quegli is used only before a singular masculine noun that starts with sp-, st- or z-.
  • Quel and quei are used before all other singular 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.

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)

How to say this and that in Italian?

Using "questo" e "quello". They can be used on their own to refer to a thing or an object.

How to use "questo" as an adjective?

This means it can be followed by a noun and thus agree in gender and number with it. We could have: "questo", "questa", "questi", and "queste".

How to use "quello" as an adjective?

This means it can be followed by a noun and thus agree in gender and number with it. We could have: "quel", "quello", "quella", "quei", "quegli", and "quelle". 

Italian word of the day
passeggiata
Example
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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