How to use “pensare a”: Italian grammar lesson

Progress
Takeaways
Facts
Article
Quiz
FAQs

Key Takeaways

Get ready to immerse yourself in the Italian language with the classic tune “E penso a te” by Lucio Battisti. This guide will walk you through the nuances of expressing thoughts in Italian, using the phrase “pensare a” like a native speaker. 🇮🇹🤔

  • “Pensare a” is your go-to phrase in Italian when you want to say you’re thinking of someone or something. Just add the preposition a before the object of your thoughts.
  • When talking about someone specific without naming them, combine a with a pronoun. For example, “penso a te” means “I think of you.” Simple, right?
  • Thinking of objects or specific people? Merge a with the definite article that matches the gender and number of the noun. “Sto pensando al mio gatto” translates to “I’m thinking about my cat.”
  • Verb versatility alert! Conjugate pensare to fit your sentence. Whether it’s “sto pensando” for “I’m thinking” or “abbiamo pensato” for “we thought,” you’ve got options.
  • Curious about someone’s thoughts? Flip the script and start with a: “A chi pensi?” means “Who are you thinking about?” It’s question time!
  • Remember, practice makes perfect. Use examples like “Penso sempre ai miei allievi” (I always think about my students) to get comfy with the structure.
  • Don’t just think about the present; plan ahead with phrases like “Devi pensare al futuro,” urging someone to think about the future.
  • When life gets busy, express it in Italian: “Sto pensando a tutto quello che devo ancora fare” translates to “I’m thinking of all the things I still have to do.”
  • Engage in Italian chit-chat about thoughts and dreams. Ask “A cosa pensi?” to find out what’s on someone’s mind, and share your own musings with “Penso alle mie vacanze” (I’m thinking about my holidays).

Quick facts

How do you express "thinking of someone" in Italian?

In Italian, you use "pensare a" followed by the person's name or a pronoun, like "penso a te" for "I think of you."

What preposition is used with "pensare" when referring to someone?

The preposition "a" is used with "pensare" to indicate thinking of someone or something, as in "penso a Maria."

How do you say "I think of you" using a pronoun in Italian?

You say "E penso a te," where "te" is the pronoun for "you."

When combining "a" with definite articles, how does it change?

"A" combines with articles like "il" to form "al," "la" to "alla," and so forth, adjusting for gender and number.

Can you give an example of "pensare a" with an article?

Yes, "Sto pensando al mio gatto" means "I'm thinking about my cat," where "al" combines "a" and "il."

How do you ask "Who are you thinking about?" in Italian?

You ask "A chi pensi?" where "a" is placed at the beginning to form the question.

Provide a phrase using "pensare a" in the context of future thoughts.

"Devi pensare al futuro" means "You have to think about the future," combining "a" with the article "il."

How do you express thinking of multiple people in Italian?

Use "pensare a" with the appropriate plural article, like "Sto pensando a loro" for "I'm thinking about them."

How can "pensare a" be used to refer to an activity?

You can say "Sto pensando a tutto quello che devo fare," meaning "I'm thinking of all the things I still have to do."

How to ask "What are you thinking about?" in Italian?

The question "A cosa pensi?" directly translates to "What are you thinking about?" and uses "a" at the beginning.

My Thoughts

E penso a te

Before we start, try listening to the song below to get in the mood for today’s lesson.

It’s called E penso a te and was composed by Lucio Battisti in 1970.

Io lavoro e penso a te.
Torno a casa e penso a te.
Le telefono e intanto penso a te.
Come stai? E penso a te.
Dove andiamo? E penso a te.

Here’s its translation:

I work and I think of you.
I go home and I think of you.
I call her and, in the meantime, I think of you.
How are you? And I think of you.
Where are we going? And I think of you.

What’s the structure of “pensare a” in Italian?

Now that you’re in the mood let’s get started!

In Italian, we use the preposition a when we think of (or about) something or someone.

The construction is pensare a + something or someone

And here’s an example:

Penso a Maria tutti i giorni.

I think of Maria every day.

Pensare a + pronoun

When we refer to someone, we might say their name, but we might also just use a followed by a pronoun.

a me
a te
a lui/lei
a noi
a voi
a loro

Just like the title of the song we saw above:

E penso a te.

And I think of you.

Pensare a + article?

Also, since we think of different things and people, instead of just a we can combine it with an article, depending on the gender and number of what we’re referring to:

il + a al
lo + a allo
la + a all’ / alla
i + a ai
gli + a agli
le + a alle
Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

Have a look at the examples below:

Sto pensando al mio gatto.

I’m thinking about my cat.

Stai pensando alle tue bambine?

Are you thinking about your girls?

The conjugation of the verb pensare

We can conjugate the verb pensare the way we want, depending on what we want to say, like in the examples below:

Sto pensando a te.

I’m thinking of you.

Abbiamo pensato a un bel regalo per Giovanni.

We thought about a nice present for Giovanni.

A chi pensi?

When we want to ask what or who someone is thinking about, we place the a at the beginning, like in the questions below:

A cosa pensate?

What are you thinking about?

A chi pensi?

Who are you thinking about?

Pensare a: examples

Here’re some more examples:

Penso sempre ai miei allievi.

I always think about my students.

Devi pensare al futuro.

You have to think about the future.

Sto pensando a loro.

I’m thinking about them.

Sto pensando a tutto quello che devo ancora fare.

I’m thinking of all the things I still have to do.

A: A chi stai pensando?
B: Sto pensando a mio fratello.

A: Who are you thinking about?
B: I’m thinking of my brother.

A: A cosa pensi?
B: Penso alle mie vacanze.

A: What are you thinking about?
B: I’m thinking about my holidays.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

When do we use "pensare a"?

When we think of (or about) something or someone.

Can "pensare a" can be used with a pronoun?

Yes! Pensare a + pronoun (me, te, lui/lei, noi, voi, loro).

Can "pensare a " be combined with an article?

Yes! Pensare a + article (al, allo, all'/alla, ai, agli, alle).

Italian word of the day
strada
Example
Come vado alla stazione? Prendi questa strada.
How do I get to the station? Take this road.
Follow me to fluency​

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free courses and other resources.

Leave a Reply

Try my courses for free​
Stefano
[TheChamp-Login redirect_url="https://www.thinkinitalian.com/app/"]
Click to learn Italian words in the text

Click any highlighted Italian word to hear its pronunciation, see its translation, and ask the AI assistant to explain it.

clickable sentence
clickable sentence 2
How long to fluency?

Find out how long it will take you to master Italian!
Get on the right track in 3 minutes.

dolce vita logo

We're already friends!

Coming from Luca and Marina?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
all language resources

We're already friends!

Coming from All Language Resources?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
GRAB A COUPON NOW, REDEEM IT LATER
50% OFF

To receive free resources once a week together with my best offers, just tell me where to send everything. Opt out at any time.

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.