How to use “pensare a”: Italian grammar lesson 108

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Summary

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).
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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.

Pensare a Italian

What’s the structure of pensare a?

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.

Penso a lei Italian

What’s the structure of pensare + 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.

Penso a te Italian

What’s the structure of pensare + 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
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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?

Pensare a qualcuno Italian

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.

Pensare a qualcosa

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?

Penso a te meaning

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.

Pensare a meaning Italian

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FAQs on How to use “pensare a”: Italian grammar lesson 108

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
cappuccino
Example
Vorrei un cappuccino, per favore.
I’d like a cappuccino, please.
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