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Knowing how to ask questions is essential for making plans, shopping, traveling, getting to know people, and any other activity that requires obtaining information.
"To ask" = chiedere: e.g.,
"He’s asking why." – Chiede perché.
But "to ask a question" = fare una domanda or porre una domanda.
You cannot say
chiedere una domanda.
There are two different types of questions, and different ways to ask each type in Italian.
Closed Questions | Yes-No Questions | Simple Questions
Domande chiuse | Domande a risposta chiusa
Questions which allow a limited selection of answers – a simple "yes" or "no" – are called closed questions. In English, closed questions always start with "do," "be," or "have." There are 3 ways to ask these kinds of questions in Italian:
1. Form a sentence and put a question mark at the end (when writing) or raise the intonation of your voice at the end (when speaking).
|(Tu) hai fame?*||Are you hungry?|
|María è qui?||Is María here?|
2. With a question that you’re pretty sure will get a yes answer, you can use one of the following tags at the end:
- non è vero?
Per esempio …
|Hai fame, vero?||You’re hungry, right?|
|María è qui, giusto?||Maria is here, isn’t she?|
Open Questions | WH-Questions | Information Questions
Domande aperte | Domande a risposta aperta
When you ask for information about who, what, when, etc., you’re asking an open question with a question word.**
1. To make a question with chi, use it as the subject of the sentence with the third person singular form of the verb.
|Chi ha fame?||Who is hungry?|
|Chi c’è qui?||Who is here?|
2. For questions with other question words, start with the question word, then add the verb conjugated for the appropriate subject.
|Quando parti?||When are you leaving?|
|Dove mangiamo?||Where are we going to eat?|
3. If you want to include the subject (as a noun, name, or subject pronoun), it goes at the end.
|Cosa stanno facendo gli studenti?||What are the students doing?|
|Quando parti tu?||When are you leaving?|
* Remember that the subject pronoun is optional.
** The question word(s) may be any of the following (lessons coming soon)
- Interrogative adjective (che, quale, quanto) + noun
- Interrogative adverb (come, dove, perché, quando, quanto)
- Interrogative pronoun (che, chi, cosa, quale)
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