8 Connector Words Every Italian Student Should Learn

View of Ponte Pietra in Verona, Italy
A view of Ponte Pietra in Verona, Italy. Maurizio Cantarella / EyeEm

“I like to go to the beach. I like to read. The books I like to read are mystery novels. The other books I like to read are romance novels.”

While you are sure to get your message across using a variation of the sentences above, you’ll also feel stilted, uncomfortable in what you’re saying because it doesn’t feel like something you would say normally.

This is why students in the beginning stages of learning hesitate to speak to natives. They feel incompetent like they’ve regressed 35 years and that makes it harder for them to enjoy having conversations.

While there are a variety of techniques you can use to make your conversations more fluid, and therefore increase your confidence, one of them is to learn connector words or words that connect two separate sentences together. These could be conjunctions, like “and” or “but”, or they could be adverbs, like “also” or “then”.

Below are eight of those words that are critical for every beginner student to know in order to have conversations that feel less awkward and more natural.

1. E - And

  • Mi piace andare in spiaggia e leggere. - I like to go to the beach and read.
  • Vorrei andare quest’estate in Toscana e in Puglia. - I would like to go to Tuscany and Puglia this summer.
  • Mi serve un po’ di zucchero, del pane e della frutta. - I need a bit of sugar, some bread, and some fruit.
  • Vuoi guardare un film e poi prendere un caffè? - Do you want to watch a movie and then grab a coffee?

TIP: “Poi” is also a great word that gives a sequence to phrases, like “E poi dovremmo andare al cinema. - And then we should go to the movies”.

2. Però/ma - But

  • Vorrei venire in centro con voi, ma oggi ho troppe cose da fare. - I want to go downtown with you all, but I have too many things to do today.
  • Mi piace andare in spiaggia, però non mi piace prendere il sole. - I like to go the beach, but I don’t like to suntan.
  • Volevo venire a trovarti, ma ho perso il treno! - I wanted to come and visit you, but I missed the train.
  • Ho provato a leggere questo libro, però è troppo noioso. - I tried to read this book, but it’s too boring.

3. O/Oppure - Or

  • Preferisci mangiare il pesce o la carne? - Do you prefer to eat fish or meat?
  • Ti piace leggere romanzi oppure gialli? - Do you like to read romance novels or mystery novels?
  • Vuoi andare a Roma o a Tivoli? - Do you want to go to Rome or Tivoli?

4. Anche - Also

  • Mi piace anche leggere. - I also like to read.

Note that the placement of “anche” can only be before the verb “leggere”.

  • Ho comprato anche un libro di grammatica. - I also bought a grammar book.

Here you could place “anche” between “ho” and “comprato”, and its placement serves to highlight different parts of the sentence.

  • Vorrei anche un contorno. - I would also like a side.
  • Anche io. - Me too.

5. Che - That

  • Preferisco che andiamo al mare invece che in piscina. - I prefer that we go to the sea instead of the pool.
  • Non pensi che faccia troppo caldo? - You don’t think it’s too hot?
  • Silvia è un’insegnante che si aspetta molto dagli studenti. - Silvia is a teacher that expects a lot from her students.

6. Quindi – So/Then

  • Oggi ho molto da fare, quindi non posso uscire con voi. - Today I have a lot to do, so I can’t go out with you all.
  • Non mi piace la neve, quindi mi trasferisco alle Hawaii. - I don’t like the snow, so I’m moving to Hawaii.
  • Amo la cultura italiana, quindi imparo l’italiano. – I love Italian culture, so I’m learning Italian.

7. Allora – So, Then, Well

  • Allora, ti racconto cos’è successo. – So let me tell you what happened.
  • Ci vediamo allora! – We’ll see each other then!
  • Allora, che facciamo? – Well, what are we doing?

8. Cioè – That is

  • Faccio la scrittrice, cioè scrivo articoli su come s’imparano le lingue straniere. - I’m a writer, that is I write about how to learn foreign languages.
  • La mia auto appartiene alla classe Euro 6, cioè quella delle auto meno inquinanti. – My car belongs to the Euro 6 class, that's the one more environment friendly.
  • Vado in Italia fra due mesi, cioè a giugno. – I’m going to Italy in two months, in June actually.