The most-used nouns: no. 007 PARTE

Girasoli (sunflowers) image by Marco Monetti on Flickr as seen on Via Optimae,
image by Marco Monetti on Flickr
"Adoro i girasoli. Sanno sempre da che parte voltarsi."
(English translation at the bottom of the post!)

In this series, we're covering the most used nouns in the Italian language 
(I sostantivi più utilizzati nella lingua italiana)

In case you missed it… 

Numero 7 è…..

 parte (la)

a versatile term that is used similarly to the English equivalent "part", let's look at some usage and examples:

parte, la — part, definition examples illustration left, Via Optimae,

parte, la — part, definition examples illustration right, Via Optimae,

*not available on mobile devices, please try on a regular computer!
ITALIAN: The most-used nouns digital magazine, i sostantivi più utilizzati from Via Optimae,

You'll often hear it in the following

far parte di - to be part of, belong; faccio part di un gruppo di giovani professionisti; lui invece non fa parte del gruppo; on Via Optimae,

fare la parte di - to play the part of "Giovanni fa la part di Romeo", on Via Optimae,

mettere da parte - to put aside "Metto da parte dei soldi", on Via Optimae,

See more cartoons and illustrations as well as listen to songs that feature the word "parte" in the newly updated digital magazine (pages 62-77):

Can you write a sentence using the word parte? Or maybe you can find a quote or aphorism that uses it? Comment below! (or on Facebook if you prefer)

Quote translation:
I adore sunflowers.  They always know which way (towards which part) to face.

Happy studying!
Alex on

Vuoi far parte di Via Optimae?
and get social!
Alex at Via Optimae on TwitterPinterestFacebook

Previous posts in this series:


C'è , Ci sono…

(There is  ,  There are... in Italian)

C'è , ci sono There is and there are in Italian, Via Optimae,

You're lounging on a boat… gently cruising through the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean, taking in the many sights and sounds of the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily.  You decide to write a letter describing everything you see. 

Salina, Isole Eolie, image via as seen on Via Optimae
image via Turismo Eolie
It's all so beautiful, that only poetic Italian will do, and you start by telling of the volcano in the distance:

"There is… There is…" 

Hmm.  Maybe you'll start with the boats you see behind you?

"There are… There are…"

"Ah! If only I'd studied 'There is' and 'There are' in Italian!" you think to yourself.

You wake suddenly and realize you're not on a boat in the Mediterranean and that knowing "There is" or "There are" isn't the only thing standing between you and poetic greatness in any language.

Still, you're reading an Italian lesson and that's a good start! So you decide to seize the day and learn these invaluable forms so that no matter where you find yourself, you can describe your surroundings in beautifully poetic Italian.

To talk about what there is/there are… Italian uses the pronoun CI and the third person forms of the verb ESSERE:

ci + è = c'è there is ; ci + sono = ci sono there are, by ab for Via Optimae,

As you can see, when ci and è are used together, they get contracted into c'è.  C'è (there is) is used when talking about just one thing:

C'è un vulcano.
There is a volcano.

And ci sono (there are) is used when talking about more than one thing:

Ci sono tre barche
There are three boats. 

It isn't always necessary to specify the exact number, as long as it's plural, you use Ci sono…

Ci sono barche. 
There are boats. 

Ci sono tante barche. 
There are so many boats. 

Ci sono delle barche.* 
There are some boats. 

Related lessons:

Pluralization, talking about more than one thing… 
The Partitive Article, how to say "some"


You can also add the negation word "Non" before each to describe what isn't there:

Non c'è un vulcano. 
There isn't a volcano.

Non ci sono barche. 
There aren't any boats.

In Questions:

C'è un gatto?
Is there a cat?
No, non c'è un gatto.
No, there isn't a cat.

Quanti gatti ci sono?
How many cats are there?
Ci sono due gatti.
There are two cats.

Ci sono gatti?
Are there cats?
C'è un solo gatto.
There is only one cat.

Putting it all to use:

Take a look around where you currently find yourself and practice describing what there is….

C'è un computer. Ci sono libri.
There is a computer. There are books.  

Or instead of just listing, you can ask and then answer your own questions, like: 

(1) Che cosa c'è?
What is there?

C'è un computer. 
There is a computer.

Ci sono dei* libri. 
There are some books.

* Review the The Partitive Article or how to say "some", if desired, or just exclude the partitive and say "Ci sono libri — There are books"

(2) Quanti* [       ] ci sono? (How many [    ] are there?)
*If the noun is feminine, it becomes Quante

C'è un solo computer. 
There is only one computer.

Ci sono quattro libri. 
There are four books.

If you're missing the vocabulary or just want to be reminded— try using Via Optimae's free label pages to label a wide variety of items around your home and use them as a basis for practicing all of the above!

More practice:
Try describing what you see in this picture (another beautiful island off of Sicily— Pantelleria)  Not sure about the vocabulary?  Mouse over the green dots to see words displayed in Italian and English!

C'è and ci sono a Pantelleria, a thinglink "touch" image by Alex for Via Optimae,

Hai capito? (Got it?)  

"Like" Via Optimae on Facebook and post your own photos and descriptions of "Che c'è" (What is there?) in your surroundings!

For written practice, print the C'è | Ci sono worksheet on page 14 of the Beginner's Italian Workbook and fill-in both the "notes" section and the quick exercises that follow! 

ITALIAN: Workbooks Beginner's Workbook, Part One, from Via Optimae,

 —be the first to know about new lessons & worksheets! {Subscribe here!} 

{Additional practice:  The final exercise of the Partitive Article Worksheet features C'è and Ci sono and can be found on page 15 of the Italian Basics digital workbook} 

Happy Studying / Daydreaming! 

These final weeks of summer and my mind is on Italian island hopping.  Check out Conde Nast Traveller's Guide to the Aeolian Islands for your own travel inspiration!
Alex on

Panarea, Isole Eolie by Florent Le Gall on flickr as seen on
Panarea, Isole Eolie

All lessons in the Beginner's Italian series:
  (1) How Italian verbs work(Intro to verbs & grammar terms)
  (5) La negazione - Negation
  (6) Ogni quanto? Quante volte? (Adverbs of frequency)
  (7) C'è & Ci sono — CURRENT PAGE

Potrebbe pure interessarti….
ITALIAN: The Basics Series, starting with:
(01) Indefinite Articles (How to say "A/AN" in Italian


The Partitive Article

(how to say "some" in Italian)

The Partitive Article, how to say "some" lesson & workbook from Via Optimae,

Sometimes, you'll want to refer to a thing without being specific about the quantity. This could be because the noun isn't easily countable (like water) or because it's plural but the amount is irrelevant.

In both instances, in English, you use the word "some":

some water (uncountable, singular)
some books (countable, plural)

In Italian, you use the Partitive Article. Don't be fooled by the complicated sounding name— it's easy!  

It follows the same logic and patterns as the Definite Article…. So print pages 14 & 15 of the BASICS Digital Workbook and let's get started!

(New to this series?… You may want to start with…)

   (1) Indefinite Articles(How to say "A/AN")
   (2) Definite Articles (singular)(How to say "THE")
   (3) Pluralization, (How to make singular nouns plural)
   (4) Definite Articles (plural), ("THE" for more than one thing)

A little word mash-up...

The partitive article is what happens when you take the preposition "di" and combine it with the Definite Articles:

di + il, lo, l' , la = del, dello, dell' della, Partitive Articles on Via Optimae,

As you can see, the "i" of "di" goes to "e", the two words get squished together, and if the original article starts with "l" that "l" gets doubled.  The same is true for the plural forms:

di + i, gli, le = dei, degli, dell',  della; Partitive Articles on Via Optimae,

All of the forms, including when to use each, can be summed up in the following chart:

Partitive articles, when to use each; del, dell' dell, dei, degli, della, delle, lesson & workbook from Via Optimae,

Using with singular nouns...

Not all singular nouns can take the partitive article, it only works with "uncountable nouns."  We'll save the difference between countable and uncountable for another day, but many liquids are considered "uncountable" and some food items can be as well. Here are a few: 

l'acqua (water), il burro (butter), il latte (milk), il pane (bread), il riso (rice), il vino (wine), lo zucchero (sugar)

The difference in meaning between the definite and the partitive article is very similar from English to Italian. Consider these sentences:

l'acqua  vs.  dell'acqua
the water                     some water  

Ho versato l'acqua nel bicchiere.
I poured the water in the glass.

Ho versato dell'acqua nel bicchiere.
I poured some water in the glass.

Both are fine sentences, but the first one seems to refer to previously mentioned water or specific water, whereas the second sentence, in both English and Italian, makes it clear that we're referring to an unspecified amount of no particular water.

Partitive articles, illustrated; del, dell' dell, dei, degli, della, delle, lesson & workbook from Via Optimae,

Using with plural nouns...

Almost any plural noun can take the partitive article, as long as what we mean is an unspecified number.  It can be useful when we don't know how many exactly, or when it doesn't matter how many:

i libri  vs.   dei libri
the books         some books    

—Ho comprato i libri.
I bought the books.
—Tutti i tre?
All three?

—Ho comprato dei libri.
I bought some books.
—Sei andato da Feltrinelli?
You went to Feltrinelli bookstore?

Facile, no? (Easy, right?) 

If you haven't done so already, fill-in the "Notes" section of the Partitive Articles worksheet on page 14 of the Italian Basics digital workbook and then complete the quick exercises on page 15! (Submit your answers by email for free corrections!)

Preview of digital workbook: ITALIAN: THE BASICS Workbook, available exclusively to subscribers of Subscribe now:

  —be the first to know about new lessons & worksheets! {Subscribe here!} 

Alex on

 Potrebbe pure interessarti….
  The Beginner's Italian Grammar Series, starting with:


Italian immersion… nella cucina!

Via Optimae Etichette: la forchetta - fork, il cucchiaio - spoon, il coltello - knife,, subscribe to get your own free printable label pages:
Ecco tre posate: Here are three utensils
la forchetta — fork
il cucchiaio — spoon
il coltello — knife

In a previous post, I introduced the idea of using labels to reinforce key vocabulary and practice grammar and pronunciation in your own mini-immersion at home: Italian immersion at home…nel soggiorno/salotto.

Etichette from Via Optimae: la dispensa - pantry; subscribe to get your own free printable label pages:
la dispensa — the pantry

Now you can expand into la cucina (the kitchen) and la sala da pranzo (the dining room)! 

Etichette from Via Optimae: il forno - oven; subscribe to get your own free printable label pages:
il forno — oven

I've been busy compiling a wide selection of terms from the basic to the more specialized because it's good to cover terms you'll use a lot as well as challenge yourself with new terms that you don't see in every vocabulary list.

Etichette from Via Optimae: la tazza, il piattino, la caffettiera, il sottopentola; subscribe to get your own free printable label pages:
la tazza — teacup
il piattino — saucer
la caffettiera — coffeemaker
il sottopentola — trivet/hot pad

including how to print, how to apply, tips for use & more

All label pages are available exclusively to Via Optimae subscribers. If you haven't done so already, subscribe now and get links to the printable PDFs delivered directly to your inbox:

Etichette- labels, available exclusively to Via Optimae subscribers, Subscribe here:
Etichette 02: la cucina e la sala da pranzo

Already a subscriber? 
Find links to the label pages in your most recent email!

including how to print, how to apply, tips for use & more

Etichette from Via Optimae: la lattina - can, l'apriscatole - can opener;  subscribe to get your own free printable label pages:
la lattina — can
l'apriscatole — can opener
Post pictures of your own labeled household items to Via Optimae's Facebook page or on Twitter mentioning @AlexViaOp and the hashtag #etichette — I'd love to see them!

Alex, creator of Via Optimae,

Potrebbero pure interessarti
You may also like… 

ITALIAN Food Picture Dictionaries, VOL. 01—04
Italian Food Picture Dictionary VOL. 01 from Via Optimae
VOL. 01
Italian Food Picture Dictionary VOL. 02 from Via Optimae
VOL. 02
Italian Food Picture Dictionary VOL. 03 from Via Optimae
VOL. 03
Italian Food Picture Dictionary VOL. 04 from Via Optimae
VOL. 04

See also:

Frasi celebri su Via Optimae

Frasi celebri su Via Optimae
Acque del sud (To Have and Have Not) original: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow."