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Kickstart your Italian skills with an awesome list of the 100 Most frequently used Italian words

Italian Classes Los AngelesNew to Italian but want to get a great start at learning? Start with the 100 Most frequently used Italian words.

I have been teaching Italian for almost 20 years, so people ask me what the best way to start is. Here is a great language learning hack – memorize the most frequently used vocabulary. you can start by learning the 100 most common Italian words. This will help you to build a base and form sentences in Italian. Most language experts note that if you dedicate your time on the most common words in any language it is an effective use of your energy. Think about it, on any given day you probably use less than 700 words in your every day interactions. So why not focus on getting familiar with only the words you know you’ll use?

1,000 Most Common Italian words = 80%+ of comprehension –

study done on the language learning revealed that we find that the top 1000 lexemes in English account for about 80% of all tokens in a given text or in plain English:

  1. Studying the first 1000 most frequently used words in the language will familiarize you with 76.0% of all vocabulary in non-fiction literature, 79.6% of all vocabulary in fiction literature, and 87.8% of vocabulary in oral speech.
  2. Studying the 2000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 84% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 86.1% of vocabulary in fictional literature, and 92.7% of vocabulary in oral speech.
  3. And studying the 3000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 88.2% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 89.6% of  vocabulary in fiction, and 94.0% of vocabulary in oral speech.

If you want to really go for it you can memorize 3,000 of the most common words for 94% comprehension. However, most of our students are busy people that want the best reurn on their valuable time investment.

Based on this study, we can conclude that the sweet spot is to learn the 1,000 most common words. Why? to understand only 6.2% more vocabulary in oral speech you would have to learn 3x more vocab. Doesn’t seem very exciting considering how valuable your time is. In fact, we’ve seen that most Italian learners can get to a comfortable conversation speaking level with less than 1,000 Italian words.


To help you start we have compiled the 100 most frequently used Italian words below.

If you’re interested in finding out the other 900 list of Italian words, here they are:

-1,000 most common Italian words (audio version)
-2,000 most common Italian words (memrise)

accept accettare
allow permettere
ask chiedere/domandare
believe credere
borrow * prendere in prestito
break rompere
bring portare
buy comprare
can/be able potere
cancel cancellare
change cambiare
clean pulire
comb pettinare
complain lamentarsi
cough tossire
count contare
cut tagliare
dance ballare
draw disegnare
drink bere
drive guidare
eat mangiare
explain spiegare
fall cadere
fill rempire
find trovare
finish finire
fit * far stare
fix aggiustare
fly volare
forget dimenticare
give dare
go andare
have avere
hear sentire
hurt * fare del male
know sapere/conoscere
learn imparare
leave partire/andarsene
listen ascoltare
live vivere
look guardare
lose perdere
make/do fare
need * aver bisogno
open aprire
close/shut chiudere
organize organizzare
pay pagare
play giocare
put mettere
rain piovere
read leggere
reply rispondere
run correre
say dire
see vedere
sell vendere
send spedire
sign firmare
sing cantare
sit sedersi
sleep dormire
smoke fumare
speak parlare
spell * fare lo spelling
spend spendere
stand alzarsi
start/begin cominciare
study studiare
succeed * avere successo
swim nuotare
take prendere
talk parlare
teach insegnare
tell dire
think pensare
translate tradurre
travel viaggiare
try provare
turn off spegnere
turn on accendere
type * scrivere al computer
understand capire
use usare
wait aspettare
wake up svegliarsi
want volere/desiderare
watch guardare
work lavorare
worry preoccuparsi
write scrivere

To learn these words you can use resources like Quizlet Anki or Memrise.

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