‘Quanti anni hai?’ (How old are you?). This, and the equivalent reply ‘Ho dodici anni’ (I am twelve year old) is something the students the Italian find out within their first couple of lessons. The an initial thing to note is that we use the verb avere (to have) rather of essere (to be), i.e. ‘Ho dodici anni’ (I have actually twelve years) fairly than ‘I am twelve’.

But together is usual with Italian, the plot thickens! Although you would constantly ask a child ‘Quanti anni hai?’ that is an extremely common as an adult to be asked ‘Di che anno sei?’ (literally: what year are you from?), the matching reply being: ‘Sono del Settantotto’ (I’m from 1978), i.e. ‘I am 32 year old’.

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Due to this intake of avere, the method we talk about age is quite various from the English model. For example, although we learn in Italian classes come reply with ‘Ho venti anni’, (I am twenty) that is an ext common to say simply: ‘Ne ho venti’ (I have actually twenty of lock ). As you have the right to see from this example, once we talk about age we regularly use the pronouns ne (of them) or li (them) come substitute words anni, e.g.


‘Lei quanti anni ha?’

‘Ne ho ottantadue’

‘Complimenti, non li dimostra!’

‘How old room you?’

‘I am eighty two’

‘Congratulations, girlfriend don’t display them!’, i.e. ‘You don’t look the old!’


You might likewise hear the reply:

‘Complimenti, non ne dimostra!

lit.: ‘You don’t display of them

Another nice expression that we usage in this instance is:

‘Complimenti, li porta bene’

lit. ‘Congratulations, you lug them well’, i.e.: ‘You look young for her age’

Another example is:

‘Mio babbo ha ottantanove anni’

‘Caspita, no glieli avrei dati!’

‘My father is eighty nine years old’

‘Wow, ns wouldn’t have given them come him!, i.e. ‘I wouldn’t have actually thought the was the old!’

You might sometimes hear the less grammatically exactly reply:


 ‘Non gliene avrei dati!’

‘I wouldn’t have provided him that them!’

N.B. For babies and also children up to around the age of 2 we asking (of the parent obviously!) ‘Quanto tempo ha?’ (lit.: ‘How lot time does it have?’, i.e. ‘How old is he/she?’). The reply would certainly be: ‘Ha cinque mesi’ (‘He/she is five months old’).

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When you room talking around the past and you desire to state how old girlfriend were when something happened you should say:

‘quando avevo otto anni siamo andati in vacanza in Inghilterra’

‘when ns was eight year old us went on holiday to England’

If at the same time you room not details how old you were at the time, you should say:

‘Da bambina/o, avrò avuto rose oil o nove anni, siamo andati in vacanza in Inghilterra’

N.B. ‘avrò avuto’

‘When ns was a child, i must have been about eight or nine, us went on holiday to England’

literally: ‘I will have had’


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