‘Quanti anni hai?’ (How old are you?). This, and also the corresponding reply ‘Ho dodici anni’ (I to be twelve year old) is something the students that Italian learn within their first couple of lessons. The very first thing to note is that we usage the verb avere (to have) rather of essere (to be), i.e. ‘Ho dodici anni’ (I have actually twelve years) quite than ‘I to be twelve’.

But as is usual v Italian, the plot thickens! Although girlfriend would constantly ask a boy ‘Quanti anni hai?’ that is really common together an adult to be asked ‘Di che anno sei?’ (literally: what year space you from?), the corresponding reply being: ‘Sono del Settantotto’ (I’m native 1978), i.e. ‘I to be 32 years old’.

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Due come this intake of avere, the way we talk around age is quite various from the English model. Because that example, return we discover in Italian classes come reply with ‘Ho venti anni’, (I to be twenty) the is an ext common to say simply: ‘Ne ho venti’ (I have twenty of castle ). As you deserve to see native this example, once we talk about age we regularly use the pronouns ne (of them) or li (them) come substitute the word anni, e.g.


‘Lei quanti anni ha?’

‘Ne ho ottantadue’

‘Complimenti, no li dimostra!’

‘How old are you?’

‘I am eighty two’

‘Congratulations, you don’t present them!’, i.e. ‘You don’t look that old!’


You might also hear the reply:

‘Complimenti, non ne dimostra!

lit.: ‘You don’t display the them

Another nice expression that we usage in this case is:

‘Complimenti, li porta bene’

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

Another example is:

‘Mio babbo ha ottantanove anni’

‘Caspita, non glieli avrei dati!’

‘My father is eighty ripe years old’

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

You may sometimes hear the less grammatically correct reply:


 ‘Non gliene avrei dati!’

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

N.B. For babies and children up to about the age of two we ask (of the parent obviously!) ‘Quanto tempo ha?’ (lit.: ‘How much 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 space talking around the past and you want to state just how old girlfriend were once something happened you have to say:

‘quando avevo rose oil anni siamo andati in vacanza in Inghilterra’

‘when i was eight year old we went on vacation to England’

If at the same time you space not details how old you were at the time, you must say:

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

N.B. ‘avrò avuto’

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

literally: ‘I will have actually had’


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