Easy Italian Lesson 5: Spelled Like English

Easy Italian Lesson 5: Spelled Like English

Italian Words Spelled like English are some of the easiest words in Italian for English speakers.

In Lessons Three and Four, we have seen the very easiest words spelled alike in both languages. Lesson Three had familiar English words in Italian. Lesson Four had the less-familiar Italian words in English.

Also, many other words have been borrowed from other languages by both English and Italian, like 'ballet' borrowed from French, some of which are featured in this lesson.


In these Easy Italian Lessons are letters written by someone taking a first trip to Italy -- and discovering that many other Italian words are also spelled like English words.

Read Italian Words in English Sentences

The following letter in English has a few Italian words mixed in. This starts you reading a few Italian words in the easiest way – in a context of familiar English words in English sentences. Reading Italian words in English sentences is the very easiest way to begin to read some Italian.

The WORDS IN CAPITAL LETTERS are Italian words that are spelled like English words.

(Also included are the Italian articles that precede Italian nouns, here to help you realize that these foreign words spelled like English really are Italian also.)



Dear Billy Bob, What surprises me is how many words I am seeing in Italian that are spelled exactly like English words. I wonder why?

Except that in front of these look-alike words, the Italians usually stick a il, lo, la, i, gli, le or un, una, uno. (Or if the word starts with a vowel, they hook an l' onto the start of it.) Maybe the Italians do it so we tourists won't get these Italian look-alike words confused with the identical English words.

I'll give you some examples.

Last night I went for a SOLO night out. I took l'AUTOMOBILE because I like to drive. Pull out l’ANTENNA for la RADIO and blast il VOLUME. Una ORCHESTRA was playing this NOSTALGIA tune. Il TROMBONE player sounded great! Driving through downtown is fun. There are NEON lights, and the people walking around make this place come alive. I had a very light dinner at Villa Roma Ristorante with SPAGHETTI al PESTO. For il DESSERT I had un GELATO and un'ESPRESSO.

I was thinking of going to il CINEMA but ended up at l’OPERA. They had a great cast, and la DIVA had a QUASI angel voice. During l’INTERMEZZO I had un MARTINI, which I paid for with my VISA card.

After il GALA was over, I was driving around again in l'AUTO looking for answers to my INSOMNIA. I was going a little too fast when I got stopped by a police car. I pulled over right before il TUNNEL. The policeman said that il RADAR gun showed I ws just over the speed limit. I pointed out that in America or Canada you don't get pulled over for that! The cop said that it was RUDE of me to argue with him, but he let me go anyway.

I went back to il HOTEL, turned on the TV and watched un TENNIS match. I love SPORTS!

I switched to another channel and watched un FILM about a lady working at lo ZOO. She caught un VIRUS from la SALIVA of il DOCILE bear, and was praying to la MADONNA for a speedy recovery. This is when I fell asleep. CIAO!

--- Candace


As explained in the previous lessons, many words look exactly alike in both languages, because many Italian words have been adopted into English, and vice versa.

Here is a selection of just some of the many Italian words spelled like English.

Italian words spelled like English may have some of the same meanings in both languages, or may have some slightly different but related meanings.

Since you will always recognize the Italian words spelled exactly like English, only some are listed in this chapter to keep it short.


The greatest number of words that look alike in Italian and English are nouns. The following list of nouns are spelled exactly alike in both languages, although most are pronounced slightly differently in Italian than English.

When merely listed, familiarity with these identical look-alikes from experience with them in English can make it harder to grasp that these are Italian words.


In Lessons Three and Four, many of the words spelled alike in both languages also sound almost alike. Lesson Three had familiar English words in Italian. Lesson Four had the less-familiar Italian words in English. Some of those words are included here as well.

Also other Italian words spelled like English still have a somewhat similar pronunciation in Italian. These you may think of as English words, so you may be surprised to find out they are Italian words too. These words that look and sound alike in both languages are cornerstones you can build your learning around.

This lists some of the more common cognates spelled and pronounced basically alike.

Although in Italian, with its different system of pronunciation than English, these words may sound somewhat different.


bar -- bar -- [‘bar’]

ex -- ex -- [‘ex’]

gel -- gel -- [‘gel’]

no -- no -- [‘no’]

snob -- snob -- [‘snob’]

sport -- sport -- [‘sport’]

stop -- stop -- [‘stop’]


bye-bye -- bye-bye -- [‘bye-bye’]

diva -- diva -- [‘diva’]

era -- era -- [‘era’]

flora -- flora -- [‘flora’]

lava -- lava -- [‘lava’]

pasta -- pasta -- [‘pasta’]

quasi (almost) -- quasi -- [‘quasi’]

quota -- quota -- [‘quota’]

mamma / mama -- mamma -- [‘mamma’]

soda (chemical) -- soda -- [‘soda’]

solo (alone) -- solo -- [‘solo’]

tuba -- tuba -- [‘tuba’]

visa -- visa -- [‘visa’]

OK -- OK -- [‘OK’]

motel -- motel -- [‘motel’]


espresso -- espresso -- [‘espresso’]

falsetto -- falsetto -- [‘falsetto’]

madonna -- madonna -- [‘madonna’]

spaghetti -- spaghetti -- [‘spaghetti’]

America -- America -- [‘America’]



Many Italian words spelled like English were borrowed by both from other languages.

For example, compared to the many Italian words that end with a vowel, Italian words than end in a consonant usually come from another language

As mentioned earlier, some words have been borrowed from French by both English and Italian, like 'ballet'. This is another type of words you will see in Italian that you will be familiar with from English.

Also included are the Italian articles that precede Italian nouns, here to help you realize that these foreign words spelled like French and English really are Italian also.


chef -- lo chef -- [‘chef’]

boutique -- la boutique -- [‘boutique’]

bouquet -- il bouquet -- [‘bouquet’]

buffet -- il buffet -- [‘buffet’]

garage -- il garage -- [‘garage’]

souvenir -- il souvenir -- [‘souvenir’]

cognac -- il cognac -- [‘cognac’]


champagne -- lo champagne -- [shahm-PAHN]

hotel -- l’hotel -- [oh-TEHL]



Many other words spelled alike in both Italian and English were adopted long ago are now pronounced differently in each language.

The words below are followed by their Italian pronunciations to help you realize that these foreign words spelled exactly like English are really Italian words.

In the Italian pronunciation guide, the syllable to stress is in capital letters.

In the pronunciation guide the Italian words pronounced like English are enclosed in single quotation marks, as in: bar [‘bar’].

To keep Italian pronunciation easiest, Italian words are shown to have a similar pronunciation to English if the stress is on the same syllable, and the letters are pronounced enough alike that Italian people will probably understand what you mean if you pronounce those words as you do in English. You may merely sound like you have an ‘English accent’ in Italian.

Later you can listen to how Italian people pronounce them, and try to mimic any small differences in pronunciation to make them sound more authentically Italian. For example, the letter –i- in Italian is always pronounced ‘-ee-’ [whereas in English it is often pronounced ‘-ih-’]



acne -- [‘acne’]

amaretto -- [‘amaretto’]

antipasto -- [‘antipasto’]

alfredo -- [‘alfredo’]

area -- [‘area’]

arrabbiata -- [‘arrabbiata’]

audio -- [OW-dyoh]

Australia -- [‘Australia’]

auto -- [OW-toh]

avocado -- [‘avocado’]

babysitter -- [bah-bee-SEET-tehr]

banana -- [‘banana’]

bar -- [‘bar’]

barbecue -- [‘barbecue’]

baseball -- [‘baseball’]

basketball -- [‘basketball’]

beige -- [beyj]

bikini -- [‘bikini’]

biscotti -- [‘biscotti’]

bolognese -- [‘bolognese’]

brandy -- [‘brandy’]

broadband -- [‘broadband’]

broccoli -- [‘broccoli’]

bus (shuttle) -- [boos]

business -- [BEES-nehs]

caddy -- [‘caddy’]

calamari -- [‘calamari’]

calypso -- [‘calypso’]

camper (vehicle) -- [‘camper’]

Canada -- [‘Canada’]

canneloni -- [‘canneloni’]

cannoli -- [‘cannoli’]

cappuccino -- [‘cappuccino’]

carpaccio -- [‘carpaccio’]

cashmere -- [‘cashmere’]

CD -- [chee-DEE]

Celsius -- [‘Celsius’]

cent (euro) -- [‘cent’]

cinema -- [CHEE-neh-mah]

club -- [‘club’]

cocktail (shrimp) -- [‘cocktail’]

cracker -- [‘cracker’]

crostini -- [‘crostini’]

diesel -- [‘diesel’]

Discover (credit card) -- [‘Discover’]

DVD -- [dee-voo-DEE]

espresso -- [‘espresso’]

euro -- [EH-oo-roh]

extra -- [‘extra’]

fax -- [‘fax’]

fettuccine -- [‘fettuccine’]

foto -- [‘foto’]

film (movie) -- [‘film’]

fitness -- [‘fitness’]

fragile -- [FRAH-jee-leh]

freezer -- [‘freezer’]

fritatta -- [‘fritatta’]

fusilli -- [‘fusilli’]

gay -- [‘gay’]

gelato -- [‘gelato’]

gin -- [‘gin’]

gnocchi [‘gnocchi’] [NYOHK-kee]

golf -- [‘golf’]

gorgonzola -- [‘gorgonzola’]

guava -- [‘guava’]

hamburger -- [ahm-BOOR-gehr]

hotel -- [oh-TEHL] [‘hotel’]

in -- [een]

internet -- [‘internet’]

iTunes -- [‘iTunes’]

jazz -- [‘jazz’]

jeans -- [‘jeans’]

jogging -- [‘jogging’]

ketchup -- [‘ketchup’]

kiwi -- [‘kiwi’]

kosher -- [‘kosher’]

lager -- [‘lager’]

lasagne -- [‘lasagne’]

latte -- [‘latte’]

full-time -- [‘full-time’]

golf carts -- [‘golf carts’]

linguine -- [‘linguine’]

limosine -- [‘limosine’]

Mac (computer) -- [‘Mac’]

mango -- [‘mango’]

manicure -- [MAH-nee-koo-reh]

marinara -- [‘marinara’]

MasterCard -- [‘MasterCard’]

minestrone -- [‘minestrone’]

minibar -- [‘minibar’]

motel -- [‘motel’]

mozzarella -- [‘mozzarella’]

muesli -- [MWEH-slee]

muffin -- [MAHF-feen]

nausea -- [NOW-zeh-ah]

no -- [‘no’]

oh -- ‘[oh’]

OK -- [‘OK’]

opera -- [‘opera’]

orchestra (symphony) -- [ohr-KEHS-trah]

papaya -- [‘papaya’]

parmigiano -- [‘parmigiano’]

partner (relationship) -- [‘partner’]

password (computer) -- [‘password’]

PC (computer) -- [‘PC’]

pedicure -- [PEH-dee-koo-reh]

penne -- [‘penne’]

pesto -- [‘pesto’]

picnic -- [PEEK-neek]

pilsner -- [‘pilsner’]

pizza -- [‘pizza’]

pizzeria -- [‘pizzeria’]

polenta -- [‘polenta’]

pomodoro -- [‘pomodoro’]

pop (music) -- [‘pop’]

popcorn -- [‘popcorn’]

premium (fuel) -- [‘premium’]

prosciutto -- [‘prosciutto’]

provelone -- [‘provelone’]

puttanesca -- [‘puttanesca’]

radicchio -- [‘radicchio’]

rap (music) -- [‘rap’]

reggae -- [‘reggae’]

ricotta -- [‘ricotta’]

rigatoni -- [‘rigatoni’]

risotto -- [‘risotto’]

rum -- [room]

salsa -- [‘salsa’]

sardine -- [sahr-DEE-neh]

sauna -- [SAH-ow-nah]

scaloppine -- [‘scaloppine’]

scooter -- [‘scooter’]

scotch -- [‘scotch’]

shampoo -- [‘shampoo’]

sherry -- [‘sherry’]

shopping -- [‘shopping’]

single -- [‘single’]

snorkeling -- [‘snorkeling’]

snowboard [‘snowboard’]

soft spikes (golf) -- [‘soft spikes’]

spaghetti -- [‘spaghetti’]

sport -- [‘sport’]

squash (sport) -- [‘squash’]

stop (road sign) -- [‘stop’]

suite -- [‘suite’]

super (fuel) -- [‘super’]

surf -- [‘surf’]

taxi -- [‘taxi’]

techno (music) -- [‘techno’]

tennis -- [‘tennis’]

tequila -- [‘tequila’]

terminal (airport) -- [tehr-mee-NAHL]

tofu -- [‘tofu’]

torso -- [‘torso’]

tortellini -- [‘tortellini’]

tub -- [‘tub’]

TV (broadcast) -- [tee-VOO] [set is televisore]

USB (computer port) -- [oo-ehseh-bee]

vagina -- [vah-DZHEE-nah]

vermouth -- [VEHR-mooth]

Visa (credit card) -- [‘Visa’]

vodka -- [‘vodka’]

volts, 110 & 220 -- [‘volts’]

vongole -- [‘vongole’]

weekend -- [week-EHND] [‘weekend’]

western (movie) -- [‘Western’]

whisky -- [‘whisky’]

wireless (internet) -- [‘wireless’]

wow -- [‘wow’]

XL -- [‘XL’]

yogurt -- [‘yogurt’]

ziti -- [TSEE-tee]

zoo -- [DZOH-oh]

zucchini -- [‘zucchini’]




check-in (hotel / airport) -- [‘check-in’]

duty-free -- [‘duty-free’]

e-mail -- [‘e-mail’]

night-club -- [‘nightclub’]

part-time -- [‘part-time’]

wi-fi -- [‘wi-fi’]


American Express -- [‘American Express’]

Diner’s Club -- [‘Diner’s Club’]

driving range -- [‘driving range’]

extra large -- [‘extra large’]

fast food -- [‘fast food’]

hip hop -- [‘hip hop’]

instant messenger -- [‘instant messenger’]

king size -- [‘king-size’]

lift pass -- [‘lift pass’]

New Age (music) -- [‘New Age’]

piano bar -- [‘piano bar’]

rock ‘n’ roll -- [‘rock ‘n’ roll’]

ski lift -- [‘ski lift’]

tee time -- [‘tee time’]



On a trip to Italy, you will see signs in Italian spelled the same as English:


BAR -- BAR -- [‘bar’]

CHECK-IN -- CHECK-IN -- [‘check-in’]

DIESEL -- DIESEL -- [‘diesel’]

DUTY-FREE -- DUTY-FREE -- [‘duty-free’]

E-MAIL -- E-MAIL -- [‘e-mail’]

GARAGE (parking) -- GARAGE -- [‘garage’]

INTERNET -- INTERNET -- [‘internet’]

NO CAMPING -- NO CAMPING -- [‘no camping’]

SKI LIFT -- SKI LIFT -- [‘ski lift’]

STOP -- STOP -- [‘stop’]

WIRELESS -- WIRELESS -- [‘wireless’]



As mentioned at the start of this lesson, familiarity with these identical look-alikes from experience with them in English can make it harder to grasp that these are Italian words, especially when they are merely listed. More sample sentences in Italian are included, so you can see these look-alikes in an Italian context.


The Villa On The Mountain.

La VILLA In Montagna.


We drove zig-zag for an hour.

Abbiamo guidato ZIG-ZAG per un'ora.


We arrived at the villa.

Siamo arrivati alla VILLA.


The panorama is fabulous.

Il PANORAMA è favoloso.


The ex-owner is an opera diva.

L'EX propietaria è una DIVA di OPERA.


The villa is surrounded with lots of flora and fauna.

La VILLA è circondata da molta FLORA e FAUNA.


The soil seems very fertile.

Il terreno sembra molto FERTILE.


Here I do not miss the motel.

Qui non mi manca il MOTEL.


The motto here is: sublime life!

Il MOTTO qui è: vita SUBLIME!



Return to Easy Italian Lessons


Looking for something else?

Use this search feature to find it:

Custom Search



Easiest Languages have thousands of words similar to English, so:

“This is The Easiest Way to Begin Learning Foreign Languages.”

Helping More People Begin Foreign Languages The Easiest Way.