How to Count in Italian

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Count in Itali Intro.PNG

Learning Counting in Italian not only is a part of learning Italian language but also it helps to appreciate roots of many scientific and ordinary words in English. Besides, it is helpful in related French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin words. Here is a linguistic approach to learning them.


  1. Note that formal pronouciation in Italian phoentics and syllables are inside slashes / /.
  2. Pay attention to stressed syllables in formal phoentics which are shown by bold face fonts.
  3. Note also that the informal segmentation helps you to find the relation of all numbers to numbers from one to ten and make it easier to remember.
  4. Learn first cardinal numbers, then ordinals.

Learn Cardinals

Learn from One to Nine

  1. Count in Itali 1.PNG
    Learn counting cardinals from one to nine in Italian segmented forms (hints are for English speakers' pronounciation).
    • One : Uno,
      • segment it to un-o; pronounce it as oo-no (hint: moo, no). (/u-no/)
    • Two : Due,
      • segment it as du-e; pronounce it as doo-eh (hint: doer). (/du-e/)
    • Three : Tre,
      • segment it as tr-e; pronounce it as tr-eh (hint: trend). (/tre/)
    • Four : Quattro,
      • segment it as quatt-r-o; pronounce it as koo-at-tro (hint: swat row). (/kwat-tro/)
    • Five : Cinque,
      • segment it as cinqu-e; pronounce it as cheen-koo-eh (hint: Sin doer). (/t∫in-kwe/)
    • Six : Sei,
      • segment it as se-i; pronounce it as say (hint: say). (/sεi/)
    • Seven : Sette,
      • segment it as sett-e; pronounce it as set-teh (hint: kettle). (/sεt-te/)
    • Eight : Otto,
      • segment it as ott-o; pronounce it as ot-toe (hint: oh, Joe). (/ɔt-to/)
    • Nine : Nove,
      • segment it as nov-e; pronounce it as no-veh (hint: no way). (/-ve/)
  2. Leave ten for later.

Learn from Eleven to Nineteen

  1. Learn from eleven to nineteen, remembering segmented one to ten.
    • Eleven : Undici,
      • segment it as un-dici; pronounce it as oon-dee-chee (hint: moon ditch it). (/un-di-t∫i/)
    • Twelve : Dodici,
      • segment it as do-dici; pronounce it as doe-dee-chee (hint: door ditch it). (/do-di-t∫i/)
    • Thirteen : Tredici,
      • segment it as tr-e-dici; pronounce it as treh-dee-chee (hint: trend ditch it). (/tre-di-t∫i/)
    • Fourteen : Quattordici,
      • segment it as quatt-or-dici; pronounce it as koo-at-tor-dee-chee (hint: swat tore ditch it). (/kwat-tor-di-t∫i/)
    • Fifteen : Quindici,
      • segment it as quin-dici; pronounce it as kween-dee-chee (hint: queen ditch it). (/kwin-di-t∫i/)
    • Sixteen : Sedici,
      • segment it as se-dici; pronounce it as seh-dee-chee (hint: sir ditch it). (/se-di-t∫i/)
  2. From seventeen to nineteen orders change.
    • Seventeen : Diciassette,
      • segment it as dici-as-sett-e; pronounce it as dee-chee-a-set-te (hint: ditchy are set test). (/di-t∫ias-sεt-te/)
    • Eighteen : Diciotto,
      • segment it as dici- -ott-o (empty place left purposefully); pronounce it as dee-chee-ot-toe (hint: ditch it or torn). (/di-t∫iɔt-to/)
    • Nineteen : Diciannove,
      • segment it as dici-an-nov-e; pronounce it as dee-chee-an-nov-eh (hint: dichy are no vain). (/di-t∫ian--ve/)
  3. Leave twenty for later.

Learn Multiples of Ten up to Ninety

  1. Count in Itali 2.PNG
    Now it is time to learn ten, twenty, thirty, and so on.
    • Ten : Dieci,
      • segment it as d-iec-i; pronounce it as dee-eh-chee. (/djε-t∫i/)
    • Twenty : Venti,
      • segment it as v-ent-i; pronounce it as ventee. (/ven-ti/)
    • Thirty : Trenta,
      • segment it as tr-ent-a; pronounce it as tren-ta. (/tren-ta/)
    • Forty : Quaranta,
      • segment it as quar-ant-a; pronounce it as kwaran-ta. (/kwa-ran-ta/)
    • Fifty : Cinquanta,
      • segment it as cinqu-ant-a; pronounce it as cheen-kwanta. (/t∫in-kwan-ta/)
    • Sixty : Sessanta,
      • segment it as se-ss-ant-a; pronounce it as sehs-santa. (/ses-san-ta/)
    • Seventy : Settanta,
      • segment it as sett-ant-a; pronounce it as set-tan-ta. (/set-tan-ta/)
    • Eighty : Ottanta,
      • segment it as ott-ant-a; pronounce it as ot-tan-ta. (/ɔt-tan-ta/)
    • Ninety : Novanta,
      • segment it as nov-ant-a; pronounce it as novan-ta. (/novan-ta/)

Learn Multiples of Hundred and Thousand

  1. Hundred : Cento,
    • segment it as cent-o; pronounce it as Chen-to. (/t∫εn-to/)
  2. From two-hundred to nine-hundred job is easy. Use numbers from one two nine and the word "cento."
    • One-hundred : Uno cento, (rarely is used; just cento).
    • Two-hundred : Due cento.
    • Three-hundred : Tre cento, and so on.
    • Remember cento does not need to become plural.
  3. And at last,
    • Thousand : Mille,
      • segment it as mill-e; prounce it as meel-leh. (/mil-le/)
      • One-thousand : Uno mille, (rarely is used; just mille).
      • Two-thousand : duemila. (mila : /mi-la/)
      • Three-thousand : tremila, and so on.
      • Note that mille, in contrast to cento, becomes plural as mila.
    • Million : Un milione,
      • segmented as un-milion-e; pronounced as oon-milly-oh-neh. (/un-mi-ljo-ne/)
      • Please note, "milione" always comes with its article "un" when one million is involved.

Learn Small Cardinals in Between

  1. Learn counting numbers which are between these numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine such as forty-three or seventy-five.
    • Remember two cardinals "uno" and "otto" as they begin with a vowel.
    • Any other number is built by attaching the larger number and then the smaller number; hence,
      • Forty-three is quarantatre.
      • Seventy-five is settantacinque.
      • Hundred and ninety-six is centonovantasei.
      • Four-hundred and twenty-five is quattrocentoventicinque.
      • Note that in Italian they attach them; in contrast to English that they put a hyphen.
    • If smaller number is uno or otto, drop the last letter of the larger number (I put a vertical bar | to show the drop); hence,
      • Thirty-one is trentuno (trent|uno).
      • Fifty-eight is cinquantotto (cinquant|otto).
      • Hundred and one is centuno (cent|uno).
      • Two-thousand and eight-hundred and sixty-four is duomilottocentosessantaquattro (duomil|ottocentosessantaquattro).
      • Two-thousand and eight hundred and sixty-one is duomilottocentosessantuno (duomil|ottocentosessant|uno).

Learn Ordinal Numbers

Ordinals are easy to learn in Italian. New words are from first to nineth and also tenth.

Learn Ordinals from One to Ten

  1. Learn counting ordinals from one to ten in Italian segmented forms (hints are for English speakers' pronounciation).
    • First : Primo,
      • segment it as prim-o; pronounce it as preemo. (/pri-mo/)
    • Second : Secondo,
      • segment it as second-o; pronounce it as seh-condo. (/se-kon-do/)
    • Third : Terzo,
      • segment it as terz-o (compare it with tre); pronounce it as tehrt-zo. (/tεr-tso/)
    • Fourth : Quarto,
      • segment it as quart-o (compare it with quattro); pronounce it as koo-ar-toe. (/kwar-to/)
    • Fifth : Quinto,
      • segment it as quint-o; pronounce it as koo-int-oh. (/kwin-to/)
    • Sixth : Sesto,
      • segment it as se-st-o; pronounce it as sehs-toe. (/se-sto/)
    • Seventh : Settimo,
      • segment it as sett-im-o; pronounce it as set-teem-oh. (/sεt-ti-mo/)
    • Eighth : Ottavo,
      • segment it as ott-av-o; pronounce it as ottah-voe. (/ot-ta-vo/)
    • Ninth : Nono,
      • segment it as non-o; pronounce it as nono. (/nɔ-no/)
    • Tenth : Decimo,
      • segment it as d-ecim-o; pronounce it as deh-cheem-o. (/-t∫i-mo/)

Learn Ordinals from Eleventh Upwards

    • Note that all the cardinals from eleven upwards end to a vowel (that is, a, e, i, o).
    • Drop the ending vowel from the cardinal (a vertical bar | is put in place of the dropped vowel, showing the trick).
    • Add the new ending "esimo" (/ε-zi-mo/) to cardinal to build the ordinal. Hence,
      • Eleventh : (eleven)undici+esimo: undicesimo (undic|esimo).
      • Thirteenth : (thirteen)tredici+esimo: tredicesimo (tredic|esimo).
      • Seventeenth : (seventeen)diciasette+esimo: diciasettesimo (diciasett|esimo).
      • Twentieth : (twenty)venti+esimo: ventesimo (vent|esimo).
      • Twenty-first : (twenty-one)ventuno+esimo: ventunesimo (ventun|esimo).
      • Thirtieth : (thirty)trenta+esimo: trentesimo (trent|esimo).

Learn Exceptions for Ordinals Ending to Third (3rd)

    • Know that when a cardinal ends to three (3) such as twenty-three, thirty-three, forty-three, and so on, to build ordinals, do not drop the ending vowel of "tre;" hence,
      • Twenty-third : (twenty-three)ventitre+esimo: ventitreesimo (ventitreesimo).
      • Thirty-third : (thirty-three)trentatre+esimo: trentatreesimo (trentatreesimo).
      • Forty-third : (forty-three)quarantatre+esimo: quarantatreesimo (quarantatreesimo).

Learn Ordinals in Italian Might Have Mutiple Constructs

    • Note that ordinals greater than tenth could have a second construct as an aesthetical variation of style.
    • In such constructs they are written as separate words. Hence,
      • Eleventh : undicesimo is the same as decimo primo.
      • Fourteenth : quattordicesimo is the same as decimo quarto.
      • Twenty-third : ventitreesimo is the same as ventesimo terzo.
      • Fifty-seventh : cinquantasetttesimo is the same as cinquantesimo settimo.

Calendar Numerals in Italian

    • Use Cardinals for calendar dates. In contrast to English language, for calendar dates Italians do not use ordinals; hence,
      • Third of April is said, "tre aprile."
    • There is only one exception to this rule as the first day of each month; hence,
      • First of November is said, "primo novembre."

Ordinal Modifiers in Italian

  1. Remember that English language is influenced by the Italian (actually Latin) modifiers in certain places such as World War II that we read as World War the Second. Hence, we have in Italian,
    • Benedicto XVI as Benedicto, decimo sesto.
    • Carlo II as Carlo secondo (Charles, the second).
    • Tomo IV as Tomo quarto (volume four).
  2. Note please. Ordinal modifiers follow the grammar rules of other Italian modifiers, when being adverb, plural, and so on. Hence,
    • primi anni (first years, contrasted with English).
    • prima donna (first woman, contrasted with English).
    • primo uomo (first man, contrasted with English).


  • During the first week try to memorise cardinals from one to one-hundred both ways, upwards and backwards.
  • During the second week repeat the before mentioned tip up to two-hundred.
  • Then continue by trying to tell any number offhand; house numbers, telephone numbers , and so on.
  • You should be able to write them in correct spelling.
  • Then repeat the same process on ordinals.

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