The different constructions of direct and indirect questions with how are to be noted: in direct questions, how is at the beginning of the sentence and the auxiliary precedes the subject ( how could you do that? = come hai potuto farlo?); in indirect questions, the subject precedes the verb ( please, tell me how you could do that = per favore, dimmi come hai potuto farlo) or, alternatively, a verb in the infinitive may be used ( please, tell me how to use this tool = per favore, dimmi come usare/come si usa questo strumento). - How may precede an adjective ( how nice she is! = com'è carina!), an adverb ( how often do you go to the cinema? = quanto spesso vai al cinema?), or a verb clause ( how I wish I could swim! = quanto vorrei saper nuotare!). - When how is used as a question word meaning in what way? or by what means? it is almost always translated by come: how did you get here? = come ci sei arrivato? how will you do it? = come lo farai? - When how is used as a conjunction meaning the way in which, it is often translated by come: I don't know how they did it = non so come l'hanno fatto tell me how you write this word = dimmi come si scrive questa parola. - When how is used as a conjunction meaning that, it is almost always translated by che: you know how he always arrives late = sai che arriva sempre tardi it's amazing how they survived = è sorprendente che siano sopravvissuti. - For more examples and particular usages see below.
- 1 (in what way, by what means) how did you make it?come l'hai fatto?I wonder how it worksmi chiedo come funzioniI don't know how he does it!non so come lo fa!to know how to do I learned how to do itho imparato a farlohow do you feel about it?cosa ne pensi?how does the tune go?come fa la musica?
- 2 (enquiring about success, health etc.)how are you? how's your foot, head?come va il piede, la testa?how's your brother?come sta tuo fratello?tell me how she, your family is?dimmi un po', lei, la tua famiglia come sta?how did the exam, interview go?come è andato l'esame, il colloquio?how was the film?com'era il film?how was the book?com'era il libro?how did you like the party, house?ti è piaciuta la festa, la casa?how's everything? o how are things?come va?how do you do! (greeting)piacere!
- 3 (in number, quantity etc. questions)how much does this cost? o how much is this? how much do you, does it weigh?quanto pesi, pesa?how many times have you been to France?quante volte sei stato in Francia?how many years have you lived here?da quanti anni vivi qui?I don't know how many people will comenon so quante persone verrannohow much time, money is there left?quanto tempo è rimasto, quanti soldi sono rimasti?how long is the rope?quanto è lunga la corda?how long do you want it?quanto lo vuoi lungo?how long will it take?quanto ci vuole?how old is she?quanti anni ha?how tall is the tree, your father?quanto è alto l'albero, tuo padre?how big is the garden? how far is it?quanto dista?tell me how old she isdimmi quanti anni hahow often do you go there?ogni quanto ci vai?how soon can he get here?tra quanto sarà qui?
- 4 (in exclamations)how wonderful, horrible! how nice you look!che carina che sei!how clever of you, him!è stato furbo da parte tua, sua!how wrong I was!come mi sono sbagliato!how it rained!come pioveva!how you've grown!come sei cresciuto!how they shouted!come gridavano!
- 6also: how come[informal]come mai, perché“I don't like him” - “how come?”“non mi piace” - “perché?”how come you always get the best place, arrive first?come mai riesci sempre a prendere il posto migliore, ad arrivare per primo?
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