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?I wonder how it workscome l'hai fatto?I don't know how he does it!mi chiedo come funzionito know how to do I learned how to do itnon so come lo fa!how do you feel about it?ho imparato a farlohow does the tune go?cosa ne pensi?come fa la musica?
- 2 (enquiring about success, health etc.) See examples:how are you? how's your foot, head?how's your brother?come va il piede, la testa?tell me how she, your family is?come sta tuo fratello?how did the exam, interview go?dimmi un po', lei, la tua famiglia come sta?how was the film?come è andato l'esame, il colloquio?how was the book?com'era il film?how did you like the party, house?com'era il libro?how's everything? o how are things?ti è piaciuta la festa, la casa?how do you do! (greeting)come va?piacere!
- 3 (in number, quantity etc. questions) See examples:how much does this cost? o how much is this? how much do you, does it weigh?how many times have you been to France?quanto pesi, pesa?how many years have you lived here?quante volte sei stato in Francia?I don't know how many people will comeda quanti anni vivi qui?how much time, money is there left?non so quante persone verrannohow long is the rope?quanto tempo è rimasto, quanti soldi sono rimasti?how long do you want it?quanto è lunga la corda?how long will it take?quanto lo vuoi lungo?how old is she?quanto ci vuole?how tall is the tree, your father?quanti anni ha?how big is the garden? how far is it?quanto è alto l'albero, tuo padre?tell me how old she isquanto dista?how often do you go there?dimmi quanti anni hahow soon can he get here?ogni quanto ci vai?tra quanto sarà qui?
- 4 (in exclamations) See examples:how wonderful, horrible! how nice you look!how clever of you, him!che carina che sei!how wrong I was! how it rained!è stato furbo da parte tua, sua!how you've grown! how they shouted!come pioveva!come gridavano!
- 6also: how come[informal]“I don't like him” - “how come?”come mai, perchéhow come you always get the best place, arrive first?“non mi piace” - “perché?”come mai riesci sempre a prendere il posto migliore, ad arrivare per primo?
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