My Italian Word of the Week - Amare

Romantic Heart from Love Seeds was provided by  (c).

Romantic Heart from Love Seeds was provided by (c).


v. to love
v. to be in love with
v. to adore, have affection for, enjoy
conjugations Italian Verbs

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW

Buon San Valentino (in advance)! And no, amare isn't a typo.

Amare is the verb "to love," which is often confused with the noun amore (love).  Neither should be mistaken for the adjective amaro, which means "bitter." By the way, amare is almost exclusively used in a romantic context. Volere bene is what most would use to indicate platonic love (including but not limited to familial love).  

This is a rather momentous post since it's the last one before my full-time Italian classes officially end. Tomorrow, I get to take the dreaded test (which isn't so scary since I don't actually work for the U.S. government). Mio marito (my husband), however, is on pins and needles, and I have a suspicion he'll forget my Valentine's Day present all together. Nonostante (nonetheless), this blog feature will continue since it forces me to keep up my italiano.

I probably should get back on topic. Amare is followed by a direct object. Per esempio, (io) amo mio marito–I love my husband. I was confused about this at first because one often hears (io) ti amo (I love you) or (tu) mi ami? (Do you love me?). For the longest time I thought ti and mi were indirect objects, and then I discovered certain forms of direct and indirect objects are the same. The only time it gets tricky is when we're in the third person. Amo lui  or l'amo (I love him) is correct while gli amo (I love to him) is incorrect.

Perhaps because piacere (to like) is a bit of a pain to conjugate, some of my fellow students prefer the use of amare or adorare (to adore) in lieu of to like. This is a perfectly acceptable usage (with things, not people). Si può dire (one could say), mio marito ama il cioccolato scuro, particolarmente quello con 99% cacao (my husband loves dark chocolate, especially the ones with 99% cacao). Sì, lui e un po pazzo (yes, he's a little crazy).

Now, you're probably wondering how to say "I'm in love with you." The Italian equivalent of this is (io) sono innamorato/a di te, or (io) sono innamorato/a cotto di te for further emphasis (cotto literally means "baked", but innamorato/a cotto di is the English equivalent of smitten). 

At the risk of getting too deep into the grammar quagmire, amare (or amarsi) can be used reflexively. (Io) mi amo means I love (and/or am satisfied with) myself. It can also be used reciprocally: (noi) ci amiamo means "we love each other", and i miei genitori si amano means "my parents love each other."

And on that note, I'll excuse myself to go study for my test.

Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.


Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at