Can You Tell Spanish Words from Italian?

By: Isadora Teich

Can You Tell Spanish Words from Italian?
Image: Brzozowska/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Spanish, Italian and French are all Romance languages, which might explain why it's easier to recognize words from one of these languages if you know a different one. Who knew that your high school Spanish class could actually help you order food in Italy? Bueno! Buon! Heck, you can even thank people more easily. I mean, if you say it quickly, will your taxi driver really be able to tell if you said, "gracias" or "grazie?" 

However, before you get too excited, not all Romance language words have cognates. A cognate is essentially a word that sounds very similar to another word that means the same thing in a different language. For instance, computer is "computadora" in Spanish. "Dolce," which means "sweet" in Italian, is "dulce" in Spanish. "Sol," "sole" and "soleil" all mean "sun" in Spanish, Italian and French.

But, if you're talking about someone's son in Italian and Spanish, you'd need to know "figlio" and "hijo," respectively.

Find out how well you know the differences, great and small, between common Spanish and Italian words by taking this quiz!


If I say "hola," what language am I speaking?
Italian
Spanish
"Hola" means "Hello" in Spanish. The Italian equivalent is "Ciao."

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"Rojo" is a color in what language?
Italian
Spanish
This is how the color red is said in Spanish. In Italian, it's "rosso."

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If you're eating a quesadilla, and you want more cheese, ask for "el queso" in this language.
Italian
Spanish
This means "the cheese" in Spanish. It's also slang for a popular Tex-Mex dip. In Italian, cheese is "il formaggio."

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The greeting, "¿Cómo está usted?," is spoken in what language?
Italian
Spanish
This means "how are you?" in Spanish. In Italian, you say "come va?"

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Before you leave for the day, you might say "adiós," which is what language?
Italian
Spanish
This means "goodbye" in Spanish. In Italian you say "addio," which is very similar.

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"Buon Natale!" is a holiday greeting in which language?
Italian
You can wish someone a merry Christmas in Italian with this phrase. In Spanish, it's "¡Feliz Navidad!"
Spanish

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If your partner says, "te amo," they'd like you to reply "te amo, tambien." Which language is this?
Italian
Spanish
This means "I love you" in Spanish. In Italian, it's "ti amo."

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What language is "la escuela?"
Italian
Spanish
This is Spanish for "the school." In Italian, it's "la scuola."

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"Mi esposo" should NOT be confused with "esposas" in this language:
Italian
Spanish
"Mi esposo" is Spanish for "my husband." You want to be careful, because "esposas" means "handcuffs" in Spanish. In Italian, you'd say "mio marito" to say "my husband."

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If I talk about, "un hombre," what language am I speaking?
Italian
Spanish
This is Spanish for "a man." In Italian, it's "un uomo."

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"Grazie" is a polite thing to say in which language?
Italian
This means "thank you" in Italian. In Spanish, you say "gracias."
Spanish

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You drive "l'auto" while speaking ________.
Italian
This is how you say "the car" in Italian. In Spanish, it's "el coche."
Spanish

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If you want to vacation by "il mare," you're talking about a lovely coastal trip in __________.
Italian
This is Italian for "the sea." In Spanish it's "el mar."
Spanish

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"Prego" is part of polite conversation in what language?
Italian
This means "you're welcome" In Italian. In Spanish, you say "de nada."
Spanish

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"Come ti chiami?" is a question in which language?
Italian
This is how to ask for someone's name in Italian. In Spanish, it's "¿Cual es tu nombre?" Remember, in Spanish, if using the word "tu," it's the informal version of "you."
Spanish

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If you didn't take ______ in high school, you should probably learn the phrase, "no comprendo."
Italian
Spanish
This means "I don't understand" in Spanish. In Italian, you say "non capisco."

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"In bocca al lupo" doesn't actually mean you're being eaten by wolves in this language:
Italian
This is Italian for "good luck." It literally means "in the wolf's mouth." To wish someone luck in Spanish ,you say "buena suerte," which is decidedly missing the wolf reference.
Spanish

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If you're describing the water as "azul," what language are you speaking?
Italian
Spanish
This is how the color blue is expressed in Spanish. In Italian, it's "blu."

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Uh-oh! If you've fallen and you can't get up, you might yell, "aiutami!" What language is it?
Italian
This is "help me!" in Italian. In order to call for help in Spanish, you'd yell: "¡ayuadame!"
Spanish

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"Buenos días" is a greeting in what language?
Italian
Spanish
This means "good morning" in Spanish. In Italian, you say "buongiorno" to wish someone a pleasant morning.

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If you're calling your child "hijo," you're speaking this language:
Italian
Spanish
This is Spanish for "son." In Italian, it's "figlio."

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If you're talking about "la muerte," you're speaking _______.
Italian
Spanish
This is Spanish for "death." In Italian, it's "la morte."

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"L'autunno" is the perfect time for drinking a pumpkin spice latte when you're speaking this language:
Italian
In Italian, this means "autumn." In Spanish, it's "el otoño." In English, it's time for seasonal products of the pumpkin variety!
Spanish

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"L'amore" is what language?
Italian
This is Italian for "love." In Spanish, it's "el amor."
Spanish

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"El cumpleaños" comes every year for everyone. What language is it?
Italian
Spanish
This is "birthday" in Spanish. In Italian, it's "Il compleanno."

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The closest star is called "el Sol" in __________.
Italian
Spanish
This is Spanish for "sun." In Italian, it's "sole." And just so you can see how connected the Romance languages are, it's "soleil" in French.

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"Un ángel" is a heavenly being in what language?
Italian
Spanish
This is Spanish for "an angel." In Italian, it's "un angelo."

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If you say "sono stanco" at night, you'd be speaking which language?
Italian
This means "I'm tired" in Italian. In Spanish, it's "estoy cansado."
Spanish

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You might ask, "¿Qué hora es?," if you're trying to catch a train while speaking this language:
Italian
Spanish
This is how you ask for the time in Spanish. In order to do so in Italian, you ask, "che ore sono?"

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This language teacher might appreciate "una manzana."
Italian
Spanish
This is Spanish for "an apple." In Italian, it's "una mela." And weirdly enough, in French, it's "pomme." This is one of those words where none of the Romance languages have a similar word for the same thing. Generally, the words are much more similar.

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If you're hankering for some chocolate mousse, you'd ask for "Il dolce" in this language:
Italian
This is Italian for "the dessert." In Spanish it's "el postre." "Dolce" literally translates to "sweet."
Spanish

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If someone says "mi dispiace" to you after bumping into you, they're apologizing in what language?
Italian
This means "I'm sorry" in Italian. In order to apologize in Spanish, you say "lo siento."
Spanish

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"La strega" might curse you in this language:
Italian
This is Italian for "the witch." In Spanish it's "la bruja."
Spanish

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Teenagers speaking ______ might whine to their parents while asking,"¿Por qué?"
Italian
Spanish
This is how you ask "why" in Spanish. In order to do so in Italian, you say "Perché?" To make it even more confusing, the word "porque" (as one word) means "because." ¿Por que? Porque.

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If I'm talking about "la donna," what language am I speaking?
Italian
This means "the woman" in Italian. In Spanish, it's said "la mujer."
Spanish

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