I am listening to Italian Language tapes that do not have any written material to go with them. As I have made progress, (I am on lesson 45) I am getting a little confused. I believe that there must be some ways of expressing things that are idIomatic - and I am wondering if the following question is because the tape is being idiomatic? The tape is prompting me(in English) to say But, how’s the weather over there in January? My answer was; Ma, come è il tempo lì a gennaio? The tape's answer is; Ma, fa tempo li en gennaio? Is the tape's answer right? It is so different than what I was expecting, that I am just not sure. Also, I just used "there~lì" in my answer, since they have not mentioned the word 'over' at all.

Is the answer they want me to learn more correct or more in common use than the answer I thought it was going to be? Is my answer correct?

  • My question was, would "Ma, fa tempo lì en gennaio?" be considered a correct way of saying, "But what's the weather like there in January?" Aren't idioms fun?!
    – Mrs_MG
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 1:53
  • @Mrs_MG: Please, use the "Your Answer" box to write a real answer to the OP question. If you want to ask something, you can use "Ask Question".
    – Charo
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


In Italian when we want to know about the weather in a given location we generally ask:

Come è il tempo lì?


Che tempo fa lì?

and both are translated into English as What's the weather like over there?. They're two equivalent forms and I'd say they are used with the same frequency (although the latter sounds more informal).

As for the preposition, en is not an Italian word: it might have been in. Anyway when you talk about a period of time with a proper noun like the name of a month you should use a, as you did: a gennaio, ad agosto (there's a vowel as first letter for the month, so you should use an euphonic d), a settembre, etc., but you use in, for example, when you're talking about a season:

Com'è il tempo lì a gennaio?
Com'è il tempo lì in inverno?

  • Okay, thank you! I think that means my first try was correct - except that I am still confused about why I used a gennaio, and they used en gennaio. BUT - their answer leaves out the CHE of your second option. Is "Fa tempo li en gennaio?" correct without the che?
    – Msfolly
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 20:58
  • 1
    Never mind! I went back and listened to it again, about 20 times, and finally heard the che! Thank you very much. Learning this way is confusing... I spend a lot of time looking things up - which, I guess is not a BAD thing. ;-)
    – Msfolly
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 21:06
  • 1
    @Msfolly your version is correct. As for the tape version, is it a transcript you've done or is it written as you reported it?
    – mrnld
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 21:07
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    Also, I just saw your explanation about 'a' and 'in', and I am thrilled with it. Thank you! (I know a little Spanish, and it is actually FIGHTING with the Italian a little.)
    – Msfolly
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 23:28
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    @Msfolly Yes, laggiù seems appropriate if you want to convey the idea of a distance between where you are at the moment of speaking and the place you're asking about.
    – mrnld
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 16:25

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