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abbiamo / siamo



Ciao Lucia.

I have a question.  

While doing a flash card in 4.7 and having realised the card:

siamo appena arrivati = we have just arrived

just curious, what would the difference be using abbiamo in this sentence instead ?

abbiamo appena arrivati?

Can both be used or is it more appropriate to use the conjugation of stare instead of avere ?

Lesson 4.7 described as the lesson to be Present Progressive, however im not sure if this action is still progressing, and regardless, i would like to know how both verbs would alter the meaning of the sentence at all?

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Ciao rigoletto,

The example you mentioned contains a present perfect tense (which roughly corresponds to passato prossimo in Italian). While English uses to have as auxiliary verb, in Italian you have to choose between avere and essere. In some cases you can use both, but generally speaking there's only one correct auxiliary for each verb.

In your sentence, for example, the usage of avere ("Abbiamo appena arrivati") would be considered a mistake, because only essere can be used with arrivare.

How to choose between the two?
As a rule of thumb, you use avere with transitive verbs, that is, verbs that can take on a direct object.
Ho ascoltato una bella canzone. I have listened to a nice song.
Ho bevuto una birra. I have drunk a beer.
You use essere for intransitive verbs, that is to say verbs that are usually followed by a preposition:
Sono andato al cinema. (andare a) I have gone to the cinema.
Io sono stato in America, e tu? (stare in) I have been to America, and you?
For impersonal verbs:
È accaduto qualcosa di stupendo. Something wonderful has happened.
Foe reflexive verbs or verbs that are preceded by a pronoun:
Mi sono levato il cappello. I have taken off my hat.
Mi sono fatto male cadendo dalla bici. I have hurt myself falling off my bike.
Le è andata bene! She was lucky! [It has gone well to her]

In the passato remoto, the action has already finished. It's used for both the English present perfect and the simple past tenses. The present progressive is constructed by adding a suffix (-ando, -endo) to the root of the verb, and by using the auxiliary stare.
Siamo arrivati = passato prossimo; the action is finished
Stiamo arrivando = gerundio (present progressive); the action is happening right now

Hope this helps! :)



Thanks i have got it now Lucia, i should remember i did a lesson somewhere on here a while ago using andare ie.. io sono andato, siamo andati etc etc,. ( i went, we went) as this example between arrivare and andare relate having went or returned using essere.

However, and for example, would the same rule apply using 'essere' when using viaggiare, to travel, as viaggiare is not a transitive verb (an object)?

io sono viaggiato / noi siamo viaggiati i have / we have travelled

Thanks Lucia :) 
Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Ciao rigoletto,

No, viaggiare, although intransitive, requires avere: ho viaggiato.
The split between avere/transitive and essere/intransitive is only a general rule, unfortunately, and some verbs can throw a tantrum. Take parlare as an example: this is another verb that doesn't follow this rule, because it is intransitive yet it requires avere: ho parlato con qualcuno.
The rule can help you decide which verb to choose, but it is not 100% accurate. It is a good thing to memorize the auxiliary for each verb, along with its possible prepositions! :)


Grazie Lucia, i will keep learning these. very challenging throwing me in a tantrum! it definitely makes it more interesting how to connect the verbs. The main thing is that i am starting to pick up on these little differences and being able to distinguish between the verbs and which verbs are required to agree with the sentences when constructing them making it very interesting. Grazie, lo sto amando! Buona giornata :)
Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Glad I was of help!
Grazie, lo amo would be a more natural rendition of Thanks, I'm loving it. Italian doesn't use the gerund all that much when stating general facts.

Buona giornata anche a te! :)


Grazie Lucia, lo amo :D  

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