Italian Verb Conjugation
Italian Verb Conjugation sounds like a bit of a scary thing. But in fact it's something we do in our own native language everyday.
Simply put, in English or Italian, conjugation is the act of changing a verb to suit the way it's being used.
Remember a verb is a doing word, like 'am'. Now the form of the verb changes according to when it happens, 'I was', who does it, 'she is', and how many of them there are doing it, 'they are'.
Let's have a look at how it works in Italian...
Patterns of Italian Verb Conjugations
Italian verbs are divided into three patterns of conjugation, following their infinitive form.
There is a 4th conjugation, which is generally accepted as a derivation of the third one, due to the fact that the infinitive form ends also with -IRE. In this conjugation, at the 1st, 2nd 3rd singular and 3rd plural person we have to add the suffix -isc at the stem. For example:
Many Italian verbs are irregular. While the regular verbs use the same stem for all the declination forms, the irregular verbs, instead, have more stems. Many of the irregularities date to the Latin Grammar. Usually the changes affect only the stem of the verb. Essere (to be) and avere (to have) are the auxiliary verbs.
The transitive verbs -verbs that require both a direct subject and one or more objects - can be active - io mangio la mela - I eat the apple - as well as passive - la mela è mangiata da me - the apple is eaten by me. The passive form is built with the auxiliary essere + past participle which follows the usual adjective agreement rules concerning genre and number.
The intransitive verbs - verbs that are not followed by an object - don't have a passive form and they use the auxiliary essere for the compound tenses.
Regular Italian Verbs, simple tense
Indicativo Presente – I sing
Indicativo Imperfetto – I used to sing
Indicativo Passato Remoto – I sang
* many verbs have irregular form in this tense
Indicativo Futuro – I will sing
Practice Phrases containing Italian Regular Verbs – Simple Tense
Irregular Italian verbs – Simple tenses, indicative
Indicativo Passato Remoto:
Practice Phrases containing Italian Irregular Verbs – Simple Tense
Rules in order to remember the Italian irregular forms
Although there are no rules to calculate the right form of the irregular verbs, there are some tricks that help us. The most common is that the first singular and the third plural person have the same stem, while the second plural person is commonly - but not always - regular. Many verbs which are irregular in the Italian language have a regular form in some prominent dialect, like the Florentine, and they are still used not only in spoken but also in written language at higher level too. The most famous example is the verb fare (to make), which in Italian at the present tense, first person, is io faccio and in Florentine io fo. Although it is just a dialectal form, it can easily be found, and is accepted, in some prominent modern Italian authors like Oriana Fallaci, who was born in Florence.
Italian verb conjugation summary
- Four conjugations, - ARE, -ERE, -IRE, and -IRE with suffix -isc
- Regular verbs have one stem; irregular verbs have more stems.
- Many Italian verbs are irregular.
- Essere (to be) and avere (to have) are the auxiliary verbs.
- The passive form is built with the auxiliary essere + past participle
- The intransitive verbs don't have a passive form and they use the auxiliary essere for the compound tenses
- In the irregular verbs the first singular and the third plural person have the same stem, while the second plural person is commonly regular