The essential guide to Italian verb conjugation for beginners

 

Italian verb conjugation can be daunting for Italian learners. The word conjugation itself can sound like grammar jargon, but fear not! In this post, we will reveal the easiest way to study and remember the different verbs and their respective endings. Before we start, let’s explore two major verbs which are called auxiliary verbs as they are essential to form diverse tenses.

Essere (to be) and Avere (to have)

These are the main verbs we ask our students to study by heart together with other irregular verbs. We don’t usually advise learning by heart, but with these two verbs it is vital to do so as they are irregular. Below these two verbs are conjugated in the present tense.

Essere (to be)

Io sono

Tu sei

Lui/lei è

Lei (you formal) è

Noi siamo

Voi siete

Loro sono

 

Avere (to have)

Io ho

Tu hai

Lui/lei ha

Lei (you formal) ha

Noi abbiamo

Voi avete

Loro hanno

Please note the personal pronouns (io, tu, lui, lei, Lei, noi, voi, loro) are omitted as we can understand the person who is involved by looking at the endings of verbs. However, they can be used to emphasise what we are saying.  Moreover, please note the H is silent in Italian.

regular verbs in italian

 

Italian verb conjugation is fundamental in order to be able to express yourself correctly. In Italian there are three verb groups, these are the ones ending in ARE- ERE and IRE. Let’s see how to conjugate them! We suggest learning the endings in Italics which are different for each group.

Regular verbs ending in Are

Parlare  (to speak) take away the Are and add the endings

Io parlo

Tu parli

Lui/lei parla

Lei formal parla

Noi parliamo

Voi parlate

Loro parlano

Sentence example:  io parlo italiano (I speak Italian), lui parla francese (lui parla francese)

Other regular verbs ending in Are are: nuotare (to swim), baciare (to kiss), cucinare (to cook) and many more.

The best way to practice is to use them in sentences. However, for some learners, it is useful to write them down until they get the conjugation right. If you want to go even further, we recommend our book “Live and learn Italian through my family’s recipes” which is free on Kindle Unlimited, if you are a member. If not, it is also available for purchase on Kindle (with audio included) here:

 

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Or, you can also buy it here: https://www.languagesalive.com/learn-italian-online/ and download the pdf and audio files.

 

Regular verbs ending in ERE

Now let’s see some common verbs ending in ERE. As usual, we take off the ending and we keep the stem of the verb, in this case prend:

Prendere (to take)

Io prendo

Tu prendi

Lui/lei prende

Lei (you formal) prende

Noi prendiamo

V oi prendete

Loro prendono

Other regular verbs ending in ERE are: mettere (to put), perdere (to lose), credere (to believe) and more.

Remember to use the verbs in context for instance: questa mattina prendo un caffè  (this morning I’ll have a coffee)

Maria prende una limonata (Maria has a lemonade).

Verbs ending in IRE

As per the third group conjugation ending IRE we find two patterns which use different endings.

Finire (to finish)

Io finisco

Tu finisci

Lui/lei finisce

Lei formal finisce

Noi finiamo

Voi finite

Loro finiscono

Other verbs which follow this pattern are: capire (to understand), pulire (to clean), preferire (to prefer).

Ex. Laura finisce di fare i compiti in classe (Laura finishes her homework in the classroom).

Some other common verbs finishing in IRE follow a different pattern

Dormire (to sleep)

Io dormo

Tu dormi

Lui/lei dorme

Lei formal dorme

Noi dormiamo

Voi dormite

Loro dormono

Sentence example: dormiamo presto stanotte (we are sleeping early tonight).

Other verbs are: servire (to serve), aprire (to open), partire (to leave) and  sentire (to hear-to feel).

Now that you know the basics, why not have a look at the verbs used in Nonna Lena’s and my other family recipes?

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Mindset advice:

The best advice we can give you and that I personally used when learning three additional languages is to never strive for perfection. Strive for progress instead. Italians are very easy going and they will make every possible effort to help you feel at ease. They will understand you even if you make mistakes, and if they still do not understand, they will slow down and ask you to repeat.

Therefore, I encourage you to adopt a positive mindset and begin your exciting learning journey taking one step at a time. Even native speakers make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to express yourself and remember, as Frank Smith says:

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way”

I hope you have enjoyed this article, please comment below, I am looking forward to reading your feedback. Stay tuned! Buona giornata o buona serata whenever you read this.

Raffaella Palumbo

Passionate about languages & good food. I hold a Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and French, a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication for Business and Professions and the CLTA teaching certificate. My hobby is chasing the sun around the globe. My favourite quote: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way” (Frank Smith)

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